Autumn has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. The brisk winds blow, the rains have returned, and the leaves are shifting to their fiery gold, red, orange and yellow hues. I welcome the transition, with open arms.
Since my last writing, James and I returned from almost 2 weeks in Wisconsin to honor the end of summer in California. I attended Symbiosis Gathering on my own, and James lead a 4-day Yin and Restorative Yoga immersion in the Sacramento area. My Beloved and I were in two completely different environments to welcome the Fall Equinox, the movement of seasons toward the dark time.
I notice as we move towards the darkness, the world gets one last push of vibrancy. The Yang of summer is playful, fun and incredibly outgoing. Yet I experience fall as a more vibrant time. The colors change, the wardrobe changes, the abundance of harvest shows off. The introspection of winter can be felt. For the final hurrah communities gather to share food, celebrate love, inspire creation and be in the joyfulness of each other’s presence.
In my current reality as I experience and reflect on the happenings of summer and movement to fall, I’m seeing the invisible power of Relationship. I love being in relationship, relating to others. I feel it is the juice of the human experience; our discovery and willingness to be in connection is a flicker of magic in the mundane of life. Intimacy makes me feel most alive, and requires my utmost attention and presence. I can be intimate with nature, food, water, my ukulele, my body and breath. Recently my greatest teachings come from being Intimate with others. (*Note I do not mean Intimate solely as a sexual or sensual exploration).
Intimacy is the baring of one’s Soul, the slowness of dissolving the Ego, to expose the most vulnerable and precious parts of ourselves.
I see how big the story of relationship is, and how much we may not even realize we are playing along. This story was given to me via a combination of my family experience and upbringing, and the media and culture. This story, which may or may not be similar to your story, is:
- There is an Other who will complete me and make me happy (i.e. I am not strong enough on my own).
- I am nobody if no one loves me (i.e. something is “wrong” with me if I’m not in a relationship).
- Ex’s are scary and we cannot be friends with someone after we’ve been partners.
- It is only appropriate for me to feel excited about, or desire to share affection with, a select, small group of people (i.e. romantic partner, family, children, or pets).
- My partner finding another person attractive and interesting means I’m not attractive or interesting (this is where jealousy shows up).
- There is no difference between romance, love and sex- if one of these is present, then the others must be present also (i.e. if I engage sexually with someone, it means they love me romantically, or if I love someone, it means I need to engage sexually).
- Romantic relationship is valued above all other relationships.
- When you love someone and want to be their partner, you move in together and cohabitate.
- Sex proves we love each other.
- The approval of others validates my existence.
As one who desires and adores sharing intimacy, I realize intimacy can only show up when we are willing to drop the story, drop the ideas of how things are “supposed” to be, and look at what is truly present and emerging in the moment.
I’m learning about Attachment Theory, and I see where we play-out the stories from childhood in our adult relationships. I encourage you to look into it, and it’s up to you how far down the rabbit hole you go. Below is an image to explain different attachment styles.
These stories help to maintain the “comfort zone” experience, i.e. the place which is most familiar. If, for example, my ego story from childhood tells me that proximity equates connection, then when I am not right next to my partner, I won’t feel connected. If, as a child to feel safe, I needed to become small, for my story to remain intact, I will then “play small” in relationships in my adult life.
It is not until recently that I even noticed I was unconsciously telling myself these limiting, self-sabotage stories. Looking closely at one’s own story helps to dispel the beliefs that as an adult, I know are not true and no longer serve me. The juice of the experience comes when we choose to look at the collective Story of Relationship through the lens of our own intimate relationships. Where are we remaining asleep and blindly re-telling self-limiting stories?
The next time a situation arises when one could choose to replay the story, in that moment choose Intimacy, choose awareness, and detach from the old story, and create a new, more authentic, real and compassionate way of relating.
I recognize the true honor it is to be Intimate with others. Because intimacy is not always easy, warm and squishy or full of hugs and kisses. Sometimes intimacy means sharing a difficult truth, or hearing a challenging vulnerability. Intimacy is listening to the rawness of another’s experience, or sharing your own, and having empathy and loving them anyway-and loving yourself anyway. Intimacy requires ninja like communication skills, superhuman active listening skills, and the ability to sit in the uncomfortable moments together and breathe.
My tool box of deepening intimacy is growing; and like any craftsperson, it takes practice to refine one’s tools. The greater willingness I have to be vulnerable and show my authentic self, the more authenticity findings me. I am becoming a vibrational match, attracting beauty, playfulness, and inspiration all around me. To Know my Authenticity, I have to slowly remove and release the stories about myself that are not Me.
The less I live in story, unconsciously following the plan already laid out in front of me that I did not choose, the more I need to check in with myself about how I feel in any given moment. Here lies the beauty of consent. Living Consent is a moment by moment awareness of one’s Truth, creating healthy boundaries to honor that truth, and then diving deep into the infinite wellspring of Intimacy, to experience deep Connection.