We need one another.
He told me there was a way in which, when I got scared, I would eclipse him and then vacuum for his attention as a means to test whether I was still safe.
I never felt so seen in my life.
And I was simultaneously so sure it was with him that I was going to heal this piece once and for all. Because he had the courage to tell me something I already knew about myself but had no idea others could see.
This is one of those things you can only heal in relationship. You can’t Eclipse Vacuum — as we now playfully call it — until things get really intimate. And you can’t discover a healed alternative until you’ve created the sort of intimacy where that kind of radically honest feedback feels like the grandest gesture of love that exists.
I could tell how careful he was being in delivering that truth. I could feel how saying it required him to heal his own wounds in real-time as the words left his lips. How vulnerable he was willing to be in order to show me that he saw me there, in that tender spot, not knowing whether I would receive him too in that moment. The massive risk embedded in all of it, that we were both taking; leading with our whole hearts first.
Earlier in the conversation, he reflected my impact back to me. I had said something that snagged in him, that dehumanized him, even though I didn’t intend for it to land that way. It had that impact because I delivered it from my Eclipse Vacuum. When I do that, neither of us wins.
My heart broke into a million pieces knowing I had hurt him while trying to protect myself. In that moment I knew I only had one choice: tell him what I was so afraid of. Let him receive all of me, even the parts that get so scared I Eclipse Vacuum him. I wailed as I unloaded all the love I had been holding in. And then my heart opened again, back into its radiant fullness.
Moments later, we were laughing at the cosmic joke of it all.
The subtle nuances of intimate relationship mostly involve navigating all the places where we withhold love. Not just from our partners and loved ones, but from ourselves. Without vulnerable intimacy in our lives, we may never get an opportunity to hone this particular muscle; to discover the places where we choose to stop loving ourselves, and thus block others from loving us, too. The only possible way we can know it’s even happening is when it gets reflected back to us clearly from someone we trust.
It’s possible to live our entire lives never getting an opportunity to see these parts of ourselves, in relationship, and outside of it. Because it’s possible to be connected and still be so alone, simultaneously longing for and repelling the very intimacy we desire from the people around us. So many of us are hiding in plain sight.
So much of our inner work is a solo-journey. And when I say solo I mean that it’s our own work, and has nothing to do with our partners or loved ones. That doesn’t mean we are ever healing alone. That sort of mystical magic is next to impossible.
But there comes a time in our evolution where we require intimate — perhaps even sacred — relationship in order to continue our journey toward self-actualization. With one another. It’s a symbiotic expansion that happens to both people at the same time. It’s not clear who is healing who first; it is utterly interdependent. ∞