Intimacy: In-To-Me-You-See

“We’re all becoming lonely.   We’re all feeling unloved.  Each one of us is talking about it.  What is going on?  Is it technology or what?”  I asked my friend.

"When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real." by Margery Williams - "The Velveteen Rabbit".

“Well, you hardly call me anymore,” she said.

“I feel like I’m interrupting you. I usually get your answering machine.  We’d connect if I texted you, but I want to talk with you.  When we do connect you say how busy you are.  It feels like you’re saying to not contact you.”

“No…I want to hear from you.  You just have to understand that I have to take other calls if they are business,” she said.

“I understand that.  I was a business person.  I’m talking about always hearing how busy you are.”  It felt wonderful being able to finally talk this through with my cherished friend.

We remembered how we used to gather over a good lunch, long coffees or a social event.  Something shifted and we stopped sharing these times completely.  Other women have experienced this, as well.  They also described how loneliness has crept into their busy lives.

Before I began sharing these feelings with friends, I thought I was alone.  Turns out we have similar stories. I wondered if it was because of texting, but some have cell phones while others don’t.  We all love new technology – to varying degrees – but what was this sense of being alone and left out?

I didn’t limit my research to close friends.  I found parents of adult children who are flummoxed by the fact that their kids don’t respond to their phone messages.  Grandparents work at dispelling stings they don’t understand due to the seeming rudeness of curt, ambiguous or absent responses.

My findings?  People are feeling dissed, folks.

Communication may be enhanced, but intimacy is being neglected.  Connectedness is not intimacy.  Contact will not send the needle of our heart’s gauge to FULL.  Without care, our love tank will come dangerously close to empty.

A string of responses on Face Book or masterful tweets on Twitter may feed the ego for a while.  Would that string stop being clever, witty or cute long enough to offer us a bowl of soup if we were flat on our backs?

I love my blog connections.  I love spending time on Face Book.  Who wouldn’t love a platform that brings so much attention on a birthday?

I thrill over finding a bone fide message from a friend through email.   Or a birthday letter sent snail mail by a sister.

However, these alone will not feed the soul.  True intimacy comes from contact that includes touching, smelling, feeling, and seeing a human being nose to nose.

Overcoming loneliness means opening to, and responding to, another human being.

Someone used to ask me, “What has made you happy recently?”   She’d wait for my answer, then truly listen.   How did I know?  By the questions she’d ask.  I left her company feeling seen, heard and loved.

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Dale Biron recites a poem by William Stafford, titled, “A Ritual To Read To Each Other”:

This video was presented by Dr. Robert Rossel who asked  “…what would the Buddha have done if he had access to the Internet?” .  Under the title, “Surface and Depth” at the blog “Into The Bardo”, Dr. Rossel shares his wise insights in answering the question.

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♥  On Valentine’s Day, let’s give our attention and time.
Watch out for the magic.  ♥

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95 thoughts on “Intimacy: In-To-Me-You-See

  1. Beautiful post. Yes, technology can never transmit emotions like, love care, togetherness although it can help us to stay connected. But I am not sure if it can keep us emotionally connected.
    ” True intimacy comes from contact that includes touching, smelling, feeling, and seeing a human being nose to nose.”- this one is the best part of this post. So true & thoughtful.

    • Many thanks, my young friend. I see you have shared your wisdom with us today and even helped us celebrate Valentine’s Day. One person calls Valentine’s Day – SAD day: Single Awareness Day. I hope someone surprises her with a chocolate heart…I received one today. :D

  2. Thank you.

    I needed to hear this because I know I would rather have a distant “close” relationship (I hate the anticipation of a phone conversation, but always love the interaction while it is happening). It’s fear for me, but what is really frightening is how I avoid the invitation to be “intimate” – newly defined as non-tech interaction.

    So, thank you! For helping me check my behavior. I know I’m going to benefit from seeing things differently.

    • It’s amazing how many people have the fear of intimacy. It’s largely a fear of getting hurt, but giving into that fear causes so many issues that rob a person from knowing a deep and abiding love. It can stop people from dealing with issues – by not speaking up. It can stop people from asking for what they truly want. When I muster up my courage to address issues and express my feelings, I feel so good! Especially when it provides a forum for a healthy exchange.

      Some folks think if they show us who they really are, they would be rejected. We sure need to work on self esteem to crank up our freedom!

  3. I’ve always made handmade cards for my mom and dad’s birthdays and wedding anniversary and my sister’s birthday. It is somehow very special to gift something that you’ve laboured over :) My parents still have all of my cards with them – one that comes to my mind is of two stick figures – of a little girl with a school bag holding the hand of a bald man with a briefcase :)
    Technology can help us stay connected but for that special emotional connect – we need to make an extra effort :)

    • Wow, good for you, P & P! What a great way to present your perceptions of what loved ones would appreciate and enjoy…in other words, you show how you see them. I have a friend who decorates envelops for cards in such a special way for her friends. I love receiving my envelops and saving them!

  4. “Connectedness is not intimacy.”
    In a nutshell.
    Love the Velveteen Rabbit quote, which I’ve used before on Facebook ;)
    Love that you are thinking of these things, as am I. Constantly.
    Appreciate your post.
    Happy Valentines Day!

    • Hey, Bela – always good to hear from you. We must have an energy string that waves through the miles and keeps us so connected. I’m glad! Yah, that rabbit…I cannot resist: “Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

    • Susan, if this is really you, and not the hackers, please let me know. Respond here – with this information that only you and I will know this. Tell me: What did I do to your camera when we were on the photography jeep?

  5. To receive attention and time is a gift that is not given nearly enough as it should be! Nice to be given a reminder. A reminder of what counts. A reminder that as much as we have to thank technology for keeping us connected, true connection comes from breathing the same air the other is breathing and sharing a cup of tea, smelling and hearing and sensing common things even though our reactions to it all may be different.

  6. Hi,
    I love phone calls from friends, and I also love ringing them as well, there is nothing like being able to talk with them when you can’t actually be there with them.
    There is also room I feel for connection through the internet, people that I would not have “met” in any other way. I also feel some people may have lost themselves in all this new technology, I have seen people at cafe’s together, yet they are not talking but are busy on their iPads, phones etc. very sad I feel.
    I hope you have a lovely day on whatever you decide to do.
    Happy Valentines Day.

    • Yes, Mags – we keep being reminded of the need for balance, don’t we? We have those same people in our coffee houses! They really get around. Hope they are emailing each other. :D

  7. Hi, Amy. In the most classic sense, you are so the master storyteller with always an elevating point to make.One walks away with a gift. Engaging. I love this post. It is true that we need to touch each other in more personal ways than technology allows … and we need to listen to each other and truly hear. This puts me in mind of John Naisbitt’s discussion of the “technology intoxicated zone” and “high tech, high touch” …

    Thank you for always reading and commenting at “Into the Bardo.” Appreciate that you acknowledged Rob here.

    I would love – with your permission – to reblog this on “Into the Bardo”. All links and credits as appropriate. Let me know on FB or jamiededes@gmail.com. And, by the way, I have included you in the Contributing Writers.
    http://intothebardo.wordpress.com/contributing-writers/

    … and a very happy Valentine’s Day to you. I’m getting ready to post one of Blaga’s poems for the day. Who better – the great romantic, eh?

    Have a wonderful day. Keep the stories coming. They are much loved and you are much appreciated.

    Warmest regards,
    Jamie

    • Oh Jamie…a great big hug to you today especially. Amazing how I feel about you – we might pass each other on the street. Isn’t that incredible? However, I smile that you will be featuring one of Blaga’s poems. How appropriate. Blaga can out-write any of us with romantic concepts – from deeply sad to tops in ecstasy.

      Yes, I’d be honoured to have you reblog this post. I’ll let you know!

  8. oh I so relate to this. I live hundreds of miles away from all my close friends. I’m thankful for FB and emailing that helps us keep in regular contact. But nothing beats a hug, a face to face time over a cup of tea or glass of wine. I have the most amazing BFF who comes to visit 2-3 times a year and boy do I treasure those days together. I so miss friends that I can call up and say “let’s meet up for coffee, or supper this week”. It’s why my heart longs to move back to Ontario. I need that contact, that hug, that smile that I can see and feel.
    walk in beauty.

    • It’s terribly difficult to move away from close friends at an older age. We all know it’s more difficult finding and growing new friends when we are older, but experiencing that challenge chips at one’s heart. I don’t know why you moved from Ontario, Joss, but I’m so glad you have the blog community – hopefully we are tiding you over as you break new turf.

      • well when we moved here five years ago, it was because housing was affordable and I had family here. Family, however were unable to maintain the illusion of all is well once we were closer and chose to walk away. So, we are heading back to Ontario in another year or two, once we can afford the move. Five years and we are still strangers. Rural nova Scotia is beautiful but everyone from “away” seems to remain isolated. and yes, the blog community makes a huge difference for me. So I often feel the need to say “thank you”.

        • I’m delighted to hear there’s light in that proverbial tunnel, Joss. I’m fairly close to a young woman who is from rural Nova Scotia. She talks about the very thing you mention. She described, the other day, how there could be all sorts of horrible things going on in some home, and even though everyone will know about it, nothing is done. Plus if outsiders try to intervene, the folks just rally around so as to hide it all. Sometimes incredible smokescreens are put up to “throw them off the scent”. All that stuff… Yike, who wants to even attempt to break in.

          Do we get to have a blog party for your homecoming? :D

  9. I think you’ve made some valid points there. I remember how just a few years ago I would use my home phone constantly to keep in touch with my friends. Gradually although I guess abruptly, it’s become texting and emailing and barely a phone call.

    • Sounds like you are pretty much like my friends! Think I’ll be getting my cell phone pretty soon. :D I can probably get rid of my land line. It’s usually hosting telemarketing or wrong numbers.

  10. Amy, you nailed this on the head! So much is lost in technology. I see the difference in the younger people today…I call it the disassociation of the younger generation; though they are connected at arm’s length to their friends all the time, they lack the intimacy of the relationship.

    • There is a professor from one of the US universities doing a study with students re their lack of intimacy skills. I apologize that I cannot remember his name or location, but he was interviewed on our CBC radio network. I recall his question about what it will do to commitment, loyalty, follow through, etc. I hope his findings are publicized.

  11. I made a New Year’s resolution this year to be more available to people, to get out of my house and join others in the world. It’s a struggle, but I’ll keep dipping my toes into the water until it feels a bit more comfortable. Thank you for the inspiration, dear souldipper!

    • Good for you, SDS. One of my wise mentors always asks what I’ve been doing. If it appears that I’ve been doing too much time alone, he says, “Careful who you spent too much time with.” :D

  12. I remember your comment to my post “What is Class? II” That same administrator who wove relationships so effortlessly, who listened, really listened spoke about intimacy at professional gatherings. At the time I was struck by the apparent inappropriateness. I never commented out loud my thoughts on this. I just trusted him discovering how I needed to grow into the answers of “What is intimacy?” Yes, intimacy is most appropriate and we must not push it aside, but open ourselves to listen, really listen, forge relationships and not just connect every now and then.
    If you read my comment to you on my site today, I would further say we must grab that “iron” and iron things from the inside out so they appear well pressed and not just touched up. Great post!

    • There’s a knack or skill in knowing how to be intimate with a less familiar person without crashing through their boundaries. We learn to test the waters. I’m sure, as an educator, you often experienced the challenge and joy of someone gradually letting you in. I suspect you saw joy and a shy form of awe. The connection is made, the trust is there and both have been elevated.

      Great analogy, Georgette…put the handle on that hot iron and get down to a good press! :D (I liked your ironing lesson. I hadn’t thought about doing the inside out routine for the sake of keeping the clothes from wearing out. That makes sense…all that heat must be doing something to the fabric.)

  13. Happy Valentine’s Day Amy. Long ago before the thought of the Internet had been conceived I was a terribly lonely person. Young and shy and lonely. Then I learned to love myself on each level. Then I learned to love others. I have not been lonely for a very long time. I love my solitude and relish distant yet meaningful relationships that I have online.

    • Raven, you beautiful woman – you have succinctly nailed the recipe. There’s no shortcut to this. We have to come to an understanding and acceptance of who we are in order to love others at the depth we want. We are responsible for our own happiness. It is the open and loving exchange with others that help mirror the success of our efforts.

  14. Thank you Amy! Yes to the intimacy of presence. And in my experience, intimacy can be generated in any moment, with any other. Even if we do not “know” them (whatever that means, because how does one ever expect to know the mystery that breathes each of us?) I love to move thru my days regarding all whom I encounter as a friend. As a world of treasures and poorly concealed Love. The person ringing my groceries, the bus driver, the waitress. Every moment is an opportunity to lean into the imaginary gap between self and other and make the world warmer and more authentic. Sure that doesn’t let me off the hook about calling my mama– but everyone loves to matter. I delight in witnessing others open, light up, become more real and beautiful! For me this makes life worth Living.
    xoxoxoAthena

    • Athena, you highlight the fact that opportunities for intimacy are constantly in front of us. It’s us who run away from it, avoid it, get scared by it, or think it’s going to hurt us. Sometimes it means being gentle in our approach because we can be too overwhelmingly open to others. We learn to monitor that and come in with a gentle opening.

      Imagine you landing here again on Valentine’s Day, you Aquarian, Course in Miracles, god-buddying, love promoter! :D Since I share this “we’re on” Aquarian birthright, our coming together today must be the epitome of crescendos! Waawhooo!

    • Hi Becca. You are such a love being that I can imagine you hanging hearts on every living being around you today! :D Thanks for coming by today because I feel you’ve just draped one on me.

  15. Happy Valentines Day my dear friend Amy! I am so happy to read your post and know that we have to step away from the tech stuff and really get close to our friends & families. Too often I find texting friends and emails really has no emotion…and I step away wondering if the other person really got what I was trying to say! “The language of the heart” can only be expressed when one person is engaging with another, and a good hug will always warm the soul. Looking forward to many more one on one conversations with you! Love to you xo Karen

    • Hi Karen! Did you recognize yourself in this post? :D What a great start to Valentine’s Day, finding you here. It’s a super opportunity to thank you for being the kind of friend I want to be, too. Our journey has been full of life’s experiences – from loss to abundance and many challenges in between. Your presence enriches my life and causes me to look forward to any and all conversations we have in front of us.

  16. Hi Amy, yes I did and how can I not forget the beautiful bear we came across on our first walk together. YES YES & YES on all of the above. The journey has and will continue to be fabulous xoxo

  17. Communication may be enhanced, but intimacy is being neglected.  Connectedness is not intimacy.  Contact will not send the needle of our heart’s gauge to FULL.  Without care, our love tank will come dangerously close to empty.
    BRILLIANT words..you could not have said it any better and a perfect post for today!

  18. Happy Valentines Day to you!!!!!! Lot’s of love from my heart is coming your way. I just love this blog, I love people and I love to call, write and be a part of their lives. It’s all part of caring about the person and giving value to their friendship. God calls us to be in fellowship with one another, he wants us to have relationships with each other. Unfortunately not everyone feels like that, they value their privacy and do not extend themselves to others.
    You are cared for by so many people, you are blessed.

    • Thanks, Dee – yes I certainly feel blessed. Thank goodness for all the people who have been willing recipients of love throughout my life. There would be an implosion if there had been no outlet. Or, I’d have many pets! Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well, Dee.

  19. I found myself avoiding a friend’s phone calls because I can never seem to get off the phone with her in less than an hour. I know…I know. Can’t I at least give an hour? I’d hunt through my schedule, finding 30 minute slots, but I knew they wouldn’t work and I ‘d be late for a meeting because even saying, “I’ve really got to go.” Just didn’t work.
    Perhaps it is technology’s fault. I’ve gotten used to communicating in small spurts and getting so many other things done. I do set aside the hour, but it’s not as often as my friend would like.

    • At times, Barb, I’m on phone calls longer than I want, too. Probably longer than either of us want. I sometimes say – “You know we don’t have to talk long, but it’s good to know you are okay.” I don’t ever want to be the person someone is avoiding. That’s why I asked my business-owner friend, Karen, about always saying she’s busy – in and out of business hours. She explained she was concerned about having to say, “I have to take this call” when she got a Call Waiting message. She gets business calls at any time.

      I have no qualms about setting boundaries and then sticking to them. If it’s appropriate to be flexible, that’s fine, but there’s a consequence to not sticking to them.

      Amazing what clarity comes with an honest discussion. Thank goodness people who really love each other can be honest.

  20. Amy, great post. Don’t wish to gush, but really great. The great challenge is to push the world away to be properly present with those we love. I have a special friend I have not seen since Christmas Day. Time to remedy that…

  21. Hi Amy:

    So lovely to see you here again and to be so much “in sink” in thinking about the challenge of intimacy and depth in modern life. It is so nice to know that you are out there!

    Love,
    Rob

    • Thanks so much for coming by, Rob, and for lending me your video. I hope some of the readers took the time to pop over and see what you thought about Buddha and the internet.

      In fact, attention is such an important discipline in preparing for aging. I used to watch my parents…they’d be placing an object somewhere other than its normal spot. They’d have their attention somewhere else. Just for fun, I’d say, “Where did you put the ….?” About 70 to 80 percent of the time, they’d pick where it is supposed to be.

      Now, I catch myself placing my attention in some foreign location. :)

  22. Good food for thought in this post. I think I tend to be the sort who relies upon technology a bit much. I HATE the phone and always have. I don’t know why. But I much prefer writing. I think it is because I can think about what I’m saying a bit more.

    But we are a social species, after all. The nose-to-nose aspect is important. That I can’t deny.

    • I’ve always loved written communication, too, Linda. For my birthday this year, my sister actually wrote me a letter and mailed it with a card. I was thrilled.

      Both of us are on Face Book and do exchange news on email, but the letter was great.

      I have an artist friend to whom I send an occasional hand-written card for no reason. He loves it. You’d think I was sending original paintings.

      • I have two (yes just 2) friends who still use conventional mail. I do love getting mail from them but at times I miss the spontenaity of being able to simply email a photo or article or random thought. One of these friends is an elementary teacher. I recieve a greeting card from her for EVERY single holiday. I am never on top of these things. I assume she is because of the kids. Today I got a Valentine’s card from her. Sweet.

        • I’m laughing over this, Linda! I know about never being able to reciprocate appropriately to some. Ya kinda get the feeling they expect the same in return. Whether they do or not, ya kinda git that feelin’!! And it “don’t” feel good!

  23. I do ‘people’ day in day out, every day. It’s just what I’m called to do. And at the end of the day, frankly……I’m people’d out and I just wanna slow it down, take it to a different place and just BE.
    I hate telephones–even before the cellphone era, it’s been my least favorite form of communication. I don’t use the cellphone. But I do use text, day in day out. It’s especially helpful with a sister who can’t use her voice right now–so I’m actually really, really glad for the cellphone advantage. However, it’s not changed my sentiments about the darn phone call piece of the deal.

    Yes, there’s a connectedness that happens for me with folks through this medium. And while I can’t proclaim that every relationship I have with folks in this medium had a level of ‘intimacy’, I’d argue (go figure!) that some do. It does go beyond the exchange of words on a web log. Real or imagined, I do feel a connectedness with some folks who are thousands of miles away that’s deeper than some folks I share space with. Note I said ‘some’. I think in my case it’s split into some of each?

    Is it a fear of intimacy? I don’t think so. LOL I’m very clear that I cannot guard my heart–I stopped believing that lie the head told me eons ago.
    I believe it’s more about kindred spirits and crossing of paths for reasons–here, there…..wherever.

    I don’t ‘feel’ socially isolated (I ain’t that much of a social person….LOL). And I don’t feel cheated or particularly lonely. Maybe it’s about maintaining some of each and what it is that’s being shared, either through coffee at the coffee shop or coffee at the computer? Heck…..LOL…..maybe it’s the coffee!

    I’m sure it’s the coffee!

    In fact, I’m SO sure it’s about the coffee, I’m gonna grab another cup! ;-)

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

    • I sure do understand the bit about being peopled out, Mel. I need my sanctuary to rejuvenate on a regular basis.

      Like my Massage Therapist friend says, “There are times when my medicine chest is empty.”

      We have to be in good shape in order to participate in a relationship with genuine fluidity. When we are stressed or played out, it can be hard to offer love to one who needs it, never mind deal with the disagreements that can and do arise within love.

      I learned that one of the ways to overcome the fear of intimacy (being hurt) is to know that vulnerability is empowerment. In other words, it is the opposite of what is feared.

        • Yeah…not very funny at all, is it, Mel?! It’s kinda why we like to make sure we do the giving, right? I just got another gentle and loving reminder yesterday to “be open and receptive to an unconditional and loving relationship NOW”. Yah but… !!! You know the rest! :D

  24. I feel so much less lonely with technology. Writing (letters, cards, texts, blogging) is my medium and I feel it allows me to be more intimate in some ways. Words come to me much easier in written form. In person, I can get tongue-tied. And with Facebook, I also get to hear the rather inane, small details (some could call intimate) from the daily lives of the wide spectrum of friends and family from afar. Like Mel, I am with people a lot in my work, from an introvert’s point of view, and I have always been a phone-a-phobe! I fear intimacy, in that I’m overly intimate. I can get easily overwhelmed by the needs of others and quickly lose myself. Technology provides a bit of a buffer. I’m working on these issues within myself, and am trying to navigate these waters while keeping a good balance. Happy Valentine’s Day Amy!!

    • It’s good that you find solace and satisfaction with the technological aids you have available in your life. It’s important, Maggie, that you use whatever approach that gives you what you want in relationships. Since each of us have different relational needs, we each have to find our way.

      I believe all of us can feel more connected with these electronics, but loneliness seems to be a strong motivator for connectivity.

  25. Writing is a very lonely practice. Blogging and social networks helps but it’s a false sense of interaction to any kind of relationship. While I get in gear to work at home again, I fear how reclusive that is since I’ve done it before. It will take some creativity.

    • Totsymae – I feel – after too much time alone – that I’m in rotten company!

      Like some of my buddies and I have learned…we’re all experts in relationships until we get into one. We are certain somebody threw Miracle Gro on our character defects!

  26. Here’s one that goes the other way. I have lost track of a lot of people from my childhood since I moved away to Alabama in the last few years. I’m the sort of person who hangs on to folks hard, and it’s been really difficult. Except that I’ve discovered we can all connect online. I’ve exchanged some soul searching e-mails with some of my best friends, and it doesn’t replace talking and seeing each other regularly. But oh it is a balm for a soul that cannot reach out and touch them.

    And I’ve completely reconnected with my Dad, who I only saw rarely when I lived near him. I would have said ten years ago was likely to lose touch with me completely. He’s just not a talker. But he will write. And that has been extremely gratifying.

    I think you have an excellent point here, but I can definitely see the other side from my place in the world :)

    • You are the second person who has experienced how electronics has saved her after a move away from home. That’s great. I love connectivity…it’s essential.

      Intimacy takes me beyond being in touch. It’s seeing who the other person is and letting them see who I really am. Hating their silly habits. Having to live with the coolness of their mood. Me ranting about some insignificant nothing. Eating with each other when issues are not settled. Watching a loved one watch something they love. Hearing their voice and knowing I can throw myself into his arms.

      Intimacy is making ourselves vulnerable. It’s showing up in spite of wanting to run the other way. It’s loving someone through the ups and downs and in spite of me and all my dumb stuff.

      When we can only have connectedness, let’s be grateful for that! Having known the fabulous taste, feel, sound and sight of intimacy, it’s something I don’t want to forget.

  27. This is a profoundly welcome message, Amy! We talk of these things here in our home, and the ways communication has changed, and the loss it is. My friend Inge, born a German, but having lived here since college, has taught me friendship, by insisting on meeting weekly for supper, and never letting time go without doing so. There is nothing like that consistent time together, learning and understanding one another.

    The Stafford poem is tremendous and shows so well what you mean here. Rossel’s recitation is just terrific, too. This is a brilliant start to my day. Thank you.

    • Hello Ruth. One friend with whom I meet regularly – either over lunch or on a good walk – fell in love unexpectedly and married again. I accepted that I may see her a lot less, but she is terrific about maintaining contact with her friends, even from childhood. I cannot imagine reducing our raucous, riotous, quiet and deep times to a phone call, email or face book transmission. I may as well try to add salt to a stew through a straw, with a salt shaker.

      I hope your voice activated software is keeping you happily challenged and successful. I wonder with each post – did this take forever? Is it faster?

  28. I am alone most of my days, but I’m never lonely. I sense “friends” all around me all the time. Staying open to the magic is the key. I wonder why so many people fail to pick up the key and use it to unlock the door they keep pushing on?

    • The key for me, Lorna, is to have someone “with skin on” who will hold up mirrors for me to see myself. The mirror held up by trusted friends is their actions, expressions, nuances, pauses, movements, positioning, touching, etc. Words are such a small part of any exchange. Those friends silently show me if I’m being too arrogant, talkative, cocky, syrupy, naive…whatever. I may not like what I see and that really is the part I need to pay attention to.

      I want to be a contributor in this world. I want to have something to give – even if it’s nothing more than silence with a smile.

      I like my life. I love the sanctuary my home offers. I need down time to refresh and regenerate. But I also need intimacy to feel wanted, needed and loved.

  29. Hi Amy .. so true – thoughtfulness, care for others, remembering others .. so important as well as being there physically. Being single – and I didn’t get a chocolate heart .. or anything! – but I’m fine with that – life is that way at the moment .. and others have their troubles.

    I love your post – and the title .. “Intimacy: In To Me You See” ..

    Hope you had a peaceful and blessed day – Hilary

    • I cannot take credit for that “pronunciation” for intimacy, Hilary…that came from some unknown source. It may have been Dr. Phil.

      I heard a woman professor on CBC yesterday explaining how single people are being subjected to discrimination. She has data showing that single people are paid less than married people doing the same level of work. She has experienced attitudes whereby she is considered an oddity while divorcees are accepted. She would likely not have been impressed by the woman wanting to change the name of Valentine’s Day to SAD. Single Awareness Day. That would really make it sound like singleness is a sad state of affairs.

      I’ve watched married women pull on the power of their husbands in securing what they want. I’m not impressed. I take each woman on her own to see who she is. A person’s status means little to me. Generally, it indicates what will be their priority.

      I love seeing people stand on their own two feet and have a loving, supportive partner. To me, that is interdependence at its finest.

      Here’s a great big hug, Hilary, and a thank you for all you contribute as you look after ALL details of life and living – unshared, but helped by some.

  30. There are so many comments that I had to scroll down. It’s a real popular topic. You hit the nail on the head for so many people. I am one. I am forwarding this to my sisters who have all the friends they need but feel isolated yet. I who have a best friend in my husb don’t need as many outside friends yet could do with a couple more. It is a skill to make friends these days of texting and messageing. I, too, love to sit with coffee and tea but haven’t these many years. I, too, have found solace in facebook and emails and long for different days long gone. We miss our parents and the life they had with friends and relatives. Thanks for this post. this valentine. hugs to you. :)

    • So good to have you come by, Clar! Thanks for sharing my blog with your sisters. When I feel lonely, I have to ask myself how much effort I’m putting into making a tea or a lunch date. I catch myself deciding others are too busy and I don’t call them. So I have to make the connection and check it out. I find a good walk is an opportunity for great visits. Man, the time flies and we end up being a couple of healthier people – inside and out!

      Keep sharing your heart, Clar…that’s how our parents created intimate friendships. It still works well -even when we start with tiny steps.

  31. Yes Amy, I agree that loneliness is a common theme among all of us who are stranded here. Connectivity and Oneness is the goal, overcoming the hurdles to get where we want to go is indeed the process, varied as it is. Regardless, it’s great when we are able to communicate our needs and desires to those we are close to, and want to be closer to! I’m glad to benefit from your point of view, and that I met you here, your presence means a lot to me. I know it’s not the same, but I’m sending you a virtual hug!

    • And I accept your virtual hug, Maggie! You just reminded me of something…in favour of your position. Some people can hardly bear to be hugged. Bet a virtual hug is well accepted by them! :)

      • A friend who I met on Facebook created this text, that we call a ‘heart cozy a.k.a. ‘heart embrace,: (((<3))) I'm glad you accepted mine.

        Amy you are right. I used to hug with wild abandon, no one was spared…until I met someone who became like a solid post when I hugged him. I learned that even though it felt weird to skip over him in a lineup of friends, I did so. I was also told that I was so 'Californian' in my 'familiar' ways, which was made more obvious when I travelled abroad. Especially in Asian cultures, men and women don't touch each other in public. In addition, I then experienced what is called the 'A-Frame Hug' by a friend, and decided I must rethink my position on this issue. Now I try to be more sensitive in this regard and either don't hug, or I ask first (usually while I'm going in for the hug! Ha! Gotta work on that!).

        • Yes, different cultures, different mores. I remember my shock when I learned in the late ’60s that I could be arrested for kissing in public in Spain. After having been in Paris…! I have no idea if that is still the law, but it certainly was at that time.

          I’m familiar with the “a-frame”, the “side-ways”, the “I’m not really into this”, “I’m stealing a kiss”, etc. etc. I, too, will check out whether or not someone wants a hug if I don’t know them well. One time, at a woman’s gathering, I held my arms out to a woman who I saw frequently. She growled, “Is this for you or me?” I just quietly answered, “Both, I hope.” But I stay clear of her now which is probably a shame because I think she’s lonely. Perhaps I need to accept leaving her alone and she needs to learn to reach out. I really trust the Divine to guide me on those issues.

          There’s a woman who is a loud, yelly, arm’s flung wide open hugger. I avoid her every chance I get because I feel she’s all about her magnanimous self. Sometimes a quiet and gentle squeeze on a hand is far more meaningful!

  32. Pingback: Disconnected ~ Connections & Distractions « Spirit Lights The Way

  33. Connectedness is not intimacy. Contact will not send the needle of our heart’s gauge to FULL..a very profound thought…beautifully put and so very true Amy…in the “busyness” of our lives, forgetting this basic tenet of relationships is somehow becoming more acceptable and breaks my heart!

     As much as I love this sense of ‘connectedness’ the joy of being with someone…getting or giving a hug…being able to touch and express the sense of intimacy that is the trademark of a physical meeting is without compare…it sort of completes one…I believe that a fear of intimacy is a real threat today…there  is a tendency to forget that we can be independent and our own person as also maintain close physical relationships…these are not exclusive to each other but rather enhance a sense of self…

    My home is an ‘open house’ sort of home…and although it is often a lot of work…I wouldn’t  have it otherwise for the world…thank you dear Amy for the beautiful reminder to all of us that to be able to feel that we have been…seen, heard and loved…is what we all really crave…sometimes unbeknownst to ourselves…

    • Shama, you have summarized the struggle for those who face the fear of intimacy: “there is a tendency to forget that we can be independent and our own person (and) also maintain close physical relationships”.

      The fear is a tiny voice that says, “You won’t like me if you really know me.”

      Seen. Heard. Loved. There it is! When we give undivided attention to another, the returns are deep, rich and sustaining – for both. It opens us to a degree and depth that encourages each of us to trim our sharp edges because we want to be loving, not unkind.

      We show each other who we really are and marvel over being accepted and loved in spite of all we feared of exposing.

      When my parents became quite homebound with old age, my friends and I would wind up the work week at their place on Fridays. We’d gather together, pool all our triumphs and complaints and hash them out with the participation of Mom and Dad. They loved it and so did my friends. The mix of wisdom, intellect, humour, doubt and inexperience were a joy. The bonds built at that time held fast even though careers took us to new locations. I’m so glad we included my parents.

  34. Pingback: My Blog is Flatlining: “Oh What a World, What a World!” « The Worrywart's Guide to Weight, Sex, and Marriage

  35. Hello Amy. Thank you for this important post. I can relate to the frustrations of wanting to connect with people and getting a text or silence in response. Before too long, I start down the road of resenting them and/or cooking up imaginary offences I must have committed. It’s an issue that keeps coming up for me.

    The more avenues there are for communicating, the more non-response hurts.

    • Thanks for your comment, SGC. It does hurt. We seem to need to encourage some solid good manners in this age of new technology.

      I just visited your blog…oh boy, one of my buttons were pushed by the Harvard Business Review! Man o man…that is like poking a red hot poker in my soul!

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