One of the deep desires of the human heart is to know and be known, to really see another, and to be seen truly, beyond the trappings of social niceties, and outside the personas we manage in maneuvering our way through the world. There is a shapeliness to our inner selves, a multitude unique to each longing to see the light of day, to be touched, held, and heard. When we finally feel safe enough with another to expose any of these inner selves, and they are met with hospitality, there is a feeling of elation and validation, as if the soul itself were kissed and caressed. When this exposure is unwelcome, outright rejected or ridiculed, we make a mental note, a virtual reminder this is why we seldom risk nakedness, and prefer the safety and shielding of our masks, clothes, and camouflage as a much more sensible way of traversing life. There is a certain sadness today when it is only with a therapist or counselor that one finds enough safe space to allow these inner selves to surface rather than through the organics of a marriage or friendship. As cathartic as these professional relationships of therapy and counsel can be to any of us, there is nevertheless a contrivance to the connection, one that ultimately precludes the possibility of play which many of these inner selves yearn to express and explore. Intimacy, too, is precluded in these professional relationships, whereas loving companionship is defined by intimacy, and does not exist without it.
Intimacy is laced in the lips of every man and woman, and lays waiting in the eyes, an antidote to apathy, ripe and ready in the warmth of a body, sensible in the tone, texture, and posture of any authentic approach. Intimacy can happen through our physicality and yet does not require it. The deepest of connections can be known through the sensuality of experiencing another’s aura, an atmosphere about each of us, a personal ambience that exudes, a serenading that happens even before and without any contact at all. The aura of our identities secretly slide between us in our intimacies with another, in ways indeterminate and quite difficult to define. This intangible presence given off by each is colored less by intention and more by the character slowly worked into us through suffering and our ways of learning to cope with it. Through the trials of time, the heart can become hardened, the very idea of intimacy repugnant, a foreign and dangerous concept. Yet even the unaroused, calloused by life’s caustic nature, can still sense a world full of mystery, and the possibility of healing in touching and being touched truly by another. Existence intimately engaged, through the nuances of the day, and with at least some others, can save us from the worst parts of ourselves and a life devoid of meaning. A conversation with a friend. The warm, supple body of an animal settling in your lap. The enchantment of a melody from an unknown song suddenly softening the heart. To arrive at the end of life still secluded from the sensual nature of our surroundings, largely unacquainted with affection, is to know death even before the grave. There is an essential alchemy that emerges through our intimate intermingling, helping us to heal and grow. To enjoy the deep and deepening of another is a gift. The trace of having been with another intimately, even for a brief period of time, can last for days, a delicate grace that remains even when absent from the one who touched us so.