The other night I was streaming an episode of the show American Odyssey when an intimate scene between two characters struck me in such a lovely way. For those of you who don’t know the show, it has a “network television series” feel to it and the main plot centers around a female soldier in the middle east who’s presumed dead but continues to survive. She discovered some secrets about the U.S. government over in the middle east and various U.S. officials want her dead. There are a lot of different characters in the movie who are directly involved with her and indirectly related to her situation back in the States. Several journalists in the U.S. are working to investigate her situation and story. One of the journalists becomes friendly with a woman and this leads to a romantic moment between the two of them. When they become intimate for the first time, she starts to move very fast and peel off her clothes. He stops her for a second and says, “Stay with me.” It was this moment that really spoke to me, but not because it was something new.
As a psychotherapist, a Buddhist and just another human being, I pay attention to my experiences throughout the day and naturally look for reminders of what’s truly important. One of the most important things, so I’ve found, is that staying with each other, when we’re with each other, truly adds a great deal of meaning to our lives. So often we’re caught in the trap of our own mind and by the habitual storylines that it gives us. We learn and are told how to “act” in certain situations and when a similar moment arises, the script in our mind starts to run. What’s sad about us becoming the script is that we are, indeed, faking our presence in the moment and totally out of touch with how we can connect with the other person. We’re not really connected with what’s going on in the moment because our mind is making so many assumptions about what’s happening, what things mean, who the person is in front of us, and all of this ruins the rawness and freshness of the moment. This happens in any and all of our interactions throughout the day, not just in intimate situations. The meat of life, the juicy parts that are so meaningful to us, can only be savored when we truly stay with each other. To do this, we need to have the courage to be vulnerable, open, raw, and true in how we are as things happen. Of course, this is easier said than done for a lot of people.
So many of us don’t know what these words truly mean and how it feels to embody them. I’m not here to tell you the “5 Steps to Perfect Vulnerability” because part of life is to figure this out as we venture into the world. Yet, I would like to say that in my near 30 years of studying our human psychology and relationships, staying with each other and truly being with each other is vital to our individual and collective contentment, health and happiness. Sure, people come and go so they may not stay, but we should try to stay with each other when we’re with each other. Nearly all of us fantasize about this and deeply desire this type of connection. However, many of us often get in the way of making it happen. So many of our relationships and friendships start with this desire for deeper connection, but then they fade away as the scripts, insecurities and habits kick in. I hope, for all of you, that you can come to understand and experience what it’s like to stay with you, to stay with me, and to stay with all of us whenever we’re together. If you already know, very intimately, what I’m talking about then please continue to inspire others through genuine connections. As always and with an honest and open heart, I wish each of you well.