Intimacy Workshop takeaways #3- Doing Rescue  

earthShiva 61M
270 posts
8/29/2006 11:01 pm

Last Read:
9/18/2006 7:49 am

Intimacy Workshop takeaways #3- Doing Rescue

By the third day of this workshop, I had just about had it with being around women. After class I announced to my suite-mates that I needed some male companionship. I was in a foul mood, having been outraged at much of the lecture and dialogue, which sounded to me like some eight grade girl teaching sixth grade girls how to slow dance with horny boys (more on these events in a later post...)

Anyway, my suitemates were deeply concerned with my mood. I told them point-blank that there was nothing that they, being women whose pussies had been placed under lock and key, could do to help me release my tension. I didn't want a fight, and I didn't want sympathy. I wanted my autonomy, and the opportunity to express myself on my own terms, not through terms dictated by people who were pretending to be open, but who were really just hiding behind a bunch of goody-goody spiritual masks. Their best strategy, and mine, was to let me go find intimacy with myself, leave me the fuck alone, and let me go find some guys with whom I could enjoy a few beers and a few friendly words.

On the way out, I ran into D. She had no trouble sensing my agitation, asked what what was up for me. I gave her my thumbnail sketch, she concurred with my plan, and accepted my reassurance that neither she nor anyone else needed to worry about me. I was a big boy, and I was doing exactly what I needed to do in the circumstances. If I couldn't fuck any of the women around me, I'd just as soon have some guy time. She got it, we were fine, and off I went.

No sooner did I leave the resort complex than I started to feel better. I walked about seven miles and found myself on a high bluff above a small bay and fishing village that I had visited the first night. I asked around and ascertained that I could walk around on the road another two miles to get down, or I could use the local's footpath and rappel down the cliff face to the beach. Needless to say I chose the footpath, and ended up on the far side of the bay from where I had been previously. I spent an hour or so photographing a decaying freighter that had been wrecked there in a hurricane in 1995, then walked around the beach to the fishing village where I planted myself at a n open-air bar and slaked my thirst with a couple of the local bankers. Nice place. Not a tourist or New Agey healer type in sight.

Around sundown (which happens around 5:30 in St Maarten), I decided I should head back home.I had about a two hour walk ahead of me, and didn't figure I could scale the cliff in darkness. I got about halfway around the beach when I heard Miles Davis wafting out across the sand. Plan B. Let's get some dinner!

I set up shop at the bar, ordered the daily catch, and made eye contact with a fiercely handsome elderly gentlemen who was sitting alone at a nearby table. I motioned him over to join me. It turned out he was the father of the owner of the restaurant, who flies him out to visit for a few weeks every Summer. 81 years old, he lived on a modest pension from his job working in the coal mines in Yorkshire. His wife had been dead for over ten years. All three of his children had hopped freighters and made good lives for themselves far from home.

We talked about boxing. I'm not a sports fan in general, and generally oppose the brutality of boxing, but scored big points when I told him my favorite fighter was Archie Moore. He was impressed that someone my age had even seen the films. We both agreed that Jack Dempsey was overrated on account of the rule changes on the eight count. Then we got on to the subject of what I was doing on the island. "42 women, lad? That's 40, 41 or 42 too many, I'd say.", He said with a twinkle in the eye." Later on, he turned serious, gently squeezed my arm, and said, "You know, son, the key to it all is to let them be in charge, and when you can't let them be in charge, let them think they're in charge. I look back on all the days I wasted arguing with my wife, and what do I have to show for it? I've been alone for ten years now. If I could have just one of those days of fighting back to be nice to her, I'd be happy." His eyes were shiny with tears. I turned back to my mahi-mahi to give him the chance to wipe them away without my noticing.

I was deeply thankful for the chance to connect with a guy, to talk to a guy, to talk about fighting, to talk about fighting and even have us both admit that we don't win all the time. This was exactly the intimacy that I needed, but there still was that nine mile walk home. (Yeah, it got two miles longer while I ate, since I now had to follow the road.)

I enjoyed the stillness of the Caribbean night air, and the intimacy of my own company. Intimacy truly does start within us, not with other people.

I got some more interesting photos on the way home of derelict buildings using available light. All in all, the day had been perfect. I had gotten what I needed, I was re-charged, I was back in touch with myself, and ready to share the gifts of my own, male intimacy on whatever basis they fit in this artificial workshop environment.

The problem was, my perfect day wasn't over. Back at the resort, my suite-mates were having hissy-fits that it was past midnight, and I was nowhere to be seen. They were worried sick that I was lying in a ditch somewhere. They found D, and asked her opinion. What she told them was, "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned, but he said not to worry, he'd take care of himself. He always does. I'm not going to go looking for him." What they heard was, "Yeah, I'm concerned, too. Can you go look for him?"

I was within about 400 yards of the entrance to the resort when they found me. Clueless that they were even looking for me, I declined the ride cheerfully, and told them I would see them at poolside.

It was a less than happy reunion. They were clearly upset. I tried to tell them I had had exactly the day I set out to have, that I had done exactly what I told them I was going to do, and that I felt much better. That seemed to make them kind of mad! That of course, put me on the defensive (again!) Damn, this intimacy stuff is hard!

The next morning, we dealt with this issue in class. The instructor's take on it - "EarthShiva, it doesn't take much insight to know that these women were going to be upset if oyu were out all hours, based on your state when you left. You could have called and said, 'Don't worry'. You could have even called the front desk if you didn't want to talk to anyone. Did you ow it to them? No. But it would hve been the compassionate thing to do. We're karmically responsible for all of the conesquences of our actions, not just the ones that make us 'right' or 'wrong'. Those concepts are the ones that push us away from intimacy the most."

Then, she launched into my classmates, "Any YOU, ladies. What the HELL do you think you were doing? Sending out the posse to go hunt him down on an island where you don't know a soul or one tenth of the stree names? What are you stupid or something? If you were really as concerned as you say you were, you would have called me, the hotel staff, or the police instead of running off like the Keystone Kops. You know why you did this? Self-aggrandizement! You sit there and pretend you're oh, so concerned about him, but this was about you, and how he wasn't meeting your needs, not about his actual safety. Haven't you figured it out yet ladies? People resent being rescued! Even, sometimes, when they need it! What does your running out to save EarthShiva from God knows what say about your respect for him and your confidence in him? Do you have any idea how hard it is going to be to develop any intimacy with this man after what you've just told him you think of his competence? If you want to be healers, you're going to have to learn, you can't do rescue. Healing is about helping the person find their own strength, not filling in their weaknesses for them."

It was an interesting moment. She managed to leave everyone in the room feeling pretty sheepish. I don't think I could have even identified my own resentment for what it was, but she was dead on target. That afternoon, we tooled around the island together, got lost a few times and basically acted like the Keystone Kops. But without anyone to rescue in sight. And we all got a little closer for it.

The artwork for this post is Francisco Goya's The Straw Mannequin"

rm_goldnglory2 67F

8/30/2006 2:15 am

Very interesting post.

rm_wavegoodbye 59F

9/17/2006 10:20 am

My experience with rescue was quite different. Being the wife of the only man and fully aware of his experience, I became very conscious of staying "unenmeshed" and not taking on his issues...

That said, when I got to the island after two days of travel and weeks of anticipation, my neck immediately tensed up, begging a dip in the oh so magnificent and inviting Caribbean (duh, can't believe we'd never gotten there, Earth!) Not ten minutes into the water with a classmate, I heard screams and saw a woman running desparately along the beach, calling and beckoning to a little boy drifting out past me. He was little, blond, maybe 3 or 4, and he was swimming out with the current!

Being the nearest adult, I swam out after him. He didn't heed my calls to him and kept moving away so I had to swim faster. When I finally reached him, he clearly didn't understand or speak English but he was obviously tired and he grasped onto me. Fortunately he was little and cooperative as I swam him in, using that rusty cross-carry lifesaving sidestroke I'd learned as a teen but never needed.

His parents swam part way out and received him from me, thanking me profusely and I returned to my classmate and my now tenser neck. Wow! I'd actually rescued a child!

I didn't think or feel much about the incident during the week as I focussed on my own process and detensed my neck by expressing myself on other issues (amazing how our bodies speak our emotions). How many of us will jump in without hesitation to take on others' issues while stuffing our own truth? Fact is, I had plenty of my own stuff to process that week...

When we got to the discussion of rescue in class, I had conveniently forgotten the actual water rescue. The discussion was about rescuing adults from their emotional dis-ease when what they really need is support for their own ability to move through it.

I did come full circle though by the end of the week. On the last day, a bunch of us chartered a couple of boats that took us around the island. There was an aha moment of irony when I found myself using that old lifesaving carry to keep my rum punch safe from the water!

And the penultimate moment came when Earth and I leapt in unison from a 45 foot cliff into the water. Free-falling side by side...

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