If you are reading this post to learn some new position from the kama sutra, you are in the wrong place, at least today. The Lover I’m talking about, now, is the heart opened, longing for deep intimacy lover. And the skills I am going to write about work with friends, co-workers, and family as well as they work with romantic partners. In fact they are essential to all our relationships.
Snowflakes are gently falling here in Asheville as I write today’s post. I look around and see my cozy home, sensual artwork on the walls that inspires me, piles of fruit in bowls on the counter. I see clutter in my office, and my bulletin board filled with calendars, vision boards, inspirational quotes and a million dollar bill. I tell you all this, not just to set the scene physically, but to practice the first Skill of Loving; Seeing. For the last five days, I’ve been discussing commonly held love myths, and used the Principles of Loving (created by Jerry Jud of Shalom Mountain) to examine Love’s true nature. Now we get into the meat and potatoes of how to be a better Lover. I promise you, these five skills that I’m going to go into over the next five days, can change your relationship and change your life.
Skill #1 is Seeing: I do not look over you and through you. I see you in your uniqueness. There is a very basic human need to feel safe. Some people need it more than others. I need it a lot. I crave stability, and I equate order with serenity. In order to feel safe,we try to convince ourselves that we can predict the future. We tell ourselves that we can control circumstances, and other people. In order to feel like we know what is going on, when we meet someone, me immediately run them through our mental sorting program, and start labeling. Oh he’s a man, he’s this. She’s a lawyer, she’s that. And we have a whole encyclopedia of how men and women are, and how lawyers are, and how divorced people are and so on. The trouble is, we are so busy seeing our ideas of who people are, we miss who they actually are. We are trying to relate to the boxes we have put them in.
Have you ever been in a relationship where you found yourself screaming SEE ME!? I’m here longing for you, I’m dying for you to notice me, notice my heart, my pain, my brilliance. I have, and it is so painful. I tear up a little writing it. And I’m sure I’ve been on the other end too, where I saw what I expected to see in my mate, where they were dying inside because they felt invisible. In some tribal cultures, when people violate the rules, they are “made invisible.” This ostracism often leads to the exiled one dying for no discernible reason. The need to be seen is that potent.
When you think about the skill of seeing, ask yourself, how willing am I to look at who a person really is? When I feel out of love with the beloved, can I keep looking until I feel the love again? On the flip side, how willing are you to be seen? I also know the pain of trying to relate to someone who is hiding. I’m not saying you should reveal more of yourself. I think we have very good excuses for not allowing others to see us fully, but it all boils down to fear. It’s all a strategy to try and keep safe. And if you are questioning why you don’t feel like you are loved, or you can’t meet a partner, this is something to consider. If you are afraid to be seen, there are places where you can go to work through that fear. As a coach, I specialize in seeing my clients, particularly in their longing for love, intimacy and sex. Some people are really good givers, and crummy receivers, and this actually serves no one. Remember the first principle is More than anything else we want to love and be loved.
All of these skills require a high degree of honesty, and personal responsibility. I need to notice what I witness, and then take a look at whether I am responding to this person for themselves in the moment, or to the box that I have put them in. This is hard work, but worthwhile. I have to be willing to show myself, and ask for your attention. And I have to be rigorous in seeing everything simultaneously, because it is sooo easy to “build a case.” When someone has done something and I feel hurt, now I am looking for more evidence that they are bad and unworthy of my love, because I know this will keep me separate and therefore safe. I have to look at all of them, the scared person who is doing the best they can, the hungry person who wants more, the genius who may be giving me exactly what my soul needs (gosh darnit). What you focus on grows. See everything, and then you get to choose what you give meaning to. “Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”*
Tomrrow’s Post: Skill #2 Hearing – Can you hear me now?
*from Things I heard Vic Say, a Lafayette Morehouse publication