Intimacy. True intimacy asks us for a level of honesty that is unparalleled. It invites us to speak when our tendency is to close down and hide just as a tortoise might retreat into its shell when it feels threatened. Being truly seen can feel threatening and scary at times and yet hiding behind our protective sheaths creates isolation and a feeling of separation.
A commitment to deepening intimacy may also mean being quiet when we want to give our opinion. Sometimes silence is exactly what is needed as it creates space for another to move toward us in their own time. Open-hearted silence can feel like being welcomed in to sit and cozy up by a warm hearth after a long day’s journey out in the cold.
Silence is a generous offering.
Our hearts are tender terrain and they will weather many storms over the course of a lifetime.
In true intimacy we will experience what might be called heartbreak or heart-opening and regardless of how we label it; it requires us to feel a lot.
We become intimate with another and in the end someone leaves be it through a breakup or because one of us dies. Separation on the level of form is inevitable. We know from the get-go that we must eventually grieve the loss of someone we love and still we open ourselves to loving.
Opening to love is a risk well worth taking.
What happens when we get really close to someone? Well in my experience everything that we’ve been avoiding arises to be felt.
All of our insecurities, arrogance, deep-seated unworthiness, our perceived unlovability; essentially every wound we walk with that has yet to be healed echoes into the present as we deepen in relationship. It is like a kind of reckoning or maybe you could call it a purification of the soul if we open ourselves to it completely.
The journey can range from profoundly gentle to over-the-top gritty. Sometimes we may feel cradled tenderly much in the same way a new mother might lovingly cradle her infant or we may feel like we did as a child running on the asphalt who trips and falls to the ground our shins and elbows becoming scraped, bloody and bruised.
Relationship shapes us, massages us and brings us to our knees such that we cry out sometimes in pain and at others in deep gratitude.
This is a process which occurs slowly over time. There are these junctures that squeeze us, where it feels like we are passing through the eye of a needle making it hard to breathe.
These moments invite us to venture into places inside that we’d most likely rather not travel. And yet we do, if and only if we are committed to deepening into intimate connection with another which insists that we open to intimacy with all parts of ourselves.
Two essential elements needed for this journey are willingness and commitment. It is willingness that gives us the fortitude needed to continue even when we feel like giving up.
Perhaps you’ve climbed a mountain and as you approach that last stretch nearing the summit the altitude increases, your energy declines and you may feel like you want to collapse. If you are willing and committed to the journey you dig deep and eventually you find the energy needed for the ascent.
In my experience the journey into intimacy is worth it; every tear we shed, every drop of sweat that falls from our brow, every moment we are invited to bear what sometimes feels like discomfort and at others like bliss.
Our opportunity is to stand naked in the fullness of our divine beauty as well as in our utter human fallibility and allow ourselves to be truly seen. In this we open ourselves to a sacred meeting in the heart of Love which may be called true intimacy.