Love peels us. We are like cinnamon, and every relationship peels yet another layer of our bark, taking us closer to our heart, our inner truth and our natural, most sweetest, scent. Our soulskin. 

Last time in Kiss on the Wrist, we explored the importance of trust, surrender, and holding space for our partner. And now, it is time to allow love to peel us. 

In my love poetry book Moonhold, I wrote “i am peeling the cinnamon bark, and thinking of him,” referring to the love, intimacy and the depth of human connection that can be beautifully and poetically portrayed by the cinnamon peeling process. 

Cinnamon peeling is an art. It takes years for the artistry to be learned. It takes patience, temperance. It takes skill. It takes a kindness of rhythm, and a willingness to pay attention and to stay present in devotion. From generation to generation, the peeling of the bark is taught to sons and daughters. There is continuity; and there is a sense of responsibility, values, loyalty and integrity. It also demands a good touch – it is confident with a strong grip, and yet, it is also soft and gentle, allowing the peeling. It’s art, like loving is art

Photography by Ibai Acevedo

Love peels us. 

When we’ve allowed someone completely into our life, we’ve merged with them. Through the vulnerability and openness of intimacy, divisions dissolve. We’ve let go of the boundaries, we’ve allowed ourselves to be fully seen by them, and we’ve completely and entirely allowed them into ourselves. And it might feel scary because when we’ve merged with them completely, would we lose ourselves?

Love, and anything we love, makes us think that we are losing ourselves sometimes, but in that perceived loss is how we uncover who we are beneath the bark, beneath the shroud of our skin. When we peel the false identities, conditioned mindsets, judgments, doubts and disbeliefs, and old limiting thought patterns, when we peel the bark, is when we see our beautiful beating hearts. And we become soulskins. 

Love peels our layers and transforms us. Resistances are natural. For love between two people is an eternal dance between repulsion and surrender, push and pull, contraction and expansion, like the breath of life itself in God’s lungs. Resistance is the part of us that is afraid of change because it is a breaking of a pattern: we are doing something unknown that our mind has no previous storyline in the archives of our past to align it with, and so as a defense mechanism it reacts with resistance. We prefer old beliefs and patterns, and ways of doing things, but this is not to our benefit. This is also why love, and to fall deeply and undeniably and entirely in love, is the greatest way for real growth. We are here not to become spiritual, because we already are spiritual beings, but we are here to experience ourselves through human relationships, and remember and apply our wisdoms towards them. But we need to possess the desire, the courage, and the willingness to allow for ourselves to be beautifully transformed by love. We need to have patience, and temperance too. 

When we open to patience like a flower, we enter the soul of matter. Soul-sized is the land of our heart, and that’s the land that truly matters. Each relationship is an intimate pathway too, of twists and curves across its unique physical and emotional wildlands, where a soul is born and grows. With a kindness of rhythm, we can allow its blessing to approach us, its beauty to move through our body, and mold us into what was meant to become all along. Patience is a devotion to resilience, a courage to stay gentle, and an act of deep respect towards another person. Patience is a mark of truest love. Patience deepens love over time. 

Because intimacy is an opportunity, an invitation, for a deepening. Love is a knowing of each other, and of being known, a knowing not of flesh, but through the flesh. Personal, uncompromising, with a sense of finality and entirety. A transfer of scent. Knowing, and being known. 

Photography by Ibai Acevedo

A quiet creature is temperance. Moving like a mystical dancer, a guidance intuition of our exploration, where opposing forces can blend and merge, showing up the multi-dimensionality of things, and of another person. It is an invitation to a meeting place, where inner divisions can dissolve, where boundaries can dissolve, and two worlds, no matter how seemingly different, can touch, and kiss, and love.

Lovers meet when one has the courage to unveil their soul, and the other the humility to surrender, unveiling theirs also. 

A lover peels us. Humbles us. A relationship of deep love demands us to look into ourselves, and all of our layers, until we see ourselves clearly. And by seeing into ourselves, we see into another, more clearly. This is intimacy: into-me-see. To accept and see another, as they are, and be able to pay attention to them, as they are and as they need, is what long-lasting love is then built upon.

Even if the relationship breaks apart and we separate, the connection would never be a failure or a loss – that person has helped us come closer to ourselves. This is what love does. Love peels layers and identities until we see our soul, and settles into our soulskin. Our partners bring us closer to who we truly are, and to the place, and arms, where we truly belong, where we were meant to be all along. 

We don’t lose ourselves. We find ourselves, and the one made for us, because of all those love peelers. If we are softer before they came, it was of love, and that’s something to be grateful for. Grateful for our ability to love, grateful for allowing to be loved, grateful for the love peelers.

Photography by Ibai Acevedo

When it’s time, it’s time. It doesn’t matter if we think we’re read or not, if it makes sense or not, if things look messy or undone, when it’s time, it’s time. Love comes like an ocean, and all it asks of us is the allowance for a deepening, in whatever shape or form, speeds and movements. And we’ll know it. Because our heart knows. Where and with whom we belong. There is something more powerful, more ancient than us, older than time, from a time before time beyond time, that calls us towards itself. When it’s time, it’s time. We’ll hear its heartbeat at the door. And we’ll open to it like a flower, entering the soul of its matter. 

There, two worlds will touch, they’ll kiss, and we’ll find that love is not only felt in the hearts, it is known by the hands also. 

This is the second part of my three part series on love and intimacy. In Kiss on the Beloved's Wrist, we explored the need for trust, surrender and holding a loving safe space for our partner. Today, we peeled the layers of ourselves to reach the deep intimacy that true love demands; to find that love is a knowing not of flesh, but through the flesh. And in Sing Love Back to Skin, we sing soul back to love back to skin, having circled the staircases of our many years, to lay beside each other, skin against skin, awakening our body into remembering the love we still share.  

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Cover Photography by Ibai Acevedo.