Loving Large in a World that Wants to Control Love
Shortly after waking this morning I had a brief exchange with one of my dearest love dancers on the planet, C. My heart burning, I was overcome with gratitude for her existence in my life- I would not be the healer and the visionary that I am if it hadn’t been for her. In her own way, she introduced me to the art of asking the “insides of me” questions- questions that were fueled by a desire to internally connect, through curiosity and genuine love. Her questions didn’t make me defensive, didn’t illicit shame, or make me feel small. Her questions opened me up, as curiosity tends to do. I learned to ask her questions in this way as well. Our relationship deepened. It took me awhile to soften to her- and likely her to me- because through our lived experiences we had developed fierce distrust of human beings. And yet our desire to connect remained. And all these years later… maybe it’s about 10 years now?... there is nothing in either one of us that doubts the pure goodness in the other’s heart. To know such goodness, and for another to see my goodness- well, this is truly transformative all the way down to DNA coding.
I can’t think about C, without thinking of K, another person that has dramatically impacted my nervous system in profound and transformative ways. She helped break the wall of shame I had when I wanted to kill myself. She was the one who I could wail in front of, who did not try to fix me, and who never looked at me like there was something wrong with me for wailing, or for wanting to kill myself. She saw me, and loved me, when I was being forced to see myself, and hated what I was finding. Her loving me, while I hated me, transformed me in profound ways.
And there have been many others who have given me the deep taste and knowing of how interdependence is powerfully iterative. Likely, some of you are reading this right now. (Thank you. I love you. I am so grateful for you.)
In “Interdependence is Iterative” adrienne maree brown shares, “I want more of my life to feel this interdependent, this of community and humanity.” Me too. Me toooo. I want all the things she invites us to explore and journey with: letting ourselves be seen, being honest about being wrong, accepting our multitudes, and asking for, and receiving, what we need. This- to me- is living large with intimacy.
So much of what she writes about taps into my current journey of allowing myself to live large (being my full, authentic self) with regards to relating with others. Connecting with others as deeply and widely as I have the capacity (and consent) for is something I both yearn for, and have struggled with- and is something I have not known how to navigate well. Meaning, I have been out of integrity many times over the years, while also not knowing how to repair those breaches of integrity.
Not having an integrity process and other grounding practices left me so disoriented and confused with regards to how to be me, in a world that can be so rigid and moralistic. Too often I have been caught up by all the rules that our culture has with regards to relating and intimacy, and I still sometimes get tripped up by the dominant oppressive narrative that moves from fear, scarcity, individualism /“by the bootstraps”, competitiveness, stoicism, secrecy and possessive energies. I was telling a love the other day- I wish I could love large on everyone (with consent of course), and not worry if I was giving someone “the wrong idea” (for example). I am slowly learning how to let myself be fully me, without trying to manage other’s meaning making. Being open hearted towards human beings, freely giving and receiving attention and affection, and being vulnerable and intimate with others is radical in a culture which fears what it cannot control. Women especially are under keen observation with regards to how we relate with others. This all feels risky for me, on a variety of levels.
I keep coming back to the invitation to use my practices and my community of practice to help me stay connecting with clarity, while at the same time being honest and upfront (i.e., be in integrity) with those I’m in relationship with. Can I stay out of fear with regards to how people might respond to my expressions? Can I stay out of what others might make my actions mean, and stay clear on my authenticity? Can I slow down when I lack clarity, when I want to speed up? Can I reveal when I want to hide? Can I restore integrity when I make mistakes? Can I be intimate with myself while I am exploring intimacy with others? And can I ask curious questions of those with whom I am in relationship? These are the questions that, in moments, make my stomach tighten, my heart burn, and my throat tighten. I use my practices and my people to support me. These questions are important for me to stay in relationship with.
From “Interdependence is Iterative:” “on so many levels, interdependence requires being seen, as much as possible, as your true self. meaning that your capacity and need are transparent.” and “the result of this experience is that i feel so much more woven into the world.”
These two beautiful quotes light me up because they are already my lived experience. My life has already been saved many times over by interdependence, and as a result I am so much more woven into the world as a conscious participant. Even though it’s uncomfortable, awkward, and sometimes counter to my dominant oppressive narrative based patterning, it is most empowering to bring attention back to me: to reveal myself; to name my needs; to acknowledge my capacity; to own who I am and what works, as well as what does not; to stay soft in discovery, as opposed to getting lost in a field of rightness of ideas. Oof. This is hard at times. This is gloriously hard.
To stay open when confronted. To stay open when I am not seen, when I am misunderstood, when I am doubted, and when I am projected upon. This happened with someone I briefly dated, and even though I quickly got out of that dynamic (yay me!) the sting of it reminded me of how we humans can be with each other. The experience was a remembrance of how powerful projections can be- powerful because it is my patterning to take those projections on. Oh goodness. I am getting better at that, but still. It hurts and it digs into my past trust issues with other humas as well as trust issues with myself. AND: Can I look these experiences as opportunities of learning? That helps. It helps so much. I feel my stomach and jaw soften, and my heart open, in remembering that.
Allowing myself to be my fully human self, making mistakes, in multitudes that don’t always make sense to me or others, and asking for, and receiving, what I need- with friends, lovers, co-workers, family, strangers, animals and plants: YES. This way of life is marvelously iterative: the more I have it, the more I want. I have stepped over an invisible line and am unable to turn back to who I once was, to a life I once lived. I feel both a deep gratitude, as well as a raw vulnerability- as if a layer of skin has been removed. You too know that feeling, don’t you?
I am enlivened, inspired, and expanded by these connections that take me deeper into the unknown. It is here that I am undone as I find more: vulnerability, awkwardness, pleasure, discomfort, bliss, and fulfillment. My world is opening, and I am letting integrity and my practices (and my community of practice) guide me all the way.
adrienne maree brown’s last paragraph of the blog post really aligns deeply in my heart- not just as I remember C and K, but so many of you that are in my life: “y’all who fed, held, carried, cleaned, transported, protected, scolded, listened and loved up on me through this…i’m in really love with y’all.”
For reals. For reals.
 My private practice as a somatic practitioner now relies on the art of asking such consensually based, curious questions.
 Interdependence: the state of shared dependency or mutual dependency. Iterative: in this context, generative.
 adrienne maree brown does not capitalize her name, and sometimes does not capitalize anything in her writing pieces.