So many of us live in a constant state of lack. We won’t give to ourselves. We think we can’t have all we want. We think we don’t deserve it. Then we complain that we don’t have what we want and we feel deprived. Deprivation is not sexy. And it shuts us down.
Sexuality is about lushness, abundance, beauty, aliveness, fullness, expansion, desire, connection. It’s the opposite of lack and deprivation. It’s about fulfilling our desires and exploring new terrain. It’s about opening up.
But opening up is scary for most people. If we are open, we are vulnerable and our culture gives vulnerability a bad rap. Yet being vulnerable is how we grow and allow ourselves to be given to. It’s very vulnerable to allow another person to give to us. And when they are giving to our naked body and we are wide open and visible, whoah! That’s just too much for many of us! But it’s really beautiful.
We learn to cover ourselves up and not be seen. Yet we crave being seen. Who doesn’t want to be seen for who they are in the world? Most of us truly want that and it touches our hearts when we are seen.
Last week, I finished the spring semester the way I always do with my college students. Before I give them their final we have a group closure. I ask them each to speak on what they’ve learned, what’s been most important for them and what they are walking away with from my class. I also give them an opportunity to acknowledge someone in the room who might have affected them during the semester. Sometimes they acknowledge me, which is sweet, and I also really love to see them acknowledge each other. They sit in class with each other all semester, talking about personal matters and it’s beautiful to hear that you affected someone in the room. I love this ritual.
In part, it’s how I make sure I am given to on the last day. I know I affect my students and many of them make profound changes in their lives due to my class. I want to hear this. I want to know how my work is making a difference, how they are affected, so I make room for this. Many of them also want to give to me. They have things they want to say! One student made a list so he would remember everything he wanted to mention. So it’s a gift to myself and to them. I let them give to me. And giving to others makes us feel good.
They said some beautiful things. One of them called me “brave” in the most sincere way and said that my example has helped him to speak up where before he wouldn’t–to be more courageous in his own life. Wow. That one went right to my heart. It was beautiful. And you know one of the things they really speak to again and again? The way I make myself vulnerable, and “real”, the way I share myself with them. That’s what they want. That’s probably what they remember most…not which two bodily systems control the stress response.
If we don’t make ourselves vulnerable it’s hard to be given to. Sexually or otherwise. If you are guarded, how much love, affection, pleasure or adoration can really get in? How are you guarding yourself in your life and relationships? How are you keeping people away? If you want love and intimacy, this behavior is antithetical to your desire. You have to decide what’s more important. Do you want to really be loved and nourished and devoured, or do you want to be guarded and safe and distant? Sometimes we need the guard, but we often pull it out when we don’t. Let yourself be seen.
I’ll take the gooey. The warm fuzzies. The openness. No topic is too taboo. No sexual desire is unspeakable. I’m here for the exploration. I’m here to open. I work on doing that every day. I encourage you to meet life in this way and to hold your vulnerabilities as gifts and as tools for your own blooming.