The Natural Ebb and Flow of Intimacy

Intimacy…

plays an essential role in humans.  As social creatures and at the root of our humanity, is the craving for close, personal and reciprocating relationships with others.

Intimacy usually refers to mutual openness, sharing, and vulnerability.  Its lifespan can range from a single interaction to a long-term relationship of years or even decades.

It can exist in a variety of relationships spanning from close friendships to parent and child to family and even neighbors and co-workers.

But no other relationship contains the polarity of needs and interactions than that of our romantic relationships where intimacy also denotes sexual interactions because of the roles and expectations of these relationships.

Intimacy in a romantic pairing relationship is built over time.

At the beginning of a romance with hormones heightened and curiosity on overload (aka limerence which we will discuss later, so stay tuned), our attraction is high and we experience glimpses of intimacy.

New relationships might have moments of closeness, but the long-term intimacy that characterizes close personal relationships is a building process.  Because as we get comfortable and let our guard down, more of our “parts” show up and so do those of our partners.

There is also a natural, healthy ebb and flow to intimacy — a relationship might be highly intimate or be lacking in intimacy without anything triggering the rise or the fall.

The problem becomes a problem when people judge the quality of their relationships based on the depth of intimacy and the degree to which they feel close to their partner, or how they perceive their partner being intimate with them.

Then, because of previously unresolved issues, they shutdown, avoid, or run and blame their partner or circumstances for the state of the relationship.

The truth is that….

Intimacy is about being intimate with ourselves… Into-Me-I-SEE.

To create and practice real intimacy is to practice seeing into myself, recognizing old and new wants and desires, letting go of what is not really me, and then (huge here) allowing the space for my partner to do the same without wronging or taking what is being shared personally.

The reasons why infidelity occurs are many, but the common thread I have found in every couple that has sat across me, perhaps not verbatim but some version of this – I did not know how to practice intimacy with myself, so to discover and reveal parts of myself to myself, I went elsewhere. 

True intimacy requires trust and vulnerability…  and this is frightening when we are not comfortable with parts of ourselves.  We look to our partners to validate us, to make us feel accepted, to feel loved, and yet none of this matters if we cannot do it for ourselves.  

Getting emotionally naked

The healthiest and most passionate of relationships naturally have moments of high and low intimacy.   What keeps them going is that they know this and when the intimacy is low, there’s no blaming or avoiding what is happening.

Instead, they get emotionally naked.

They have the willingness to explore and then express deep sadness, hurt, fear, and love…oh, yes love!

And because they both get naked, there is no need to blame or avoid, because they recognize that when one of them disengages, it is not a sign that something is wrong, but that a new level of depth is ready to emerge.

And they seek moments where they can experience themselves differently.

Don’t get me wrong, many people struggle with intimacy, and the fear of intimacy is a common concern in therapy.

But sometimes, to allow ourselves a moment to have that spark of intimacy – to let ourselves be seen and while also having the willingness to see without intruding or pushing any agenda… so we can build from that in therapy, in quiet moments, and even in the loud ones.  (A little positive psychology always helps.)

Because contrary to popular belief, the couple who never quarrels and seems like the perfect pair is not necessarily the couple who has the greatest intimacy.

It is the couple who expresses themselves and their differences, who engage in their struggles and challenges in a constructive, honest way, who may perhaps from the outside look contradicting or too different, but who can also find ways to express their love that are truly intimate.

Want to experience a moment… perhaps that spark?

Come join The Art of Love, Intimacy, & Attraction Evenings.  An evening focused on the tending and nurturing of all your parts. Couples and Singles are invited to attend.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays… Holy Days … Invitation to Practice Loving

 

A reminder that the holy days, regardless of religion, culture, language, country, or ethnicity, are an invitation to love freely – without the need for reciprocity or finding worthiness in another.
An invitation to practice love loving love – the practice of being present and loving for the sake of loving. 

To love openly because we are all soulful beings and, in the eyes of the Divine, are all equal – no one better or worse, more spiritual or less.  The only distinction that each of us arrived on earth with different soul curriculums.

The holidays are high holy days because they serve as reminders of the holy that resides in each of us.

A sacred summons to seek the Divine in another.
A reminder that all moments are for our highest purpose.
Wishing you the most beautiful holiday season.

May it be filled with bliss, compassion, peace, and a heart filled with love.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object never really matters.” 
– Marilynn Robinson

 

The Gifts of Pulling Away

“He doesn’t really listen”
“She plays on the phone rather than spend time with me”
“It’s like I don’t even exist”
“I feel invisible”
“The dog gets more love than I do”

When a man or a woman checks out emotionally, mentally, or physically from their relationship, it can be for many the beginning of death of love. 

Many men overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, give into feeling lost and check-out.

Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if he were to step into a fuller expression of himself, he would push others away, not be man enough, or be seen as a fraud.

Women in an effort to not rock the boat, not to make another feel bad, keep quiet and often agree to parameters of the relationships through default until one day this becomes impossible for her to continue.

Overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, she gives into feeling lost and checks-out.  Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if she were to step into a fuller expression of herself, she would no longer belong and be seen as a fraud.

We can respond to the pulling away of the other by adding final blows or to see the pulling away as part of the cycle that can return us to greater love.  Perhaps not always to greater love with our current partners, but greater love nonetheless.

Man stepping into a strong and powerful masculine energy by learning how to authentically express their authentic masculine presence without disempowering and disconnecting from the feminine.  Without minimizing, blaming, or telling her she’s feeling or being too much.

One way to to start this, is my empowering and embodying those parts that he finds hard to love… the parts that have been castrated and often appear in moments when disempowering another or perhaps even abusing another.

The parts that remind you of how powerful you are because you can annihilate another with your hands, but it takes more courage not to.

Inner spaces that feel soft and vulnerable because those are the parts the connect you more deeply to the heart of humanity.

Woman remembering how powerful and raw the authentic feminine presence is without punishing or building walls.  Dropping the need to blame or remind him of his failures.

Start by reminding yourself that you are not here to simply put up with things or to play nice.  Your gift of intuition bestows your wisdom and truth telling. Your willingness, your courage of heart to offer ALL of you, even the uncomfortable, imperfect, chaotic parts is an invitation not only for you, but for your partner, your family, your tribe, the whole world to get out of our heads and into our hearts.

The truth is that NOW more than ever, both men and women have the opportunity for growth, healing, and learning on how to step more fully into their true self.

Both using their feeling lost, their checking-out as signposts that their higher self is requesting a look inward, to create space to heal before anyone can return more fully to love.

And to all parties involved…

Be loving
Be compassionate
Be kind to yourself.
Be honest.
Don’t take it personally

This December I am offering Men & Women (sex specific) events to help you step into a deeper, more graceful, love-filled expression of you. In January, I will be adding co-ed Love, Intimacy & Attraction events.

In loving,

Jacqueline

The Gift of Thanks-Giving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love food… and I am enamored with sweet potatoes and yams.  My love for them is so great that it is not uncommon for me to make several sweet potatoes and yams recipes on this holiday.  There’s also the mashed potatoes and gravy, watching the dog show (I usually eat my first batch of sweet potatoes while watching this), the turkey, and spending time with family.

But, what I love most about this holiday is that it is a day we set aside to deepen in the practice of gratitude.

Because giving thanks helps us recognize, appreciate, and gift ourselves and others transformation.

When we express gratitude, we open up to love, and we are reminded that, although not perfect and sometimes downright painful, there is sweetness, expansion, and healing woven into life.

Have you ever noticed how saying thank you can change you and your outlook on things?  Have you seen someone transform in front of your eyes when given gratitude?

I have.

We may not get transported to a place of glitter and perfection and the bad doesn’t necessarily go away.

What we can experience is a shift and lightness in our emotions.  Our sense of connection and presence in the moment may deepen.  There is a reminder that grace always seems to appear when we need it the most.

Research has also found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being.

Giving thanks can also impact the overall experience of happiness which can be long-lasting.

Now, I get it.  It’s not always easy to express gratitude or to find ourselves in a state of thankfulness.

Four ways to Cultivate Gratitude on Thanks-Giving

  1. Say thank you often.  Look for opportunities to say it — particularly to those who serve you.
  2. Practice not gossiping, complaining, or judging for the day.  (You can do it!)
  3. It is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy. Yet how we look at things is dictated by how we feel about them.  Being grateful is a choice: We can feel grateful and not be grateful towards the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives.
  4. Engage in compassionate forgiveness.  Sitting at a table with family discord and conflict is never easy, but for that day (and every day after if you choose), remember that at any given moment we all do the best we can.  If he/she/they, had thought of something better to do or say, then they would have done it.

I also want to take the opportunity to give Thanks to YOU.

Thank you for showing up.
Thank you for allowing me to be of service.
Thank you for engaging with me.
Thank you for sharing your time, your attention, and to many of you, your heart and soul.

Wishing you a blessed and delicious Thanks-Giving,

Jacqueline

Our body… The Greatest Learning Instrument… Enjoy the Ride

If we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, then our greatest learning instrument is our body.

Let’s start with our most human parts.  Our belly being the keeper of our emotions and the archaic stories of our tribe.  Our hips helping us move in the world. Some with more relaxation, others with more tension… both being okay.  Our pelvic floor rooting us to Mother Earth and the place where we connect and disconnect from everyone else.  All of it showing up for our learning and expansion.

Throat, eyes, and crown being our more ethereal and abstract parts.  Our throat seeking to speak our truth, sing what we feel, and shout what we must say at times.  Our eyes guiding us to what we envision for ourselves.  The eyes also being the mirror, gateway to the soul – the core of our being that carries no stories of hurts or dissatisfaction, but just pure loving.  Our crown being the spot in our body that is most connected to that which is higher than us.  Call it any name you want – God, Yahweh, Allah, Spirit, Universe, Goddess – it is all the same.  It is the part of us that leads the inquiry into who we are, what life is about, and seeks meaning to our existence.

This leads us to the heart.  The part that balances the ethereal and the human, the part where love resides.  It is in our heart space that love is born, love is given, and love is received.  Stories do not exist here. When we are born, breath comes through here. And when we leave our body, breath comes through here.  It is the place where we nourish our human desire to connect and our soul’s calling to expand.

So where does the brain fit into all of this?

Your body is the vehicle while your mind is the navigation system. They work together, not separately or in contradiction of each other.

 

We are the drivers of our ride.  When we decide to go right, we go right.  When we decide to turn left, we go left.  The navigation does not take over, but simply helps us get there.  From time to time the navigation system gives us feedback “maintenance required,” “hazard,” or even “system overload,” but it does not take over the driving.  Therefore the only time our minds take over is when we forget how powerful and divine we really are.

You are a spiritual being having a human experience.  You came equipped with all you need to handle this crazy and delicious life ride.

So next time the navigation system wants to take over, here are a few suggestions:

 

  1. Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y feeling every inch of your being.  Notice where the tension is. Breathe into that area.
  2. Place one hand over heart and the other over the area tension and say, “I am a spiritual being having a human experience and I arrived equipped with what is exactly needed at all times.” Repeat as needed…and breathe.
  3. Celebrate the good moments. Don’t wait to remember you are human only in the negative, heavy moments.  Celebrate the happy feelings because they too are part of this ride.

 

Loving and supporting you,

Jacqueline

 

Photo by Craig Whitehead

Sensual… Not Necessarily Sexual