Love, Bonding, and Intimacy

Saving Our Lives
and the Planet

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Saving Our Lives and Planet

Bringing the Future into the Psychological Present

We live in stressful times with much conflict, greed, and violence in the world. Population growth continues as well as material growth and increases in wealth. There are current predictions that say we will eventually run out of basic resources, such as energy and water, and our rain forests. Yet each year we create further debt, regarding material resource utilization. These projections get ignored. Why? Resource utilization is fundamental to life. A rapidly changing world with multiple demands further limits our ability to bring a critical awareness of a challenging future into our psychological present.

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For What Are We Remembered?

What About Us Carries On?

If our parents have already passed away, what is it about them that we remember most? And what about our grandparents and great grandparents? Do we remember how they met? Where they lived? What careers they pursued? What they valued? And of course, what about some of the other influential people in our lives, like that special teacher, aunt or uncle, coach or dear friend? What about even our spouse, for those of you who may have by now lost your life partner?

What I find notable is that most of the factual information about our forbearers is forgotten or lost. So what is it about those who have passed on, that is really important? What is it that transcends their physical lives? Have you thought about how you would like to be remembered? This is a really tender question, but it’s a vital one. Virtually all of us have been a caregiver or nurturer for others at some point in our lives and sometimes, sadly, if we take stock of our lives, maybe we find that we did not give of ourselves in nurturing or caregiving ways. How did each of us make those life-sustaining connections to others? Did we nurture our relationships? Did we give of ourselves? Did we share in the betterment of other’s lives, as well as of that of our own?

What we come to find we are actually remembered for are our qualities of being. Our nurturance of others, our presence, our receptivity, our awareness, our compassion, our joy, our generosity, our hopefulness, and our expression of our own wants and needs. And all of that in congruence with that of others. Sadly, we may actually be remembered for how we actually lacked these qualities, or even, that we expressed much the opposite of these altruistic qualities.

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Why Do We Love?

Why Do We Love? Why Do We Need It Want It, and Seem to Thrive In When In It?

Book_KalilGibran_200pxw There’s a saying, and it goes something to the effect of “ultimately all we have is love.” Or as Kahlil Gibran put it, “Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not, nor would it be possessed; for love is sufficient unto love.”

Love, which is an experience at the root of human bonding, is so vital to human beings that without it, we don’t develop properly. We remain impoverished. A loving bond between a human infant and a human caregiver not only creates the potential for development, it contributes to it and is necessary for healthy development to occur.

AdultsBonding_300pxwIntimate adult relationships are a great source of love and nurturance. And sexual intimacy with a loving partner fosters connection and bonding. Spiritual experiences even, of oneness and of unity, can be experienced during loving sexual intercourse.

In addition and an important fact specific to human beings is that we are one of the only mammals that practice sex throughout the female’s entire monthly cycle, not just during ovulation. Why? Research is showing that sexual behavior stimulates all sorts of bonding hormones to be released, the “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin and vasopressin and the positive-feeling neurotransmitter dopamine, as well as testosterone and nor-epinephrine. These chemicals are released in even greater amounts during orgasm, all of which nurtures our emotional, psychological, and physical selves. We are fed, fueled, and rejuvenated, if you will, through all forms of contact that engender bonding and intimacy. We are literally designed for it.

HarryHarlowbaby_175pxwHARRY HARLOW AND RHESUS MONKEYS
Studies of maternal deprivation in Rhesus monkeys conducted by psychologist Harry Harlow in the 1950s were monumental studies not only in the study of primates, but in the study of mammalian attachment and loss. Harlow aligned his experimental subjects to human children and media of his day treated his findings as major observations about love and psychological/emotional development in human beings. These “monkey love” research experiments were powerful studies for any and all separations of mothers and infants, including adoption, as well as childrearing in general.

MamaLoveBabyMonkey_300pxwIn his University of Wisconsin lab, Harlow examined the nature of love, aiming to illuminate its first cause-and-effect mechanisms based on the relationships formed between infants and mothers. First, he showed that mother love was emotional rather than physiological, supporting the adoption-friendly,widely-accepted theory that continuity of care —“nurture” — was a far more important factor in healthy psychological development than physiological “nature.” Next, he showed that the capacity for attachment was closely related to critical periods in early life, after which it was difficult to impossible to compensate for the loss of early emotional security.

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The Chemistry of Touch

Sex is Much More than just “Sex” and Bonding is More Important Than We Ever Knew…

 

And How Does our Enneagram Type Play Into It?

PHOTO_AEAWorkshop_Daniels2014In a new book I’ve been working on, slated for completion in 2017, I focus on the nature of intimacy as it relates to our sexuality and overall happiness. I include a powerful section on the sexual enhancements and diminishments by Enneagram type, suggested antidotes for each type, a section on how to develop true intimacy, the stereo-typical male-female differences, the key difference between sensuality and sensuousness, some of the many myths about our sexuality, and much more.
What I’m thinking about currently is the power of touch and the critical importance of bonding in our ability to experience loving, sexual relationships that will not only thrive but endure.

This vital topic has not been addressed much in the Enneagram world. The experience of love, touch, affection, and “bonding” are critical components of our human nature. We could even call these biological imperatives. What is their relationship to our sexuality? I feel this question is ready  to be explored, and from an Enneagram type perspective.

Over the years, working with countless couples, I have become immensely passionate about this question and this potential by-Enneagram-type discovery.  It’s been fulfilling for me to work with individuals and on this topic, couples, who have been willing to create a genuinely receptive and open-hearted environment for this discussion, which allows all of us to expand our understandings of such precious and delicate of subject matter and the possibilities for growth and exploration.

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