Relationship Blog #1: The Soul of Intimacy

“But people are oceans,” she shrugged, “You cannot know them by their surface.” ~ Beau Taplin

Over the next six months or so my friend and “ink brother” don Miguel Ruiz Jr. and I are collaborating on a book on intimacy. (Interested in being with us on the journey? Join Miguel Jr. and I in a three-part teleconference August 8, 15, and 22:  http://insighteventsusa.com/art-of-relationship-teleclass/)

Miguel is in a long-term marriage with two kids; I’m single, with occasional lovers.

What is a divorced, single woman doing co-writing a book on relationships?

Good question.

Intimacy is a skill we cultivate starting with our relationship with ourselves and expanding out from that sacred core.

I loved being married, and I love being single. I just moved to my own studio apartment where I get to sleep, work, and have personal dance parties whenever I want to, my fridge only contains foods I love and eat regularly, and the state of messiness or cleanliness is entirely up to me. I do sometimes miss having a steady partner, and I also feel so immensely blessed to be a woman who can choose to live alone and deeply relish the experience.

Sometimes we fall into the erroneous belief that we are doing something “right” if we are in a long-term relationships and “wrong” if we are not.  The truth is ALL of our relationships, from intimate partnerships to co-workers to family to even the cashier at the grocery store are opportunities for powerful self-development and depth.

I’ve had an abundance of practice being in relationship, from intimate partnership to family to my relationship with myself, which after some hard work is loving, supportive, and kind.

For me intimacy is about sharing your depths — your vulnerability, needs, and dreams — with yourself and those close to you.

 

Shallow or deep?

We can choose to live a shallow life or one of depth. In a shallow life we avoid intimacy — we don’t share our needs, or listen to our desires, or learn from our experiences. We stay on the surface, just trying to get by without being hurt or uncomfortable.

When we are willing to dive into our fears, go beneath the familiar, and challenge ourselves we discover the beauty of the ocean that we are. We are all complicated, unique, fragile ecosystems, and we are also so much stronger than we know. We are also all so incredibly simple: we want to be loved. We want to love. We want to be seen.

Whether  you are in a committed, long-term marriage or you are single; whether you are happily partnered or struggling in your intimate relationship; whether you are at ease with your family or in heated battle, every experience of relating can be a gift.

Erwin Raphael McManus writes “our souls crave intimacy.” Intimacy, or closeness and rapport, is a warm cuddly blanket in a sometimes overwhelming world. Intimacy is also scary, raw, and tender. So while our innermost being yearns for intimate connection, often our personality is fearful of intimacy — terrified of being vulnerable, armored against the pain of rejection, and fixated on not getting hurt.

No wonder we often stay on the surface of the ocean in our little boats of safety, well-padded with our life-vests of protection.

 

Befriending the ocean of you

The first step to intimacy is your willingness to commit to befriending the vast ocean of you.

To do this you must bring your full attention to yourself, and stop blaming, trying to control, or wanting to fix others. Turning the light of your attention inward is not about shining the searchlight of your self-judgment to seek out your faults and flaws. Instead, turn on the warming glow of your curiosity, presence, and patience to dive beneath who you think you should be and explore the depths of your own truth.

Simple, but not easy.

While you may want yourself and the beloveds around you to be different, the work starts with acceptance. Begin by asking yourself these simple question:

“How do I want to feel?”

“What do I need to let go of to be intimate with myself?”

“What do I need to risk in order to be vulnerable with others?”

“Who would I be if I connected with my ocean-self?”

I see this process as the beautiful work of learning to no longer abandon yourself. This means learning to stop comparing and criticizing yourself and listening for what you need from yourself.

It also means being gentle with yourself. Living in the intimate depths with self and others is a journey that invites us to slowly and lovingly adjust to swimming in deeper waters.

Next blog post: Relationship #2 – The Heart of Vulnerability

11 thoughts on “Relationship Blog #1: The Soul of Intimacy

  1. Hi Heather, long time no see! It was so good to read your words and feel lessons in them. Thanks, Tara

  2. Beautiful words. I look forward to the blogs on the subject and your upcoming book w Toltec author

  3. Thank you HeatherAsh for this. This is exactly what I needed today at exactly the right time. I needed to read those 4 simple questions and really ponder them. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You happened into my life when I am most open to reflect and spread my wings.

    Blessings,

    Monica

    1. You are so welcome, so glad the questions were helpful! Blessings to you Monica…

  4. So true that we often prefer to stay safe in our boats rather than dive deep underneath the waves. Beautiful and honest blog, thank you HeatherAsh for another pearl!

  5. Hi Heatherash, I honestly believe you wrote this for me!!! I pulled an oracle card a couple of days ago that said “Acceptance” and I have been struggling to understand what this means, how it relates to me and what Spirit is once again trying to teach/show me. And then your last block, “befriending the ocean of you”, I gasped when I read the word, “acceptance”. Thank you for sharing your light with us!

  6. I deeply resonate with this, it speaks to my heart and soul. Beautifully written, as always, you put into words what I feel and what my heart and soul know. It feels great and reassuring to hear the message again and again. Thank you and much love!

  7. Learning to be intimate with myself & really listen to me. Has improved so much since I started studying with you! As a result of putting these teachings into practice has not only improved my relationship with me, ALL my other relationships have improved greatly. I’m so happy you’re writing with Miguel & teaching this valuable information. The blog is excellent & I look forward to the next one

  8. HeatherAsh! This is a great topic and I hope I am a great example for others. I was single for many years before meeting my soul mate. “Dateless in Danbury” was a funny phrase to coin back then, but I really was satisfied on my own, living the cool single career girl life (back in the 90’s). I truly believe that several events led up to my heart being open to meeting him. We have a great relationship now – just returned from a fabulous vacation together in Italy. What makes it work is that we support each other’s activities and interests and we do spend time apart with business travel and my “girls weekends.” We definitely struggled a bit with partnering around parenting in particular, but sought the right counsel to get us through that and have come out stronger.

    I applaud your journey in this next book and can’t wait to read it. Where will your TEDTalk be – can we get tickets!???

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