This episode is an invitation and encouragement to access your own magic. I invite you to listen in to learn how to experience deeper intimacy in your life by accessing something called your Gift Zone. In this episode, I explain what your Gift Zone is and offer tips for how to access it. I also talk about what takes us to and away from our Gift Zone.
Listen in to learn how to harness your Gift Zone and use it to enrich your life and your relationships.
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- What is our Gift Zone
- How does trauma affect our Gift Zone
- Where is our Gift Zone
- How to try the experience of cupped hands
- What things bring us into our Gift Zones
- How to access your Gift Zone
- Get a copy of Deeper Dating by Ken Page
- Join the Coaching and Mentorship Intensive with Ken Page
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Your Gift Zone is the birthplace of intimacy within you. And the more you live in your Gift Zone and act on its promptings, the more love, creativity, and aliveness, the more of your own personal magic you will be able to access. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more about your Gift Zone and how to access it more deeply in your life.
Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, the Creator of the Deeper Dating® Intensive, and your host in this show.
I’m really excited about what we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to offer you a map of your intimacy journey. Then I’m going to offer you some really fabulous practices for deepening into the magic and the richness of your own intimacy experience.
So in this episode and every episode, my commitment is to share with you the greatest tools that I know and I’ve learned to help you find healthy love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, which are the greatest, most treasured, most challenging, and most wonderful skills of all for a happy and meaningful life.
If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® path to intimacy and self-love, just go to deeperdatingpodcasts.com.
And there you’ll also find transcripts of every episode, and this is a particularly important one to look at the transcript for because I’m going to be showing you this map and we’re going to be working with it together. So let’s jump right in.
Oh, and let me just say that if you like what you’re hearing here and you would like to leave a review, I always truly appreciate that and I’ve gotten a lot of reviews and they’re touching and moving and amazing, and I want to hear about your adventures with this process I’m going to teach you because it’s truly an intimacy adventure. Okay, so let’s jump in now.
When we move out into the Zone of Protection, the further out we go, the more protected we are from being hurt, but the more insulated we are from the beauty and the magic of our very own heart. Click To Tweet
What I want to offer you is a map of your zones of intimacy. And today I’m going to be talking particularly about this concept of your Gift Zone, which I call the birthplace of intimacy. It is the place where your heart is most alive at any given moment.
The risk becomes greater, the potential for beauty becomes greater, the potential for authenticity becomes greater. It’s a place where the beating heart of our humanity lives. It’s where our aliveness is. And is it challenging? Yes. Is it sacred? Yes. Is it where the spring of authentic intimacy really comes from? Yes, it is.
So let me just start right now by sharing this map with you. I’m going to share my screen and I’m going to talk about this map that will help you identify where you are and where you want to go.
This simple, simple, tiny map is very rich, and it’s an instruction manual for your intimacy journey. And the attribution here is that this comes from my book, Deeper Dating; How To Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.
So the Gift Zone is where we want to try to live as much as possible. Your Gift Zone is where you feel the aliveness of your heart. It could be in sadness, it could be in an inchoate kind of experience – inchoate, meaning there just aren’t words. There aren’t words yet for it. It could be joy, it could be connectedness, it could be a wordless ache, but you know you’re there because there’s a sense of aliveness in your heart and you’re feeling your humanity.
Now, that’s not always an easy thing. And what makes this place, what helps us to make this place a place of gift instead of just a place of pain, is by being able to hold it with cupped hands, with a sense of kindness, compassion, and valuing and treasuring. And I’m going to teach you a fabulous, fabulous, fabulous practice to help you do that in a few minutes.
But first, I’m going to explain this map to you and then I’ll show you that practice. So this is your Gift Zone, and I’m going to talk about it in a minute in much, much greater detail. But I just want to give you kind of the lay of the land here.
So the Gift Zone is where you’re closest to your heart, where you’re feeling in connection to your heart. At the very center of that, it’s a transcendent space. When we can learn to bear the heat, the beauty, the expansion, and the humanity of our very core, it’s kind of enlightened space.
And the truth is most of us are semi-enlightened. Maybe all of us are semi-enlightened, and I think that’s something we need to embrace. It doesn’t mean we’re fully enlightened, God knows, but we enter into states of where there is the touch of enlightenment.
And when you’re in your Gift Zone, you’ll enter into those states of semi-enlightenment kind of frequently. So at the very core is the Source of Self. That’s a very transcendent state. And the concept here is that the further out you move, the further away you go from the fierce power of your deepest authentic experience, which is, as I’ve said, a little hard to bear at times. In this Gift Zone is sadness, is grief, is your magic.
This is where our magic lives. This is where we love from. This is where we get bursts of inspiration and insight. It’s our most beautiful, beautiful self. So this is the Gift Zone. And as we move further out from that, we’re still in there. We’re still in there. Even if we’re here, we are lit from within to some degree. There’s a way that we are luminous when we are in our Gift Zone, and our beauty comes through.
And what’s important about that is that when we emanate our beauty, we call healthy love, because we’re calling. It’s like a mating ritual in a sense, in the animal world or the human world.
Our beauty, our unique beauty is shown when we are this us, and the people who are looking for somebody like that are so much more likely to notice it. As opposed to when we’re trying to be all these damn things that we are told we’re supposed to be in order to find love and be sexy and be attractive and all of that.
What is your Gift Zone:
So here’s an interesting thing about the Gift Zone. If you are like here right around the edge, you are still in that kind of semi-enlightened illumined state. This is how I think about it. I think about it like you’re sleeping with a lover or a partner and you’re not spooning, you’re not cuddling, but your shoulders are touching or your fingers are touching.
And somehow through the night, you know that you’re warmed by that experience. That’s what it’s like even when you’re on the outer edge of your Gift Zone. But then we move out into the Zone of Protection and in the Zone of Protection, well, this is where we protect ourselves.
And the further out we go, the more protected we are, the more protected we are from being hurt, but the more insulated we are from the beauty and the magic of our very own heart.
So I guess in those early stages of Zone of Protection, that might be where you’re watching too much TV or maybe eating a little bit too much or you’re semi numb, or you’re just going through your day and you’re not doing this thing of accessing the beating heart of your humanity because you’re just going through your day.
And the further out we go into the Zone of Protection, again, the more insulated we are, which feels really nice if we want to get away from the sharp pain of our humanity, the intensity of our humanity, but also not nice, because the sense of emptiness begins to grow because we’ve lost sight of home and the Gift Zone is home.
So there’s an emptiness, there’s a coldness. It’s the price that we pay for protecting ourselves and for numbing ourselves. And as we get further, further, further away from the Gift Zone, the zone of our authentic beating heart of our humanity, we move into the Zone of Disconnection.
In the Zone of Disconnection, we're much more likely to gravitate toward addictive and compulsive behaviors, so when we're in the Zone of Disconnection, that's the zone where it's time to ask for help. Click To Tweet
And as you can see, this map gets darker and darker as it goes. And this Zone of Disconnection is a zone where the protection is now morphing into pain. It’s painful to be this far in outer space, to be in this coldness, in this disconnectedness. It’s scary because your lifeline is thinner, it’s frailer, it is more able to be threatened and damaged. Your resilience is not there as much. It’s a very difficult place in these ways.
So all of us, I think, have been in the Zone of Disconnection. It’s happened for all of us. We know what that place is like. And the simple message here is “get help.”
Also in the Zone of Disconnection, because that existential pain becomes so great, we’re much more likely to gravitate toward addictive and compulsive behaviors, including substances, which then can take on a life of their own and end in an addiction. So when we’re in the Zone of Disconnection, that’s the zone where it’s time to ask for help.
And I’m thinking of someone who’s a hero to me, Sinead O’Connor, who just passed away and spoke so freely about her mental illness and how painful and hard it was. And I’m just so grateful to her and her beautiful, beautiful work. Her music has touched me so profoundly, and I’ve used it in a lot of my retreats and seen over a hundred people just moved to tears by the beauty of her songs like In This Heart, or Thank You For Hearing Me. Okay.
Anyway, let’s go back now to the Gift Zone. And I want to talk about this Gift Zone that is the magic ingredient for your intimacy life. It’s the magic ingredient for your search, for love, for your spiritual life, and for your self-love because it is where the magic of who you are really lives.
So do you remember ever having the experience of a wordless ache that was kind of beautiful and powerful even though it was a little maybe overwhelming?
Or maybe it’s just the feeling of peace when you sit there in the morning drinking your first cup of coffee and having that moment to relax, but it’s the same because you’re feeling connected to your humanity. Maybe it’s an ache or a sadness. Maybe it’s a burst of longing for creativity. Maybe it’s a longing that doesn’t have words yet. Maybe it’s inchoate, that the words are just not there yet. Maybe a piece of music that has touched you profoundly.
Take a minute right now and think about somebody that you have really deeply loved in your life who has given you goodness and care and loyalty and consistency. And if there hasn’t been anybody like that, imagine your future with someone like that or maybe a pet or a spiritual figure.
What you feel in your heart when you think of this person is your Gift Zone. And you can feel those ripples right now. And I want to read a few things from my book, Deeper Dating, about the Gift Zone.
“Your Gift Zone is your springboard to intimacy and to the love you’re looking for.” Formula, “The more you live…” I said formula. That’s not in the book. “The more you live in your Gift Zone and act on its promptings, the more love you’ll have in your life, and the closer you’ll come to your future relationship. In this zone, your unique magic comes alive and begins to influence your world.”
How to access your Gift Zone:
How do you access the Gift Zone? By noticing whatever you feel and holding that feeling with compassion, which is going to be this cupped hand exercise that I’ll teach you pretty shortly.
So when you have these moments, when you’re in your Gift Zone, I want to encourage you to actually create a sense of spirituality where you hold them as sacred, where you experience them as not just an emotional moment, but a portal to the vastness of your potential, to the depths of your heart.
I remember reading when I was younger about a Native American tribe that when they would be traveling and they would pass through a beautiful area, they would stop, they would drink it in. There would be a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the sacred.
In your journeying, when you have moments when you feel the beauty of your humanity, those are moments to stop and to just acknowledge the sacredness of that. And as we do that, we become widened and deepened and expanded.”
And the last thing I want to say is that your Gift Zone isn’t… And this is so key because this is where your Gift Zone becomes not just a beautiful moving sacred space, but an instrument where you become an instrument of its promptings, and it gives you guidance and it turns your life into an adventure.
Your Gift Zone isn’t static. It’s constantly generating a living stream of impulses toward intimacy and self-expression. It wants things, it reaches for life. It needs to connect, and it tells you how. You might feel a desire to go listen to a piece of music or to write to somebody or to contact somebody. When we’re in our Gift Zone, and you can actually try this right now. How do we get to our Gift Zone?
That magic, that differentness between what we pictured and what actually comes from the promptings of our Gift Zone, makes us more alive, makes us more sexual, more creative, more experimental, and more spontaneous. Click To Tweet
Well, one way we do it is by noticing where our aliveness is at the moment. Whether it’s in sadness, whether it’s in joy, maybe some of the things that I’m saying to you are touching you. Maybe some of the things have touched you that I’ve said that place where there’s that kind of trembly thing, there’s the, what I call the beating heart of your humanity. That’s your Gift Zone. See if you could just maybe take a minute and access that part of you.
If you can’t, take a minute to remember a time you were connected to that part of you, and you’ll instantly feel that this is the beauty of your being, the worth of your being, the authenticity of your being. Maybe you feel it somewhere in your body. That’s always a fabulous thing because there are parts of our body at different points that are Gifts Zone lit up, and it’s so good when we can find those parts of our heart and our body that are lit up in that way.
And just take a minute to be with that part of you, see what happens, and see if there’s a pull, a tug, an ask, a need, a longing, a desire, even a tiny one, to stretch, to go outside. Just notice how that Gift Zone place is not static. It’s alive. And in those promptings lie your genius. Our genius.
So, one last thought here is, imagine this is up on a wall. And imagine you have a push pin, and you took that push pin, and you were going to place it right where you are on the map right now. Where would you put that push pin?
Maybe you need a few push pins, maybe you’re in a few places, but just see, check that out. Where would you put the push pin or push pins? Acknowledge yourself for your truth. And you might even ask if there was a gentle invitation to move closer to that center from wherever you are, what would that be? How might you be able to do that?
So, I’m going to say goodbye to the map for now. We’re going to stop the map because it’s pretty simple and you’ve had a sense of it. And what I’m going to talk about now is I’m going to just going to talk about what brings you into the Gift Zone, what to do when you’re in the Gift Zone, what takes you out of the Gift Zone.
And I’m going to teach you some really wonderful practices. Okay, so we’re just going to close out this share. Okay. So this is a way to frame your experience. How close am I to my Gift Zone? Am I in my Gift Zone? And again, I just want to remind you that when you’re in your Gift Zone on some level, you are lit from within, which is a very beautiful and very attractive thing for people who are looking for someone with the kind of spirit that you have.
It’s a tool that changes your future, because every time we choose to live out of our Gift Zone, follow its promptings in a way that is kind, of course, to ourselves and other people. Every time we try to do that, it’s like you’re weaving this really big tapestry and it’s the tapestry of your life.
And you introduce a new set of threads or a new design. Well, the entire rest of the tapestry will be affected by these things. Just as when you go into your Gift Zone and you do something different, that differentness in ways that are kind of impossible to even count, change your future. They change who you meet, who you interact with.
And I’m just going to share a story with you here about that. This is a story I think I’ve shared before. It’s about me and my husband. So Greg is… I’m like Mr. all feelings all the time. And Greg was an IT guy. And so feelings are my jam. And less so his, although he is, and I’ve talked about this a lot and written about it a lot. Although he’s wonderful at holding my feelings most of the time.
So, it was early in our relationship, and we were getting a lot closer, but I knew that I had to speak to him because we were not connecting enough around our feelings. And I was feeling uncomfortable being the only one doing that, or yeah, pretty much the only one doing it.
So, I had it all set up. I was going to have a big talk with him, and we were together, we were in a private space, and it was like the time. I decided to do this from my Gift Zone and not my head. Because my head knew exactly what I wanted to say, but there was not really a sense of aliveness to it. As is so often the case when our head knows exactly what it wants to say, but there’s just not that sense of aliveness. And I want to come back to that because that connects to issues of trauma and of trauma healing.
But anyway, so I decided I was not going to say it from my head. I was going to say it from my Gift Zone. I was going to go into my Gift Zone. I was going to look at his face. I was going to feel the connection.
It’s emotional for me to talk about it. And I was going to put words on what was there. And I was all set for what those words were going to be, but they weren’t. That’s not what happened. What happened was I started crying and I said, “I love you.” I had no idea. I was gobsmacked, but I was crying.
So I was in my flow, and he was not surprised. He somehow knew that that was what I was going to say, but I did not know it at all. But that was such an important story for me because instead of living from my Zone of Protection, which had this strategic plan for how I was going to talk about what I need to get, I instead went into my Gift Zone and was surprised by it. Anna Freud, Freud’s daughter, who was a psychoanalyst, said this fabulous thing, and I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was essentially this.
It was a message for therapists, and it was, “Don’t say something so quickly in session. Like allow it time, allow it space. And if you do that, if you don’t talk from your head, there’ll be a silence. But then almost always a surprise will come.”
And this is a practice that we can do because the Gift Zone is full of surprises and surprise prompts and scary things at once and beautiful things at once, and things that run 90 degrees counter or 180 degrees counter to what we thought we were going to do.
And that magic, that scariness, that differentness between what we pictured and what was comfortable and what actually comes from the promptings of our Gift Zone, makes us more alive, makes us more sexual, makes us more creative, makes us more experimental, and makes us more spontaneous. And that’s a practice, that’s a lifelong practice for us. Put the push pin in the Core Gift place, see what comes out. Express it but express it with kindness.
Okay, so now I want to teach you this practice. This practice of cupped hands. And this is a way to hold whatever’s going on in your heart. And again, the minute you’re in your heart, you are at the very least Gift Zone adjacent. So if you take your hands… I’m going to do this here as well. If you take your hands… And it’s a little hard. I don’t think that’s going to work.
But if you take your hands and hold them flat out next to each other and flat out, not curved, not cupping, flat out. This is the experience of having your feelings be kind of like on an examination table. They’re maybe being evaluated. There’s no warmth, there’s no treasuring, there’s no experience of treasuring. There’s just, that’s where you are feeling.
Feel what that feels like. Now we’re going to try the antithesis and take your hands and squeeze them together. And that’s the place that all of us know so well, and I certainly know so well, of control of, I am going to squeeze this feeling into exactly where I want it to be and where I think it should be. I’m going to make it change. I’m going to make it stop. I’m going to be bigger than it. I’m going to transcend it. I’m going to be more resilient. I’m going to be more this. I’m going to be less that. This is the place where we’re trying to force our feelings into where we think they should go. And that’s that squeezing, which doesn’t feel good for the feeling.
And now let that go. Now hold your hands together, sides of your hands together, cupping like your two hands were cupping water. This is a place of cradling. It’s a place where there’s an implicit sense of sacredness, of treasuring, of cherishing. Children want to be seen this way. They got space, but they’re being cherished. There is a holding, there’s an appreciation, there’s a mirroring, there’s a seeing.
Or imagine that you have a butterfly in your two hands or a baby bird. And now imagine holding your feelings in that way. That is the cupped hands way. And no matter whether your feelings are sadness, grief, joy, expansion, numbness, you’re holding them with cupped hands. So, you are in your Gift Zone just by doing that.
No matter what the feelings are, if you can hold them with those kinds of cupped hands where you’re just allowing them the space to be what they are, but there’s this gentle curve of treasuring that’s sacred land, that’s holy. And when you hold your feelings in that way, they have the freedom to say who they are.
Live in your Gift Zone:
So that’s a practice for you, and it’s a practice you can do whenever you want. It will mostly usually lead you right into your Gift Zone, and you can do the physical movement because that really helps with it as well. So, these are some keys for living in your Gift Zone. And then something else I want to say about the Gift Zone is that that sense of mystery that goes with it.
You don’t know what’s going to come up. I guess it’s kind of like an image of a spring where water is coming up. You don’t exactly know where it’s coming from. It’s coming from somewhere deep inside. It is a beautiful, wonderful thing. It is arising of its own volition. It’s always new. It’s always a new stream. It’s not the same water, it’s always new water.
This is what this Gift Zone place is like. And when you live in your Gift Zone, so many things will happen. And I want to say one of the things here about trauma. One of the characteristics of trauma is that that flow, that spring flow is not there. A frozenness happens.
We are traumatized and we are frozen into neural circuitries that are not about what’s really happening in the moment. They’re about anguish, pain, difficulty that we have frozen around because we weren’t able to process it.
Moving into the authentic experience of your Gift Zone, and there are many practices to help you do this, many neurological practices. EMDR can do that. Brain spotting can do that. A new technique I’m learning called “havening”, which is very exciting and I’m hoping to have one of the big teachers of that come on here and teach it to us. EFT tapping, which I’ve had Dawson Church come and teach us.
These are techniques that help us drop the cortisol level in our brain, which when that’s there, we can’t really be in our Gift Zone. And help us enter into that space where our nervous system calms down. And we can once again be in our heart or at least heart adjacent, close to our heart. As we do this, as you do this, as you live more in your Gift Zone, I can promise you a few things.
One thing I can promise you is adventure. Another thing I can promise you is that if you do this with kindness, expressing from your Gift Zone, your magnetism will become more alive and will become increased.
All this stuff about flirting and doing this and doing that, this fake crap, I’m telling you, is nothing compared to being in the flow of your Gift Zone and living from the experimental, alive and creative place that that comes from.
So, this is a map. Those are some practices. Your cupped hands practice, the pushpin practice, and the practice of listening for what are the promptings and acting on them. As well as thinking, is there a place in my body that actually is alive with the Gift Zone?
So, these are reasons why your search for love should be healing your life at the same time as leading you so much more quickly to the alive and vital and beautiful love that you’re seeking. Thank you so much for listening. I welcome, I invite, I ask you for your comments, your feedback, your experience with these exercises. Thank you. And your reviews and your subscriptions. I really appreciate that too.
And if you go to deeperdatinggifts.com, you can receive actually a beautiful, beautiful collection of meditations, a journal, and an eBook from me. So, thank you all and I look forward to the next episode of Deeper Dating® with You.
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