Intimacy and distance (column)

Published in InZicht, february 2013inzicht feb 2013

And suddenly winter’s upon us. Last night the snow lay thick everywhere for the first time and while I am sitting near the (pellet)stove, the snowflakes only become bigger and bigger. Kasia has gone to work already. I wonder whether my visitors will show up. If not, fine all the same, in that case I’ll continue tinkering at the piece of music I am struggling with.

According to the dictionary the word intimacy represents familiarity or cosyness. H’m. Funny what kind of different associations you sometimes can have with a word. I would never have thought of cosyness. Familiarity…well. To many people the feeling of being a bad lot is very familiar. At the same time they conceal it, as they rather do not show this feeling. So in the intimate relationship much is concealed and it is hard to dare being vulnerable.

If you feel you are not good enough, do you share it? Are you going to speak about it? Can you feel familiar enough with someone else not to experience it to be dangerous anymore to talk about it and to show it? Because obviously underneath there is the fear that the other is going to let you down the moment he or she finds out and also there is the idea that you are the only one feeling like that deep inside. It is not, believe me.

During the last few weeks I realise what a rich life we have. I am referring to the people we know and consider to be our friends. I am increasingly appreciating that. I always felt strongly connected to people, but there also is/was a kind of distance, a not being attached. In former days I only got attached to my beloved. And I mean really attached. Also because of that: all kinds of conflict. It was too dependent, too sticky, too much mixed with feelings of   being incomplete and being not good enough.

Attraction and rejection. Being close and alienated. Very dualistic all together. Painful, also for the kids. Now that has changed. Everything is more full, empty, complete. It is not about needing or so. It is more about just being together without masks. To us that is very normal, very familiar, but it gradually comes to my mind that other people consider it to be very special. And they like to be with us because of that. I must confess that I am grateful for it and a bit surprised. At the same time I also like to be alone. That too is very familiar, relaxed, complete.

There is a big difference between love and need. It is very nice and rich indeed to be really together with people. If that is a need, I don’t know. It is just the most natural ‘way’. Effortless. That is only possible if you are very intimate with yourself. If you know yourself, experience yourself fully. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to be conscious of consciousness. That is the most intimate there is, also the most complete, so that, by the experience itself, tendencies to please other people, fear for rejection, the wish to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds can evaporate and you can just be – with or without others.

This looking for approval and confirmation is so widely spread. Very understandably so as well. Therefore it is such a pleasure to associate with true adults, people who incline to be open and honest and who, if ever they experience a hampering, openly talk about it and know what they can do or cannot do, or at least are willing to learn it.

I do not know where this all is leading to, with us e.g. my love. Right now everything is good, very good. Familiar, intimate. Open, full, empty.

The snow seems to intend to cover  everything. There is no duality. Everything is intimate. As soon as someone is going to experience that, much will change. In fact everything will change. Nothing ever happens.

Text Hans Laurentius; Translation by Johan Veldman