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,
So much talk about the season of merriment and light, yet for so many…
The paradox of the holidays.
It can be said that there is wisdom to be gained through challenge, hardship and suffering. It can also be said that there is deep learning and truth to be gained.
Because when we are in a “dark night of the soul”, the deepest part of our being reaches out for a more valuable connection with heart and spirit.
This, however, may not be immediately apparent to the ego self.
In the midst of pain, anger, grief, or sorrow, the ego self becomes attached to specific outcomes – “I will feel better when…,” and cannot see the possibility for learning and for a greater life on the other side.
This paradox is hard for the human self to grasp when feeling the heaviness of pain. Our most human response to suffering is to want to end it, and the human heart cannot help but believe that what it feels, the deprivation of joy, love, and, even hope, cannot possibly be the source of something good.
And yet, in the darkest hour of the night, there is a sharpening of vision, and what appears empty and dark, suddenly holds the promise of light.
In this sense, a dark night of the soul may first appear as if all the light has gone out, but the soul continues to support the seeking of light and continues to radiate and attract light toward the self that suffers and struggles.
After all, isn’t it true that when we feel disconnected from joy and love, we begin to seek that joy and love with a more willing and malleable heart? We begin to see the glimmers of light where moments before there were none to see.
Light attracts light even in the darkest hour.
This is the divine beauty of the soul.
From this perspective, the holidays – holy days – is the ideal and soulful time for our journey into the light… the surrender into the light of our own being.
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,
“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object never really matters.”
– Marilynn Robinson
“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 kind to yourself.
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.
So… much… going… on… right… now!
There are tsunami-size waves of social change occurring. We can’t go very long or very far without witnessing or being exposed to an injustice or human darkness.
I don’t know about you but there are moments when it all feels like there’s a huge wall separating us from where we are and where we want to be, what we imagine life can really be like.
We want to take it down, but we have no idea yet how to do it. Leading us to feeling overwhelmed and overly triggered, wanting to run, hide, enraged, frozen, or all of the above.
At least that’s what I tell myself…BREATHE. Because change is not easy and it is always the darkest before the light appears.
And, I am also reminding myself that no matter what is happening I have a choice in how to respond and how to be with myself, and how I can contribute to making this world a little brighter.
Each of us has a spot on that wall where we can choose to either help break it down or to put up another brick.
We each have our talents, our gifts, our work, our light. That’s our chisel in helping break down that wall.
We don’t have to do it all. The ego mind likes to think we do which usually results in us freezing.
We don’t have to hammer things down. Force and violence never work.
We don’t have to be anyone other than who we are.
We don’t have to do anyone else’s work. No need for over-responsibility or playing the rescuer. Both serve as distractions from our own work.
We can pick one thing, and give it our all.
And chisel away at that spot… over and over again.
By taking that one spot, that one space inside ourselves that feels triggered, that feels tender, that feels vulnerable. Not pretending we don’t feel or blaming for feeling. Being with that spot… loving it… being compassionate with it.
And then, when we are ready, practicing forgiving. Forgiving our judgement, our misunderstanding, our not knowing any better. Again and again because forgiveness is a practice, not an event.
Here’s the most wonderful thing of all…
… each of us are doing our work, chiseling way one spot, then collectively, eventually, together we will bring that wall down.
What we learn then is that every wall we encounter – both inner and outer – are post signs, reminders that more love and compassion are needed.
More love please.
Your tender spots matter.
Your gifts and your tools matter.
You are here for an important reason.
Because together, that wall comes down.
And together… WE RISE.
Many have arrived to my office this week stunned and in disbelief over the events in Charlottesville. Some asking how to deal with the fear and anger. Others inquiring about the notion of love replacing hate.
One of the things I love about my practice is that I get to serve a multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual population. Many of my couples are of mixed ethnicity and even mixed religions. Once during a women’s event, we looked around the room and experience such joy that in the circle were Christians, Catholics, Buddhist, and Muslim women of varying ages and cultures. One woman stated, “We can teach the UN a few things.”
There is a part of me that perhaps is a bit Pollyanna always looking for the good, the silver lining in everything: darkness always leads to light and after every storm there is always calm.
I admit that given the political climate of this country, it gets a little hard at times. Today, I sat with a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes. Hate spewing out of so many. The silver lining becoming dimmer at times.
Hate is defined as the intense or passionate dislike for something or someone. Hate helps build the illusion of separation, of being different, of competition over false identities. This mixed with prejudices and judgements can be combustible.
Love on the other hand, is having affection, love, compassion for ourselves and for every other being. It opens us up to see the beauty in things and the good in others. It serves as a reminder that in God’s eyes, we are all the same. A homeless man is no better than the one living in a mansion.
Love can erase hate because if we practice love and being in our loving, we are aware of our prejudices and we are willing to be curious and inquire about them. We question the validity, where we learned it, how it serves us, and our willingness to change it.
I for one do not believe in being colorblind. In full transparency here… when someone tells me that they don’t see race, they don’t see color…. I gulp. It’s natural to see the difference in others. What is not natural is closing down our hearts because of what we assume to know because of another’s skin color, religion, culture, or ethnicity.
When we allow ourselves to be curious and inquire about our assumptions, we actually open our hearts a little more. And when we forgive ourselves and our assumptions, we elevate the whole planet.
The alternative is ignoring our assumptions to the point where we judge ourselves for having them. And given that life is a mirror into ourselves, we eventually see in others what we dislike in ourselves. We then use hate to fuel and give ourselves permission to blame those that remind us of what we do not want to see in ourselves.
So can love erase hate?
Yes… it can and it eventually will.
In the meantime, please remember that you are love, are loved, and you were made to love. Don’t shut down or don’t push away. Once you center yourself in this, take it to the streets. Go out and be in your loving with others.
Here I arrive at my silver lining which is remembering….
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Be the light we all need to brighten our world a little more today🌟.
With all my love,
I believe that we are all divine beings having a human experience.
I often imagine that before we made the choice to come to the earth school, we all surrounded a giant bond fire where God tells us about a special “life” planned for us. We are so happy to learn and grow and be human that we give a resounding “yes” to life in store for us. We crave the all the lessons. We go all in.
We all chose to come here and inhabit our human body. We chose all the funny curves, bumps, and dimples. We chose our families – our mother, father, grandparents, and even our crazy uncle, because before we took human form, we knew that our bodies and our loved ones were the perfect ones to teach our souls the very lessons that we craved to learn. As life progresses, we also attract others to help us learn lessons in a deeper level. Of course, the one relationship that provides us the best and deepest opportunities of learning and growing is our romantic relationships.
From my point of view, the problem is that part of the human condition is that we forget that we chose. We forget so that we can actually learn the lessons. We forget so that we can fully live each moment. We also develop an ego. We develop the ego to help us survive our human condition. Because as humans we crave attention and to feel loved. Our ego begins to believe that for us to be loved by others, we have to abide by certain conditions. Out of fear of losing this love, it begins to create stories and beliefs about how the world works and how we should be in it. I find that when a phrase such as “I am personally offended” is used it is our ego that is reacting.
The ego is not a bad aspect. It is the part of us that has forgotten its divine nature. It has forgotten about the excitement we felt at the bond fire. The ego is the aspect of us that is the most human. It feeds on fear, judging, wronging others and ourselves, and keeps most aligned with how things should be. I often see my ego as a young adolescent learning how to drive – unsure of herself, not sure how to deal with traffic, not knowing how turn, pressing the gas and break pedals too much or not enough. The driving instructor is my higher self, my divine nature – the aspect that remembers I am a soul. It gently reminds my fearful teenage driver how to focus and how to hold herself behind the driving wheel. Always with great love and compassion. From time to time, the driving instructor takes the wheel, moments of smooth driving, leaving the teenage driver afraid she did something wrong, but at times, although she may not always acknowledge aloud or even to herself, quite grateful.