In the film, Avatar, instead of saying “I love you,” the Navi say “I see you.” The Navi experience and cherish all of life as connected and interwoven, so the statement “I see you,” indicates an intimacy that recognizes and cherishes the individual beyond the collective connection.
Today, I was reading an interview with Barbara Taylor Brown, an Episcopal priest and successful writer on seeing the spiritual in everyday things. She comments on the meeting of another, a stranger, “The moment I turn that person into a character in my own story, the encounter is over.”
Real intimacy is about being seen in your individuality and your differences and seeing the individuality and differences of the other and it’s about being one of the characters in a story written by the “being of the relationship.”
Much of learning about and developing a capacity for intimacy is becoming awake to the failures and absences of intimacy. Shining the light into the shadows and finding the courage to find oneself hiding in the shadows as both a victim and a perpetrator.
I want to give you a framework of four ways of not being seen and what it means to be a character in somebody else’s story or script. Sadly, this often occurs in our childhoods, leaving wounds that distort our intimate adult relationships.
As a character in the stories of your naive and often well-intentioned parents :
You are the divine child with amazing talents that reflects light on the others sense of self. You are the dark, wild child that needs to be controlled and suppressed in order to living up to the their need for the good child.
You are the dutiful child prematurely burdened with taking on the parent’s tasks, often caring for the parent.
You are the forgotten and lost child living on the margins of the parent’s life rarely seen, understood or held.
Each of us has experienced degrees and mixtures of all four of these. It is so liberating to reflect on these experiences and the self-defining feelings that resulted and to speak the truth of the failures of intimacy you have known, even living through now.
So often we miss out on intimacy because we idolize, demonize, utilize or marginalize our partners or let them see us in one or more of these gestures. I speak with the authority that comes from living, not from theory. I played the idol, the demon, the servant, the excluded in my childhood and my key intimate relationships and I have done this to my partners – until I realized it – till I saw the framework.
The framework names the failures and in knowing their names we find the possibility of healing, of liberating and of empowering our relationships. With consciousness, relationships become creative and rewarding for all concerned and engaged.
Now I take the responsibility to celebrate and honor instead of idolize, respect differences and set boundaries instead of demonize, express needs and make requests with gratitude and a sense for the other’s needs instead of utilize, and to pay attention to, include and appreciate deeply the presence of the other instead of marginalize and neglect.
And I know when I am not seen, when I am just a character in another’s story. I can forgive this, work with it, challenge it, end it. I speak up with compassion and calm courage about my feelings.
You can, too.
I had a great therapist years ago that said “Know it. Catch it. Change it.” It’s true.
Imaging and Creating Intimacy -The Fundamental Schooling in Being in Conscious Relationship is full of the “Know it.” epiphanies. You will leave the course knowing a lot about the twists and turns of intimacy. Then you will need to start catching them and changing them. You can do it.
Intimacy is an art and a science and requires a living creative tension – it is not a magical romance, a gift from the gods to be idolized, then demonized, diminished to merely conviently useful, or pushed to the edges of your life. Intimacy requires energy, focus, imagination, conservation and innovation.
Join the course and bring a more fulfilling, more responsible intimacy to all your relationships. Register here for the webinar.