Spiritual Growth: Learning through Intimate Relationships
Day 80 of 100 days of Blogging
Miracle Message #85: Let your intimate relationships be your greatest learning devices for spiritual growth and healing. #MiracleNow ~Gabrielle Bernstein
A Series of Blog Posts:
Intimacy Research Background:
I wanted to grow and learn. I wanted to heal the wounds from past relationships with men. I wanted connection and intimacy. I wanted a partner who would practice with me. Real feelings. Real connection. Research.
So, I asked him. A man who was in my coaching leadership program. A man who I had a mental, physical, emotional connection with and who I felt could match my level of intensity and desire. I asked him to be in an intimacy research partnership with me for eight months. He said yes immediately.
We set up a Google document. We Face timed. We texted. And once a month, we met in person in San Francisco. He flew in from Germany. I flew from New York. We created an experience.
Month 2 (October 2013):
Already in the first 48 hours, I had cried several times and said, “Fuck you, Axel.” His idea of trying to find things to say to me that would emotionally whack me on purpose had reached a boiling point inside of me. He wanted to increase the sensations for our research. I had processed, cried, asked him why he thought he needed to be mean on purpose, was he trying to make me jealous? Wouldn’t there be natural opportunities for that? It felt like bullying to me. As we approached the 48 hour mark and I knew we were going to be sleeping in different locations for the next 4 nights, I left in a fury without saying good-bye or “see you tomorrow”.
I just left.
As I rolled my suitcase down the steep San Francisco hill towards the BART, (the metro system in San Francisco) I was fuming and also feeling relief from the compression between us. I was feeling free again. People may think intimacy research is fun. This was one of the kick ass, button pushing, emotion triggering, different perspective moments that are always a part of human relationship research.
The first 48 hours had many fun moments. We met at the International Flight Arrival Gate at SFO, and made our way to the BART and the private room at the hostel. After OMing, (Orgasmic Mediation), and a nap to try to help him re-calibrate from Central European time zone to West Coast time zone, we ran through the streets of San Francisco exploring and laughing. Running up and down the escalators in Bloomingdale’s like two school kids, looking for the underwear he likes that he can’t get in Germany. Stopping on the street to be videotaped by a few young filmmakers. Discovering a great Thai Restaurant for dinner. Both of us talking non-stop.
It was great until I got triggered and whacked emotionally, one too many times. When I got closer to the BART I stopped on the corner realizing he might not know where his suitcase was in the hostel. I had moved it to the front desk without telling him. I pulled out my phone, called him and told him about the suitcase. He said, “Where are you?”
Me: I left.
Him: You left?!? How could you leave without saying Good-bye? After all we have meant to each other?
Me: I got whacked too many times. I can’t take anymore right now.
Him: Where are you?
I tell him the location of the corner.
Him: Don’t move. I am coming to you right now.
I wait on the corner. Not sure if I want to see him. Feeling a little turned on that he was so upset. It feels like he really cares about me. Beneath his anger, I can feel something else in his voice…vulnerability? tenderness?
I look up the hill and in the fashion of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman when he comes to sweep Julia Roberts off her feet in a limousine, except my version is Axel in converse sneakers on a skateboard, flying down the steep hill. He arrives at the corner with a swift stop. Swoops me into his arms, pulling me close and breathlessly says, “Don’t ever do that again. Don’t leave like that!” He is trembling and out of breath.
His head is buried in my hair and neck. His arms are wrapped around me tightly, not letting go. We hold each other for a few minutes. Breathless. Teary. Exhausted. In this embrace, we begin to talk back and forth slowly, almost whispering our answers. He wants to know what happened. I share my feelings with my face pressed into his hair. My lips brushing his neck as I speak. His hand on the back of my neck holding my face close to his neck. His lips brushing against my hair as he speaks. We are so close. Holding on for dear life. Staying connected.
This is research with real feelings. This is intense.
He says he didn’t know I was so upset. He thought I was expressing my feelings and was okay. We add in more communication tools. Green, yellow, red. Green means all is well. Yellow is I am uncomfortable but willing to stay connected and learn. Red is I am ready for flight, fight, freeze. I am falling apart.
I was in “red.” How do we let each other know that we are in “red” and to stop the teasing, emotional challenging, and back off. How do we learn to recognize it in the moment?
Do check-ins throughout the day. Stop and listen to each other. We also add in “safe porting.” Letting each other know we are going to do something before we do it. Create more safety in the space.
This was painful and powerful. As we end the first two days of deeper intimacy, I can feel a breakthrough. I can feel deeper communication. I can feel the power of going through this step by step. Noticing patterns. Making changes. Feeling all the feelings. And seeing into the soul of another person.
Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.
She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.