“You may talk. And I may listen. And miracles might happen.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Fate meets us, but what unites us is our mutual, conscious choice to connect intimately. Suspended in our vulnerable moments of truth, we reveal our selves and admit that within the homes of our bodies, hearts are more fragile than we let on. Souls speak and recognize one another through the eyes. In you of you is me of me is us is love. A gift given and a gift received. Openness. Sharing. Deep inner desires and perceptions. The thinner the veils, the clearer we see into each other, the deeper a bond will be allowed into us. Am I you or are you me? Untamed, wild and yet grounded in our lover’s arms. A puzzle not meant to be answered because it is irrelevant. In you of you is me of me is us. Of us is love.
Being able to experience a deeply intimate relationship and be able to sustain it as a long-lasting bond often times depends on our ability to communicate with one another. But to communicate isn’t just to talk and share – it is to truly understand another person and to have intentional dialogues. Intimate communication is being able to share with another parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t otherwise share; intimacy itself means “into-me-see” and demands us to be truly vulnerable and soul-naked.
Lovers meets when one has the courage to unveil their soul and the other has the humility to surrender theirs also.
Deep love is dependent on intimacy, and intimacy is about vulnerability, which is about trust. Trust is something that builds over time through our ordinary gestures and everyday choices. It starts as giving someone and our relationship a leap of faith, and then needs to be sustained otherwise it will collapse; it is about keeping our promises, being attentive, being on time which shows respect, staying compassionate and connected despite disagreements, keeping our relationship private and the secrets of our lover private even after separation. Little gestures over time, such as being punctual and clearing out misunderstandings privately, would show us that we can trust our partner even during the bigger moments of life.
Intimacy is also about authenticity. Intimacy can only be created when we allow another to see deeply into our true self, and this is done through vulnerability, openness and knowing who we truly are, as well as providing the safe space, of acceptance and non-judgment, for another to be who they truly are. We can only connect through the heart and this is why no matter how much we might love one another, or think we might love another, unless we open our hearts and soul, no connection will be lasting.
What I’ve noticed is that people have forgotten how to share and speak authentically, and many of them don’t even know who they are anymore. We live in a virtual reality robbed of real touch and true connections; everything moves fast and even vulnerability has been commodified. Soul connections are based on authenticity; masks cannot fall in love. People look for steps and tips to have happy lives, and it should be less than five because we’ll lose interest when it’s longer articles. But there are no steps. There are no steps for love and for relationships; there are no quick fixes, no road maps with directions. The emotional landscapes of each relationship are a wildland, which can only be discovered when we shift our eyes towards those of the person beside us. And even then, some parts will forever remain wild and unknown in our partners and that’s okay too. When we focus too much on “steps” our brains become hacked and we forget the essence of what truly matters.
Paying attention and holding ourselves accountable is what relationships are often based on.
The scary word, accountability. It’s scary because we were given a great power to hold in our hands called the phone. It is so smart that within a second people can ghost someone they’ve been talking to for months, they can delete and erase and block, they can pause or ignore until they are interested once again, they can talk selfishly without looking into someone’s eyes nor considering how their words affect another, they can hurt people without seeing their tears, they can share without meaning and on and on and on.
The lack of relationship accountability is like a state of stable ambiguity; people are giving “just enough” not to feel alone but to get the reward of affection, while certainly not giving “too much” to compromise on our freedom and become trapped because of our unwillingness (and fear) to commit.
This also leads to uncertainty, anxiety, fears, paralyzing self-doubt and unworthiness issues, and overall unhappiness. Ghosting, icing, breadcrumping and all other sociopathic behaviors that modern society has adopted as “normal” are actually the manifestations of the decline of empathy in our world, or in other words, they are the promotion of one’s own selfishness disregarding the consequences on another human being. With digital communication, there is the forgetfulness that a human being is on the other end of the message and we fail to see how our words affect them. This also means no boundaries and no limits.
And maybe even the causes of extreme political correctness and the “cancel culture” are the result of lack of self-esteem, self-awareness, empathy, accountability and communication skills. Most people’s identity is a digital identity and it is nowhere near their true self. When we are disconnected from who we are, we can never truly experience a soul connection and deep love with another person.
Keeping love alive.
Over the course of time, many couples feel that even though they may still love their partner, they no longer feel in love. There’s this common belief that love goes away as the years go by, and so falling out of love is natural and should be expected. I’d offer the perspective that while this may be an ordinary thing to happen, it isn’t natural. Like all else in life, love too changes shape and sometimes it just needs a shift of perception to see it.
Falling in love and staying in love requires maintaining and nurturing a sense of oneness.
When two people truly fall in love, deeply emotionally and spiritually, their energies merge and unite together and they become one. This is similar to quantum entanglement, which states that the energies once united and linked through such a deep bond, become energetically linked despite time and space. To feel re-connected to someone, we need to acknowledge that adversaries will happen and yet we can shift our perspectives, beliefs and even behaviours, to shift our own energy, so that we can re-discover one another. The love is often times still there, but we need to move towards connection rather than separation. By practicing empathy, appreciation, emotional expression, deep listening and intimate communication, we can invoke a shift of energy and entagle ourselves into a loving, caring connection once again.
The greatest lover is the one who pays attention.
Paying attention means looking beyond the vision of the eyes; to see beyond the smile of our beloved, that they’ve been stressed from work; to stop everything and take their hands, and say, “Tell me, my love, what’s bothering you, how can I make your day better.”
Paying attention means putting down the phone, switching off the TV, and saying, “Let’s go to that new restaurant you wanted to try.” Often in our interactions, we give to the other what we need to be given, rather than what they need to receive. Paying attention means touching, trusting, and sharing our tenderness. It means caring and holding our beloved not the way we always did, but the way they need to, right now. We need to have the humility to accept that we all change and that’s okay; but just like a painting, there is always something new to discover if we spend the time to observe it, a new shade, from a new angle perhaps. And how beautiful it is, the art of noticing and discovering the unique changing world of another person. But we can only love what we appreciate – and to appreciate takes time, effort and devotion.
We make love in so many ways, not just with our genitals. And how boring it’d be if that’s the only way we made love. We have hands, eyes, words, sounds, feelings, senses.
And when we pay attention, we fall in love all over again. This is the Art of Loving.
That all sounds pretty wonderful … but when our beloved has suddenly turned into our very own rat from hell, deep love probably doesn’t seem as alluring as it once was. No need to change partners yet, so let’s explore further.
And so …
The Art of Intimate Communication is based on
- The ability to build a safe space of trust, privacy and respect between you, and to nurture and protect that space continuously.
- The ability to calmly accept and allow for perspectives and opinions different than ours, and especially when they challenge our own views and opinions.
- The ability to remain curious and approach conversations from a place of curiosity; to be willing to re-learn, re-explore and re-discover one another even after many years together instead of assuming we already know it all because we see each other every day.
- The ability to listen and be respectful; to be attentive and considerate about how our words and actions are affecting the other person.
- The ability to be self-accountable and self-aware.
- The ability to be empathic.
- The ability to be vulnerable, and to express feelings and emotions in an accepting environment.
- The ability to be authentic, which ultimately means self-acceptance.
When you meet one another and your eyes recognize one another … let your soul move your lips and direct your tongue.
We all project, it is natural. But the more we know who we are and settle into our authentic true self, the thinner the veils will be and the clearer we’ll see and hear the other person. We’ll know what’s us and what’s them and we’ll be able to see them for who they truly are as well, rather than our own fantasies about them.
This is a gradual process; in fact, we spend a whole life learning who we are through others and there is a continuous dance between freedom and togetherness, surrender and repulsion. But each time we make a choice in favour of truth and love, rather than fear, we become more integrated and come closer together.
If we start to notice that we are beginning to judge our partner and are finding it hard to hear what more they want to say, it is important to say to ourselves “My partner is always right.” That seems like a weird thing to say, right? Especially when we start fuming on the inside. Well, this statement doesn’t mean that we are wrong; on the contrary, we are right too. We can both be right together, simultaneously.
Often times when couples fight for example, we tend to forget that we must be fighting for a solution rather than against each other. When tension escalates or we feel that we can no longer be invested in the conversation for one reason or another, we can let our partner know that we need some time to reconnect to ourselves, “I feel like I can no longer do our conversation justice or the attention it deserves, so I just need to cool off a little bit.” We need to allow both ourselves and our partner to have the needed space we’ve asked for, and yet we also need to respect that allowance and come back to the conversation afterwards as we’ve said we would. This will build trust, respect and stability over the years which will in turn continue to nurture the space for open honest communication.
As partners, we both want something to be better – and if that’s really the case and we are still devoted to making our relationship work – we can both be right and look for what will be of benefit to both of us. Even when our realities appear contradictory, we can try to move away from “there is only one truth here!” and leave room for some new air to breathe and inform us. This will widen our horizons and more compassion will be experienced, which will also deepen our bond.
The truth is – we can grow to feel a connection to anything and anyone as long as we spend enough time with it, and learn more about it through noticing and sharing. A little ritual you can do to train yourself in that mindset is watch one movie that you’d never ever watch, and then try to find something you loved about it. There will always be one thing you can resonate with no matter what you watch. If not, try to imagine how hard it is to actually make a movie; how hard everyone behind the scenes has worked including those who make sure everyone has something good to eat each day – because we all know if we have crappy food, we’ll be in a bad mood. Think about how much work it takes an artist to paint, a writer to shape feelings into words, and about all the secret threads that need to come together to create something.
A word is never just a word – there is a world inside it. And so with all of us too, there is always more feeling and emotion and experiences than we can say. And a word for us may mean one thing but to the other person it may have a whole different meaning, and carry a whole different set of experiences. Many misunderstandings can be cleared by open, honest and intentional dialogue, and with understanding and empathy.
If we are unused to recognizing or accepting our own needs, wants and desires, we may need to spend more time and energy uncovering them. The only thing wrong with having intense feelings and emotions is the associated guilt and shame about having them; we all have desires, wants and needs and this is a human thing. When we accept them, that’s when we integrate them and a natural letting go occurs, and a deeper bonding occurs.
Needs are a part of the human condition. When we allow ourselves to be human, this is when we come closer to our divine essence. When we accept and share our needs with our partner, without expectation nor demanding them to be fulfilled, we become more truthful, honest, open and intimate.
This is also where authenticity comes in, because when we have accepted ourselves, we will also be more acceptive and empathic towards others, and be able to experience true sacred love. From that self-acceptance we will also be able to create the needed space where our partner can share their own true self and vulnerability in a safe, non-judgmental, non-critical space. With such love and trust, we will create our devoted sacred love life and build true intimacy.
Another thing to remember is to appreciate our partner when we are sharing with one another or even asking a question. It is actually quite hard to open up and ask something that is important for us. All of us have had experiences as children when we were told “not to ask” and in one shape or another, this may have stayed with us; we often feel hesitant to ask something because we feel afraid of what the answer would be or how they’ll react. It takes courage to start conversations of importance, of feelings, of emotions, of concerns, of fears. We must acknowledge that the only reason our partner is asking us a question is because they care and want to be closer to us. Appreciate them for this. It is no small thing.
Appreciations open our heart and allow us to recognize the beauty in our partner, and their needs, longings and desires that they fulfill in us also. Appreciations also refocus our energy on what truly matters, which is each other. Appreciations also show us what we value and what we want more of.
Each day try to notice something that you have appreciated and valued in your partner. Even if you think they know – tell them anyway. Most of us don’t say things because we think the other person knows them or others tell them all the time, but that’s not true. We all need to be told how much we are appreciated, valued, cherished and needed. You’d be surprised how little people say these things to one another and yet such words can make a world of difference in our day, and our connection. Nothing is ever too small not to mention. Would it be a small thing if your partner stopped cooking or taking out the trash? You’d certainly notice it then.
Let your partner know what feelings and emotions they inspired in you and how your needs, wants, desires and longings were fulfilled through their words and gestures.
And receive appreciations in turn gracefully. Many of us feel uncomfortable with them, so notice if you are casually brushing them off or you feel uncomfortable with them – and if yes, try to understand why you do that and try to open your heart to receive as much as give. Energy needs to exchanged otherwise it becomes stagnant and emotionally unfulfilled.
Make it a ritual.
Relationships are built on the ability to communicate freely and honestly. This is based on trust and intimacy. We are all different and express ourselves differently, so naturally it is important to establish a devoted sacred space where we can open up safely to one another and unveil our souls.
Lovers meet when one has the courage to unveil their soul and the other has the humility to surrender theirs also.
The key to intimacy is sharing openly and honestly because almost all fallouts are due to misunderstandings or miscommunication. Sometimes when we’ve spent many years with each other we think that there is nothing new to share or learn, and when chores and life itself takes over, we often don’t spend enough time re-connecting. So make it a ritual to re-explore, re-discover, and re-learn about one another. Because they truth is: our inner worlds change and we might grow apart before even realizing it, and yet we are like a beautiful painting – there is always, always, a new shade, a new brush angle to discover, no matter how many years have passed. As for new couples in love – the only way to build that deep intimacy is to allow yourselves to be truly seen by your lover, so share your true self being vulnerable, open and honest.
kitchen windows understand:
love is threaded
through the floors
soil-sweat, like us
pressing noses to skins
the caring, the holding and the kissing
~ The God-like Things by Lubomira Kourteva
Create a time for being together and talking intentionally, maybe even play a questions game. Spend time asking each other anything you want. Make it meaningful. Childhood dreams, precious memories, beliefs, favourite tastes and scents, or what inspired you during the week. When did you last cry? What are your fears and doubts? How do you express love and affection? What are your needs? How do you need to be loved and appreciated? How can I make your day better?
Practice deep listening. When you ask and they reply, truly listen and understand. If you don’t understand something, clarify it.
Ask. Share. Connect. Realize we are all similar in at least one area of life. While our situations and circumstances may have been different, we’ve all cried, we all have fears and doubts and dreams. Learn and open your mind to this person next to you.
What does their inner world look like? It’s beautiful and unique. As is yours. Maybe, just maybe, somewhere in those two worlds, you’ll find a shared bridge. There is a universe within us and how beautiful would it be to see someone else’s?
Remember that in order to experience deep intimacy and deep love, we need to be open, vulnerable, and not constrain ourselves by suppression. Clear out any fears and doubts. Share it. That’s the only way trust will build and your minds and hearts will be open to intimacy.
Trust is crucial for intimate communication, so never betray one another’s private world; create the sacred space and even if you separate, don’t betray it nor share your partner’s secrets with someone else. This is called integrity. Keep things private between you and respect one another’s hearts, because hearts are fragile and we need to be responsible when holding a heart. Protect your relationship and surround it with trust, love and faith.
Sometimes things don’t work out in life. Engagements, marriages, relationships, and even friendships fall apart. We continue on our individual paths and that’s okay. But getting to know another person deeply is what we will end up remembering. It’s what makes life beautiful and meaningful. And this is how we expand and are able to then allow ourselves to experience love and another person even more deeply and more truly than before.
So love consciously. Love intentionally. Love deeply and passionately, devotedly, every moment, as if it’s the first time.
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Cover Art by Ron Hicks.