You know that Facebook relationship status drop down menu?
The one where you get exactly eleven choices to tell all your ‘friends’ who’s rockin’ your world—or not.
Of course, the implied relationship we’re talking about here is intimate relationship. We all want to know if you’re engaging in sex with someone, other than yourself.
Head-scratching moment: Isn’t every relationship intimate?
(Just suspend that knee-jerk reaction and stay with me here for a few minutes. And please enjoy this brief PSA from our friends at Merriam-Webster):
intimate (adjective) \ˈin-tə-mət\
1. a: intrinsic, essential
b: belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature
Now, back to our inquiry: What is ‘one’s deepest nature?’ What’s primal to our human experience? Aren’t we social animals by nature? Am I only in intimate relationship with you because I have sex with you? If that is true, who made sex the delineation between what is intimate and what is not?
Am I separate from you? Are you separate from me?
What about my relationship with food? That feels pretty intimate to me. It feels ‘essential.’
And, what about your dog? Would you say you’re ‘intimate’ with your Lab?
What about the sunlight? Or water? Or the air you breathe? I mean, it is keeping you alive, right? Do you have an intimate relationship with your environment? With nature?
Isn’t our human nature really one and the same, intimately and intrinsically interwoven with our natural environment?
In our wild state, weren’t we one with the Earth? How has human civilization (through the ubiquitous overdevelopment of technology and culture), in fact, separated me from you? How has it separated us from each other? From relationship, in general?
What if we were not only in relationship, what if we are relationship itself?
I wonder about these questions. I’m passionately curious and soaked to the skin in contemplation. This is no ordinary existential or mid-life crisis.
Because, in case you haven’t noticed, human beings could be the next endangered species. True? If so, this is crisis of epic proportion.
And it’s an enormous wake-up gong.
Here and now, as the birds sing, the grass grows greener and the warm soft breeze of Spring fills the air, I am emerging in verdant glory myself. Bursting forth from underneath the snowy winter of my soul, sifting through questions that have blanketed my mind for years now.
And, I’m in love!
Quite literally, I fell in love with myself. Not a narcissistic, self-gratifying ardor. But a cultivated widespread harmony within myself, as a sovereign being, saturated in the purity and beauty of life. Deeply nourished by basking in the joy of the wondrous life that I have been given.
This gift…this resplendent gift that we all have been given!
I am falling in love with life itself, with the world. Each newborn calf. Every blade of grass. The caress of a sparkling sunbeam. The sacred formation of geese in flight. An innocent smile. An unsolicited hug.
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want —oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” ~ Mark Twain
I want open intimacy, to be deeply steeped in permeable love.
In the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, according to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the warrior renounces anything in her experience that is a barrier between herself and others. In other words, renunciation is making yourself more available, more gentle and open to others. Any hesitation about opening yourself is removed.
Now that’s intimacy. That’s open relationship.
What does this have to do with your sex? Everything. Because how you show up in life is how you show up in sex. More importantly, consider the converse: how you show up in sex is how you show up in life.
Allow yourself to fall in love with yourself…with life, and the world. Surrender to love. You don’t have to look very far at all to find wonder and pleasure, joy and ecstasy in each moment.
There is a flip side, of course. I would be remiss to speak only of the “up” and not the “down.” If I am this intimate with my world then I also am familiar and open to its pain: anguish and grief, anger and rage, deep brooding and ennui.
Having just lost my mother to cancer on the first of March—mere weeks ago—I am viscerally feeling my darker emotions, too. Gracefully learning to attune to both the first symphonic strains of life and the somber requiem of death.
To me, this is what it is to be undeniably human.
So in truth, I firmly believe there is only one choice: ‘in an open relationship.’
Because love is the revolution. And quite literally, that is what may save us all from extinction.
Jenny Ferry is an emerging leader in the field of conscious sexuality and author of Soul Sex: Creating the Conscious Connection You Crave (2014). She facilitates public workshops and private client sessions throughout the U.S. and Canada. She’s passionate about human liberation, in every incarnation – especially sexual. An eclectic culture junkie, she loves erotic photography, traversing the Salish Sea (preferably by sailboat), and artisan goat cheese on a sturdy gluten-free cracker. For workshop or coaching inquiries, visit jennyferry.com. Find her on Facebook or on twitter at: https://twitter.com/jennyferry
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Ed. T. Lemieux/Kate Bartolotta