As much as I enjoy the physical state of being naked, that is not what this blog is about. However, to set the stage for the points I hope to make, let’s start with physical naked. For those who regularly watched Seinfeld in its heyday, remember the episode about “good versus bad naked?” Besides being funny, it totally rang true for me. For me, good naked, or should I say really excellent naked, is sacred and reserved for that person who I trust every nook and cranny of my body and heart to. In my case, it’s my spouse of 23 years. Vulnerability and trust are at the heart of what makes a naked connection not only good, but transcendent. It’s that moment when you give everything and receive everything that matters…vulnerability, trust and love.
Of course, when vulnerability, trust and love are exploited and broken, naked is definitely not good. Therein lies the rub. I suspect most would agree that a physical naked connection with a person you are willing and not afraid to share all of you with is one of the greatest pleasures in life. It definitely is for me. But finding that person involves risk that sometimes leads to heartbreak, or “bad naked.” We risk it anyway, because on balance, getting to “good naked” is always worth the risk.
Where, at least for me, physical naked connections are reserved for my spouse, learning to make naked emotional connections with people I trust has helped me to become a more emotionally free and gentle person. To illustrate what I mean by a “naked” emotional connection, a few select synonyms for the word naked are uncovered, unwrapped, unsheathed, open, undisguised, unadulterated, plain, simple and obvious. It means being honest and open to honesty. Most of us, myself included, do not go through life with our hearts exposed like that. We cover who we are in protective layers designed to keep people at bay. We do it to protect old wounds, to guard against new ones and sometimes to run from our own truths. Not only do we not let other people in, we lose track of the essence of who we are and become incapable of making “naked” emotional connections. We walk around covered in layers that keep us from what we all want and need most. Connections that allow us to love and be loved, no matter what.
Lack of connection with other people stunts our growth as human beings. We lose the ability to let ourselves be vulnerable and trust. We close the door on having moments of transcendent emotional naked connections with other human beings. It creates a lonely stark existence especially in times of need when having friends who love you know matter what makes all the difference in the world. But you can’t get there without making emotional connections, and that involves risk.
The reality, however, is that you can’t trust everyone and not everyone will love you no matter what. Human nature is messy and one needs to be careful of that actuality. The protective layers covering our hearts do serve a purpose in that they protect us from those who would exploit our vulnerabilities and use trust as a weapon. We all have and use those protective layers, but they make getting to know someone enough to make “naked” emotional connections nearly impossible. Electronic connections through social media often complicate things even more because we miss out on clues to a person’s heart by not being able to interact with them face to face.
But here’s the flip side. Taking the risk to know people and letting them know you results in friendships that stand the test of time. When the dust of life settles, they are the ones by your side. They will be there for you when you need them most. They will love you no matter what, inspire and give you purpose. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t believe in a god. I intend to blog about that in the near future. In the meantime, I’m mentioning it here because what I believe in is us and that on our little blue planet, all we have is us. That’s why authentic human connection is so important.
Since I’ve started writing, I find myself shedding layers and letting people in. Yes, there’s risk of being stung. It’s a risk I’m willing to take because I’ve made so many great connections with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. People who inspire me with their kindness and authenticity. I’m grateful for these new friendships. They have made my world that much brighter.
Speaking of just a few those new friends, Cheri the Rev, Nikki and Andy over at Cocktail Hour Productions are among the most authentic ladies I’ve met this past year. I’m honored to be part of their family with a show called “Barbell.” If you don’t know who they are, check out the shows over at http://cocktailhour.us/.
Have a great weekend, make a few friends, and “eat healthy, keep moving, manage stress and own it.” Peace.