Sunday, April 18, 2010

As I sit and breathe, “soft” gets explained.

A few nights ago, I spent a wonderful chunk of time, sitting naked in my husband's arms, breathing with him. It was such a consuming experience. Our bedroom was quiet and warm and the only sound I could hear was the air moving in and out of our bodies. It's a tantric exercise in intimacy in which the male partner sits comfortably with the female partner on his lap, straddling his legs, often her legs around his waist, facing each other. Traditionally, he times his breath ratios to breath with her. When she inhales, he exhales; when she exhales, he inhales. We've had to modify this because Michael would suffocate trying to follow me. Years of yoga breath training means when I'm relaxed and comfortable, I often breathe in 30 second plus cycles – twice a minute as opposed to the typical adult respiratory rate of 12-20 times a minute. Michael's actually more like 6-8 times a minute but for me, even at this 'rapid' pace of breathing is a delicious exercise in intimacy.

We said nothing although I could hear his heart. I found peace, relaxation and renewal. At first it was just breathing that synchronized. The physical connection enhanced a sense of emotional intimacy. I found myself drawn closer and closer to him, more and more engaged in breathing with him, following his lead. I wanted to get lost in him completely. The feeling was mutual, even if his state of arousal was more immediately apparent then was mine. I wanted him to love me more intensely than I've ever wanted it before. I truly needed him and when he entered me, I felt whole and completed. Our union was so much more than merely physical. For the first time ever, I felt truly and completely at one with my lover.

All of these are things I've felt to some degree before but this time, it was all consuming. It was truly transcendental. Time lost all sense of meaning. I don't even have words to explain the depth and dimensions of the experience. I just know it was profoundly moving for both of us. And soon, our conscious awareness returned to listening to the other's breath.

"I nurture you." Those were the first words spoken between us in almost an hour and it wasn't just the post-coital confusion that rendered them senseless. I looked up at him and blinked, in obvious confusion.

"The softer thing that you wrote about having you all confused. That's what it's about. I protect you. I look after you. I've never done that."

After talking with him, I think he's truly surprised to discover what I've known all along. He's thrown for a loop to discover just how sensitive a man he truly is. He's spent a lifetime cultivating forceful and impenetrable armour for the world. I know he's very driven at work. He's goal oriented and highly disciplined. He's a 'hard-ass' to work for. He's decisive and more likely to be thought of as 'demanding' than 'comforting'. But that's stuff that I so rarely see. I've never had many encounters with his 'work persona'. Right from our first dates, and our extended telephone/email courtship at the very beginning, I got the sensitive, thoughtful and reflective Michael. The impatient, brusque and no-nonsense Michael rarely shows his form around our house.

But apparently, my Michael – the sensitive, engaged, peaceful Michael – is the stronger of the two. His recently discovered ability to build and create strength in relationships is moving into his work place. I'd be telling tales out of school if I gave specifics, but I do agree that he's probably become a better boss in the past year.

I don't think I've taught him anything or changed him in any way. I'm just the catalyst to all this. I've just given him an excuse to show his own true self. He's a very loving and patient man at heart. I'm just glad to see that the rest of the world is starting to benefit from the strength of his big heart.

I didn't make him softer. He just needed a little practice in how to let it shine forth.


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