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Category Archives: emotional foundations

confident in my badassness: stripping my shadow for the love of my dreams

Unless we’re coming off an edge from a relationship gone wrong, none of us think about the darkness that can be connected to love. In fact, popular opinion often advises that if any darkness is associated with a love, that it’s not love – not a healthy one, at least – and that if we’re ever in a dark love, that we should run for the hills. How many loves have we discarded solely because shadows kept coming out – theirs or ours – and though we run, we cannot escape these shadows? When true love comes, isn’t it shadow-free???

No.

As I’ve written before, there is a specific quality about romantic love that pierces to the heart of the matters within our souls, matters that need to be revealed and healed. And if we are in divine partnerships, this specific quality is magnified hundreds of times, for divinely destined relationships have a particular goal in mind – to refine both persons, individually and collectively, as much as possible. This destiny requires that some pretty dark, ugly shit rise to the surface for acknowledgement, inspection, sometimes some cleansing, and always – integration.

So, this means that the love of our dreams is not all lovely and sweet or wonderfully fragrant. No one is coming, at least at first, to whisk us away into a horse-drawn carriage down a yellow brick road to live eternally, happily ever after. Therefore we need to expand our definitions and our perspectives of what is healthy and what is required. Everything becomes more grey than black and white. It all shifts and moves around more than it is solid and predictable. It’s all a rather adventurous invitation into vulnerable spaces – places where we’re naked – not because we’re going to fuck, but because we’re being stripped, beyond the bone.

stripping

Everything that we’ve ever known about ourselves is up for grabs to be peeled away, layer by layer, no matter how painful or how closely cemented they are to us. Our comfort and ease are not #goals. The only thing that the universe is after is the end, the end in which we ascend into our true power, in which we BE the very best versions of ourselves to serve the greater good, to help others along the Way. G~d requires that we are confident in our badassness. This requirement necessitates a stripping of our shadows, and for that, we get the loves of our dreams.

During one of our recent weekly oracle readings (view below, cued to the shadow part) on love, intimacy, sex, relationships, etc., i had the most a-mazing revelation by applying as metaphor Yeshua’s (Jesus) journey between his crucifixion and ascension. So, what really (completely) happened when Yeshua descended into the dead and spent some quality time in hell? Have we heard the whole story? Was there any stripping of Yeshua that occurred there before he was completely ready to arise from death and then to ascend? For we know not only did he appear so differently to his closest disciples that they did not recognize him immediately when he returned, but that upon his incarnation, he grew into the man he needed to become to live out G~d’s call on his life.

From these questions and what we know from the Greek writings, I assert and extend that ascension requires stripping, of every single thing that we have. Following Yeshua’s hero journey, stripping of:

  • his status in heaven to become human
  • his ego and other related qualities during his time of testing in the wilderness before launching his ministry
  • his will in order to agree freely to go the cross where his human life would end

Those are all the details that we have. There has to be more. What else had to go for him to rise to his next level?

In other aspects of our lives, we are familiar with this requirement of stripping:

  • bad habits to become more disciplined for a job that requires more multi-tasking
  • self-centered perspectives and behaviors to be available for an expanded family life
  • downsizing and tightening the financial belt to save money for larger investments like real estate

BEing in the love of our dreams is no different. It’s way bigger than the even great task of simply deciding that we’ve found a cool person to share life with for the rest of our days on earth. Dream love is a lofty ambition, literally. It’s a love that lives in the clouds, in the ether; it’s up there. And for us to get up there, we need to be lighter and lighter and lighter … dropping baggage, shedding layers, removing masks, disrobing – allowing all to be revealed and ogled, studied, analyzed, enjoyed, consumed, and relished.

Are you thinking that this is not what you signed up for? LOLOLOL – I get that. But then you also know that you’ll take nothing else for your journey now. 🙂

Here’s to high-flyin’ love!

Looking for clarity, confirmation, answers, guidance regarding love, career, family – or just life? Share your questions with candi for an oracle reading to help you on your way! She is here for you 🙂

(c) 2018 candi dugas, llc

your beauty is safe here

We’re celebrating our newest service, Sacred Readings with candi dugas!

sacred reading general reading 6.22 youtube cover

Weekly we publish free, general readings on YouTube, and you may also order your own personal readings as well. This week only (through Saturday, 30 June 2018), all readings are 50% off in honor of this celebration.

Watch our latest general reading, “Your Beauty Is Safe Here.”

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,

candi (claircognizant, clairsentient, empath)

good girl syndrome

good girl syndrome

MISS BLOSSIE – I just thought you were the kind of girl who would make better choices.

RACHEL – Kind of girl?  What kind of girl?

MISS BLOSSIE – A good girl who understands that God made sex to only be between . . .

RACHEL – A GOOD girl?

MISS BLOSSIE – I’m not comfortable with your tone.

RACHEL – And I’m not comfortable with your judgment. I suppose I do agree with your pastor, in principle.  It sounds like a really good idea.  But that’s all it is – a really good idea. (pause)  You’re not helping and neither is the Church.

MISS BLOSSIE – So you settle? (clears her throat) The scripture says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  If you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.  Rachel, you have to trust that GOD has a divine plan for your life, one that you want deep down inside.

RACHEL – Sounds like an Easter speech.

MISS BLOSSIE – What?

RACHEL – Nothing.

And so the conversation goes between Miss Blossie, a church and community icon, and her play niece, Rachel – after Miss Blossie discovers Rachel consuming her unmarried lover in Miss Blossie’s kitchen.

Janelle Harris’ Washington Post article, “Pastors tell black women to be passive and wait for love. I don’t believe in that.”, reminds me of the “good girl syndrome,” explored in several convesations in my play, no ordinary sunday, like the one above between Miss Blossie and Rachel. Being passive and waiting for love is based on the outdated interpretation of Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV), “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Now, no doubt if one finds a loving life partner, that is a beautiful blessing. The problem is when this scripture is interpreted to be a mandate for the only way a couple can come together in love and commitment.

Pastors and other faith leaders completely disservice women when they insist on a biblical foundation for gender-based subservience. Have they not understood, overlooked or denied that the bible also describes a loving life commitment that results from a woman’s advances? Naomi schools Ruth in the fine art of oral seduction that so impresses Boaz, that he is compelled to make Ruth his wife.

Ladies, when you plead with God for your Boaz, do you know what you’re actually asking for? (Ruth 3)

(c) 2016, candi dugas, llc

Featured image: pinterest.com – abstract goodluck art greeting card

relationship intimacy: building longer term connections, pt. 3

relationship intimacy: building longer term connections, pt. 3

[Read Part 1 and Part 2.]

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings,infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up – if they succeed in loving the distance between them, which makes it possible for each to see the other Whole against the sky.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

When I paused my story in Part 2, I was at home experiencing the most severe pain I’d ever known …

The next day, Saturday, after rolling out of the bed onto the floor for the seemingly 100th time, I pray, “Lord, I need your help. I’ve been down here on my knees more times in past 24 hours than I have in past five years!” I was at home all day alone since Stacy was attending our son’s father-in-law’s funeral. Then finally the third day, Sunday, I begin to find some relief. While watching a movie, with a sense of amazement, of complete surprise, I realize that I’d uttered the same words to both my wife and to God, “I need your help.” I realize that I have two persons to whom I could say those words. I weep.

 The following week, we decide to go see the movie, The Butler.  While riding, my wife asks me, “Do you want me to get you something for our anniversary?” To this I reply, “If you need to you can, but there is something that you need to know, and that is whatever you purchase, it will pale in comparison to what you have already given to me.” There is silence between us. We just look into each other eyes, and then we smile.

In Part 2 we also listed two of three steps toward developing intimate relationships:

  • Understanding that achieving relational intimacy is messy.
  • Intentionally seeking a deeper level of intimacy with another.

Now, the third step is the process of becoming a more differentiated individual. As such, we must be aware of the fact that we will discover how utterly alone we truly are. For depth – for physical and sexual intimacy to happen – it seems that self-healing of our early life’s (i.e., childhood) relational injuries is necessary. Further, this work may require us to nurture a relationship where we can be and become our true selves; committing ourselves to looking at our earliest physical/sexual encounters with honesty and openness.

Physical and sexual intimacy evolves, but not without conversation between the partners. It seems to me that the ultimate aim in this aspect of the intimate relationship is for both partners to feel mutually accepted as individuals; and, to have mutual respect for each other’s uniqueness, along with learning to respect that uniqueness within oneself and the other. Unfortunately, this process is not for the faint of heart and may only be possible in a therapeutic relationship and space of safety.

part 3 lovers

Image: iloveblackart.net

Similarly, relational intimacy experienced during times of crises creates additional longings. When we encounter difficult personal situations, (e.g.; deaths of parents, children, spouses; the loss of a job, a change in physical health, etc.), we long for our familiar other, to provide a place of safety, so that our painful emotions/feelings are free from judgment. These areas require having an understanding individual when we are experiencing periods of extreme vulnerabilities in our lives. During these moments significant others, without realizing it, can often abandon the persons in our key relationships because we do not know how to hold the existential pain of those close to us in moments of crisis.

Finally, deep relationship intimacy occurs when our defenses are relaxed enough to allow our significant others to develop a capacity for emotional openness. Further, this level of openness therefore enables our loved ones to risk being vulnerable long enough to share aspects of their psychological and spiritual pain. What is relaxed is the unsupported fear of those others who will judge us for expressing our authentic selves.

When a significant other (i.e., spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc.) for example, is able to observe me and to be with me in my moments of temporary anguish, I am healing within my innermost being. Still again, when I have a sudden epiphany about a long-lost childhood experience that is rooted in pain and trauma, and my loving other responds with affirmation, compassion, confirmation and empathy, then I am experiencing depth of intimacy—healing. My appointed and significant other is providing for me a holding space as I work through my anguish and my tears! The following example illustrates my point:

A mother hears her son’s painful memory of not being touched or physically held by her as he expresses this memory to his significant other. His mother is present during this open conversation. His mother, in turn, offers her recollection of her son’s account of their early life relationship. She affirms that his memory is accurate and true as her son had recalled and then offers a self-disclosing fact about herself. [She admits,] “He is right; it [her inability to touch or experience physical closeness] was about me. I couldn’t be available to the touchy-feely [because I didn’t know how] because I was afraid.” To this, the son replies, “That’s right.”

In that moment, the mother openly, without becoming defensive or attempting to protect herself from potentially hurt feelings, provides a longing hunger for her son. She receives the affection that her son has for his mother. This act is a deeply healing and transformative moment for both; in short, it is relational intimacy in living color. This moment is a non-judgmental and non-anxious response. His mother is able provide, as both are now adults, an important holding space for both to heal. Every child, from infancy throughout adulthood, hungers to know her or his parent is willing to receive her or his deeply abiding affection for that parent, mother first and then father.

The quote I used to open the final post in this series is a favorite poem of mine by Rainer Maria Rilke. It sums up the level of relational intimacy to which I’ve been reflecting. Again, I share it:

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings,infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up – if they succeed in loving the distance between them, which makes it possible for each to see the other Whole against the sky.”

Thank you for taking the time to reflect with me on relational intimacy. I look forward to being with you again soon via one of candi dugas & associates’ publications. Until then, take good care.

NOTE: In my narratives, I change the names of others than my own to protect individual privacy.

© 2016, James Bernard Kynes, Sr.

The Rev. James Bernard Kynes, Sr., M.Div., LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) practices at Crossings Counseling Center, Inc., in Decatur, GA. To read more about him and/or to connect with him, visit his website (http://www.jamesbernardkynessr.com/index.html), email (bkynesr@gmail.com) or call (404.378.2232).

Featured Image: iamaliminalbeing.blogspot.com

relationship intimacy: building longer term connections, pt. 2

relationship intimacy: building longer term connections, pt. 2

[Read Part 1.]

“Dread is an alien power which lays hold of an individual, and yet one cannot tear oneself away, nor has a will to do so; for one fears what one desires.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

When we left my story, I was sitting with a client in ever-increasing pain.

After completing that session, I am now thinking that I should drive myself to the emergency room. Then, another thought, “Call Stacy.” So, I call my wife and luckily, she answers her cell. (It’s also a good thing that she is a wonderful and outstanding nurse.) “Stacy, I need your help,” I express in a very slow and vulnerable voice. She replies with the same level of emotional affect in her voice, full of empathy and concern, “What’s wrong?” I tell her what is happening.  She directs me, “Call your doctor. I will meet you there.” Immediately, I experience a sense of clarity to balance the intense moments of crisis that I was having.

At the doctor’s office I learn that I might be passing a kidney stone. To confirm this, Stacy takes me to the hospital. The pain now very severe, I am agitated and restless. The ultrasound confirms that I have a 5mm stone and they can only keep me if it is 6 mm or larger. So, my wife takes me home and I experience the most severe pain that I had ever known.

What I also know is that human beings fear relational intimacy. “I fear getting hurt,” says one young man in his early 30s who ends another relationship before it becomes too serious. Unconsciously more than consciously, our desire for relational intimacy seems to create an invisible sense of dread long before we are able to experience authentic affection from others and authentic compassion and self-love for ourselves. Take our quote above from Soren Kierkegaard, “Dread is an alien power which lays hold of an individual, and yet one cannot tear oneself away, nor has a will to do so; for one fears what one desires.” Developing a significant relationship with regard to intimacy of depth is a lifelong process. This process, therefore, requires patience and longsuffering, and may create feelings of dread before we experience a sense of inner peace within ourselves. The process is arduous, difficult, perilous and gradual. Moreover, this reality applies to any relationship where two individuals are seeking to develop meaningful memories with another human being.

This blog series is about the challenges and opportunities of developing intimate relationships, not about marriage, per se. Marriage is a metaphor for perhaps the most intimate of all relationships. So, my aim in sharing these thoughts is to help create an ongoing dialogue among and between individuals that take their relationships with themselves and others of significance, seriously. Rainer Maria Rilke writes, “Marriage is difficult, and those who take it seriously are beginners who suffer and learn!”

Let’s begin with understanding that achieving an intimate relationship is messy. It is messy because we as human beings, are unaware that we are committing ourselves to being a living and reflective mirror image for another person. This dynamic is messy in that we see ourselves in the other person. An internal reflection of ourselves becomes possible. In other words, I am agreeing to be of help to the other person in seeing herself or himself, as well as looking at myself, being played out before my very eyes in real time – my virtues as well as my flaws, my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and my possibilities as well as my limitations. In this mirror reflection of myself, I am going to see every aspect of my childhood relationships, my parents (adoptive or biological), siblings, cousins and other relatives—grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and neighborhood playmates and friends—every aspect. Moreover, if I do not remember cognitively everything, emotionally, I do. In the words of Howard Thurman, “I am looking for myself in you, and perhaps I cannot find myself until I find it in you.”

Man fears hide psychology emotions cartoon illustration

Additionally, in this mirroring process of “looking for myself,” we as individuals will early and often attack the negative images (played out through actions and behaviors) that we see in the other person. We fail to realize that at our deepest cores, we are attacking aspects of ourselves. A woman, 50 years of age, recently exclaimed in her therapy session:

The parts of my father that I did not like, I later began to see them in me. I made a conscious choice not look closer at those parts of me because I did despise my father. I am coming to realize that I have been despising myself as well because for years I have tried NOT to be like him; and now, I am discovering that in so many ways I am like him—the parts that I despise. I was like him in my two failed marriages. And I see it more clearly today.”

As she is transforming this deeply internalized and mirrored self-image of herself, it becomes possible for her to deepen the emotional level of intimacy with her, first, and others second. 

Next, let’s seek a deeper level of relational intimacy. As individuals we live by our own collective misconceptions and internalized models about what intimacy is. Consider a few commonly made statements:

  • “I thought that I would not feel alone once in my marriage.”
  • “We need to have more intimacy.”
  • “Something’s missing; we seem to be growing apart rather than closer—I want more intimacy, not necessarily sex, but not to feel like this … lonely.”

Moreover, the social images associated with intimacy models, for instance, visual expressions such as couples locked arm-in-arm or warmly embracing each other in the public sphere or even holding hands. These are outer expressions of closeness, possible relational warmth with another relationship of familiarity. Yet, when these expressions are seemingly lost, we utter statements like:

  • “We used to have such a close relationship.” or
  • “We used to cuddle all the time and I don’t know what happened.”

I often hear individuals, men more so than women, using the intimacy word primarily in relation to sexual intercourse. Physical/sexual intimacy is an important part of the relationship between committed individuals. It may become one of depth if we are able to commit to the relationship rather than having a “friends with benefits” arrangement. According to David Schnarch, author of Passionate Marriages, achieving meaningful sexual intimacy requires the individuals to be able to become a well-differentiated self. Differentiation in this context means that as individuals, we are able to work sufficiently through our own interpersonal and intrapersonal wounds, in the process of becoming one, with ourselves.

Return to sexNspirit next week for the 3rd and final post in this series to discover the 3rd step toward achieving relational intimacy.

NOTE: In my narratives, I change the names of others than my own to protect individual privacy.

© 2016, James Bernard Kynes, Sr.

The Rev. James Bernard Kynes, Sr., M.Div., LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) practices at Crossings Counseling Center, Inc., in Decatur, GA. To read more about him and/or to connect with him, visit his website (http://www.jamesbernardkynessr.com/index.html), email (bkynesr@gmail.com) or call (404.378.2232).

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