How To Create Intimacy
Yesterday I was at a business meeting in NYC with some colleagues and one proudly announced he was using an app to be more productive, getting up 2 hours earlier so he could work - more!
More work? I thought. Is he serious? I was rather stunned, I have to say.
Getting up two hours earlier to be more productive, to spend more time on what I love makes sense. But to simply chase more money, work more (not smarter) and grind into the ground seems….crazy-making.
Everything I do is about spending time finding ways to allow pleasure into my life and the lives of my clients. If for me, waking up two hours earlier each day means 2 hours less sleep, would I want to spend it working more?
Or would I want to spend it on pleasure, joy and connection? At the end of my days, I definitely know which would matter to me more.
And yet, making connection and pleasure a priority is often met with resistance. It seems frivolous in a world that demands more of us, yet gives less back. I wonder if this resonates with you?
- Are you familiar with resistance when it comes to your intimacy practices, or to other things important to you?
- Do you think that there are more important things than pleasure and connection right now?
- What about in your life in general - are there moments when you're aware of your resistance putting the brake on things you want to do?
If there's one experience that most of us can relate to in our intimacy and connection practices, is that resistance is real. Whether a cameo or center stage, resistance and procrastination are at the core of what prevents many people from making the changes they long for in their relationships to themselves and to others.
When we are aware of it, resistance can manifest as a resounding NO or perhaps just distraction or procrastination. Sometimes the inner NO is a hard boundary and something to be honored, but more often, it’s simply our mind’s way of keeping us distracted – but from what? And to what end?
In Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, Australian palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware highlights that the dying long for connection – to themselves and to others.
Their regrets include:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
When it comes to creating deeper connections with ourselves and others, time is of the essence. I observe so many people around me prioritizing ‘busyness’ over time to slow down and connect.
Why on Earth do we do this?
Sure, we have practical reasons to earn a living and get on with life as we know it – AND, we also have the chance to prioritize connection. It’s not a case of either/or – but a matter of prioritizing what truly matters – both work and connection.
One thing I observe readily among my clients is that the ones who heed the call to start connecting with themselves, do so often after months and years of deliberation. By the time they get to me (or more accurately, themselves) life has hit a crisis point. Their process can be marred by the trauma of their suffering so long without connection to something deeper, within themselves and with others.
Resistance to connection is present even if we're unaware of it. Things like forgetfulness, making time for everything except connection, or simply feeling confused and checked-out are often ways resistance shows up around intimacy. Or only being able to connect when substances are involved. Or believing that only spiritual practices will get us there therefore avoiding connection with the body at all costs. Or connecting with the body through yoga or exercise, but avoiding the inner work of connecting with our emotions. And again I want to reinforce the importance of self-intimacy – a practice that is crucial whether partnered or not.
Resistance to connection and intimacy can be finding ourselves fleeing into thoughts about how busy we are, but at deeper inquiry, we may be feeling fearful of going within ourselves to see what we find there.
We can become so accustomed to the hustle and grind that the tension and constriction in our bodies created by this feels automatic and dare I say it – normal. Just like squeezing a hose constricts the flow of water, so too does the tightness and tension in our bodies constrict the flow and exchange of energy, love and joy.
Resistance can be described as 'trapped sensation'. It’s like not wanting to feel what’s there, and yet longing for so much more from life. In other words, resistance of pleasure is in essence, resistance toward feeling ourselves. Much like a protective layer, what started out as a form of resilience to protect ourselves from feeling distress, transforms to become a barrier preventing us from experiencing ourselves authentically.
When we cut off one emotion, we cut off all of them. It’s quite simply impossible to only feel one thing and not everything. Maintaining a life cut-off from pleasure and longing doesn’t make it go away, it simply makes joy harder to access. In other words, resistance is the reaction to a life half-felt.
There is a treasure-trove of information and pleasure beyond our resistance, and yet, resistance is not the enemy. It’s a delicate dance between resistance as protection, and intention as awakening and coming home. If we give ourselves permission to see it for what it truly is (self-protection against discomfort), make friends with it, come to know its forms, and allow it to yield to what's beyond it, we begin to take the steps to creating less struggle and more love in our lives.
Join me for tailored coaching and assistance to stop struggling and start loving or in my online pleasure school to learn more about how to experience the body as a pathway beyond resistance. Learning to experience the body is open to all genders and orientations for single and partnered people.
Creating intimacy with the self and others is a lifetime commitment. You are invited to begin - TODAY.