The pleasures of love, sex and intimacy has a way of stirring up the pain of old heart wounds. Right? “Thanks for stating the obvious Lorina.”
Stories of Pleasure and Pain
Or maybe it’s not that obvious. Here are a couple examples of what I am talking about:
Eva and Jorge are powerfully attracted to each other. The sex is insanely good. Things were cruising along casually when they first met and then their hearts started opening up. “I love you’s” were exchanged. Then things get weird. He started disappearing. She started saying yes when what she really meant is no. The fights start erupting. They broke up…. and then get back together a couple weeks later because the break up sex was too good. The cycle began again.
Here is an alternative love story:
Samantha and Ed are gazing into each other’s eyes. They have never met before. It’s a workshop and Ed has been given the task of staying present and silently offering Sam LOVE. Sam’s instruction is to practice receiving the love while being mindful of her thoughts, emotions and sensations. At first she feels warmed, opened, and touched. Her awareness settles more comfortably into her body. The preciousness of this moment feels beautiful. The area around her heart starts to soften more and more. Then tingling sensations in the back of her heart gets her attention. And then halfway into the exercise it starts to get uncomfortable for Sam. She’s having a hard time just receiving. She starts to feel guilty about not actively giving back. She notices a feeling of sadness bubble up in her heart. It comes with a sense of constriction in her chest, a knot in her belly and a little wetness in her eyes. She has the impulse to look away from Ed to mitigate the discomfort, which she does briefly, but stays on course in her practice of receiving. She actively starts taking in Ed’s loving presence at another level, breathing it in. She feels sweetly vulnerable. The constriction softens around her heart. Pulsing sensations. Pleasure seeps into her belly. Then she notices tension in her jaw. The thought comes up, “Why didn’t my ex-husband ever look at me with this kind of love?” A wave of anger and disappointment comes up. She notices herself clenching her fist. She lands back the present moment, taking in the love from this man. Her jaw softens. Then a feeling of success comes up. She is reminded that she successfully got out of that marriage with that man who couldn’t love her the way she wanted to be loved. And she is here now... healing her heart... in the loving gaze of this beautiful stranger at a workshop she gave to herself. She feels the pleasure of her strength and potency as a wave of energy courses through her pelvis and connects to her heart.
Both of these stories involve love, intimacy and a back and forth swing (aka pendulation) between pleasure and pain. In the first story, the pendulation was big, intense and largely unconscious. That is the stuff of dramas, In the second example, the pendulations were subtle, grounded and healing. This is the stuff of healing.
Notice how classic the first story is. What took place over the course of four months could be described pretty succinctly in large part because you could easily fill in the blanks. Sadly enough, that is a very familiar story. It gets played on repeat in various forms.
Now, in contrast, the second story involved a lot more words for something that happened over the course of 10 minutes. Awareness of this degree of subtle mindbody pendulation between pleasure and pain is not the norm in our culture. How often do you hear that level of description of somebody’s internal process at the dinner table?
Healing Old Heart Wounds with Presence
The story of Sam and Ed in the workshop describes a healing process for old heart wounds. This story includes mindful tracking of the emotions and sensations that get stirred up in the presence of love. (Note that the main star of the show was Sam’s internal awareness, not Ed’s demonstrations of love.)
The story of Eva and Jorge’s relationship dynamic describes what happens when people don’t consciously oscillate (aka pendulate) between pleasure and pain in a grounded and embodied way. They simply unconsciously repeat old heart wounds with intensity. In a word-- drama.
Pendulation between polarities happens. It’s a fact of Nature as far as I can tell. If you want to reduce the amount of drama in your life and heal old heart wounds, the best way I have found to do it is to meet pleasure and pain in an embodied, grounded way with a mindful presence.
Consider me your Ally
If this task feels daunting to you, you are so not alone. We could all use some help when in the throes of deep drama and in the midst of intense wounds.
Helping clients stay present to the subtle pendulations of pleasure and pain that get stirred up in the dance of intimacy is essentially my job description. The transformation is miraculous. Relationships blossom in the wake of these mindful oscillations. Intimacy and vulnerability grow brighter as drama dims. Creativity and joy come online as unconscious self-protective patterns unwind.
If you find yourself struggling to stay present to the ups and downs of love and intimacy, please consider enlisting me as your guide to an embodied experience of love. Grounded, loving, juicy relationships could be yours to enjoy.