Vulnerable, close, and naked

My dear friends...

We have been discussing in this space something that I have called The Holy Experience. And this week I want to share with you that I observe the quality of my life increasing exponentially when I am willing to be vulnerable, close, and naked—as opposed to being totally invulnerable, closed off, and always having my backside covered.

I find that when I am close to another, I am close to myself. I find that when I am ready to share intimacy, authenticity, the Real Me and the Real You, I experience myself fully.

But let me be clear here. I am not talking about rampant sexuality, or about indiscriminate intimacy, or about runaway authenticity that gets into TMI Territory. This is not about giving people Too Much Information immediately following “Nice to meet you,” nor is it about crying on everyone’s shoulder even after you’ve known them for a while, nor is it about undressing emotionally or physically with every person in your world.

What it is about is being available for true Openness and real Intimacy with someone—as opposed to going through huge portions of one’s time here on earth without being open and intimate with anyone.

There is a reason that the worst punishment one can receive in prison is solitary confinement. Correction officials have learned that even while a person is already being punished, there is one more, one worse, punishment that can be meted out, and that is the requirement to endure confinement alone.

Many people who are not in prison nevertheless construct “a prison of their own devise.” They lock themselves inside—inside their home or inside their mind, or both—refusing to let anyone in. I do not observe many of these people to be inordinately joyful.

True, there is the occasional recluse who claims to be happy being utterly and completely alone. And there are persons who join religious orders or other societies in which intimate encounters (to say nothing of sexual exchanges) are not part of the norm. But for the largest number of human beings the pathway to the True Self is not best found in emotional or physical isolation, but through Openness and Closeness.

There is a reason for this. Human beings have a cellular memory, and thus an intuitive understanding, that we are all one, that unity is the natural order of things, and that isolation and separation is not simply unusual, but unnatural.

There may be moments during long-term closeness when aloneness is voluntarily created or provided, but the key here is “voluntarily.” In such a context, times of privacy and separateness can be wonderfully rejuvenating and are, in fact, healthy. But an entire lifestyle that excludes intimacy at any time with any other person can be very, very lonely—and, indeed, debilitating.

Loneliness is, in fact, the biggest social issue on our planet today. We’ve been living in a world of increasing isolation, where extended families have been disappearing and the opportunities for closeness with others have been vanishing. The sudden rise and almost addictive use of social networking sites on the Internet by millions around the globe is, without doubt, humanity’s collective compensatory behavior.

Yet we don’t have to turn a computer on when we can turn another human being on—to himself or herself and to us. And nothing turns people on more than moments of being authentically vulnerable, truly close, or completely naked. My best advice is to find someone with whom you can be all three.

But not just anyone. I want to strongly suggest that this be a person who is very special to you—and to whom you are willing to be very special. So there are two questions you would do well to always ask yourself when choosing a person with whom to be all three. And this is especially true if you are thinking of forming a lifelong partnership with that person.

More on this next week. Until then, I send you...

Hugs and love,


Read this week's Letter to Neale here


Read a message from one of the prisoners impacted by our Prison Outreach HERE




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