Newborn babies have little sense of “self.” Their experience of this new world is one of an intrinsically felt connection to everything. They do not identify as “I am me” and “you are you”—they are not separate from their experience of life itself.
And as they grow they begin to realize that they are unique and separate. That they like chocolate and you like vanilla. That this is mine and that is yours. That touching or kissing is on a respectful permission basis and goes both ways. They learn personal boundaries in order to define who they are and to help them navigate through life and love.
Healthy boundaries establish your sense of self by marking the edge of where you begin and end. They establish who you are by how you value and honour yourself.
Boundaries can range from the extremes of inflexible rigidity to being as fluid and spineless as a jellyfish. The first, as much as it is predictable, is also very harsh and closed-minded, while the latter is non-trustworthy as it is confusing to everyone involved—including you. Somewhere in the middle is a place of thoughtful consideration for your wellbeing that also includes others.
boundaries define how
you wish to be treated.
You will teach others how to treat you by the degree
to which you hold yourself in esteem.
Wrapped up in these boundaries is also
how your partner will relate to you.
These rules of engagement hold ‘you’ together.
And yet, most women yearn to become undone by their partner, taken into blissful ecstasy with wildish abandon—two bodies and souls merging into oneness. This is not the place for rigid boundaries. It is the home of heart and body openness between deeply trusting lovers—of sublime boundless pleasure.
What I’ve witnessed in my coaching practice is that boundaries not steeped in the well of love and trust are actually love blocks. Love blocks are built like brick-and-mortar walls, stemming from past relationship frustration and pain. Not many people I know have led pristine, perfect lives. Most have experienced some form of trauma like having their heart broken, being betrayed by their lover or worse: being violated or abused. Love blocks are designed to compensate for all that hurt and to keep them safe for something that went wrong versus something that is right, right now. They clamp down on the flow of love and intimate connection. The work of intimacy involves recognizing and releasing yourself from the past in a gentle manner that will cause you to relax in ‘present moment’ trust and open more fully that conduit to deeper loving.
David Dieda, one of my sacred intimacy teachers, wrote, “Unsurrendered women attract unpresent men.” First off, surrendered does not mean being submissive or subservient. It means to willfully let go of what does not serve love. The feminine’s deepest heart’s desire is to give love and to receive love. For a surrendered woman it is in the letting go, of opening her heart, of allowing the fullness of love to enter her and fill her with the greatest pleasure. It is also what her partner wants to evoke in her.
A man can sense a woman’s love blocks. He can feel her heart as being open or closed. Now, the feminine heart when opened as a love offering is pure irresistible radiance and will have a good man stand at full attention with much adoration. While full heart closures do not interest or attract him, a noble man will step into the challenge of finding compassionate and loving ways to pierce his love into the cracks of any walls to free a woman’s vulnerable and radiant heart. It is an art, not a science, to know when to lead and press on versus when to relax and follow.
A woman needs to be aware that her heart closures will tend to cause her man to drift elsewhere into his own thoughts or fantasies, meaning he will not be fully there for her, just as she is not fully there for him. It is the work of each partner to discover what opens and closes their lover and to know what will have them be present and emotionally available.
Men too may have love blocks disguised as boundaries
or habitual patterns that prevent him from giving her his deepest
gift of loving her heart open with his ravishment.
He may only want to make love in certain ways based on his own inherited taboos or past wounds. These boundaries inhibit his play of passion and can close a woman’s self-expression or her desire to offer her heart and body to him.
What I’ve seen work best for couples who are experiencing intimacy issues is for each to separately dive under the covers of their own boundaries to deeply probe into what closes their bodies while exploring new ways that cause heart openness.
There is never a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to matters of the heart. However, the key to unlocking the fortressed heart is through deep relaxation—letting go to make space for more love to enter—and that requires body awareness. Noticing one’s breathing patterns is an important part of this. Is your breath full and deep or rapid and shallow? Do you hold your breath? Do you feel tense or relieved? What does it feel like to exhale fully? Can you trust that? Practise being aware of your breath, make friends with it and then expand your range just as you wish to expand your intimacy. There is intimacy in knowing yourself in this manner. Breathing love and energy into areas that are tense will help to release any associated love blocks that are held in your neuromuscular cloak.
It is one of the greatest pleasures and acts of love to learn to let go of those habituated blocks to love while holding each other’s hearts with utmost tenderness.
Julie Ward, Intimacy and Relationship Coach, offers deep insight and wisdom in a light-hearted earthy manner. Her expertise has helped countless troubled couples revive their marriages and perplexed singles to be happily married. She works internationally via phone or video-conference. Visit www.julieward.com