Tag Archive: intimacy

Falling in Love

In 2015 Mandy Catron got curious. She’d been reviewing research from the 1990’s that was about intimacy between strangers. She wanted to know if what these researchers learned could be applied to falling in love with someone you don’t know.  After seeing that it actually worked, she applied it to herself and a distant friend.  And yes, they fell in love. And are still in love.

Mandy wrote an article about her experience that was published in the New York Times called How to Fall in Love With Anyone. At the time, she had her own blog with a few hundred readers, and knew this would generate more – maybe even a few thousand. What she got were more than 8 million readers from around the world.

She talks about her experience in the Ted Talk below.

Mandy re-discovered something that has been known for a very long time. I’ll mention one out of many leaders in psychology – Martin Buber – who’s main focus was exactly this.  He called it “I-thou”.
Buber gave as one example the relationship he had with his horse as a boy. He loved his horse, and every chance he could, he’d be with him. He couldn’t explain the unique attraction he felt; he only knew it was mutual, and that it was love.

Then one day while gazing lovingly into his horse’s eyes, he was startled by something. That broke his attention momentarily, and in that moment, his horse walked away.  The intimacy – the love connection – was broken. What had been an “I-thou” moment had become an “I-it” one.

Mandy and Martin each discovered how we fall in love, and passed this wonderful knowing to the rest of us.  The thing is, I suspect that every baby knows this already, and that we lose this knowing as we encounter life’s challenges.

I don’t know about you, but I have a new mission. And that is to fall in love with someone every day.

Mandy Catron – Falling in love is the easy partlove

Quote of the Week

The basic word I-You can only be spoken with one’s whole being.
The basic word I-It can never be spoken with one’s whole being. 

― Martin BuberI and Thou

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .


The Art of Intimacy

So often, I’m struck by a painting or poem that brings up a felt sense of some aspect of life that is deeply meaningful to me.

Rumi, when he speaks of two kinds of intelligence, speaks in my language, as if he were a contemporary instead of someone who lived several centuries ago. The Chess Players by Retzch, reminds me of times in my own life when I “innocently” made a deal with the devil. The friendship that develops between the female characters in Midsummer Night’s Dream turns what might otherwise be sordid and hopeless into light hearted and hopeful.

How often has that happened in your life? Where that intimate connection, of caring or consideration from a friend or stranger, turned pain into pleasure. Something to cherish and remember.

I know that when I’m feeling especially sad, or fearful, or anxious, I look for something in the world of art to remind me that someone else understands what I’m feeling, and that they turned this despair, or fear or sadness into something beautiful.

As a plug for a friend, a particularly intimate version of Midsummer Night’s Dream is playing in Toronto this month in Toronto.


Quote of the Week
I have a very, very good relationship with 10 percent of the audience. The only purpose of art is intimacy. That is the only point. -David Hare

At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co

Mindful Intimacy

Mindful Intimacy

Almost a year ago, I attended a conference on Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, sponsored by Harvard University.  I was going through one of my all-too-frequent periods of physical challenges, so all I could manage was to get myself to the lectures in-between resting in my room.  Fortunately it rained a lot, and the friend I’d planned on meeting had to go elsewhere, so resting in the cool darkness of my room was perfect! I’m glad I made the effort; the quality of the talks and their speakers made it all worth-while.

One of the speakers was Willa Miller, Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston.  She began with a stretch, and then a meditation, so that we could be supported in being present for what she wanted to share with us. A beautiful, and highly meaningful way to share her talk on Mindful Intimacy with us.  This isn’t, after all, a topic that can be truly appreciated without bringing the audience along. She lead more meditations during her time up there (I can’t recall how long she was up there – it felt like no time, but was probably an hour and a half). With each one, she spoke of and demonstrated the intimacy of solitary meditation.

How so? In 5 ways, we all shared the moment:

  1. Learned from a teacher – Ms. Miller was up there, leading us all one meditation at a time – something we all shared in as a result;
  2. Our relationship to the breath – since this was her focus, it was also ours;
  3. Our relationship with the present moment – there is no intimacy without presence, and being mindful is all about being present;
  4. With our immediate senses – similar to breathing together, we were, each of us, aware of hearing her voice and feeling our breathing;
  5. With our mind’s content – because she was teaching us as we meditated, we had something to focus on and think about, while at the same time, being fully present.

This kind of meditating practice is often called Relational Meditation. Its surprisingly intimate, and perhaps for this reason, energizing.  I left that lecture feeling well for the first time in a week.  I’m not claiming it was the meditation, but we do know that connection heals; that connection is, indeed, essential for human growth and wellness.

And so I leave you with this suggestion:  experiment with meditating by yourself and in groups, then note how you feel energetically.  I’d love to hear your feedback, and invite you to leave a comment below.