You know that Facebook relationship status drop down menu? The one where you get exactly eleven choices to tell all your “friends” who’s rockin’ your world – or not. Of course, the implied relationship we’re talking about here is intimate relationship. (We all want to know if you’re engaging in sex with someone, other than yourself.)
Isn’t every relationship intimate?
Just suspend that knee-jerk reaction and stay with me here for a few minutes.
intimate (adjective) ˈin-tə-mət
1. a: intrinsic, essential
—-b: belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature
What is “one’s deepest nature”? What’s primal to our human experience? Aren’t we social animals by nature? Am I only in intimate relationship with you because I have sex with you? If that is true, who made “sex” the delineation between what is intimate and what is not?
Am I separate from you? Are you separate from me?
What about my relationship with food? That feels pretty intimate to me. It feels “essential.” What about your dog? Would you say you’re – you know – intimate with your Lab?
What about the sunlight? Or water? Or the air you breathe? I mean, it iskeeping you alive, right? Do you have an intimate relationship with your environment? With nature?
Isn’t our human nature really one and the same, intimately and intrinsically interwoven with our natural environment? In our wild state, weren’t we one with the Earth? How has human civilization (through the development of technology and culture), in fact, separated me from you? How has it separated us from each other? From relationship, in general?
What if we were not only in relationship, what if we arerelationship itself?
I wonder about these questions. I’m in an examine-every-nook-and-cranny-of-human-life kind of place. Particularly (and obviously) around intimate relationship. I’m soaked in a torrential downpour of questions. This is no ordinary existential or mid-life crisis. It is 2012, after all. This is crisis of epic proportion – a Mayan crisis.
Ok. All joking aside. It’s an enormous wake-up gong.
Here and now, as the birds sing, the grass grows greener and the warm soft breeze of Spring fills the air, I am emerging in verdant glory myself. Bursting forth from underneath the snowy winter of my soul, sifting through questions that have blanketed my mind for almost two years now.
And I’m in love! Quite literally, I fell in love with myself. Not a narcissistic, self-gratifying ardor. But a cultivated widespread harmony within myself, deeply nourished by basking in the joy of the wondrous life that I have been given. This gift! This resplendent gift! That we all have been given.
And I am falling in love with life itself, with the world. Each blade of grass. Each gust of wind. Each ladybug flitting about. An innocent smile. An unsolicited hug. All of it.
Openly intimate. Deeply steeped in permeable love.
In the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, according to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the warrior renounces anything in her experience that is a barrier between herself and others. In other words, renunciation is making yourself more available, more gentle and open to others. Any hesitation about opening yourself is removed.
Now that’s intimacy. That’s open relationship.
What does this have to do with your sex? Everything. Because how you show up in sex is how you show up in life. More importantly, consider the converse: How you show up in life is how you show up in sex.
Allow yourself to fall in love with yourself. With life and the world. Really, with all of us. Surrender to love. You don’t have to look very far at all to find wonder and pleasure, joy and ecstacy in each moment.
There is a flip-side, of course. I would be remiss to speak only of the “up” and not the “down.” If I am this intimate with my world then I also am familiar and open to its pain: sorrow and grief, anger and rage, deep brooding and ennui. All of it. As above, so below.
To me, this is what it is to be undeniably human.
So in truth, I firmly believe there is only one choice: “in an open relationship.”
Editor’s note: I have been deeply inspired and influenced recently by the writings of Charles Eisenstein, and I highly recommend his book, The Ascent of Humanity. You may learn more about Charles by visitinghis website.
Jenny Ferry is a leader in the emerging field of conscious sexuality and author of the forthcoming book, Soul Sex: Creating the Conscious Connection You Crave (2013). Jenny leads workshops throughout the U.S. and Canada and coaches individuals across the globe who want to awaken and reinvent their sex and relationship(s). You can learn more at: jenny.ferry.com