Dear friends. I hope you are well. Kahlil Gibran said ‘Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.’ When I was a young child I was always throwing off my shoes; I had already taken in that it was not allowed to throw off my clothes. It always felt lovely and natural to feel the grass and the bare earth on my feet and between my toes.
I remember as a young adult walking alone through the muddy creeks on the North Norfolk coast between Morston and Stiffkey, the mud squelching through my toes. It transported me out of my thinking and down into my body, reuniting me in an instant, body and soul, with nature. How far we have come away from our nature, and from Nature, in the pursuit of fitting in with someone else’s idea of behaving properly or “proply” as David Cameron says.
Thank God I came across Encounter Groups and Osho‘s teachings as a young, immature and insecure adult. Through all the years of growing up and fitting in, somewhere in my core I did not completely surrender. Stepping into the greater freedom of being an adult, though not free within, I began the long and arduous journey of reclaiming all that I had given away and all that I had taken on from those around me. I know my parents did their best with whatever they had experienced in their growing up. I was never into blaming them, nor those that persecuted me at boarding school. What I was really interested in was making the most of my life. When I say making the most of life I mean choosing Love as a basis for living – whatever I am doing. As far back as I can remember, love and being loving was all I was really interested in, whatever I was doing.
Realising that I could gradually transform my life, glimpsing the possibilities, opened a deep and profound longing within me to become the master of my own destiny. I didn’t really know what that meant for a long long time, yet something within me was urging me on. I realised I was the only one who could make it happen and it would also take time to grow within me. From little acorns grow mighty oaks as they say. I sought out people along the way who were key in helping me to move forward. It took much longer than I ever imagined and after many years I realised I would never get there, that I am on a life-long journey, that it really is a dance. I am deeply grateful for all those fellow travellers along the way, cheering each other on. For me the journey is for ever, until my last breath and then beyond. For me there is always more to open into, to expand into, and I will ‘dance’ this life with you all the way.
Love and intimacy are at the heart of my journey. I have always loved. I don’t remember anyone being physically lovingly intimate with me as I grew up. I don’t have the cellular memory that tells me this happened. I don’t remember experiencing the loving physical feeling and warmth of loving intimacy – that which your being knows and which you can count on. I carried deep and abiding fears about closeness and I learned to live with little or none, but the longing for intimacy continued and a numb ache for it was always there. For a long time mine was a very isolating experience and one of survival.
It is from these very wounds, driven on by my longing and glimpses of what is possible that I have gradually found my way through my fears. Through the many workshops and individual work over the years I had sufficient experiences that opened me into the profound gifts of intimacy. Osho said it is not Hate that is the opposite of Love, it is Fear that is the opposite of Love and I understand this now. It was through encountering and moving through my fear that I have been able to allow intimacy into my life. I am not here talking about sex. Intimacy is an utterly different quality of experience and for me is an expression of love lived in any number of aspects of our daily life. When we are intimately connected within ourselves then all our relationships are transformed, and in the area of sex the all too often mechanical, repetitive and disconnectedness of sex can be transformed into profoundly loving sexual intimacy the depth and breadth of which is beyond words. I am not talking about romantic love either. That is more like a blind sickness that we can fall into – trust the words – falling in love, love sick, sick with love! What I am pointing to is something utterly different and is why I offer the Opening to Intimacy Residential workshops twice a year, the next one taking place over Easter, 25th-28th March 2016
This is a universal gift available to everyone because we all come into the world as intimate beings. So it is more about peeling away all the un-useful ways we have learned to avoid intimacy, and to re-connect with and nurture these intimate qualities within us. Like everything of value in life, to ground this in reality and make substantial takes time, attention and commitment for these aspects of being alive as human beings to come into a full flowering. So I invite as many of you to come to these workshops if you possibly can. It’s all about the making-of-love-together in the world. You may have noticed this taking place on the dance floor at some class or another, or at the Field of Love. You may see and feel the quality of what I am endeavouring to convey in these very photos.
I know it is not just women who long for more intimacy in their lives. If anything I think it is a more urgent need in men because we men have learned to do without intimacy and have learned to seek it more through sex. It is partly linked to the appalling ways boys are told not to feel their vulnerability and be tough like a man – whatever that means. I think man needs to have the full range of his capacities alive and available within himself including his vulnerability and his tenderness. Otherwise we condemn ourselves to not know how to relate to woman, or man for that matter. So men especially, and of course women too, if you want to bring more depth of intimacy into your life and into your relating come to this Opening to Intimacy workshop. Bookings for Opening to Intimacy are now coming in. Why not join us on this journey.