By Scott Kalechstein Grace
Opening up. Getting close. We are made for it. And many of us walk through our days on guard against it. Or, we are so hungry for it we leave ourselves while reaching out, and intimacy slips through our fingers like a wet bar of soap.
In our society intimacy is usually synonymous with getting physical. Yet plenty of people are sexual companions, but not really intimate with each other. Companionship doesn’t automatically mean letting someone in. And rubbing body parts together does not automatically create intimacy.
True intimacy 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. Then, we are disappointed. Our unhealed wounds and romantic expectations put stars in our eyes, and we get attached to the yummy other person as the cause of our experience. We forget that they are just another messy mortal, and that opening our heart and getting out of the confines of the ego mind was the cause of our grand feelings. Intimacy, like all of life’s goodies, is an inside job, arising from a state of consciousness, not another person.
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 begins at home, inside yourself. 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. If you are not self-validating, you are probably self-invalidating. So, turn it around. Release the hypnotic cultural taboo against self-love. Validate, validate, validate.
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 in the ground of self-acceptance first. Most folks try to reach God in Heaven as an escape from the pain of believing they 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, as Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that working for you?”
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 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 inevitably 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.
If you are traditional church-going-God-fearing religious folk, you might be shocked, currently asking yourself if I just prescribed masturbation as a cure for neediness, and then copulating with the Lord in a kinky Ménage à trois as the ultimate carnal destination. Perhaps you think that’s blasphemy. You can rest assured that I didn’t mean it that way. I’m just having some fun, and making sure you are not dozing off.
What I did mean to propose is the spiritual necessity of deeply 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. Also, 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.
Intimacy is as simple as in-to-me-see, letting people see into you. In-to-me-see as a committed stand in life shatters the ego’s survival strategy, which is to keep you safe by hiding parts of yourself, pretending, protecting, defending.
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 As The Heart’s Colonic
ntimacy 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 self.
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, emotional care of ourselves, both alone and in the presence of others. It all boils down to self-love.
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 damaged goods.
Scott Kalechstein Grace is the author of Teach Me How To Love. He is also a counselor and coach, a modern day troubadour and inspirational speaker. He lives with his partner and daughter in Marin, California and loves presenting at conferences, giving talks, concerts and workshops. In his phone counseling practice, he is a relationship specialist, helping both individuals and couples transition from drama and pain to having conscious and peaceful relationships. You can visit www.scottsongs.com to buy his book, to hear his talks or to sample songs from his nine CD’s. Send him a holler at email@example.com to receive writings like this one on a semi-occasional basis.