Awaken to Intimacy and Connection: Life in Technicolor
Inspired by intimate conversations with Kim and Krista
~ Written by KristaLove Louise Hagman ~
Recall an experience of a vibrant, colorful sunset that filled the sky with hues of pink, orange, red and purple. Envision the artistic way the colors blend and fade from one to the next. Moments like this can be so radiant it can be hard to wrap the mind around. Now imagine if those radiant colors and awe-inspiring experiences were all in shades of grey. Life would be less exciting, less vibrant.
Incorporating an Intimacy Practice into your life can feel like changing your palette from grey to Technicolor. Intimacy is the experience of being in connection with life through a personal practice, connecting with another or experiencing Nature. Intimacy requires a vulnerability to be raw and real, while seeing and experiencing another in their authenticity. A practice is a regular, intentional activity with the purpose of seeking transformation. Much like how water sculpts rock and landscapes, with any practice there are not huge leaps of evolution, but rather subtle transformations that occur over time. An Intimacy Practice entails creating a regular, intentional space to share emotional and physical closeness with yourself, a partner, a collective of like-minded people, or Nature.
Consider a play on the word intimacy: In-To-Me-See. A safe-space to be seen for who you are, the unique Spirit you bring into the world. Intimacy can entail silently staring into the eyes of a beloved, sharing non-sexual affection, or engaging in intercourse or other forms of sex. Discussing passions, dreams, desires and fantasies can be profoundly intimate, as can disclosing stories of heartbreak, grief or loss. Authentically sharing the human experience is an act of intimacy.
The crossroads between sex and intimacy can be a sticky one. We can often use sex as a pathway to intimacy, instead of intimacy being the foundation for sex. In our culture these two very different desires are often interpreted as the same thing. Contemplate food as another example. When you are hungry, is it more beneficial to eat what is most convenient, or give the body what it needs to be nourished? Sex can be incredibly intimate, and coffee with a friend can feel superficial, and vise-versa. The intention behind the point of connection supports the experience of intimacy.
While experiencing moments of intimacy, gratification and connection, the pleasure centers of the brain are lit up and the defense pathways are turned off. During arousal, sensual play and orgasm the brain is flooded with different neurochemicals. Dopamine helps control the pleasure centers and enables you to see rewards and take action to achieve them, while opioids give us the ecstatic, euphoric-like-feelings. Then comes Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the love hormone.” Its release initiates trust, bonding and deeper intimacy. This little neurochemical helps us feel emotionally intimate, whether discussing life with a friend, or engaged in sexual play with a lover or yourself. By regularly stimulating pleasure through heart-felt connection or emotionally supported sexual play, we release these neurochemicals and see more clearly, initiate creatively, feel more intensely and experience connection. In essence, we are more alive! The potency of an intimacy practice including sensual play is that it releases the happy chemicals and ignites the life-force energy in the body, increasing vitality, youthful presence, and opportunities for embodied pleasure.
There are a variety of ways to create a space for your Intimacy Practice which supports you to stay in the practice, when it flows smoothly, or when it doesn’t come so easy. Intimacy awakens the heart and soul to the connection of the self with the Whole. When intimacy translates into the body we can move into a heightened state of consciousness; sensations become subtler, emotions become more visceral and connection deepens. Choosing a life of intimacy is a practice and can be profoundly rewarding and challenging. Practices take time, energy, and attention. Intimacy requires awareness, intention and vulnerability. And yet the rewards are priceless and abounding. What would life be, after all, without the moments of unspeakable beauty, vibrancy and intensity? Choose Technicolor, choose to intimately awaken and connect with your radiant Self.