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Due to our 9 months of life in the womb, the most deeply imprinted human experience is that of intimacy.

With the separation of birth, foetal life shifts more or less abruptly from all-embracing intimacy, a state in which love is intrinsic, to distinctness, one in which love and intimacy are a matter of negotiation.

The quality of this negotiation between baby and parents and whether it brings a good enough mix of loving intimacy and distinctness for the growing baby, is another deeply imprinted experience, one that decisively shapes expectations in later life.

At best we learn that intimacy is plentiful, something that we can reliably call up, and that distinctness, and separation—being for the moment out of the range of parental intimacy—are survivable, even intriguing.

At best we learn to experience repeatedly moving between intimacy and distinctness as an exciting, scary, yet essential dance in which each has special virtues.

Honoring this dance, staying aware of it being necessary and inescapable, is a vital element of living from love. Too much intimacy and we may feel overwhelmed, too little and we are likely to feel alienated.

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This document was last modified on 2005-11-03 08:45:27.