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Intimate Hopeful Gratitude

‘At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.’ -Albert Schweitzer

I have been studying gratitude lately. In keeping my first gratitude journal, I have learned that paying attention and recording the gifts of life actually fills you up more quickly than you can fill up a journal. It is like a system reset, coming back on line with a clearer vision of what is good. Applying this to relationships is the most rewarding of all because it stops you from taking anything for granted. It opens your eyes to what is loveable.

Hope is another profound transmission of love. Elie Wiesel once said, ‘Just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.’ Giving up hope on our relationships and our partners is a common defense mechanism in dealing with the imperfections of day to day relating. In not wanting to feel hurt, we unwittingly choose despair, which erodes the connection we long for. The abilities to love and to hope are close cousins because they both depend on the ability of the heart to risk. The old adage that ‘hope springs eternal from the human breast�’ reflects this truth.

There is no more profound path to deeply experiencing the hope and gratitude that relationships offer than in the bedroom. Consciously employing the mental habits of both hope and gratitude can be all it takes to recalibrate the workings of your intimate relationship. By collecting and holding grateful thoughts about your partner and attending to the small expressions of warmth that transpire between you, you are paving the way to finding each other in the bedroom.

The access point and timing involved in synchronizing our physical intimacy is key to how we often miss each other on the way to wanting the same thing. For women, it is the sense of romance and emotional connection which triggers sexual desire and access to arousal. Men rely on physical attraction and sensuous contact to unlock their ability to emote and feel deeply. Sometimes it feels like missing each other is a cruel joke, built into our biology and yet this can’t be true, because nothing makes a relationship thrive like a rich intimate life.

One way around this land mine that rocks so many relationships is the practice of gratitude. Expressing appreciation is the highest form of thought and the one that removes the experience of being taken for granted. Practice seeing the best parts of the relationship outside the bedroom and then bring those feelings of gratitude with you to your intimate time.

Also remember that loving someone deeply embodies an ebb and flow. Do not give up on your partner if the situation doesn’t currently look the way you want it to. Thich Nhat Hanh once said, ‘Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.’ Remember this on the days that are hard. Remember what you’re most grateful for and watch your most intimate relationships grow freely both inside the bedroom and out.