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Tag: Intimacy

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love


“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”

― Thomas Merton



It can take a lifetime to understand how to love unconditionally. Later in life, reflection and a deep sense of regret can occur when a relationship misses the mark. Age heralds clarity, shining a light on the shadows the sit between two people. This is especially true among those who have allowed unrealistic expectations to be voiced as harsh judgments. Harmful criticism forces distance and is never acceptable in a loving relationship. Sadly, this revelation often present after the damage has been done. Such is the irony of life.  


 Each generation seems to become more and more consumed by self, completely missing the importance of showing compassion to others. Separateness is the norm with love of self being paramount to love of others. This is no more self-evident than in the intimate relationships forged with close friends and family. The “need it now” and “me before all else” mantra leaves little room for the practice and disciple of deep love. In addition, the voyeuristic culture of social media lends to a feeling of greater importance or unnatural hubris fashioned from the imaginary world of pictures on the internet. It is a viscous cycle.


In practice, love requires a letting go of the desire for control in all instances. This letting go while difficult, is necessary for love to flourish.  One must peel away a multitude of protective layers intended to soften the weight of living in a less than forgiving world. This takes great courage and an ability to feel fear but not be paralyzed by it.  Unconditional love finds breathe, when changing the lens in which one views another from the rose colored glasses of the ideal to the clearer lenses of the actual.


“Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.”

― John O’Donohue


As is often the case, people are much harder on those they hold dear. Business associates and acquaintances received endless amounts of patience and support while a spouse, child or sibling can be the recipient of a critical barrage of judgments. I am just as guilty of this as the next, especially with my siblings. If not being careful, I only see the things that irritate or rub and completely overlook the beauty in the other. This beauty is always found in differences rather than similarities, the way in which one navigates the world apart from a tribe. What may appear to be foolhardy or even ill advised to one can be a great learning opportunity for another. If I love someone, I love all of them. I love the many ways in which they chose to show up in my life and at times, I love them from a distance as is necessary for my well being.

Holding pain for another is yet another way in which unconditional love thrives. We are all delicate and fragile souls, baring scars from both intentional and unintentional wrongdoing. No amount of letting go will set us completely free from the conditioning of our upbringing and life experiences. It becomes a choice, when seeing scars in another, to gently soften the wound rather than rub salt. It is always easier to find fault in foreign ideas, actions and thoughts rather than looking intently within ourselves. Mirroring or projecting on to others all that we dislike about ourselves will never improve our lot. Reflecting pains and sorrows outward in the hopes of improving self-worth is not love but selfishness.


Therein is the beauty of unconditional love. It demands holding another’s heart while setting boundaries needed to honor spirit. There is never a rule book as to how this should play out, each individual is gloriously unique and so too is the act of loving. The goal should always be compassionate listening, gentle guidance and a letting go of the outcome.


Intimacy and Energy

Intimacy and Energy


Have you ever sat next to someone and felt his or her vibration?  Or maybe someone walks into your office and you feel a sudden change in your environment?  If the answer is yes, you are one that can feel others energy. We are all as biological beings, just a conglomeration of molecules vibrating and racing about. This is never more apparent than when we exchange energy with another, either purposefully or unintended. I liken an energy exchange to an unspoken contract.  One is extending their innermost self to another for better or worse.


Real intimacy is a sacred experience.  It never exposes its secret trust

and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture.

Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.

John O’Donohue


As one that is especially sensitive to this, I often find myself with the urge to reach out and hug someone that is hurting in some way.  I feel it and very deeply. When sitting next to my children or family, I will usually place my hand on their leg, arm or back thereby connecting energetically.  It is a quick way for me to clue into how they are and what they may be feeling in that moment. I also am careful at work not to jump into someone’s office without an invitation. I will usually start conversations from the doorway testing my colleague’s energy to see if the timing for the conversation is correct.  If I sense any hesitation I will defer and return another time. I only wish that others would be sensitive to my needs in return. Daily, I have colleagues come in unannounced and proceed to tell me their woes.  I try to be the good INFJ counselor but often feel tired after these interactions. The difficulty can be when I do not fully let go of this energy and carry bits of it home.


Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with

someone–and finding that that’s okay with them.

Alain de Botton


The first time I understood the power of placement, energy and intimacy was during the more difficult years of my marriage. When my ex-husband would start yelling and pacing, I would tell my children to move away from him to the farthest point of the room.  Just sitting on the couch that was a good twenty feet away from him would relieve some of the tension that we all felt when he got in a mood and started to blame everyone for his troubles. Even with this practice, I absorbed more than my fair share of his dark and discontent spirit. His touch would cause an immediate reaction of withdrawal on my part.  Even if I was not able to vocalize my feelings out of fear, my body language was speaking for me. I shut down and kept my internal dialogue to myself, putting up walls of protection and protecting myself from any unsolicited intimacy with him. I carried this with me for years and believe this burden activated my autoimmune illness. My body reacted in the only way it knew how, by protecting itself.  It took years after our divorce and much self-work to finally feel free from this energy.


You see, as spiritual beings, we all crave intimacy but really have no idea how to achieve this with another.  So many things in our world are superficial and carry little meaning in the grander scheme of things. We spend so much time and energy chasing money, professional success, and material things with very little time talking about human needs.  It is as if this is a taboo subject not worthy of discussion.  No wonder so many today are unhappy and jaded about their lives and futures.  It is a big and lonely world if the only things that are meaningful are material, which have nothing to offer in the way of intimacy or love.


We can not comprehend the utter intimacy from which we arise and in which we live, but we can give expression to it in words and in silence, through gestures and stillness.

Tom Stella


Young adults today are faced with a constant onslaught of energy and information. True intimacy is not found in a text message, a Facebook post or an Instagram photo. True intimacy is taking the time to know and honor the true self of another hidden behind the facade used to navigate the world. Intimacy can be in a touch of the hands, a passing smile, a nod that says “I see you” or a moment of empathy during a difficult time.  Intimacy can also be standing close enough to look another in the eyes directly and really see them.  I am not talking about just looking at the physical self, but rather reaching deeper and peering at their soul. In addition, when standing close enough to another, one can feel energy even when not physically touching.  That is connection and it is important to be careful who is in direct proximity on a regular basis. For all these reasons and many more, intimacy is so much more than the physical expression of love.  It is an exchange of self on the deepest level and an opportunity to be vulnerable.


It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;—it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.

Jane Austen


Growing up, I was instructed to be careful whom I gave my heart too. This struck me as silly when I was younger, but I now understand the importance of carefully choosing whom I sign the contract of energy exchange with. In new relationships it is prudent to have a vetting process, allowing someone space to take down walls and expose whom they truly are. This is contrary to our social constructs of today.  We live in an immediate satisfaction society in which time is of the essence and many rush relationships only later to feel the ill effects. It is only when two choose to be vulnerable that their souls can connect in a meaningful way.