A number of our participants kindly agreed
You can read their interviews below.
How did you feel before the first Opening to Intimacy weekend that you went to?
I’ve been to six weekends now and they have been a big part of my learning around what ‘in-to-me-see’ really is. Before the first workshop, I did feel a bit uncertain, there was a part of me that still mixed up sexuality and intimacy, but Tim explained that the most important part was finding out how to be intimate with yourself. When I actually arrived, I felt comfortable and trusting.
What do you get out of these weekends?
I enjoy connecting with people on a deeper, more intimate level. I also enjoy supporting others going through their emotional processes. I lead groups in prison around alcohol and drug abuse, I’ve done a lot of therapy but doing this kind of processing in a dance environment is different for me. Moving your body means you get into your feelings quicker, and really aids processing.
What’s the key issue that you’ve worked with here?
For me, it’s all been about sharing my vulnerability. I’m usually in a leadership position in groups so this is very different and challenging. I have used this space in that way, to practice being in places of sadness, shyness and showing the other sides of myself.
What does Tim, as the facilitator, bring to this weekend?
Tim brings a very clear holding space for participants to explore the rich tapestry of their feelings. It’s very organic in structure and one of the things I admire about Tim is the way that he has faith in the group, and the way he allows the group to hold what is going on. That takes a lot of experience. That way the group bonds together and unites in a brilliant way. This allows people to go through a lot of pain and come out the other side and feel held.
And the 5Rhythms aspect of the weekend?
Because Tim is a 5Rhythms teacher, he uses dance and movement as a big part of the weekend. At the beginning, looking other people in the eyes was very difficult for me but I practiced a lot here and now it’s much easier. I find the dance helps me to open up and it’s a way of grounding myself.
How has this work helped your relationship with intimacy?
It’s really helped me go there. I have been able to take more time and go deeper in terms of what comes up for me. Last time, I felt admiration for women because I saw how they unite and support each other when one of them is in grief or pain, I saw how natural that support was and thought I would love this for men. I’d really like to bring the idea of gentle man into the language with that caring meaning. I was able to say this and there was an opportunity during this weekend to do that. At one point, the men ended up holding each other and it was very beautiful. As time has gone on, I have become bolder and am now able to take more risks in order for my and others’ needs to be met. In the past, I’d have been too scared that it would be interpreted in a sexual way. This is how I’m developing my relationship with intimacy.
Do you bring it into your own work with groups?
Yes, what I am trying out more is to trust the group more and moving aside in that way. It’s a very powerful way of working.
Has this work changed your relationships with women?
I have learned a lot about boundaries through doing these weekends and being able to practice with women. At first, I was in the situation where I didn’t respect that there is a difference between a beautiful dance and whisking that woman off into the night. Now I realise that there is a difference and also that I do give out a sexual masculine energy and that I have to respect that energy. I wasn’t aware of that but after a few different experiences, I found out. I struggled to say ‘No’ in the past because I didn’t want to reject someone. This was linked to how painful rejection is to me. But I have learned that clarity is the most important aspect of relating in this way so I have to know how to say a clear ‘no’ in order for both myself and women to feel safe.
How do you see these weekends benefitting others?
I would love more men to do this work. There is something so wonderful about going somewhere and being able to connect with other people at a deeper level. And the gifts that I’ve received from these weekends have a ripple effect out into the outside world. They increase the love in the world
How many of these weekends have you been to?
I’ve been to four now, and also to the summer camps which Tim and Jayne run so I have experienced enough of this work to feel comfortable about the depth of sharing and the circle with others in it bearing witness.
What was your initial reason for coming on one of these weekends?
I suppose I felt I lacked a depth of connection in my everyday life and was seeking that. I’m a teacher and a single mother and I live in the countryside in Suffolk so I don’t have that much opportunity to find this sort of connection.
How has this intimacy work had an effect on you?
I have grown enormously in an understanding of my own processes and in really seeing my own behaviour. I am now able to observe my own resistance and reactions and I’m learning not always to react. I still want to back out when Tim announces some of the structures but I know I can trust him and usually manage to take part. The gazing at your partner in dance still scares me when he asks us to do it and yet every time that I do it, I enter into an amazing connection with the other person, often people I never ever imagine that this will happen with. Somehow looking into their eyes is like looking into their souls and we both open up in an incredible way. Each time I go to this weekend, my personal process expands and grows.
How is the dancing for you?
I think the dancing is a process for me, preparing me for the sharing circles. I love it and every time I dance, I enter more freely into it. Physically moving does get me nearer to something that I want to speak out, so it helps hugely in that way.
Which exercise is the most significant to you?
The gazing one. This time Tim asked us to do it for 20 minutes. I immediately think I’m going to die of embarrassment but I end up having such an opening time. It’s such a different way of getting to know someone. It’s so intense and beautiful. Just through looking at someone, all sorts of emotions come up.
What else have you struggled with?
Receiving. I feel very uncomfortable simply receiving. For me, it feels safer giving touch, for instance, than receiving it. I find it very uncomfortable to say ‘No’ as well. It’s not how I’m perceived in the outside world but this is how I am in this intimate world. And it feels good to have that side of myself witnessed so that I can grow new wings here. I am practicing saying ‘No’ in these workshops. It took me a while to see myself in this way. At first I thought other people must be wrong but I’ve realised after a lot of feedback that this is really what I’m like.
How is it with Tim and Jayne working together facilitating?
They bring a beautiful balance to it. It’s a very safe space that they hold together. And they’re always so full of love, compassion and challenge. Tim knows me very well now so I try to take his advice, particularly as I’ve asked for it!
How was this last one?
It was the most intense for me so far. I was triggered by a huge amount in the circle. I experienced a lot of grief and there was a huge amount of love and care for me. I felt incredibly nurtured by that. I trust Tim and Jayne in a way that allows me to go deeply into my own process. It feels freeing ultimately to be able to face these demons and be held safely at the same time. I’m very grateful.