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We look for it through a deep emotional and physical connection with another, we look for the right kind atmosphere to catch a sense of intimacy about it. The term self-intimacy--being aware of one’s own feelings and nurturing the child within--is becoming trendy. But what exactly is intimacy?. 

Recently, due to the emotionally-sensitive nature of my work with ropes, I was invited to co-facilitate a retreat on intimacy. I had a month to prepare and, while I am always contemplating different aspects of it as I work, as I started, considering preparing some talks or exercises on the subject, I found myself thinking more about it. Without purposefully having intended for it to, the month became a hands-on dive into intimacy on many levels. It was not that I didn’t explore it before, just that this time I made intimacy into my koan - a paradox to be meditated upon in order to perceive a wisdom that comes from beyond rational reasoning. 

I contemplated the subject every day with questions such as: “can  there be sex without intimacy or intimacy without sex? Can intimacy with myself feel just as good as intimacy with a beloved? Can intimacy become an addiction? Does intimacy with someone depend on having the right kind of chemistry or can it be intentionally developed? Does deep intimacy provoke deep skeletons to come out of the closet and, if so, why? What is the relationship between intimacy and pain? Why are some people more prone to intimately connecting to the world around them while others are not? What is that intimacy that we all want but is so hard to grasp - a minute ago we seem to have got it, but next moment it’s a neurotic addiction to be cured?”

For me, there’s been a sense that I’ve always craved intimacy from others in various forms, which sometimes worked for a bit but didn’t last. There always came a moment of disconnection, leaving me empty and craving for more. Polyamory seemed to offer a solution, because it provided more options to choose from so there was always someone available for intimacy, but you can see how this risks becoming a dependency. I also found meditation retreats to be helpful in connecting me to my inner bliss and making me feel truly intimate within myself,  but I was wary of becoming too reliant on this too. 

I began to notice in myself that there is this dissatisfied “princess” from Stavropol (the Russian town I’m from) who often comes into play, and she never really got intimacy. In fact, she is shocked and terrified about the fact that this little human is about to hold a retreat on intimacy - who am I to share, she thinks, I’m just another beggar like everyone else. She is constantly begging the world to give her this sense of intimacy, belonging, self-value and safety, otherwise she feels her life is not worth living. She’s ready to remain a beggar for intimacy for the rest of her life, to try as hard as she can to at least have a hope that maybe one day someone or something in this perishable world will last. 

And finally after going to the moon and back with intimacy explorations, I caught myself the day before the retreat, completely unprepared for it. There I was, having a spontaneous women’s get-together with some of the most outstanding women entrepreneurs  I’d ever met, just soaking in this amazing, supportive energy we had created when, out of the blue - insight, revelation!  

So simple.

I am Intimacy. Filled with it from top to bottom. Embodying intimacy in human form. Intimacy flows from me and through me. I’m speaking to these amazing women and realizing that it’s not the words I say that matter - they feel the energy of intimacy behind it. They look at me with eyes wide open not because I am saying something wise - they are bathing in the atmosphere I create. This energy connects us very intimately, seeking to destroy all barriers between us. A simple conversation, but we feel so deeply connected. I see my clients who value me not for my ropes and whips, but for the intimacy of our interaction, for my ability to go well beyond their masks and see their essence. With a lover, I want us to penetrate each other on every possible level so that nothing solid is left to be hidden. With my relationship to myself, I seek to shine the light onto every layer of my being, apparent and hidden. My whole life’s journey has been about intimacy. Intimacy is what I breathe to live. It’s what makes life worth living. It’s what brings juice and spices and colors to life. There is nothing that I need to prepare or do or perform to share intimacy. It flows through me: I can’t not be that. I’ll tell you more. It’s something that we all are, when we no longer believe the thought that we don’t have it.

This retreat, as well as my whole life, is all about diving deep and dissolving our separate senses of “poor little me who needs something” into an infinite ocean of intimacy. Like ice cubes in  warm water. Until only Intimacy remains.  

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