How we met…
It was January 2006 and I thought I must be crazy because I found myself at a free weekend Intro called Sex, Passion and Enlightenment!
My dear friend Cathie invited me. She had taken the intro and also attended the full weekend workshop. When I saw her after, she looked like a new woman!! I had no idea what it was all about, but if I knew that if I could get a fraction of the glow shimmering around her since coming home from that workshop, it was worth the risk of showing up at a course with a crazy name like Sex, Passion & Enlightenment!
I remember the first experiential exercise we did – the men were all lined up in 4 rows (~25 men per row). The women who had a partner present were instructed to go and stand in front of their partner. Once that was in order, the single ladies , myself included, were instructed to go and stand in front of one of the remaining men. As I walked down the second isle from the front, I caught the eye of a man in the back row. I looked away and kept walking. When I looked back in his direction again, he was still looking directly at me. I had a thought that he looked familiar, that I might have seen him before. I decided to choose him! I walked up to him while maintaining eye contact (very unusual for me).
We introduced ourselves. His name is James. He wore trousers, a classy printed shirt. He had a short clean haircut, styled… and a great smile that sparkled in his eyes. He looked very present in the moment, alert, alive and energized.
As we began the exercise of looking left eye to left eye with each other, we both breathed deeply. He held firm, clear eye contact with me. His attention never wavered from me once during this 40+ minute exercise. We kept eye contact as we matched our breathing together. I felt an intense connection and energized-ness with James. We took turns opening our hearts more and more, gauging how open and connected we felt with each other (a practice we continue to do almost daily to this day!). I was surprised by his feedback – he gave me numbers like 7.5/10, 8/10, 8.5/10. This did not match my picture of how open I could be. I continued to breath and practiced letting this new information land.
The facilitators continued to coach the room to be more open – to feel each other, the room and beyond. As I continued to connect with James eye to eye, I had a thought that we had been connecting “forever” already. I took a conscious breath and re-focused on the iris of his left eye and kept breathing.
I had a thought that James was amazing to still be emotionally and consciously engaged with me – that he hadn’t “checked out”. I had another thought that the men in my life do no stay – physically or emotionally. I figured it was only a matter of time until he “went away”, mentally if not physically. And yet, we kept connecting and opening our hearts more and more. Now I was thinking, “WOW. He’s still here, with me. This practice is intense and meaningful to me and he is still here, fully engaged with me.” It didn’t fit my picture.
My eyes welled up with tears. My chest felt tight and my stomach muscles tensed. I felt sadness, loneliness, separation from the people in my family and throughout my past for a minute. Then I thought that now that I am emotional and crying now he will probably go away… he did not. He remained focused, open and connected. We continued to breathe in unison.
Suddenly I felt seen and visible. He stayed. New information again: not all men check-out. How amazing! I felt inspired and deeply impressed in my connection with James.
I began to expand my awareness to his body and the close proximity in which we stood. The energy radiating off of him. I felt my body awaken and respond. I remember wondering: I wonder what it would feel like if he kissed me? I enjoyed this awareness and the sensations in my body, while continuing to connect.
The exercise was called to a close, so James and I smiled at each other, gave each other a big hug and wandered off to take a 15 minute break. After the break, we all gathered to debrief the exercise. I sat beside James, but we did not speak. At one point, James raised his hand to share: I felt PANIC – vulnerable and fearful of what he would say (the voices in my head were going wild!). I had a thought that “he didn’t ask my permission to share about our exchange!!” LOL I remained fearfully quiet. To my great surprise, James shared about his experience of the dyad and it was nothing like I expected. I looked at him with shocked disbelief!! At one point, I turned to look over my shoulder to see who he was referring to – it couldn’t be me! I heard words like: “I felt Heart, Hurt and Heat”. I heard the facilitator comment that he was LUCKY to have a partner who would share those emotions with him. That partner was ME! Is ME! Who Knew!!
I felt something HUGE and VERY DEEP shift inside of me. I felt energized even more. I had a sense of introducing MYSELF to a brand new part of ME that is here to stay from this point forward – someone I had never met or experienced before.
I felt joyous. I felt alive. I felt free. The next chapter of my life had begun…