We all yearn for deep emotional and spiritual connection with another person. That feeling of wholeness and unity we have within ourselves, when we are in harmony with our inner world and with others. It's the feeling of oneness we experience when we are open to life and the world around connecting us instantly to all that is.
The first prerequisite of intimacy is to be intimate with oneself. As Anne Wilson Schaef says..' As long as we are looking outside ourselves for intimacy, we will never have it and never be able to give it'. With intimacy comes connection and vulnerability but we must be prepared to allow both within ourselves, we have to know who we are, what we feel and what we think, whats important to us and what our values are and ultimately what we want for our lives.
In order to understand more about connection, we must grasp first how ' to be connected' feels in our body and where we experience it. Many of us use the expression, 'my gut feeling says......', what we are actually referring to the knowing we have in our stomach area, our solar plexus, it's not a 'head/thinking' thing it's a somatic experience. When we take note of these inner sensations, we are actually connecting to the inner knowing, our Inner Child, which is the instinctual aspect of us that lives in the centre of the body.
The Inner Child and how we disconnect from ourselves:
If our upbringing was peaceful, balanced and empowering we would normally grow up trusting and knowing our 'gut feeling', our inner truth. If however our early years induced a sense of fear, anxiety, mistrust and anger we would have learnt to deny our feelings, as the experiences of early childhood would have been too overwhelming and painful. We quickly learn to shut down inside, to deny our feelings in order to survive. Often when trauma is experienced, the numbing as a coping mechanism is activated by our flight, fight, freeze reaction and this becomes a learnt behaviour over time. As adults we are often not aware that parts of our bodies for example our heart, our solar plexus or throat are in fact numb or feel empty and if we do have feeling in those areas, we don't often pay too much attention to them because over time we have lost connection to ourselves, mistrusting our feelings and gut reactions.
Our inner loving and unloving adult:
Our adult inner self resides in our thought processes, in our head. When we have grown up with a loving heart this flows and balances loving adult self. The inner thought processes of the loving adult self then is one of compassion, love and an openess that extends from ourselves to others, instantly connecting us within and without. This healthly adult self can easily move between the head, the heart (with love and compassion flowing) and the 'gut instincts' of the inner child, expanding and validating inner connection. The adult then is experiencing the feelings of the inner child and is open to understanding, validating and acting upon them, their inner guidence system. The heart in this space is open to giving and receiving with others because it is open to the self.
If the wary inner adult has not acknowledged and worked through the trauma they have accumulated, they become the 'unloving Adult', protecting themselves from fear, further pain and discomfort. The flow on affect is then disconnection with the knowing inner child and the heart centre, which maintains feelings of emptiness, abandonment, and constriction.