*Ask Martin* (#2) Your Love, Sex and Relationship Questions answered

“Hi Martin! I always love hearing your viewpoint. You are amazing!!! I am very comfortable in my sexuality but honestly, I am a little scared to go into my next relationship (though I want it). I feel new and vulnerable and unsure at the same time. Not sure what my question is but I guess if I could articulate it, how will I know I am ready to move on and fully give myself to someone?  And also, as you know, I have done so much Tantra work , I feel like a virgin all over again. xoxo” ~Lisa

This is an excellent question and the answer is not easy. In the confines of this small space, I will do my best to answer fully while acknowledging that I am broad stroking many of the points I am making.

This question touches so deeply, and illustrates so clearly, how dangerous we view relationship to be and how we actively and frantically search for the safety and trusting we think we “need”, outside of ourselves, in order to open up and receive exactly what we most deeply desire: powerfully intimate connection. So, here we go:

**Seems clear to me, and I can so relate: You have been hurt before, and quite naturally and understandably, you are scared to be hurt again, right?

**You are caught right smack dab in the middle of wanting to be in a relationship and scared to be in one. Right?

I get it….it would be impossible to live any number of years on this planet and not get hurt by someone who we have opened up to. We all have our stories which are supported by mountains of evidence (the Past) that we constantly refer to in order to assess if the current moment (the Present) is safe enough for us to open up into.

…and here is where I ask, “How Dangerous is an Open Heart?”

I had to ask myself this very same question, nearly 9 years ago, before I chose to enter into my relationship with Charu. It is a question that challenges me to step forward even today.

((By the way: the language in this answer to your question is direct and unflinching. It is exactly what I say to myself, even today, when I am tempted to hide because the pain of being hurt feels so real….my journey is also your journey…))

I, too, have been crushed from as early as a small boy to moving into adult love relationships, including a failed 13 year marriage. I have been cheated on, lied to, deceived and burned. It sometimes felt like my heart was being ripped out through my chest and stomped on and I was tired of this happening. Very tired…

My inside wounded voice said, I trusted you…I believed….I ________ (fill in the blank). I became determined to never let any of this happen again.

I am a smart cat and I learn my lessons well. Since I couldn’t control what others did, and evidence was proving that I always ended up with my feelings hurt, I put up walls behind which I was safe and protected. These were solid walls, and over time and further insults, were reinforced to higher heights and thicker layers to repel almost any invader. Whew….I was finally safe. “You” are no longer able to hurt me. I was surviving…

What I didn’t realize for so many wasted years after the walls went up, was that even though I was safe from the pain that was outside, I was also preventing the love that others had for me from getting in too!!

Two very clear problems came up:

**I became difficult to love because I didn’t allow others to love me.

**As much as I am a loving person, they couldn’t feel my love while I was safely hiding behind my walls.

= No possibility of real connection…

See the dilemma?

Gently asking you in this moment, does any of this feel familiar?

I eventually got sick and tired of using so much of my valuable life force energy to maintain the integrity of those walls in order to feel safe. I was frustrated and on some level feeling hopeless. Relationship is important to me…

The intimacy that I was desiring happened accidentally when the walls came down after too many party favors or when I was just too tired to fight. These moments of un- intentionally, or accidentally, backing into intimacy were lovely yet ultimately were stinging because they reminded me of what was possible yet intentionally unachievable.

I continued to date and was with others yet not with ALL of me. I offered only *just enough* to keep them at a comfortable distance where they couldn’t hurt me and yet offered *just enough*to have an ultimately “less than” type relationship.  But I was safe…YES… I was safe = success! Yet, I was alone = fail.

Intuitively, I knew there was more and yet I couldn’t seem to figure out how to get there.

Suddenly it dawned on me…there are very real things in life to be afraid of because they will kill me…I mean really kill me.

For example, it makes sense to avoid loaded guns because a gun shot to the head will nearly always kill. Me being killed from a broken heart has not yet happened even though my heart has been broken many times.

Proof exists….evidence abounds: I am still alive! This is broken heart stuff is painful and I want to avoid pain, but it is survivable! This was good news for me. I felt an immediate openness and acceptance as it became crystal clear that:

I can’t have the love and intimacy without getting in line for the pain…

It’s – the – same – line…!

As much as I am choosing intimacy and connection, I am aware that I am also choosing hurt and pain. These are delivered from the same window. Not getting in line because I do not want to be hurt means I am choosing not to experience the intimacy that comes from relationship!

It takes courage to get in this line and to quiet the voices fueled by the doubts and questions. Doesn’t it make sense to avoid pain at all costs? How many times have you stepped out there and had your feelings hurt? How many times, with grim determination, have you said,  “n e v e r  again,”? (yes….I know)

It will take the proverbial leap of faith that if you jump out to the other side, that you will be met. There are no guarantees. You may be met or you may be hurt. The Present moment choice to jump, as opposed to staying safely ensconced behind your walls, is almost the best part because of the choice you are making for yourself to be met. You cannot be met unless you get in line for not being met.

Like the high dive as a child….it’s a long walk over to the edge and it’s waaaaay far down, but the jump is alive-ning and the landing is exhilarating even as it may sting. OR maybe you’ll cut through the water like a knife… No guarantees. Isn’t the jump so much more fun than walking to the edge and then sheepishly and fearfully turning around to walk down that  l o n g  walk through all the other kids who will jump next…?

You see, you get to choose your result…where you are in charge: Choice A ) the walk down the ladder or, Choice B) the jump over the edge. Both are powerful choices and announce the stand you are taking for yourself. Which result will have you feeling more alive in your body?  Which type of experience and result do you want to have? None of us are getting younger. There are no safety rails….no guarantees.

Right here is where the shift from Surviving to Thriving happens! 

Doing the kind of opening work that I have seen you do in Charu’s Tantra classes, I know that you can feel your body. The challenge is, as is for us all, can you quiet the fears of the internal voices, from your head that are offering you Survival, and allow the intuition of knowing (from your heart and your core) that stepping forward, even at very real risk of getting hurt, is the step toward you getting exactly what you want? = Thriving

Are you ever going to be ready enough for anything you do in life? Were you ready “enough” before you shot your last movie or did you just jump and enjoy the fall and the landing? Can you let go of the question, “when will I be ready?” and just – be – ready just because you say you are?!

There is no easy way….there are no guarantees. “How Dangerous is an Open Heart?” You have survived the heart breaks….and still you’re strong enough to ask when you will be ready. This is good. Now, it’s time to trust YOU and your knowing that YOU will bring ALL of YOU to the possibility of relationship and fully accept the risk of losing it ALL too. Your safety comes from you….and your choice of stepping out with ALL of you. Not from others doing X Y or Z to make you feel safe…

When you bring this very powerful choice from the relaxation of trusting that what you will bring to “him” will either be enough for him or it won’t, (remember, no guarantees), you will know that YOU are fully self expressed and this is where the juice is!

Your full self expression will call to you the man who is ready for you in that moment. This offers the very alive-ning and possible high quality result of being met in ways you never knew were possible. Where powerful intimate relationships live and Thrive!! Surviving behind the walls, from my own personal experience, yields much smaller results.

Lastly, I offer you the same advice I gave my then 16 year old daughter: Fall in love as many times as possible…Now 27, and married to good man who loves her, she remembers that I said this to her and took it to heart.

Choose Lisa….you are ready when you say you are and not a moment sooner.

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