As I walk the trail, the grasses say hello to me and I say hello to them.They
are alive, like me. They penetrate my being with their green energy. It
is a feeling on the skin of my arms, a tenderness that all living things
have toward me, a tenderness that I experience with and for them.
Intimacy happens at a cellular level. It happens as a whole-body feeling.
I first regained it (we all start as intimate part of the mother and then
proceed to lose it in this tick-tock world) twenty-five years ago, in
Crested Butte, Colorado, after a study session with Virginia Satir. I
walked out of the conference room and there was Mount Crested Butte, towering
above the town, and it spoke to me. It spoke not in words but in a connection
of its cells with mine, and I loved the mountain as much as I ever loved
my father. The mountain was a presence next to me, within me right then.
Roughness and stones have their own tenderness to share with me, when
my heart is open.
Intimacy revealed itself to me with my cat, Huck Finn. It happened through
her muscular, vibrating little body resonating with my hands. The catness
of my cat was my own slinking catness, as the grassness of the grass is
my grassness, as the stone-ness of Mt. Crested Butte is my own solidity
and calm strength.
Intimacy is the breeze against my face, the warmth of the sun. Intimacy
with myself is loving my feet. Intimacy is loving oil paints, their color,
the buttery texture, the smell of turpentine. Intimacy with a piece of
equipment is asking it--what does it need right now? Is it a cleaning,
a drop of oil? Does it need a bolt tightened or a new belt put in? Things
respond to tenderness in their own thingness way. Intimacy teaches patience,
with myself, with the resplendent world around us, with the things we
Isn't it odd that intimacy is hardest with our own kind?