“Love brings up anything unlike itself for the purpose of healing and release.”
-Sondra Ray, Loving Relationships
Can ‘strangers in the night exchanging glances’ experience true love?
Oh, how we romanticize instant gratification in our culture.
Opening up. Getting close. True love. Most of us think we want it, but how many of us go through our days on-guard against it, pushing love away with every breath.
Or, we are so hungry and needy for it we abandon ourselves in its pursuit, and love slips through our fingers like a wet bar of soap we try to hold on to.
In our society intimacy is usually synonymous with getting physical. Yet plenty of people are sexual without being intimate at all. Rubbing body parts together does nothing to create intimacy. It can even be a way to avoid it.
True love is not a meeting of the minds or bodies. It’s between hearts and souls. It opens us to a whole other world, one rich with feelings, and one where the intellect takes a siesta. This is heavenly, what we long for, and what we are made for.
We hope for a feast, get a taste, and then are deeply disappointed. This is love’s colonic at work, bringing to the surface past pain that needs to be felt and cleansed before more love can enter.
Romantic expectations put stars in our eyes, and we get attached to the yummy other person as the source of our love experience. We forget that they are just another messy mortal with shit that stinks too, and that opening our heart and getting out of the confines of the ego mind was the cause of our grand feelings.
And that that is something we can do anytime, with anyone, including and especially in the sacred company we keep in solitude.
When we believe that Mr. or Ms. Right is the source of our warm and fuzzy feelings, fear of loss becomes the driver of our behavior, bringing attachment and clinging. When fear is not leading the charge, intimacy can lead to sweet and soulful bonding, with a noticeable and refreshing absence of static cling.
That kind of bonding starts at home. Before reaching out, reach in. Say a gentle and compassionate hello to your hopes, fears, loneliness, and desires – everything that is present for you. Extend loving kindness and acceptance towards all your feelings, making sweet room for the entire spectrum of your humanness.
Here is an important fact: If you are not self-validating, you are probably self-invalidating. So, turn it around. Release the hypnotic cultural taboo against self-love. Validate, accept, allow, and celebrate all your feelings and actions.
Even your re-actions deserve love and honoring.
You are a divine being, and all that stems from you is an extension of divine energy. God does not make junk.
What’s next, after making intimate friends with yourself? Then comes hooking up to a Higher Power, getting online with the Divine. Bring me a Higher Love, but bring it on with feet on the ground of self-acceptance first.
Most of us spiritual folks try to reach God in Heaven to escape from the pain of believing we are damaged goods catching hell down here on earth. That causes us to be disembodied, disassociated, living out an illusionary split between spirit and body, heaven and earth, human and divine. If you believe on some level that God is Infinite Love and you are a can of chopped liver, well, either learn to adore chopped liver, or start to see yourself as a gourmet meal.
It is through accepting and even delighting in our humanness that we can come to see ourselves as Divine Beings having a human experience. When you reject yourself, you cannot know God. Love yourself, warts and all, and you become who you already are: a juicy embodiment of God’s love, joy, wholeness, and peace.
The Tough News: Connection with a lover cannot fulfill you, or cause you to love yourself. If you do not come to a lover already hooked up to Self-Love and Higher Love, you will unconsciously siphon energy from another person’s tank. They will eventually feel drained. And they will also be draining you. The feelings are mutual and between (unconsciously) consenting adults.
In our culture it’s called falling in love, cause it can feel so glorious when it begins. But falling in love is so often co-dependency having a party, a party that inevitable ends as soon as gravity brings floating feet back to the ground.
The Liberating News: Wherever you are on the journey, from single and looking, to up to your ears in draining and being drained, you can begin to love and fulfill yourself. You can turn yourself on. You can get so connected to the Divine that when you have intimacy with another it will seem like a three-way.
You can never underestimate the necessity of enjoying the company you keep with yourself, and coming to love yourself as fully and completely as you might dream of being loved, from your amazing head to your miraculous toes.
I’m talking about hitting the Source daily, drinking the Divine, and awakening to Higher Love. When you bring Higher Love to your human intimacy, it radiates, gushes, and effortlessly overflows. You’re a love-beam. Then you tend to attract and be attracted to people who have also awakened to Higher Love. Two waterfalls make for a lot of joyous spilling over.
The ego’s love plan is to reserve your heart for one special soulmate partner, and keep you hiding behind a persona facade with the rest of humanity. That doesn’t work. An open heart has got to be a way of life, across the board. You can’t reserve your heart for one special someone and close your heart to others. That’s not sustainable, nor is it real. Love, true love, is boundless, limitless, and joyously uncontainable. It always moves and expands to include others.
You can be monogamous with your sexual expression, but not with your heart. Not if you
Are after true love.
At a certain point keeping your heart open across the board becomes more important than sharing intimacy with one special person. Paradoxically, that’s when a soulmate partner can enter, through the doorway of your already established celebration of life and love.
I love what Emmanuel says on this subject in Emmanuel’s Book Three, What Is an Angel Doing Here?
“You reach to another with the expectation that others can fill you. They cannot. It is a joyous experience to walk with another human being whom you love, but if you have not first filled yourselves with your own devotion, then you begin to demand something that is impossible for any other human being to supply. Make room in your life for the ordinary sweet human beings all around you who will give you the opportunity to practice giving and receiving love. Let your heart learn loving. You cannot keep the door closed until the perfect one appears. That “one” only walks through already opened doorways.”
Intimacy heals by bringing old unconscious pain to the surface so it can be resolved and released. Closeness with another, or even the potential for impending closeness, flushes up and out our fears of abandonment and rejection, and their close relatives on the other side of the pendulum, fears of entrapment and commitment.
Both are two coin sides of the fear of loss: Fear of losing love, and fear of losing freedom.
These fears come up in all intimate relationships to be dealt with and healed. They are behind all behaviors of clinging, distancing, controlling, protecting, numbing out, aggression, passive-aggression, and the dance of mushy co-dependence and extreme, fear-based independence.
Let’s hear it for those popular dance partners, mushy co-dependence and extreme independence! Have you played out both roles, been on both sides of the see-saw? I know I have. And I have stumbled my way to a balanced place between the extremes.
We all can get there, through the simple, profound, and courageous process of learning to take tender, loving, exquisite care of ourselves, both alone and in the presence of others.
Go past your intimacy comfort zone and old fears and intimacy avoidance behaviors will eventually arise. Getting to know your fears and how they operate behind the scenes will help you get beyond them. Perhaps no human being is completely free of these issues, but it is possible to get to a place where they seldom run the show, and when they do, you have tools and support to get through them.
When you can feel your fears without acting them out in your usual behaviors, you are one breath away from letting go and claiming your freedom.
Intimacy shines light upon all the scary monsters so they can come out of the shadows and heal. We heal monsters by hugging them with our own empathy and compassion, until they soften and reveal to us the innocent and lovable little boy or girl behind the monster mask. We heal by bringing our fears to the light and warmth of our loving.
It is safe to get close. It is safe to become known. You’re well worth getting to know. In fact, you are hot stuff, precious and lovable through and through. What’s not to love? It’s all God, and God don’t make junk.