ASK ABDI: HOW TO PRACTICE HELPLESSNESS AND VULNERABILITY WITH A PARTNER?

QUESTION: I recently picked up your book, Shadows on the Path, and found it very revealing to my ego, and noticed that I put it down after the first two chapters. Dealing with shadows is a whole other perspective I hadn’t fully been ready to tackle. I like the sexy stuff like focusing on the light, positive affirmations, and manifesting. I came back to it after a month or so, and noticed I have a lot of shadows that don’t really allow the positive affirmations and manifestations to take root. My ego literally stops the process because it's still living in the shadows and those roots are possibly deeper than I really understand. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on the amount of work I really have to do. By that, I just mean that the feelings of helplessness and not feeling good enough in the world run very deep into my subconscious. In regards to uprooting these fixtures in my subconscious, I’ve particularly liked the chapter about how our partners provide the greatest opportunity to do the psychological work. Somehow, I’ve been blessed with a partner that holds space for me like I’ve never had before. However, I realize that sometimes I still have difficulty being helpless with my partner. I wanted to ask you if there’s any advice or practices one can do with a partner to become more emotionally exposed to enter into helplessness and vulnerability while deepening the trust and intimacy.

ANSWER: I appreciate your honesty with yourself. Truly that is the most important step in our journey back to our self. What you are discovering and discussing is true for all of us. We all have immense resistance to life in general due to unresolved unconscious material.

In terms of specific practices to deepen your intimacy, all it takes is vulnerability. And that is no easy feat. Start practicing deep honesty when your partner asks you how you are. Instead of an automatic answer, take a deep breath, check in, and then answer. Ask him to do the same. Take turns physically feeding each other a couple of bites during meals. This alone can bring up tons of stuff around our resistance to feeling helpless. Ask each other for mundane things like a glass of water or a back rub. Take these ideas and build on them. Practice often and with all the honesty you can muster.