Suzann Robins is a woman of many talents and perspectives, seeing the world through the filters of the blended realms of spirituality and sexuality. She has discovered in her years as a researcher and professor that that they are not mutually exclusive as our various cultures might have us believe. She invites people to delve into their relationship paradigms and ask themselves if they are as healthy and dynamic as they can be. Suzann believes that our relationships with ourselves first and then with others who cross our paths, are at the core of overall well-being. In addition to her work as an author,speaker and relationship coach, Suzann facilitates a communication, boundary setting and nurturing touch workshop called Cuddle Party.
How do you live your bliss?
Writing a book wasn’t exactly “following my bliss” it was something I felt called to do. After teaching yoga for several years and then learning tai chi, I began a Master’s Degree program so I could teach at the college level. I attended a small, liberal arts women’s college because I lived nearby. Although it did not have an extensive psychology program, you could design your own. I took lower division classes and did extra research to bring them to a graduate level.
I learned so much by doing that. First, being in class with young women (my daughter’s age) helped me to understand our relationship better. Second, because I had been practicing hypnotherapy for several years, much of what I learned made more sense the second time around. Once I graduated, I taught every level of psychology class for the next ten years.
Teaching is my bliss. And Learning. When I do those two things at the same time, I am living my bliss. As my first full-length book was taking shape, I knew I was doing both: Learning through the research it took to bring it together, and once it was published, the book called Exploring Intimacy, would have the potential to become a teaching tool.
However, when I signed a contract with a major publisher, it meant that I gave up control of several aspects, for one choosing the title. To me the acquisition editor sensationalized my material by highlighting the first two words: Exploring Intimacy. The book is more about cultivating healthy relationships through Insight and Intuition. This became the sub-title.
Your book Exploring Intimacy: Cultivating Healthy Relationships
opens a door that many have kept tightly locked…the nature of relationships. How would you define intimacy? Why do people fear it?
In the first few paragraphs, I define Intimacy as Into-me-see. Something I learned many years ago through Stan Dale and the Human Awareness Institute, affectionately know as HAI. The HAI sex, love and intimacy workshops open doors that many people keep locked. How to have intimate, loving relationships that may or may not involve sex. And how to see the “angel” in others. These workshops combined the seemingly divergent concepts of sex and spirit. HAI workshops address the idea that by nature we are all both spiritual and sexual beings.
What is the connection between spirituality and sexuality?
Many people, like myself come to believe that we must be EITHER sexual or spiritual and that we cannot be both. I was raised strict Catholic, but there are fundamentalists in many religions that hold this same tenet to be true. When I began practicing yoga and studying meditation in the early 70s, I again learned that sexual energy was to be contained and sublimated into connecting with a higher power. I also learned about the chakra system, but it wasn’t until the 90s when I was in the Master’s Psychology program, that I realized that the chakra system was not only a way to discharge sexual energy in a healthy (read: nonsexual) way, but that the chakras are the basis of the entire endocrine and hormonal system.
It was this realization that called me to write. As I began to research, I found that not many people are aware of this connection, just as they are not aware of the connection between sexuality and spirituality unless they have been introduced to some sort of tantric or taoist practice.
How does the Chakra System influence our health?
The Chakra System influences our health because the energy that runs through the body in the form of emotions is modulated by whether the chakras are opened or closed – expanded or contracted – leaking or blocked. Neither of these opposites are good or bad, they are just the way the system works. When any chakra is either too open or too closed, the body is often in discomfort, which can lead to dis-ease. Once we become aware of this fact, often through a yoga, tai chi or other martial arts class, we can begin to change the way we act and react in various situations. Once we have control over our actions and reactions, we are healthier, and in turn available for participation in healthy relationships.
This is how I created a fusion of Eastern Philosophy and Western Psychology in my book. An Eastern attitude is to look within and find the divinity or essence of our Self, with a capital S. Western analysis looks outside the individual to the family and society to find what went wrong, and then attempts to fix the “wound” through talk therapy. A more Eastern approach is through the body, through the chakra system, to gain an understanding of the root or base of the problem by learning to let go of the problem.
You say that insight and intuition are key elements in intimate
relationships. Can you elaborate please?
This is not an easy concept to understand by just reading about it. It is something that needs to be experienced. Once we quiet the mind and experience the flow of energy through the body, we gain a greater awareness of our spiritual aspect. I understand Insight to be the act of looking within and having an AHA experience, and Intuition to be the way we receive information from outside of the body/mind, particularly from other people. When we learn about our own energy body, then we also learn to “read” other people’s energy. This knowledge involves learning to release the problem or past hurt in an easy and balanced way, therefore leading to better individual health and healthier relationships.