I used to spend most of my life hiding, careful to not draw attention to myself. I avoided confrontation. I wore baggy, non-descript clothes to hide my body. I even used to need it to be dark to have sex. The thought of someone seeing me was terrifying. I didn’t know who or what they might find. I had a deep, dreading sense that there was something at the core of me that was very wrong and should be kept a secret. I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t want anyone to find it.
Perhaps I was burned at the stake in a past life... or two. Or perhaps because like all of us, I am the living end result of centuries of fearful, sexually confused cultural beliefs. Regardless, I just didn’t have the courage to open up and step into the light. And despite wanting to do so, desperately, this journey has been long and slow. It's continual.
Love, or openness, is the authentic nature of human beings. So why is it so hard be who we really are? Why is it so hard to open as this love? ...to others' love...? REALLY!
In every moment, this continues to be my challenge...as it is yours... as it is every other human being’s.
Intimacy (into-me-see) is the process of bringing our fear (darkness) to the edge of our awareness, often through conflict, where we eventually discover through healing and transforming, a deeper awareness. This could be called the process of maturing: emotionally, soulfully and spiritually.
When intimacy gets stuck at the conflict stage, it feels frightening. This fear has many faces...
• We rigidify and silence our bodies, restrict our breathing, clamp down our pleasure and sexuality, tighten our grip and brace ourselves for something...the other shoe to drop...an apocalypse ...an earthquake ...death
• We judge and criticize
• We stop listening and become defensive
• We feel angry, frustrated, hurt, disappointed
• We blame the other person for making us feel so uncomfortable
• We try to control ourselves and others
• We isolate ourselves
• We harden our beliefs and back them up with “proof” (social, cultural, political, religious, scientific evidence)
• We numb, turn off, tune out, only talk about “positive things”, medicate and self-soothe with our addictions
Of course, loving is easy to do when life and those in your life show up in the way you expect or want them to...
• Loving your child when she is sleeping (and therefore not pushing your buttons).
• Loving your cute puppy (when it is not pooping on your living room floor).
• Loving the generosity and kindness of another.
• Loving your lover in the first stages of attraction.
It is easy to open when we feel safe.
Love is trying to live through us, but fear and contraction are often what we are animating. We get really upset, frustrated, tight and angry when others do not love us the way we want them to. So we stop loving them. We close to them. We stop being who we really are... which is love... and instead become fear. And while this probably hurts them, most importantly, it hurts us.
In this moment, does your body feel contracted or tight anywhere? Is your brow furrowed? Are your shoulders slumped, pinched up or curled inwards? Do your stomach and solar plexus feel knotted, anxious or nauseated? Do you find yourself resisting or rejecting people and things in life, these ideas, love itself?
Or are your shoulders relaxed and open? Is your chest and heart wide open and soft? Is your breathing deep, easy and relaxed? Do you feel loving and connected to every sentient creature in the universe through deep compassion, gratitude, forgiveness and understanding? Can you feel that sweet ache in your heart centre?
How deep and wide is your love in this moment? How about in this moment? This one?
How conditional is your love? Under what conditions will you love or open into your true nature?
The fearful side of us judges our darkness and wants to condemn the darkness in others. But this is where love and light is most needed...
• Can you deeply love someone who has just yelled at you, criticized you, blamed you or hurt you?
• Can you deeply love someone who has just cut you off in traffic, given you a speeding ticket, hit your car, stolen your belongings, hurt or perhaps killed someone you love or perhaps beaten or raped you?
• Can you deeply love YOURSELF when you say and do hurtful things to others, when you betray yourself/others, when you lie, when you feel spiteful, revengeful, hateful, rage, shame or guilt?
Where is your love...you...limited in this moment?
Loving is NOT shifting the judgement of something being wrong or not ok, to being right. Hurting each other will never be ok. We need to differentiate between the person who is a divine human being, and their behaviour. We human beings are capable of both light and darkness. And when we act out these dark abuses and injustices (and we all do), we especially need love...every one of us...
Loving is opening to both of these poles (the wrong and the right) and digging deep into our eternal wellspring of forgiveness, compassion, empathy and understanding ...which is our birthright.
Loving deeply when it feels impossible to open and love...this is intimacy.
It’s not easy. When we feel the limits of our love or feel deeply unlovable because of judgements we have about ourselves, opening into the light is usually the last thing we can imagine doing. It's terrifying!
However, moving into the light of love is our only authentic path.
It takes courage. And support. And connection. And vulnerability.
And we need a larger vision and version of love than we can hold for ourselves. We need mentorship and guidance...and so much love.
When you find big love...reach out...and step into the light.
You'll find me there...often stumbling and fumbling in the dark and trying to find the courage in each moment to love a little deeper and wider...and shine a little brighter. Thank you for showing me the way...