I’m sure there is historical documentation as to when efficiency became our societal’s value. More is better. Faster is king. Get more in. On the double. Pronto.

Perhaps, it is about money. The more I can produce in a shorter amount of time, the fatter my wallet. Why would this not be a good thing, a value to aspire to? It just might be … until it comes to intimacy. Slow is the pace of intimacy. The opposite of our current societal speed.

I always get excited when a patient says to me at the beginning of a session, “I don’t have anything on my mind today.” “Good!” I respond back. They look at me with puzzlement. I continue, “that means we get to wait. Wait for the unconscious to appear and show us her treasure.” And she almost always does. Why? Because we have created the space with intention to listen.

This scene is probably not too different from one between partners. We sit at dinner, whether at home or a fancy restaurant, and wonder what to talk about with this person across from me, the one with whom I have already covered all topics, the one with whom I have run out of things to say. But unlike the psychoanalytic scene described above, we do not wait. We do not honor the carved out space to see what goodies might emerge. No, we can’t or don’t tolerate the silence. We are too anxious. What might I say? What might he say? What if there really is nothing left between us? So, we rush to fill the now tense space. We turn on the TV or pick up of our phone, a convenient distraction which has become an extension of our arm. Another evening, another opportunity to get closer to my partner is lost.

Heart-breaking, really. That we have to fight for intimacy. That we have to push aside the competition of our daily busyness to allow connection to blossom. The unconscious is bitchy that way. She doesn’t like to show-up for the party, dressed in her finery, unless she is sure she is going to be attended to. But the good news is that she does arrive if we make room for her. Like the cafeteria trays from middle school, we make our way to the bottom of the stack by peeling off the trays one by one. By giving ourselves the time and the space to remove each layer as they appear next.

So, widen your margin. Stop racing around and thus squeezing out all opportunity for feelings, thoughts, fantasies and depth. Fast, is well, faster, but I guarantee, it won’t be as satisfying. Your unconscious wants to dance. She just has to be invited to the party.

cafeteria trays