uealse Intimacy - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

Archive for the ‘Intimacy’ Category

The “I” Word

I know that I have finely tuned antennae when it comes to relationships. After all, I grew up in an empty room. My mother was an alcoholic and my Dad never showed up emotionally for anyone unless it served his ego or made him look good to the congregation ladies. And I am a therapist, trained to watch and hear what isn’t being spoken. So now, I sit back and watch. With a bit of wonder and perhaps awe, I watch people in relationships. Who still touches? Who still talks? What amount of distance is there between so-and-so and her partner? Who asks for what she needs? Who’s getting it, what ever it is, from someone else? And, I wonder why we settle for less than what we really want in relationships? Is it because we think having deep, meaningful connections are impossible? Is it because we have no role models? Is it because we don’t have the tools to get there? Or, is all of that a load of crap and are we just plain scared to death of intimacy?

When you say the word intimacy to most people they think you are talking about sex. Intimacy is actually a state of beingness, it’s not an action or a verb. It’s a noun filled with wonder and a sense of deep connection. To be intimate with another human being is to be profoundly connected. It is to look beyond the person who fixes eggs in the morning or juggles figures at work and to wonder what he really feels and thinks. What does this precious person in your life worry about, care about deeply? What is her destiny and dream? What makes him afraid? What makes her joyful? What gives comfort, safety, sacredness and meaning to his life?

There is a component to intimacy that calls us to be better human beings. Perhaps that is why we avoid it. It is very difficult to be truly intimate with another human being and then want to hurt them. Somehow, this state of connection inspires us to be the best we can be for and with each other. Intimacy can be found in the silence of a deeply connected moment – in the stunning revelation of a truth. It can be found in the willingness to be present to an others pain, or triumph. Intimacy can even be found when we are quiet, alone and willing to ask the question, Who am I and what am I here for? The greatest intimacy comes when there are no questions left.

Intimacy arrives when love becomes something you do, rather than something you want. It is here when taking care of yourself means you get another moment to brush the hair from off his forehead. Intimacy is reached when cuddling is not about the weather or an unexpected glance at her takes your breath away.

You have created intimacy when sex becomes sacred and how she looks is less important than who she is. It is achieved when you are willing to discover something new about your partner from moment to moment and uncertainty; questions and greener grass no longer exist.

Intimacy is in your relationship when leaving is no longer an option and you would gladly give your inner child to him.

Intimacy has arrived when what you feel begins to heal you both and you become willing to open your heart in ways you never thought you could. True intimacy is when giving less than your best feels like lying and you can feel her imprint on your soul. You’re being intimate when you can feel her presence even when she’s not near. You’ve gotten to intimacy when it’s more fulfilling to listen than talk.

The “I” word comes at the most surprising times and can arrive in relationships with little people, older people and friends people. Intimacy can also be the biggest part of your relationship with Spirit. It comes when you begin to love yourself the way the Divine loves and accepts you – without hesitation, judgment or doubt. If intimacy is not in the center of your relationships, you are probably bored, apathetic and not very connected to life or those you love. Want the excitement back? Opt for intimacy with a big “I,” – starting now.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Do You Want To Dance?

Ram Dass ( formally Richard Alpert) tells the Sikh story of the Holy person who gave each of two of his disciples a chicken and said ” Go kill the chicken where no one can see.” One of the students went behind a fence and killed the chicken. The other walked around for many days and then came back to the teacher with his chicken still in hand. The Holy one said, ” You didn’t kill the chicken!” To which the student replied, “Well Master, everywhere I go, the chicken sees!” The point, for those of you wondering what chickens have to do with relationships, is that there are unlimited opportunities for creating joy in relationships when we are conscious and willing to see them.

A lack of joy in relationship comes from a lack of aliveness or connectedness to ourselves or each other. In some sense, one or both people in the relationship have made either conscious or unconscious contracts to maintain the status quo or keep things superficial. When you are conscious, there is always another, deeper level to which you can go, and going there brings back aliveness and joy.

Most of us really want an authentic and profoundly present relationship in our life. However, there aren’t many of us who have ever experienced that kind of connection, even from our parents. That means we are charting new territory. It feels safer to get to familiar levels of intimacy, and then put the process on cruise control because going deeper may feel unfamiliar and frightening. Other reasons why we make contracts to avoid going deeper are usually based in fear. For instance, you may fear that going deeper will result in change, and change could result in abandonment. Perhaps, you feel ill-equipped to deal with your intense feelings or those of your partner. You may fear hearing your partner’s real feelings because you are worried that those feelings will reflect negatively upon you or something you are doing. Or, you may not be sure how to get out of the painful dynamics of control, manipulation, or shaming that get triggered when issues become heavy.

The first step in bringing the joy back into your relationship is to open the communication back up and begin talking to each other about your real feelings. The following exercise is a great tool to assist you in that process. For mate relationships, doing this exercise results in greater intimacy, vulnerability and sharing in addition to deeper bonding and increased sexuality. It will impact other important relationships by creating greater mutual respect, understanding, growth and aliveness as well. Here’s how you start.

1. At the beginning of your week, schedule and set aside two half-hour periods of time on different days/nights; one for you and one for your partner. Make this a top priority. No canceling. Decide in advance who will talk and who will facilitate on each night. On your night you will be the talker and on your partner’s night he or she will talk.

2. One of you will be the talker the entire half-hour and one will be the listener the entire time during each session. If you don’t have a specific topic in mind, just talk about how the process feels to you, or what you are feeling in your body. This may seem like a long time but the time will go quickly once you feel comfortable with the process.

3. If the one who is talking has difficulty continuing for the entire time, the facilitator may ask questions or help the talker to focus. Any questions should be completely free from the facilitator’s agenda or needs. Questions should not reflect value judgments, facial expressions that reflect the listeners views or any personal “need to know” that the facilitator may have. When the talker is talking, the space and time belongs solely to him or her. Their space is sacred and should not contain or get contaminated with the listener’s agenda.

4. This is not a fault finding mission. This is a time to express feelings and thoughts from an “I” space. No defending, demanding, ultimatums, no blame i.e. “you make me feel.”

5. No matter what is said by the talker, the listener responds “as if” the content has nothing to do with him or her Act as if you are listening to a stranger with compassion but without personal concern or investment about what is being said. For instance, if your partner says, ” I feel so lonely I could just die.” You would not respond with, ” I don’t understand why, I’ve been home every night this week!” Instead, you might ask, “How does it feel to be so lonely you could just die?” This allows your partner to go on to explore his or her feelings ” Well my best friend just moved away and when I was a child we moved so often I never had a best friend I could count on.” Nine times out of ten, your partner’s feelings will have nothing to do with you. However, the majority of the time, we stop the process by taking everything our partners says personally, and the result is their real feelings never get shared.

6. When you are finished ask yourselves three questions :1. What did you hear me say? 2. Did we do the process effectively? 3. How can we do it better?

7. Discuss ways in which the process could be improved. Do not discuss content unless mutually agreed it’s in the best interest of BOTH of you to do so.

If you commit to the process, you will find you are able to go more deeply into feelings each week. The result? More joy, a renewed feeling of closeness – the real dance of intimacy. One gentle reminder! Be willing to laugh at yourself and the ways you each take yourselves out of the process. We have all invested great amounts of time and energy learning to stay safe and protected from our feelings. Peeling the layers of protection off, if done without blame, can be amusing and exciting. Go for it.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.