It’s Not What You Say

When words get in the way, use your intuition and your body to reconnect with your partner on a deeper level.


photo courtesy of Daring Wanderer

filed under Advice, Fighting

Communication between partners can be overrated. Let’s face it. Baring our feelings and excavating the depths of our thoughts gets to be exhausting over time.

When words don’t work, the energy of your touch and simple presence can change the entire playing field. Besides, communication that serves to spark and maintain connection is about getting in touch with what is happening miles beneath the surface. We tend to pay attention to what our lover is saying or doing, which is important to an extent, but sometimes the message they are transmitting is obscured by heaps of complaints and reasons.

When that’s the case, there’s only one way to penetrate down to bedrock: through touch.

Touch is a simple but effective way of feeling into and making intimate contact with the pure energy between you and your partner. By “energy,” I don’t mean anything New Agey or pseudoscientific; I’m simply talking about what’s true and apparent when all the stories drop away. For example, behind your partner’s constant complaints that you spend too much time on Facebook might be a subtle sadness and longing that are barely perceptible through the veil of anger and accusation.

It takes great care to tune in to what’s really happening. But the great thing is this: Creating connection by attuning to the energy that is present is so damn simple! Case in point: Have you ever had the intensely pleasurable experience of eye-fucking your lover from across a crowded room? Something like that requires nothing more than the currency of our attention and our willingness to make bold decisions based on what we are feeling, which can generate the most exquisite intimacy.

While eye gazing is certainly potent, the right kind of touch is often the simplest cure for disconnection and separation. When we are disconnected and separated from our partners, we can feel our own energy as bloated and uncomfortable—which is why we get so irritable. While this often has people (women, especially) recoiling from the very idea of physical contact, touch is the best way to counteract the effects of a body that’s been frozen into a set of responses that don’t normally include pleasure.

So how do we deliver the right kind of touch?

This is where laser-focused attention comes in handy. It is not the kind of attention that can be given in a perfunctory way, with dismissiveness, or tepid hesitation. It has to be all-in attention, the kind that has you offering the gift of your presence not because you are expecting results, or because you want to manipulate someone else’s response to you—but simply because you are doing it for your own pleasure. This is what I call the “resonant touch.”

A resonant touch is one that buzzes with desire, not for the purpose of “getting” anything, but because it is inextricable from pleasure—the kind that isn’t given or received, but simply is.

When we imagine touch, we usually have a picture of how it looks—which, as I mentioned, is usually dependent on the result we are hoping to get from the connection. But the resonant touch isn’t about offering what looks “sexy” or what may be deemed pleasurable. It’s about being in sync with what the moment requires.

For instance, if your partner is yelling at you, it might feel easiest to counter his irritation or anger with counter-arguments, justifications, or by simply walking away. However, if you could stay present and use your intuition to feel what he is feeling, maybe you’d recognize that he is simply looking for empathy and appreciation.

Now, if connection is more important to you than being right, you would be willing to offer a gesture of empathy and appreciation. You might be wondering, “How could I possibly know what to do?” But you do. The body always knows, but we have sundry excuses for neglecting its inborn wisdom.

Connecting with our own body’s knowledge is similar to how a musical virtuoso becomes one with his or her instrument, and the act of playing is less a thing that is being done to an inanimate object to achieve a specific quality of sound, and more a state of unison that can exist only when we are in connection with something outside of us. The instrument is being played, but the virtuoso is also being played. The seamless relationship creates a perfect feedback loop, which is a sign of resonance. You can also see this in two people dancing a perfect tango. Tango is a great example of applying a resonant touch, and it requires the attention and presence of both follower and leader.

The pitch-perfect response is something that takes into account timing, circumstances, and everything else in the climate of your connection. It’s similar to running your finger around the rim of a wine glass to get that continuous high-pitched hum—which is dependent on a number of things: the right balance of softness and firmness in your finger, the amount of liquid in the glass, the density of the glass, and sometimes even the temperature of your surrounding environment.

There is a sense of 360-degree awareness when you attune yourself to the “instrument” you are playing. It’s absent of self-consciousness. When we’re involving all our senses this way, we can more easily get out of our minds and anticipate the next perfect touch without consciously trying. We can reach over and offer our partner the backrub, the hand through his hair, or the light peck on the cheek that might alleviate his irritation. 

You might be thinking, “Well, if my partner is really mad at me, this is not gonna work.” But resonant touch has the capacity to slice through our partner’s stories about why they’re upset or disconnected, as well as their resistance (and our own). This may not happen from the get-go, but the more you practice it, the more easy it will be for your partner to surrender. That’s because the resonant touch allows other people to relax into us; it frees us from awkward and disconnected relating by bypassing the rational brain and its many reasons to stay guarded and angry.

Previously unsatisfactory and damaging connections can be traded in for relationships that are fun, free, passionate, radically honest, and open to growth. We even become more discerning around the obvious communication: what we choose to say and do, and how we react to the things our partner says and does.

In coming to rely on the intrinsic wisdom of our bodies, we learn to unhinge ourselves from the toxic patterns that keep us unconsciously choosing separation and disconnection. We come back to the simple truth that connection is the building block of the universe—and it’s in our nature to have it.

Nirmala Nataraj is an award-winning writer, editor, desire coach, and self-described taboo slayer living in New York.

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