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

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Feminine Rising

It was a calling. A deep heart calling to be part of the Women’s March LA.  It was not about being anti-anyone.  It was about listening to the whispers calling me to witness a rising.

I had never witnessed a morning like that. Hundreds of us at the train station. The train themselves, completely jammed packed.  To say we were packed like sardines is an understatement.  I could hardly move without touching someone else.  Yet we laughed, we used each other to lean on, and some even sang songs.

Once on the streets of Downtown LA – HOLY Mother – there were thousands of us!  Last estimates say there were 750,000 of us.  I felt all sorts of emotions rise.  Some joy, some love, some sadness, but most of all awe.  There were so many of us that the roads closed for the march were not enough. Drivers were stuck in their cars.  Many of them were swept with the joy of the moment as they got out and began cheering the marchers on.  The signs people carried were brilliant. So many creatively stated many of my own thoughts.  A sea of pink pussy hats on women had me smiling from ear to ear.

What was the most moving was seeing the number of men that marched along the women that morning.  Some came with their partners. Some came on their own. Fathers brought their sons. Groups of men came together.  My heart burst open when I heard the men chant, “Her body, her choice.”  Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

I marched because to me nothing is more important than the freedom to choose.

The freedom to say what happens to my body, who touches my body, and how I take care of my body.  I marched as a drop in a vast ocean of powerful women.  As I often say – when women gather, we are a powerful force and our collective presence changes the world. I marched because this event marked the greatest awakening of the Divine Feminine energy.  I marched alongside millions of women and men worldwide because I yearned to be there at the moment that this wider recognition of the Divine Feminine was being birthed.

The Divine Feminine is the matrix of creation.  The truth is every woman knows it exists in every cell of her being even if she forgets from time to time.  She gets to participate in the greatest mystery of bringing a soul into life.  Even if a woman chooses not to birth a child, her body still contains and remains connected to the mystery of the Divine.  And yet, we forgot and are okay being denied the sacredness of this.

We live in a culture that promotes disembodiment.  In doing so, we live in our heads with our egos making up stories, with blindfolds that keep us from seeing the beauty of who we really are, and worst of all, we stop following Divine Intuition which stops us from acting from a place of Divine Love.

What we forget is that to bend to this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself.  When we deny the mystery of the Divine Feminine, we also deny life at the core — the part that nourishes, creates, heals, transforms, and nourishes all of us.  For the same sacred source from which we were all born comes the essence that gives meaning to our life and aligns our life’s divine purpose.

The Divine Feminine has been waiting.

On that beautiful Saturday morning, women and men gathered and heeded her calling.  That day I walked with my sisters and brothers to honor the Divine Feminine in each of us even for those that do not hear her whispers yet or who continue to deny her existence.

With all my love,

Jacqueline

PS… It also does not end at the march.  I for one am done with complaining and I am choosing to be active instead.  What are the topics and issues that are important to you?   The Divine Feminine awaits our active participation in order to co-create with each of us a world that we truly desire.

St. Theresa Comes to Rowe

 

I recently attended, both as participant and assistant, in a woman’s workshop focused on sexuality and the Medicine Wheel led by the incomparable Gina Ogden.

On the first night, all the women walked the Wheel, placing their sacred objects and sharing with the group what each object represented — one representing what they want more of in their sexual life, the other representing what they want less of.  As the evening continued, one theme came to light — the impact of religious training on sexuality, particularly that of that Catholic church.

This peaked my interest, since I attended Catholic school for 12 years and I was fully aware of the training and dogma that these women shared. As I heard the women speak, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for my rebellious spirit and my curiosity — they have always been my saving grace. The truth is that I never believed what the priests and the nuns said about love and sex. I did not believe that I would be a sinner for enjoying the pleasure of my flesh since God himself (or herself) had created this very flesh. As far as I can remember, I believed that sex was one of God’s greatest gifts. It was a gift that allowed us as humans to transcend our bodies and the illusion of separation from others. There is a reason why, in moments of absolute pleasure, the words “oh my God” are said aloud in every language and across every religion.

 

As I sat in the circle, watching and hearing these women, I was also keenly aware that I had a small picture of St. Teresa of Avila in my bag. Until that moment, I had been  unsure of the reason why I had packed it a few days before.

St. Teresa is a Catholic saint and mystic who had a profound religious experience before an image of the wounded Christ in the convent oratory.  She felt, “He was within me, or that I was totally engulfed by him.”  Saint Teresa’s love of God and her desire for spiritual union with him manifested in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a golden spear and sent her into a trance — an ecstatic rapture.  In her autobiography she writes:

“The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease, nor is ones soul then content with anything but God.” (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by herself, Chapter 29).

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ec-stasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

​When it was my turn to walk the circle and share my objects, I put St. Teresa in the center of the Wheel symbolizing integration. I spoke of how she is a beautiful representation of what God truly intended for us — to surrender to the moment and to enjoy the gift of the human body with its multiple areas of pleasure. Whether we do this alone or with a lover, it does not matter. When we say,“yes” to enjoying our bodies, we are allowing our gift of aliveness and connection to be fully present. We breathe in life more fully.

In the Medicine Wheel, sexuality and spirituality exist in the same quadrant because the quadrant is about connectivity. Although many may not agree with me, I cannot see any separation of sexuality and spirituality. One leads directly to the other. My spirituality is about connecting more lovingly and authentically with myself, others, and God. My sexuality exists for the same reason.

The women in the circle reminded me that night that much work needs to be done to heal the lines that create separation, aloneness, despair, and negative beliefs about God and sex. When St. Teresa was placed in the circle, I believe the healing began. That night, there was a lightness that she radiated from the center of the circle into the heart of every woman.

Picture

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ecstasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

Originally Posted on 11/13/2015