The love doves are gracing us with their presence this week. Droves of them leap in and out of our precious oak, forming the largest bird community to take residence here. I’m attempting to write about intimacy – on the laurels of Valentines Day, where so much emphasis rests on the myth of romantic love. And yet I can’t quite find my groove. These love doves have hypnotized me with their grace and splendor requesting that the muse be found in their beauty. Doves have been known in oracles to be the carriers of special powers of telling the future or revealing the will of the gods. What messages of love and connection do they bring to us? I imagine they know a thing or two about Intimacy.
Connecting deeply is no picnic in the park. For most of us, it can require that we face so much of our human existence – our family history; our survival defences, how we handle our feelings, how we communicate effectively, how to let love flow through us, how to choose love when we don’t actually feel love, how to be committed, how to let go and surrender. As importantly, it demands that we learn how to be present. What does it mean to be present with another when habitual thoughts of past or future and the business of life’s moments attempt to take center stage? Perhaps the meaning is in the offerings it reveals – sparkling gems of patience, kindness, generosity, and bravery can go a long way toward creating more desirable connections.
If intimacy is difficult, that is because being human is difficult. There is no manual for how to love another, how to parent, or how to connect to the meaning of our lives. But this is what intimacy entails; that we know how to have deep communion with “other” – whether it be a person or animal, the earth or Spirit. The question of how to have intimacy may be no other than the same question of how to live our lives in the present moment, and with an open heart.
We are all being called to carry a particular strand of heart consciousness. I have often referred to this calling as to discovering the meaning of one’s life. In the sacred circle that I am part of, it has become clear that the strand I carry is as a guardian of intimacy. This means that I carry the thread of restoring emotional awareness and empathy with a many as I can, including myself. This calling does not have anything to do with whether intimacy comes easily for me. In certain moments when I feel more connected to myself, the flow of love and openness moves through me. In other times, when Self neglect is more present, I find it very challenging. Nevertheless, I do feel called to this task of helping each one of us to find the strands of deeper meaning for which restoring humanity can be re-established.
What strand do you carry?
I have the great fortune of working with so many extraordinary people within my psychotherapy practice. Many come to me with questions concerning how to have deeper and more meaningful connections – with partners and family members, to the ancestors and Spirit, to one’s Self and to the dreams that are coming through. These people are wanting to reunite and claim lost parts of themselves in addition to having more intimate relationships. But I have found that when people are seeking instant answers before they have fully engaged with their questions, they are usually not ready to make new changes. I have also noticed that if I offer people solutions before they have this readiness, the changes are limited. That is why the “how to” books, coaching, and seminars – whether they be parenting, relationship, Spiritual, etc., are often ineffective. That is, of course, unless these sources help a person to develop a readiness and willingness to change.
We read these books and attend these workshops, and perhaps try out the subscribed theory or techniques for a little while, and soon we forget. And then another important book or seminar comes along and we jump on the band-wagon of that truth. It’s not to say that these sources don’t offer us insight and wisdom. I am a junkie for a great insightful book (I saw God when I read Tao of Parenting). I do question, however whether techniques rarely have any real impact when they are used as short-cuts, to bypass letting a difficulty affect us, and work and move through us to finding our own genuine response to it. Intimacy demands that we develop our deepest inner resources, which grow out of the challenges along the way. With the clients that find their way to me, genuine healing occurs from the intimacy that we share.
For our relationship with intimacy to thrive, we need to go beyond mere symptom relief. Perhaps the difficulties are not something just to be solved, but rather a calling in this moment to bring the light of awareness to the dark unconscious parts of ourselves. Perhaps the wisdom is in the breakdown; an offering that comes from our wounds. By recognizing intimacy as a doorway, we can develop greater awareness and compassion for ourselves as well as to all other living beings. As we come up against difficult places in ourselves and with others, our heart has an opportunity to open and expand in new ways. In this way, the challenges of intimacy provide a rare and special opportunity – to move beyond our limitations and claim the larger power and wisdom that is our human birthright.