Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Closeness: Intimacy and Soul Nourishment

Our world seems to more and more virtual every day. So much of what used to be face to face is now done online--be it holding meetings, workshops, conferences and even coaching and therapist sessions.

While there are certainly conveniences of being able to participate in events with others from the comfort of your own computer, a lot is lost when we only meet in cyberspace.

Closeness, including emotional and physical contact, is a soul food group, and without enough of it, our souls and spirits can become malnourished. Unfortunately, like frogs in a pot of boiling water, this happens slowly over time, and we may not even be aware of what we have lost as we lose it. We become numb or frozen and start to define that as the new normal.

Eleonora Woloy has written a wonderful chapter called "The Many Faces of Closeness," in a book entitled Closeness in Personal and Professional Relationships edited by Harry A. Wilmer. Some of her points are good food for thought.

She defines closeness as "a nearness to anything, or a coming together to unite, whether the other is another human being an animal God or another layer of oneself." Woloy conducted a study and found that the following elements were key parts of closeness: "something shared, a sudden recognition, an experience often in silence, vulnerability, a sense of freedom and bodily experience."

Silence included "the experience of being with someone in stillness, without conversation, either sharing the same experience or sharing one's own private experience in the company of another." When we are face to face, our energies interact. In silence, this energetic interaction, be it our heart fields, our spirits or both, can become palpable. It leads to connection, and I believe to soul nourishment as well.

Sudden recognition was "a sense of sudden unexplained feeling of familiarity that led to a feeling of closeness." I believe when we share space and time with another person, including speaking and listening from the heart, as well as sharing silence, we feel that we know them better. And both energetically and informationally, we do. We start to see and feel ourselves in the mirror of another person, including energetically. This helps us feel more emotionally and spiritually nourished.

Woloy defines shared experience as "the experience of joining with another in some thought, feeling or particular action." If we really want to get to know another person, or want another person to really get to know us, having shared experiences is important. The act of joining leads to connection and over time, bonding. Is it not a surprise that we form friendships of substance with people who we share common experiences with, be it singing in a chorus, working on a project, serving on a committee, or even doing volunteer work feeding the hungry on a holiday?

Vulnerability is "a capacity to be open and exposed to an other." While many of us fear being vulnerable, developing a sense of connection, including shared experiences, helps us feel safer to let our guards down. When we open our hearts and share more deeply, we naturally nurture connection and intimacy. I believe the soul craves the nourishment that comes from safe, respectful and mutual sharing of vulnerability.

Freedom results from a sense of safe, acceptance and welcome of one another's core being. If we are seen, accepted and welcomed for who we actually are, we have many degrees of freedom to fly, create, express, explore and share.

By having an experience in the body, we can "move out of our normal time frame into circular rather than linear time with a heightened sense of vulnerability and knowing while retaining the freedom to not become lost." Being face to face our energy is shared directly. When we touch--holding hands, in an embrace, a supportive hand on the shoulder, we are very directly communicating presence and care to another human being in a way that just cannot be replicated without being physically together. I believe the soul needs this kind of physical contact and communication to be fully nourished, to be fully expressed, and to find full spiritual peace.

I believe a huge piece of face to face connection comes from being in proximity of one another's hearts. Our heatwaves interact without words and can be felt in their full power when we are 8 - 10 feet from one another. The meeting of our hearts, nourishes and expresses the soul. Meeting in cyberspace just cannot replicate this experience.

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