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

 

 

 

 

 

Screw the Goals… Cherish the Stillness

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom
– Francis Bacon

 

The New year is here! 

Happy 2018!

One of the most powerful ways to move forward in creating your dreams and intentions for the new year is to focus on what you’ve learned, celebrate your wins, and forgive the past.

I find that when I do this, I feel more present, more grounded, more at ease, and most importantly, excited about what’s next.

And, how I begin this process is by finding the stillness, the moments of pause and silence.

When I was a child, I loved New Years.  I loved the idea of starting over and that come January 1st, the past was wiped, fresh start.

The older I got, the more life experience under my belt, the more I felt the heaviness of what I did not accomplish, the goals left behind, and the relationships, including the one with myself, that did not feel any better.

In an effort to feel good, I followed what so many “experts” say to do – jump right into creating and manifesting on the goal line.  The heaviness did not quite go away.

I found that when I moved past the stillness and straight into goal achievement I was skipping the most important lesson …. MY SOUL LEARNINGS, the reason why my soul had called in those precise let downs and wins.

“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes radiance.”
~ Morgan Freeman.

Soul Learnings is the belief that everything that happens – the good, the bad, and the ugly – happens for my highest good.

We also cannot access our learnings though busyness, noise, and haste.

Seeking the stillness allows us to quiet the mind and stop judging, blaming, and avoiding.  Instead, we get in touch with our inner counselor, the part of us that is wise, holds equanimity, and has a higher vision.

From this place we begin to recognize what we learned in the last year with gratitude and grace.  We also get to celebrate the wins, something so many of us forget to do.

Forgiving others, not for their sake, but for our own sake.  Because in doing so, we create and manifest from a space of compassion, abundance, not scarcity, fear, or angst.

When we practice forgiving ourselves, we remember we are worthy of creating what we truly desire based on authentic alignment not guilt, remorse, or obligation.

Most importantly of all, when we slow down, we give ourselves the chance to ask, “What do I want?   What do I really really really want?” from a place of what feels good and what nourishes me and my relationships.

Where to find moments of silence….

  • Taking a shower or a bath.
  • In the car, arriving home, right before getting out. Or, after dropping off the kids before driving away.
  • Morning coffee… sip it slowly.
  • Before or after a yoga class.
  • Park your car at the furthest point of a parking lot and walk slowly towards your destination.
  • Close your eyes.  Breathe slowly and deliberately.
  • Rather than look at social media, read emails, or play a game, put on a song you love and let your body lead (you may want to put headphones on too).
  • Read a book.  The Alchemist being one I read every January.

And remember, that even the most beautiful rose bush is pruned and rested before it begins to radiantly flourish again.  Below are a few offerings on the making this year the most flourishing and sizzling yet.

Wishing a magical and magnificent 2018,
Jacqueline

Holiday Blues: A Spiritual Perspective

 

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.

In loving,

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

More love please.

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.

Breathe.

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. 

 

So remember….

You matter.

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.

 

Love,

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

Freeing Your Wild Soul

I am going to start this by reminding you of a great truth…

You… the real YOU is wild.

You were born wild.

Your body born to shake, wiggle, and move freely.

Your mouth to tell your truths and yell in delight.

Your skin to help you feel you in this world and sense the world in you.

You were meant to feel it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And, you were meant to use it for your growth and well-being.

Your soul chose this life to be wild and free.

 

But in your innocence, you forgot. You began to believe the lies you were told. Be this… don’t do that… good girls do… good girls don’t…be a man…man up… on and on and on.  You believed it because when we are young we need to belong, we need to feel safe, and so we give up our wild, untamed self in order to survive.

Consistently I hear from men and women talk about their desire to be happy, comfortable in their own skin, and vulnerable in their relationships.  Yet over and over what keeps them feeling sad, angry, shutdown, turned-off, and distanced is their adherence to old hurts, should, and regrets.

What I keep learning from these courageous souls is that talking about it, becoming aware about it is a great first step, but it is simply not enough.  One has to feel – feel the contours of the energy rising inside. Allowing the body to express it through its natural wisdom.

Wildness resides in the body where the greatest of wisdoms also lives.

 

This is hard to do in a world where the mental is given more power.  So rather than feel our way through an emotion, we begin to think about the emotion.  We try to find a “cure” for it by assigning blame (spouses, partners, parents, and siblings are popular targets), remembering bad stories (reminding yourself how many times he/she/it made you feel this way before), or using a coping skills that get us further away from healing (drinking, eating, screaming, or giving the cold shoulder).

Thus we  blame, shut down, and try all other coping skills in hopes one will help us feel better.  It does not work.  It has never worked.  It will never work.  Even talk therapy is not enough.  So what can help?

Feeling the contours of the emotion and allowing the body’s natural, wild intelligence to express it and moving it out.

 

Nature is a wonderful teacher for us.  When something bad happens, you see animal do exactly what their body intelligence knows to do: A possum freezes, a gazelle runs, and a lion fights.  When the event it is over and it has survived, they reset their body by shaking.  No blaming, no second-guessing, no wondering what it could have done something different.

Therefore, the next time you feel an upset of any kind, try this….

  1. Notice where you feel the energy (energy in motion = emotion) in your body. It may be helpful to place a hand over the spot and breathe in to it.
  2. Resist giving it a name. Yes, this is counterintuitive, but the minute you assign it a name – sad, mad, glad, anger – you stop feeling and you begin thinking.
  3. Move your body. You can stand up, sit down, lie down, or even get on all fours. This is not dancing. Shake, twirl, hop, karate chop… whatever your body wants to do.
  4. No matter what you do, keep on moving until the “energy” subsides.
  5. Breathe until your body settles. Not any kind of specific breathing, just breath.

So what does all of this have to do with liberating your wild soul?  EVERYTHING!

Because to heal using your body’s intelligence is exactly what we were meant to do – to liberate ourselves from the heaviness, the tension, the unforgiveable, and the upsets and find the part of ourselves that lives life freely, enthusiastically, uncontrolled by the should’s or blaming.

No longer surviving the tension and the negative beliefs.  Instead, living and loving your wild and delicious life feeling everything in the present.

 

If you are interested in diving deeper on how to let yourself feel everything, join us for FEMME – Workshops for Women.  Theme for June is “Feminine Emotionality: The Art of Emptying & Feeling it All.” To register or for more information, click here .

 

Loving you and your wild soul,

Jacqueline

 

 

 

Sensual… Not Necessarily Sexual

the bonfire and the ego

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.