Here’s a Map
Linda: When you begin to master the tasks of the wanderer, caregiver, warrior, and orphan, you move into the intimacy stage. All along we have had unpredictable episodes of intimacy. These become more consistent once we’ve done the groundwork. We finally have the closeness we’ve been dreaming of. The sweet taste of intimacy in the infatuation stage, which eluded us, returns. At this more mature stage we have the beauty of closeness without all the projections and fantasies. We fall in love with our feet on the ground. Now we know the person we are with and we know so much more about our selves.
Successful completion of the wanderer stage jettisons us into a deeper intimacy than we have ever known. We let go of the comfort and security of the roles we have established going to deeper levels of knowing each other. Intimacy is an interesting, exciting, dynamic process of disclosing more and more of the self to another. Now that we have changed, grown, and become more, we are more comfortable with who we are and we have more to offer. We are so happy to be reunited with each other after our journey away.
The challenge of the intimacy stage is playing the edge of our fears of being engulfed and abandoned, so that we can practice the art of coming close and letting go. There is sweetness in the reunion when boundaries are blurred and we dissolve into each other to experience unity as well as in coming apart to stand as a separate individual. We are rewarded with a sustained, constant and connected intimacy. Another challenge inherent in this stage is to not get caught in the pleasure of connection, but to use our love for a higher purpose. The task of this stage is to take the abundant love that we have spilling over, and move it out into the world.
If you are blessed enough to make it to intimacy, is that the top of the chart? No! There is an even higher stage where the relationship no longer requires so much attention. As a natural consequence of the intimacy stage, there is too much love for only two people. The love is seeking a larger outlet, to extend the love to children, our work, and the larger community. It is all service in the world in some form. This love spilling over phase is the stage of co-creativity. As partners, we embark on a creative process together and choose to live with “generativity”. Generativity is defined as generating creatively together. We want to give back to our world that has rewarded us so abundantly. The archetypal name for this stage is Magician, for the way in which we move through our lives in this stage is with a flow, like being carried by a current. As we become authentic and whole, it appears to be magic.
In this stage, it is not necessary to work on our relationship; we don’t have to practice our conflict resolution skills or be so conscious and careful. The relationship has a flow of it’s own. Surplus energy that has gone towards building the relationship and repairing the damaged trust is freed up for creativity and fun.
In this stage there is a transpersonal urging to go beyond the desires of the ego, a commitment larger than just two. It is the most spiritually oriented of the stages. It is a mutual and conscious decision to use what we have developed within the relationship to serve a higher purpose. Our primary concern is no longer physical, sexual, or emotional. We are no longer needy. Now integrity, a spirit of generosity, lightness, and gratitude, guide our actions.
We still have tasks to accomplish in this stage. We are challenged to be authentic, to be in service at higher and higher levels. There is very little struggle, for we are carried along in an energy flow, and we experience joyfulness at being in the stream of life. This is the stage that comes full circle back to the stage of the innocent, who falls in love, and has great vision. Once again we have a sense of the grand vision, not only for our lives but those around us. But by this stage the falling in love experience is firmly grounded in a sense of who we are, and whom we are with.
We all want to go straight for the gold and skip the hard work. New Age books promise that visualizing the perfect relationship affirms that it is coming. It is a fantasy that we won’t have to do the dirty work of dealing with the fear, conflict and confusion that is inherent in the middle stages. The danger of adopting the “going straight for the light” theory is that it inevitably breaks down. We haven’t yet earned what we need in order to succeed.
If we haven’t done the work in the middle stages, we’ll be riding our imagination, fantasies and projections, the very things we are striving to go beyond. Our partner may disappoint us again, and we’ll recycle back through the disillusionment stage. We may even decide that we have got the wrong partner. It may be that we have the perfect partner, but haven’t yet accepted the challenge of doing the work necessary to build the foundation of a good relationship. See if you can locate yourself on the map, and identify the tasks that you are willing to master. And be sure to enjoy the journey.
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
Praise for Happily Ever After:
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate
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