A Couple's Retreat – Part 10: Home At Last

Here we are, Monday, July 16, back on our familiar screened-in porch at 146 Miami Lakes Drive, sipping our coffee and settling in from yesterday’s 12-hour drive home from Tarrytown, New York.

Pat: How will things reconfigure for us after these amazing ten days away? Gary: How will our intimacy and spontaneity deepen? I feel so much has been shaken up in me. We do not want to fall back into old patterns – we want to stay open and let things reconfigure on their own, without forcing currents – entering the Mystery and the Unknown. We cannot put “New Wine” into “Old Wineskins,” rather we put “New Wine” into “New Wineskins,” whatever that looks like – the Mystery of new possibilities. We are back to the theme of our intensive: new possibilities. Openness to New Possibilities — perhaps this is our New Wineskin.

Pat: We are in a looser place, and freer place. We are in the space of being uncertain, of being in the unknown, perhaps being in the movement of the energy of the Life Force, in the Flow that Life is. Gary: For me a shift has occurred in the sense that in the arena of intimacy and sexuality our relationship is no longer about “meeting my needs.” It even sounds silly to speak of “meeting my needs” in the area of intimacy and sexuality. “Meeting my needs” has a forcing field energy rather than a “relaxing into” and surrendering feel. Actually, this is a huge shift for me in the felt sense of our relationship.

Pat: What is intimacy – emotional intimacy? What can we discover here as we are open to curiosity and undefended exploration? Emotional intimacy seems to be the underlying piece for lovemaking, and for us emotional intimacy is the underlying missing piece. Gary: Going back to “my needs not being met,” I remember the shock of my eros not being met when we finally got together in 2003 after having known each other, often in struggling and challenging ways, for over 4 years. In 2003 I did not know what to do. I could not allow myself to really feel my shock of not feeling met, let alone express it. I became frozen, instantly – a frozen block of unfelt, denied, unshared painful emotions. This frozenness shut out any chance at emotional intimacy. So much to learn.

Pat: Our challenge is that we do not really know how to relate in a truly deep and authentic way from the heart. Now, after these ten days, we have the opportunity to relate in new ways. Gary: We are building up all the missing dimensions of relating. Pat: I feel us meeting in this sharing right now. Gary: This is where our commitment comes in – our commitment to meet, engage, and relate – all pretty new for us, despite our thousands of hours talking, and talking fairly deeply at times.

Pat: This feels safe and broad – everything is welcomed here. Gary: A thawing process! Pat: “Thawing,” that’s a good word for what is happening. We come to our relationship unconsciously terrified, paralyzed, and numb, that is, as you said, frozen on so many fronts. Gary: This is the school we are now enrolled in – the Thawing-Out School of Life. Pat: Yes, the intensive gave us the experience of what we are now engaged in. This thawing-out space is from where we now continue to step into our sessions with Sage and Anthony. Our first follow-up Skype call with them is on Wednesday, August 1. The clarity and truth of this – I feel some confidence that we can do this!

Gary: May we have the courage to come out of our frozenness and numbness and truly feel and express our feelings. Pat: Yes, as you said earlier, real marriage arises from a commitment to meet, engage, and relate. Gary: It is interesting that the period leading up to marriage is called “engagement.” It is during this time that we fill out the feelings on our respective feeling palettes as we come to relate to each other in ever deeper ways. Pat: These things are the foundational things of our life now. The couples we’ve been with these past ten days have modeled this for us, and have shown us the real and raw complexities of couplehood.

Gary: There are “late bloomers.” We are “late thawers!Pat: And yet when we have been with these other couples in their mature relating we are not seen by them as being somehow “less than.”  And I am reminded of the American Indian phrase that is used as folks enter the sweat lodge: Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – All our Relations. This reminds us that as we carry this deeper emotional relating forward we are supported by those in our families that have gone before us, those who, too, struggled with emotional relating, perhaps even much more than we do.  The Source is always here as we leave this coffee time. Gary: The Source is evolving through our awakening to deeper levels of consciousness, deeper levels of relating, as this same Source was evolving through those who have gone before us and as it will continue to evolve through those who will come after us. Such is the Mystery of the Cosmos.

We made it. We feel welcomed home.

Shared in love, Gary