A friend recently introduced me to the philosopher and psychoanalyst Luce Irigaray. Even though at first it looks intimidatingly academic, her writing is easily accessible and I find myself so very alligned with her perspectives.
Irigaray's book To Be Two is a study of the relationship between two people (namely a man and a woman) and how one navigates this relationship.
I was first struck by the way she describes in her introduction her own relationship with Mother nature; what a sacred and inspiring relationship it is. Next she asks how one can then turn to relationship with another (human) without turning away from her relationship with the Earth. I felt within myself a poignant greif with that question as I resonanated with the fact that being in relationship with other people feels in some way that is takes me away from nature, the great outdoors, and my perhaps own inner nature.
As the writing unfolds and Irigaray examines more closely the relationship between two people, she offers the compelling idea that silence is a crucial component to any true, loving relationship. She claims that between the male and female gender there is an irrevocable silence in the nature of the differences in our bodies. And that this difference, this silence, is to be honored, respected and cultivated. (I would add to her perspective that this is innately true, regardless of gender or genitalia.)
As I read this, I felt my breath deepen. I felt the possiblity of reconnecting with the Earth - in the space I am afforded by the sacred silence between myself and other humans. This silence is a place where I get to be with myself and the Great Unknown - just listening, just being.
Especially when we are in the context of an intimate partnership, it sometimes feels as though we are meant to share every single part of ourselves with the Other. We go places together, we share food, we share a bed, we share thoughts and dreams and feelings. How wonderful... and suffocating. This kind of relationship does not leave space for me to be myself, to have my own path, and express my own individual self.
Silence is as important to the health of our partnerships and relationships as is speaking and sharing. When regarded with respect and dignity, this space between us can actually invite even more intimacy and mututal respect. Perhaps it is an even more challening part of intimacy than the familiar expressions of love that we are used to. It forces us to cultivate intimacy with ourselves before we give ourselves away to the Other.
I am becoming more intimate with this sacred silence and the space it offers me to grow into myself.
My life is my art and my music. My body is my vehicle. The deeper the sensing, the deeper the meaning.