Intimacy

It’s interesting, and not surprising at all, that the Universe led me to this great article of Shelly Bullard’s on the divine MindBodyGreen.com, as I have been ruminating deeply this past week on the topic of intimacy and romance.

I wasn’t sure what I had to say on the topic, which is why this blog post has been in limbo for nearly three days. I have many emotions around the topic of intimacy, and many thoughts. I also have acquired many lessons through intimacy, most tucked neatly in my tool kit, some thrown haphazardly into the far, dark corners of said tool kit.

As human beings we are no “one way” in relationships. We like to think we are, but the truth is different human beings draw out different little bits of us. The experiences we have with these partners allow us to learn more about our own Selves, and then change occurs. Not in the sense of changing for someone, no no. The change that occurs naturally over time, how a person evolves, grows.

I have grown into an entirely different young woman from the girl I was when I entered my last relationship. With that relationship came great bliss, unspeakable love, deep trust, profound and cosmic human connection, and a bond I will cherish for all my life. With that relationship also came turmoil, harsh realities, weakness, loss, and it kept a chunk of my being, of my heart, that had to be sacrificed to the union in order to bid it farewell. I think of that little piece of me often; the empty space it left behind has filled in now, with self-love, faith, energy, and the scar tissue-like badge of honor one receives after having loved and lost.

It’s sometimes still difficult to imagine how one immerses oneself in such intense intimacy, such profound love, all with the risk of the partnership disintegrating. I was fortunate in my experience to have the most peaceful and loving break-up I could have imagined, but I still cry over the beautiful memories and missing companionship that I spent three years savoring. I still revisit the events of our relationship in my mind and daydream polar shifts in the Universe, aligning us where we need to be for the relationship to work. For it to grow and flourish.

In Bullard’s MindBodyGreen article, I was reminded of some of my favorite relationship lessons. My beautiful mother always tells me to, “Be who you want to be with,” so naturally that pointer warms my heart. It makes perfect sense. Instead of trying to attract partner, spend that precious time cultivating the Self to be all you want it to be. By passionately pursuing your own positive behaviors, hobbies, passions, beliefs, interests, and intellect, you will attract someone with likeminded principles and ways. Heck, you might even meet someone in the process of being in all of those places that bring you joy, doing all of the things that define your sweet, beautiful Self.

Completing onself is such a vast lesson that I feel each person must experience it for themselves. I experienced the wholehearted belief that my partner and I completed one another. Another wise and weighty lesson my mother has spoken to me is, “Don’t aim to complete someone, aim to compliment them.” That simple tweak in the concept is radical. Who wants to be with a half-person? Who is attracted to someone who needs fixing, has no identity, or wants to morph into exactly who you are in order to be with you (well, it’s a whole different post if your answer was yes to any of those)?

Everything is One, there is yin and yang, and in bringing to light what we ought to do to attract a likeminded, balancing, beneficial partner into our lives, we must also acknowledge the darkness that has made us into the person we are. The vast majority of us have suffered heartbreak. Harrowing, gut-wrenching, life-upsidedown-turning heartbreak. To heal after heartache we must do some serious internal work. Working on the Self is an “inside job,” as Ashley Turner wisely calls it. I think something important to recognize also, though, is that not all wounds heal after heartbreak. Not all souls recover. It is a choice to heal and, ultimately, stand back up. It’s confusing and overwhelming to collect shattered bits of a heart and sort things back out, so some simply don’t. I’m sure you know people who are so scarred by a past relationship that they dub themselves incapable of loving again. Or perhaps they don’t, and they try, and their future relationships fail because they’re holding on like hell to the pain of their past. Some surrender to this pain and carry it with them, subconsciously conceding to the past and to fear and to pain with each new person, relationship, and opportunity. This is where mindfulness comes into play. Then again, doesn’t the divinity of mindfulness always come into play?

Mindfully living is means of protection, whether you choose to see it that way or not. It protects us from abuse, from over or under-indulgence, from harmful thoughts (usually), from engaging in too many regretful behaviors, so on and so forth. Mindfulness is a brilliant tool; a tool that, once acquired, most of us will instill so deep in our beings that it’s incapable of being lost. Ever.

Mindfulness and intimacy, however, form an interesting equation. I’m sure you are familiar with the “honeymoon phase” commonly used to refer to the first six months or so of a relationship. That phase when everything is bliss, people often lose sight of their own path in order to forge a new and beautiful path with this other person. Everything appears perfect, faults go unacknowledged and a blissful veil of joy is lain over the lovers’ eyes. It’s divine. I’m not saying it isn’t. I’m not saying to fight the beautiful ride of “early love.” Enjoy it, savor it, revel in it. But remain mindful. That little thing about “authenticity” that Bullard mentions, remember it. You aren’t being authentic for “him” or “her” – you are being authentic for “YOU.” Your authenticity is what will carry you out of the honeymoon phase and into the “this is getting serious stage,” and even far past that. Your authenticity will give you the courage to admit, accept, and hopefully adore all of your own wonderful flaws, as well as those of your partner. When one is highly aware, one sees one’s own flaws as clearly as one’s partner’s. This is actually a beautiful thing because, in accepting imperfections in the Self, imperfections in others become simple facts. They are not intricacies up for “change.” They aren’t negotiable and they aren’t a challenge for to be “fixed.” By realizing authenticity in its most basic form, one has the gift of not striving for perfection because, well, perfection does not exist…

The image below is a brilliant illustration of how I feel in relation to the advice to, “compliment rather than complete” a person. The two separate human bodies have intertwined, very intimately. Two separate entities. Two heart beats. Two minds. Two souls.

The roots growing up and out of their embrace are deeply symbolic. Rather than growing down, as one’s individual roots would, the couple’s roots grow upwards.They intertwine, grow and lengthen, fed by the love radiating between the two heartbeats that form the trunk.

The beauty, the intimacy, the connection, and the metaphysical bliss that I believe can grow up and out of a union is embodied in this image. This image serves as a reminder that by honoring one’s own authenticity, one’s own roots, one’s own life form…the beautiful growth seen below can occur. The love of another body, soul and mind can occur. Intimacy flourishes when grown by two grounded beings.

So, what now, you ask? I am a free bird at this point in my life. I am 24, I have loved and lost, I have discovered a profound tenderness within my own Self, and I feel as though the world’s goodness is beckoning me forth, open-armed. My suggestion to us all, both solo and not, is to develop intimacy within the most cherished pockets of our lives.

The dictionary definition of “intimacy” is this: “close familiarity or friendship; closeness; a private cozy atmosphere; an intimate act or remark; closeness of observation or knowledge of a subject.” Is intimacy not something we can cultivate within, with our very own Selves? Is intimacy not something that we can enjoy with a warm mug of herbal tea and a great book? Is intimacy not the dedication with which we take to our mats and deepen our yoga practice, spiritual awareness, and inner fire? Is intimacy not cooking and laughing with a good friend? Is intimacy not learning, devouring knowledge, adventure, and all new and unfamiliar things that interest you?

The answer is yes, intimacy is all of those things. Familiarizing ourselves with intimacy, particularly the close observations of our own minds and beings, is the key to being able to truly share pure, stable, healthy intimacy with a partner. The partner you’ll have drawn to you by being wildly and shamelessly you.

So, beautiful souls, I leave you today with this quote…and the sincere affirmation to cultivate gratifying intimacy within our own vessels and therefore our own lives, everyday…blessings εїз

“Healing comes as we choose to release the pain of our past and cultivate the 
trust that returns us to innocence – an innocence that is reborn in wisdom.”

~Elysabeth Williamson

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3 thoughts on “Intimacy

  1. great article. My ex said she couldn’t commit because she wanted to sleep with other people ongoing (poliamorously?). When I asked her why she wanted to do that, she said she wanted to learn about herself and grow. I had trouble swallowing this because this just put an end to our growth. I see a limitation without commitment, she sees freedom without commitment. I am reminded that perception plays a role in everything. Its not who we are, but what people see. I suppose one does learn about themselves by having sex with someone but you also learn about yourself through everything you do, every interaction you have, and every experience with someone else. Reflecting on my relationship with her, I feel I learned most about myself through non sex interactions with her. I’m boggled on her way of thinking.

    The dictionary definition of relationship leads me to think that all friendships are also relationships and that these terms are interchangeable. How close you are to someone would determine the scale of the relationship though.

    I love the part about searching for yourself and as a byproduct, we find our mates. Ghandi has the famous saying “Be the change you wish to see.” This could be “Be the change you wish to attract.” This is very much a universal law. I am happy and comforted to be reminded that if I pursue the things in life I am drawn to, if I go with the flow, go with the grain, and leave myself open to anything, everything should fall into place (in theory).

    Intimacy intimacy intimacy. One thing is certain in life, change.
    “If Love is to walk at my side during a long life Pride and Respect must walk with it”

    Great post Courter

    • That is indeed a form of intimacy I too would have sincere trouble swallowing. Your reflection seems deep, introspective, and thorough. I have to say that, upon my reflection of my own relationship, I can wholeheartedly say I learned the most about myself and my union through non-sexual acts. I’m boggled by that way of thinking too. But, as you said, perception is everything.
      Yes I definitely see friendships as relationships. In fact, I even went so far into it as to see relationships permeating everything we do… i.e. one’s yoga practice, curling up with a good book, any soothing ritualistic practice like meditation or journaling…it’s an interesting perspective to see things that way and, for some reason, I was really drawn to that notion. It seems comforting to be capable of cultivating intimacy outside of a relationship with another person. The better we are at cultivating intimacy, being comfortable with it, and honoring it, the more apt we will be to share profound intimacy with a partner.
      I truly do believe that in searching for our truest Selves, we find mates. Ever since having a self-realizing moment where I recognized my dreams and summoned the courage to chase my bliss, so many incredible human beings walking similar paths to mine have emerged from the woodwork of the Universe. That sounds a little far out but I’m totally serious. I’ve been living here nearly 3 years, 2 of which I spent in said past relationship…and only now, in these past few months, am I forging “intimate” friendships with amazing souls who share my passion for life and my interests.
      I love that quote, in fact it is hanging up in my room. It has been since I was a child. I think of those words, of wise Gandhi’s, often. It’s very true. Be the change you wish to attract. Definitely go with that flow, with that grain, and everything will fall into place. Manifest what you want in theory!
      Fantastic quote you ended with. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, processing, and responding so thoughtfully.

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