How many voices do you hear in your head? I don’t mean in the Summer of Sam kind of way! ;-P But, in the - “how many people do you listen to before you make a decision” kind of way? There’s usually a community of people you use to guide your path of right and wrong decisions. Maybe they are your parents, friends, grandparents, teachers, spouse? Some are the voice of encouragement - the voice telling you ‘yes, you can do that’. Some are the voice of discouragement - the voice that says ‘no, don’t do/share that’.
Are these voices actually running how you live? In short, YES.
Being in relationship with any human being isn’t easy - including being in relationship with yourself - your inner being/thoughts/feelings/body/etc - because there’s change, chaos, things out of your control.
When things ARE easy - laughter and smiles, fun and adventure, trust and reliability, communication and fornication ;-P - love feels easy and in flow.
So, what happens when things suck? When you break a promise, betray trust, “fail” at life. Does love stop existing? Does it mean you’re unlovable?
Intimacy is about intimately loving yourself so you can be more compassionate to those around you. Intimacy Alive isn’t about teaching you how to have the “right” relationship, it’s about building the internal muscles to express passionate love to yourself and another. Intimacy is about making that pact with yourself right now to take responsibility for your natural state and whole well-being in a way that is nourishing and loving instead of narcissistic - where you cultivate a love from within that also gives those around you permission to do the same.
Cultivating intimacy enlivens your spirit and creates space for natural, healthy rhythms of life. Intimacy is the space beyond surface. It’s beyond that part of general niceties and edging on the beautiful depths of imperfection that comes from being human. It’s like moving beyond the surface of the sea - wracked with waves that can thrash you around or give you a pleasure cruise depending on the wind - to the depths below that have a natural current that’s slower and more reliable. Connecting with a gradual, easy flow that can change over time.
First of all, being authentic is not just about being your best, most positive self. Yes, that’s great to show up that way as much as possible. However, AUTHENTICITY means being REAL with the moment. So, if you’re pissed off, angry, annoyed, etc - it’s ok to feel that and learn to express it in a way that’s not destructive/hurtful to another.
Surrender means to recognize you’ve done the best you can up until this point and there’s a part of what’s going on that’s out of your control. You’re in the weeds and there’s some other energy bigger than you that can see the 30,000 foot view.
I was heartbroken as I felt in love in a way I hadn’t experienced before - an appreciation had grown for the cadence of our connection and the sometimes frustrating differences became a reliable playground for expressing love. There were joyous embraces and yet places where we still held back. We were at different points of readiness for something more and held different expectations of what it meant to leap and be “all in” together - with me leading the charge of faithful abandon.
In a world that is becoming more complex and more “connected” (we are able to hear about and see what’s going on all over the world at the tip of our fingers), intimacy seems the least likely antidote for simplifying our everyday life. However, I believe it is actually the key to experiencing more time, more fulfillment, more love and more life.
Blessings. Gifts. Honors. Acknowledgment. It’s easy to be thankful for those things, right? When things are ‘good’ it’s so easy to feel grateful. What about challenges, disease, anger, bigotry, loss? Can you be thankful for the things in your life, or in the universe, that aren’t so pleasant?
Shame. Brene Brown is an expert researcher on the subject, but we are all experts in feeling it. Shame in how we’ve failed at something, shame at how we’ve treated others at one point or another in our life, shame for our desires, shame about how someone else has treated us. What happens when we actually talk about that thing we feel so much shame around? Magic.
When was the last time you looked at your naked body in the mirror and felt absolute, overwhelming self-love? For me, it was this morning right after I got out of the shower. I even did a little dance, swaying my hips side to side and giving myself a ‘you rock!’ attitude. It might sound cheesy, but why? Would you love to love your body that way?
The worst way to think about conflict in personal relationships is a power struggle. A relationship fosters an energy exchange between people, so if you have to be right and the other person has to be wrong, it’s an uneven exchange and that’s what leads to endings. However, if you hold both people and their feelings as true, you’re creating a dynamic where you can come together and experience more power, growth, love, and connection between you both. Conflict is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be mean, messy, or destructive. Healthy conflict can lead to expansion, new engagement, and overall deeper connection.
When I meet someone who blows me away by their beautiful, powerful, connected Self I am in awe (regardless of that person being a man or woman). I am inspired to be more of myself, to push past my comfort zones and bring my self-expression to a new level. I would never dream to ask someone to dim their light, quiet down and constrict their spirit. I want to live in a world where it is ok for EVERYONE to thrive. Where everyone feels the right to be here in whatever form that takes. To live without a need to use your power to overtake someone, but use your power to encourage and love more deeply. I’ve seen communities where that exists - experienced where that is possible. Because we are human, here on earth, we have the power to choose how we show up. I choose loving authority, I choose letting other people be right in their own way, I choose showing up as my wild, earthy, fully present being and ALL that comes with that.
Being seen, really BEING SEEN, is the most powerful, scariest experience I can think of. For example, public speaking, is so scary that it has been shown to be the number one fear, even over death! So, how do people do it - showing up to be seen and heard? Why is it so enticing to share your message? Meeting new people - that's another thing that can be very intimidating. How can you let more people in your life REALLY see you? Even those things you think you'll be judged for?
Total self-acceptance. Is that even possible? What does that feel like?
Yes, it's possible and it feels like freedom and laughter and warmth. It creates the ability to do something from a place of curiosity, wonder, and understanding. Understanding that how others react to what you do has nothing to do with you being deserving of love. Trust me, this is an amazing experience that you, too, can feel. The trick is to keep in mind that it's a process, not an end goal.
The long answer is that we're all born with an affinity to do things that light us up - to be passionate and find joy in life. It's actually that we're taught not to be passionate, so it's about relearning how to tap into our deep desires.
Happy Valentine's Day!! I hope you're celebrating with your lover, friends and family in ways that are fun and relaxing. I know many of you may feel bummed or "anti-valentine" this year because you're single or maybe you're fighting with your partner at the moment. Well, today's post is to help you see how much love you already have in your life and to give you permission to celebrate it more often than once a year!
Since Valentine’s Day is a holiday where we all consciously pay attention to love, however, I want to share something with you that is meaningful in my life. The more we can all show gratitude and love to ourselves and others, the more we can see where it shows up for us in so many ways.
Recently I asked a group of women what they are curious about around intimacy. One woman asked, "How do I tell a man I'm a virgin...when it's not for religious purposes?" Another woman asked the opposite, "How do I tell someone that I've been promiscuous?"
First, let me say that this can be a very hard subject to talk about. You are expressing something extremely personal and that comes with a lot of emotion. Sexuality can define you, scare you and give you freedom. There is so much energy and power tied to sexuality and sensuality. The debates surrounding virginity, the virtue of virginity, and the sexual responsibility of men and women are much deeper than a single blog post. My goal in this post is to bring the beginning of a perspective to what you may be experiencing in order to bring more light into what can be a very dark, lonely place to be.
The holiday season, for me, brings with it a sense of reflection. This year, as 2014 comes to a close, I couldn't feel more relief. It has been a challenging year with family illness, a big move and a deeper re-connection to passionate work in my life. The more people I talk to about their 2014, the more I find I'm not alone in my experience. So, I've begun reflecting on that idea - of being alone.
Everyone is alone in how they experience their world. There is no one else who has the same history, the same path, and the same future as you. There are no two people that see the exact same color or object. No one will breathe the same smells as you or have the same emotional reaction to things. However, with all of that, it does not mean you are alone.
I love that quote and absolutely agree with it! However, too often we put pressure on ourselves to perform and achieve in order to feel loved by someone.
Have you ever felt like you had to be a certain way, say a certain thing or meet some goal in order to be loved or be lovable? Maybe you have been told that you're too intense, or you need to be more driven. Maybe you got the most positive attention from your parents when you received an A in school or got that awesome win for your sports team.
I recently read the book Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. The subtitle makes the claim that having "the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead." That is a bold statement!! Well, it's true. She uses a lot of juicy stories and examples in the book to explain how it's true, however the biggest claim that resonated with me is that vulnerability goes further than just expressing some deep, sad emotion - it encompasses those moments when wonderful, amazing things happen in your life.
So, you've just met a man or woman who totally peaks your interest. They're smart, charming, you are really attracted to them and you both have a ton in common. Conversation seems to flow naturally and you can't wait to see them again. You can see them getting along with your friends and family and might even jump so far as picturing an engagement ring. You get those butterflies in your stomach and feel a spark even if you just hold hands. You start thinking this person could be IT for you, am I right?!
There is an interesting thing that happens when I tell people that I'm an Intimacy Leader. When I say that to men, they ask if I focus on sex. One guy even asked me "oh, like put this there and do this?" For women, they are intrigued and ask me to elaborate. They jump to taking intimacy to mean more than just physical contact.
Well, it really is about combining the physical with the emotional.
Today's post is focused on S-E-X. You know that kind of sex you see in movies like The Notebook, that everyone thinks is pure fantasy? Is that passionate, steamy, un-inhibited sex really real? The kind of sex that is so intense that you get lost in the moment and don't even notice how sweaty or out of breath you are. If you've never experienced that, do you want to? Why?
Just like your body craves nutrients - like when you're craving pickles or tomatoes or steak - your emotions can create cravings for what you're lacking. That comes in the form of wanting different types of personal connection.
If your body craves exercise because you know you're not being a healthy eater or you need to clear your mind, the longer you go without listening the harder it is to get back into your routine or to get in shape. Your emotional health can be the same way.
Have you read the book The Rules and are you following them? Is that helping you feel fulfilled in your dating life and getting you the results you want?
Or, have you been trying to "win" your date? Trying to prove that you are better than the next guy or girl - that you have more to offer? Are you trying to MAKE them see your value? If you're approaching dating as a game with set rules - trying to one-up the other person - you're missing out on a really important aspect of love and partnership. Here is a news flash: there are no rules!
Do you feel that you're cool? Or do you feel that you're amazing?
What I mean by that is if you want to feel "cool" it can stem from pressure to appear uncaring or look for outside approval for how to act, communicate and express yourself. You might think that showing how you really feel makes you stand out from the crowd in a bad way. It's human nature to want to belong and an easy way to bond with others is to share the same perspectives or behavior.
If you feel in awe of yourself and admire who you are as a person, that stems from being connected to the truth of who you are and why you're alive. You find that how you express yourself enhances your connections to others. You've probably had people tell you you're bold or courageous and that feels great!