The recent People Unlimited weekend event this June highlighted the futility of analyzing and talking about our relationship issues with our loved ones. Different couples and several family members took turns in a de facto "hot seat", while the rest of us looked on and squirmed, watching our own psychodramas being played out with different names and faces. Blaming, apologizing, withholding, forgiving... wow — what else is life, right?
After a particularly poignant exchange between one couple ended in a stalemate, someone else stood up and exclaimed that there has never been, and never will be, any resolution of our issues by talking them out. Our only recourse, he said, is to become larger than the issues that make us feel small, and thereby allow our bodies to express. Someone else chimed in, saying that the best way for two people to expand their communication is to hold one another.
I was really moved, because this is exactly the best advice I have ever received (numerous times), and Diana and I still practice it (most of the time), and teach it in our classes.
In the article below, I expand upon this framework, and share an actual exercise that intimate partners may engage in with each other, a practice that was passed along to me by Kerry and Diane Riley of Australia. I also refer you to their excellent book, Tantric Secrets for Men. The exercise (they call it a "ritual"), may appear a little wordy at first, but it is well worth taking the time to read and practice.
And for all of you reading along and wondering what any of this has to do with physical immortality, it has long been observed that toxic chemistry in our body, brought on by negative thinking and suppressed emotions, is a major cause of disease and death. Breathing, getting grounded, and receiving the touch of another body is Life enhancing. This is a view that must be tested, not believed, so please practice! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Introduction: When talking is NOT working for you and your beloved, it's a good time for each of you to remember your own precious body instead, and physically connect with each other. It's important that the two of you will have made a prior agreement to engage this exercise in times of conflict. It will ground you in your own body, refresh your innate sensual passion, and enliven the expansive and free connection that brought the two of you together in the first place.
So — if your partner requests this practice, even though you might be completely triggered and withdrawn, you will breathe and say "yes". It's okay to notice you don't want to, or you're just not "feeling it" — say yes to the sacred decision you made to honor the peace in your own body, and the pleasurable flow you share with your partner. No matter what. Say yes to keeping the passion for life and the physical bond of loving between the two of you alive.
Refusing to honor this agreement sabotages your own integrity and threatens the very juiciness of safety that your relationship is built upon. Your partner is trusting you enough to drop the argument and ask for harmony. Listen to your partner deeply, and realize that your Life is more important than your ego; your Love is more important than being right. Suppose it is you who has enough free attention to let go first. You could say, “This is not getting us anywhere. I want to be in harmony with you. Let’s do the Bonding Practice. We can discuss this stuff later when we are not so upset. Let’s put our bodies together.”
You (the requesting partner in this case), lie on your back while your partner lies besides you and rests her head on your chest. Place your right arm around her in a nurturing manner. She places her right hand on your heart, and you put your left hand on top of hers. Bend your right knee and place it between her legs, touching her sexual center. Her right leg is bent over yours so her knee touches your genital area.
This connects your heart center (open to give and receive love again), with your sexual center, opening you to vulnerability and intimacy. For her, being held in the nurturing position tends to open her heart center again. And by touching her sexual center with your leg, it reverses her normal reactive behavior to withdraw and shut down.
Use the breath to let go of any tension. If you are very upset, you will find that you will be tensing your body and holding your breath, or you will feel your partner doing this. Breathe in with a long, deep breath through the nose and then sigh as you breathe out through the mouth – ahh! Repeat this at least 10 times, co-ordinating your breaths if you can; otherwise make sure you are both doing the deep breathing. Never allow just one of you to be doing it; both must participate.
As you breathe out, let go of any anger, resentments, or the need to be right. Release all tension in the body, especially in the jaw, neck and shoulders. As you continue with the breathing, allow your mind to become quiet, allow the inner chatter about the argument to be dismissed. Take your awareness instead to the contact points between your physical bodies, especially your opening heart, and feel love, compassion, caring and forgiveness. Feel the warmth of your partner’s hand on your heart center. Focus on nurturing your partner like a child who has been hurt. Focus on that part of her that you really love beyond the part that has upset you.
Partner B ( your lover in this case), focuses on being nurtured and cared for and then shifts her attention to her hand on your heart, healing it and opening you more to love again. If it feels appropriate she can gently move her hand from your heart center to your sexual center, gently cupping this area for a few minutes, while you keep your hand on your heart center. This allows harmony between the emotions and physical sexuality to develop once more. You now exchange roles with your partner, gently repositioning before beginning. You need to spend at least five minutes in each role for it to be effective.
Both turn and face each other and hold each other naturally without your hands holding the heart or sexual centers. Continue to breathe and let go, but do not say anything. Gaze gently into each other’s eyes with love and compassion while tuning into your own “higher self”, where having to be right or having to win the argument is not important. What is important is to keep eye contact and be soft, vulnerable and see the part of your beloved that wants to be loved and wants to love. Act as healers for each other, showing compassion, care and concern for your relationship.
Keep breathing gently and after a minute or so and when appropriate, one says “I’m sorry (we were fighting). I love you”. The other listens, breaths in and internally accepts this. Then she says “I’m sorry too and I love you.” Finish with a hug or a kiss.
It is most important not to say anything like ”I forgive you, but next time...” This would blow the whole process. Do not talk about the issue, just hug and kiss and suggest a cup of tea or a walk. Maybe several hours later, or the next day, you can return and deal with the issue. Dealing with it immediately after the bonding practice is dangerous because you are very open and sensitive when you have trusted enough to say “sorry”.
After you have completed this process, you may not even need to discuss the issue again because you will find that the re-established harmony and balance may well provide a new viewpoint or attitude. If you do discuss it, you may come up with other solutions to the problem which you may not have reached while in a reactive mode.
In reality, neither of you are perfect. You both contributed to the disharmony in some way. By looking within and forgiving and by balancing the energies between you, very often circumstances begin to change.
The Power of Surrender
What you are doing in these three steps is surrendering your ego and honoring your body's true feelings to keep the sexual passion and loving bond between you alive. Vulnerability is not compromise. To surrender and let go is to open to who you always already are, prior to your story. As a result, your relationship is revealed to be a means of honoring not only your needs and wants, but your highest truth.
To love your neighbor (or your partner) as yourself, requires that you freely love your self first. It's all about you!