What is it that you think of when you hear the term ‘cuddling’? Do you think of romantic excitement? Perhaps a warm feeling of security, safety, or contentment. It is probable that some would think of the term as strange, alien, or uncomfortable. But beyond that, what is cuddling?
The act of cuddling, when examined through a literal and secular viewpoint, is the physical, soothing contact between one and another. You can cuddle another person, a pet, an inanimate object, whatever soothes you the most, or a combination of it. There is, however, a certain emotional aspect to cuddling. When one ‘cuddles’ in a soothing way, the act usually generates a sort of inexplicable feeling. A natural comfort, or I could say a sort of contentment. But rather than just an emotional benefit, cuddling provides numerous little quirks and bonuses to those who do so happily.
The most physically visible effect of cuddling regularly, for the sake of enjoyment and contentment, is seen within the balance of a few different chemicals. An article byVanessa Van Edwards, written for the Science of People, explains these three in conjunctions. The main three effects upon hormones within the body are an increase in oxytocin, a reduction in serotonin, and an increase in dopamine. Strange words, so allow me a little of your time to explain.
Oxytocin is a hormone within the body researchers have been frantically researching for the past 20 years upon it’s beneficial effects to the human instinct of social interaction and ‘love’ when administered as a treatment. So far, researchers have concluded the chemical is a major influence upon someone’s proclivity to being social, to forming a bond, as well as the ability to pick up on social cues. Serotonin is a certain chemical that many would appreciate having less, however is still a necessary part of the psyche. Serotonin allows us to form anxious responses, and feel stress in times of… well… stress. Dopamine, a powerful substance, is responsible for pleasure; satisfaction of the self. When you generally feel a sense of having fun, you feel a release of dopamine. It is exciting, but too much for a harmful substance can form a dependance, also known as an addiction. It is best to obtain increases in dopamine through healthy activities such as exercise, cuddling, hobbies, etc.
Do not be ashamed of the desire to cuddle, even when an adult. Cuddling promotes safety, well-being, and good health for all, and even newborns or sick children. It aids in recovery, and helps mental health. When one inhibits the desire for contact, it suppresses these feelings into pent-up stress. This is no different than when told to ‘suck it up’, or denied the ability to release emotion. There is no shame to be had in the relieving contact with another, or another comfortable entity, for it is healing and allows you to perform your absolute best.
So I was watching Newness on Netflix, which is an interesting and provocative taken on open relationships in today’s society.
The plot centers around two people that find each other through a dating/ hook
up app. Of course they have sex on the first night and quickly move in with one
another. They have their first huge fight and both end up cheating on one
another. After they discussed their affairs they chose to engage in an open
relationship akin to swinging. Eventually, they stop being transparent with one
another and break apart only to find out they really wanted each other all along
they were just scared to be completely honest with one another for fear of
rejection. In my experience this happen alot with couples. They are afraid to
be openly, almost radically honest, with one another for fear rejection. To me
this is a type of codependency that I am guilt of myself. What if we were
totally honest about our desires, dreams, and needs? What would change in the
relationship? True some individuals cannot handle or are ready for that type of
honesty because it means taking a closer look at themselves. I know when I held
the mirror to my inner self it was hard to face my flaws and what that meant
about me. I have come to terms with my dark passenger/ shadow self and embrace
her like a friend. My flaws, desires, and needs make me the person I am; they
make me whole. To deny that I have those and to hide them is a dis service not
only to myself, but to anyone I chose to love either friend, lover, or family. I
feel this particular movie shows the depths an individual needs to dive into
within themselves to find what they need and the importance of communicating it
to partners. This is just my opinion, please watch the movie for yourself and
form your own thoughts.
A topic was brought up briefly today and I want to explore it a little further in this blog post. Everyone has many facets to their personalities, different selves. One being the “dark side”, the dark passenger, or shadow self. In the Wiccan traditions, I have worked with getting in touch with the shadow self is essential to growing as a magickal practitioner. No, I did not spell magick wrong. Magick is different from magic. Magic is the stage show and slight of hand tricks. Magick refers to energy exchange, spell-work, and ritual work commonly found among Pagan religions. Speaking from my personal experience if I did not work on my shadow self I would not be able to connect fully with myself, others, or the spiritual planes. We all think dark thoughts and we are all capable of dark things. Dark does not mean bad; when I say dark I am speaking of things like violence and death, which is not necessarily bad. Violence and death can be bad under certain circumstances like mugging and be killing someone for no reason. Violence and death can also be a blessing like if a police officer is stopping a domestic violence situation. Also, death is part of the cycle of creation and destruction. So to me, everything is on a spectrum, everything is gray, there is no black or white. To understand my higher self I need to explore my lower self. Exploring your shadow self or dark passenger can be scary and uncomfortable at the same time it is therapeutic to understand all parts of you. Once you understand something some of the fear goes away. Notice I said some fear goes away; it is good to have a healthy fear and understanding of the darker side of your being.This is a form of respect and acknowledgment of the power the shadow self-does have and is capable of if/when released out into the world. It is healthy to meditate and have rituals of connection with all parts of your being (especially the darker parts) because if you can connect with yourself you have a greater chance and understanding of how to connect with others. In the sense that my weirdness understands and accepts your weirdness. If you would like to know more about connecting with your darker parts please feel free to contact me at 678-964-4739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book recommendation for rituals of connection with the Shadow Self:
Dark Moon Mysteries: Wisdom, Power, and Magic of the Shadow World by Timothy Roderick
Therapist Nicki discusses different types of intimacy couples, families, groups, etc can share with one another.