Your gift zone is your springboard to love. The more you live in your gift zone, the more love you’ll have in your life, and the more skilled you’ll become at nurturing that love. In this episode, I’ll teach you how to access your gift zone, and how to use it to find new love and to enrich all the relationships you have already, including your relationship with yourself! So, stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and today we’re going to talk about accessing your gift zone and awaken your intimacy magic. That’s the place where you feel most deeply connected to your own humanity and it’s where you become most beautiful to the people who are really looking for someone like you.
I’m going to teach you how to get there and how to use the knowledge of how to get there to change your future in intimacy. Every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.
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Discovering Your Intimacy Magic
Your gift zone is really your magic land. It’s the place where the beauty of you shines through.
An ex of mine used to say that, you know that time of day when it’s so beautiful, it’s almost sunset, and everything is golden colored. He used to say, this is the time everybody looks beautiful because this luminosity just hits us. And when you’re in your gift zone, you are luminous. You are lit from within, by equality of the beauty of your humanity.
You shine when you’re in that space. Your gift zone is the place when you’re in your realest authenticity and there’s a quality of compassion, you’re somehow holding your heart and your humanity in a kind and full way, and you are beautiful then. And when you are there, you will feel your magic and other people will feel your magic too.
What Is Our Task
It’s hard to live there for a number of reasons I’m going to talk about. But when we make it our task to spend as much of our time as we can living in the center of our gift zone, our lives become holier. They fill with love. The more we’re in our gift zone, the more we’ll be able to have intimacy magic, the more we’ll be able to feel intimacy magic, feel gratitude for it.
And the more we’ll generate it. And the more we will be able to develop the tools and the skills to handle the so many challenges of intimacy.
So what’s your gift zone? How do you get there? How can you use it to further yourself in your intimacy journey? We’re going to have a lot of fun with that.
But I just want to start out with a quote by William Blake that I really love. He said,
“And we are put on earth a little space that we may learn to bear the beams of love.”
When you’re in your gift zone, you are bearing, and feeling, and experiencing the beams of love. And it’s a sacred place. And when you’re there, you become more grounded, more empowered, more soulful, more kind, more powerful, all those kind of things that you’re meant to be.
Where Is Your Gift Zone
So the easiest way to explain where your gift zone is and what it is, is to start with the image of a target. So picture a target and it has in it just three circles. And let’s just imagine that the closer you are to the center of that target, the closer you come to your most authentic self. To the exquisite core of your humanity, to the beating heart of your real self.
The inner circle, that first inner circle of the target is your gift zone. And it is the seat of true intimacy. And in fact the word intimate comes from the Latin word “intimus” which means inner most. That’s where your core gifts live.
As I’ve described the beauty of this place, you might be asking, well if it’s so beautiful, if it’s so fabulous, why don’t we just live there? And there are so many reasons why we don’t just live there.
The biggest one I would say in some ways is that we haven’t been given the tools to understand that this is just simply one of our absolute greatest, if not our greatest life task is to learn to live in the luminosity and warmth, and humanity of that place.
But it’s challenging, because our authenticity can scare us. It takes work to handle its complexity, its existential vulnerability, and its power. And as worthy as these parts of ourselves are, they are not hall passes to happiness. Our core gifts, the central parts of us get us into trouble again and again.
We get the most prickly, the most defensive, the most naive, the most troubled around these parts of ourselves. Because they’re so close to our soul and we haven’t necessarily built up adult protections for these sacred parts of ourselves.
So we use child-like protections until we learn more and more to bear the beams that live in that place and develop adult skills so that we can live there more and more. And that’s the gold work of being a human being.
These parts of you will challenge you, and they will challenge the people you love. And they’re going to ask more of you than you might want to give. And also, we can feel devastated when we feel betrayed in those most tender parts of ourselves.
So since the heat of our core self is so hard to handle, we protect ourselves by moving further out from the center. And every step you take away from the gift zone, from the center of that circle, represents a more airbrushed version of you.
Every zone outward makes you feel safer. It puts you at less risk of embarrassment and standing out, less risk of failure and rejection ostensibly. But every zone outward also moves you one step further from your soul, from your authenticity, and from your sense of meaning.
Zoning Beyond Our Protective Layers
The further you get away from your gift zone, the more alone you will feel, the more adrift we feel. And when we get too far from the warmth and the humanity of that core self, we start to experience very painful despair.
So most of us set up stop at a point where we’re close enough to the warmth of our core self, but far enough away that we don’t get burnt by the heat and challenges, and demands of that self.
We create safer versions of ourselves in order to get through our lives without having to face the existential risk of our humanity.
So the next zone out is the zone of protection. And that’s the zone where we protect ourselves with compulsions and food, and not telling the whole truth, and living a numbed life. The further out you get, the more deeply that becomes true.
And the third stage is the zone of disconnection. This is where addiction lives. This is where terrible, terrible emptiness lives. In this zone of disconnection, we turn against ourselves and others. And all of us have been there. There’s no shame in being there.
But our journey, our journey is more and more to live from as close as we can to the beauty and the power, because it’s powerful there, of our gift zone.
The Bull’s Eye Zone
So now we’re going to spend the rest of the time talking about our gift zone. So the gift zone’s the bull’s eye zone. Whenever you feel the warmth of your humanity and you hold it with a sense of compassion or care, you’re in your gift zone.
Whenever you feel a stream of gratitude, whenever you feel a sense of humility, a wave of compassion. When art touches you deeply, when nature touches you deeply, you are in your gift zone. Many of us use spiritual practices so that we can get there consciously every day.
The inner mentor process that I teach in episode three and elsewhere helps people get to their core gifts and their gift zone. The great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart said that,
“The way to create a perfect circle is to always begin at the center.” And your gift zone is your center.
And if the entire work that I teach in this world had to be reduced to one lesson, it would be to live more from our gift zone. When you’re in this place, you find your greatest capacity to connect with other people.
So what are some examples of being in your gift zone? Think about these things. Just let yourself reflect and remember, and you will get there, and you will know just what I mean if you don’t already.
Tapping Into Your Gift Zone
So remember a time that you felt really moved by a story, or an insight, or a piece of art, or music? Maybe a time that you felt a wordless ache in your heart, a time you were touched by something beautiful in nature. A time that you felt a wave of longing for something or someone.
The feeling of pleasure in helping someone vulnerable, that joy. Feeling love for someone who loves you back or for a pet. So I imagine that some of these things hit home for you. We’re now going to do a fabulous little micro meditation to help you connect just a little more deeply to your gift zone. So you’ll be in the viscera of it. And that’ll help you understand the next steps that we talk about.
So close your eyes if you can, not if you’re driving. And you don’t have to close your eyes, but if you can, it might be nice. And just get comfortable, and think back to a time when you experienced a rich sense of connection to the warmth of your own humanity.
Reliving the Memories
Maybe some of the things I mentioned triggered memories for you. So just choose one memory that stands out of when you felt connected to the warmth of your humanity. Doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be dramatic. And just go back and gently and easily with no force, just remember that experience.
Where were you at the time, what was happening? Just recall gently how the event unfolded, and the feelings it evoked in you.And remember how that experience touched you.
Now just savor that memory of being in your gift zone, and just take a gentle breath in and out and just hold the feeling close. And see if you can just let it ripple inside of you in a very gentle way.
And now I’m going to continue sharing about this, but see if you can hold it in your heart. I mean, it feels so good, right? There’s a feeling of being connected to your own meaning. There’s a sense of knowing who you are. An existential sense of your humanity, of rightness.
Basking in the Beauty of Your Intimacy Magic
It’s a fabulous place. And if somebody could have seen your face while you did this, they would see an imprint of beauty on your face that is very much you. So, your gift zone. Your gift zone is your springboard to intimacy and to the love that you’re looking for.
The more you live in your gift zone and the more that you act on its promptings, the more love that you’re going to have in your life. And the closer you’re going to come for those people who are single to your future relationship. Because in this zone, your unique magic comes alive and it begins to influence your world.
So how do you access the gift zone? By noticing whatever you’re feeling, by whenever you’re feeling a kind of thrill of meaning or your humanity, not leaving it so quickly, but letting it seep into you a little more deeply and a little more richly.
In the course of your day when you feel that, no matter what it is, no matter how little it is, if you actually let yourself stay with it longer, let it imprint, there’s going to be a download that happens, and you just want to stay for the course of the download because it’s going to change your circuitry.
It will make you more into the being which I assume you desire to be, which is a being who lives from this place capably, and with skill, and with kindness, and with adulthood more and more.
The Key to the Portal
So the more you feel your authentic experience with a sense of compassion and honor, because honor is the key. The closer you are to your gift zone. And the easiest way to get to your gift zone, as I said, is through the moments in your life when your heart feels touched or you feel inspired.
We all have those moments, but we pass through them and get to the next thing on our to do list. But in fact, if we see them as portals to our truest self. As portals to a zone where love springs from, we’ll be able to stay with them for a few extra beats, savoring them, and then as we savor them, we get to know ourselves more.
Authenticity is your key to enter the gift zone, the noticing of whatever it is you’re feeling. And compassion for yourself and the world is what turns the lights on to see the gifts that lie there.
Breaking the Walls Blocking Your Gift Zone
Now it’s harder to stay in the gift zone if you’re feeling angry, or in pain, or stressed. This is something I think about all the time because after years of practice, I can go into the gift zone pretty quickly, but I can leave it so quickly too.
If I’m feeling irritated. If I’m feeling stressed, if I’m feeling overwhelmed by my to do list or my ADHD tendencies that are spinning me in circles, or if someone’s troubling me, or I’m feeling in pain about something.
It’s much easier to shut my heart to the hurt and run to the refrigerator, or to want to get someone back or get them to get what they’re doing wrong or to become angry at myself. But it is possible to remain in the gift zone, even in pain, sadness, or anger. It just requires a greater amount of skill and compassion.
As a vehicle for that, I use tapping, which helps me move out of my primitive defenses and come back to my heart and my adulthood.
The Source of Self
So I want to read a quote from my Deeper Dating book, which describes this space, I think in a beautiful way, if I do say so myself.
“Your gift zone isn’t static. It is constantly generating a living stream of impulses toward intimacy and authentic self-expression. It wants things. It reaches for life. It needs to connect, and it tells you how.”
When you’re in your gift zone, you might feel a desire to listen to a piece of music, or to go for a walk, or to call somebody, to reach out to somebody, or to be alone. But your intimacy journey becomes an adventure.
When you act on the promptings of your beautiful gift zone and doing so will change your love life from the inside out. It will begin a wave of unknotting and self-expression that’ll ripple into the ways you love and the ways you live.
As you get closer and closer to the center of the target and the center of the gift zone, and you follow it inward ever deeper to the core of your being, you come to the very, very, very center of the circle. And I call that the source of self.
The Reflection That Attracts Love
And because it’s the source of our very being, it’s precious, and it’s life filled. And that’s the state where your personal touches something greater, where you feel a sense of awe or an indescribable kind of connection to something vast.
Everyone has their own language for this. So whether you’re atheist, agnostic, spiritual, religious, this place, the source of yourself, is part of the gift of being human and your gift zone is your portal to this magnificent state.
And when you’re in your gift zone as I said, you hold a luminosity. Even in your sadness, you will be lit from within because of the compassion and the humanity. And this is the zone that attracts love.
And when you see someone in their gift zone, you see not only beautiful feelings, but there’s a dignity. There’s a dignity when we say, “I’m going to be the person who allows this and lives this.” There’s a dignity, there’s a grace, there’s a spine inherent in making the choice to live from this place.
And like anything that precious, the stakes get raised when we want to claim it. And claiming your gift zone is one of the most heroic things that you can do. Because in your gift zone, there’s an aliveness, there’s a sense of self. And even if that self doesn’t feel as secure or happy as we think it should, it’s always going to be original.
It’s always going to be different. It’s not going to be bad in this zone. It’s a living, rippling state. So we brave a new frontier when we enter the risk of our gift zone. But here’s something really interesting that’s research backed.
Love on a Suspension Bridge
That very sense of risk heightens your ability to love.
So now I want to tell you about a fascinating study. It’s sometimes called love on a suspension bridge. And Donald G. Dutton and Arthur Aron, whose work I adore, did this study. And it shows how risk and sexual attraction and aliveness are all linked up.
So in this study, female interviewers approached men who were walking across two different bridges. So one bridge was this peaceful, tiny little bridge that was just over a tiny stream. The other bridge was this wobbly wooden suspension bridge swaying about 230 feet above a raging river.
So the people, the men on the scary high bridge and the men on the low safe bridge were both connected with female interviewers who had a range of questions that they had to ask them.
So the men on the scary high bridge were more likely in the study had found, that the guys on the high, scary bridge were more likely to be turned onto the female interviewers, and they were more likely to contact them after the experiment than the men on the low bridge who were less likely to be attracted, less likely to contact the people, the women that they met.
These are the men that were in the lower bridge. So the researchers surmise that this was because the men on the high bridge associated the heightened arousal with being on that bridge and being in a risky situation. They associated that with the person they were meeting.
The Art of Just Being There
And they also believed that the experience might’ve triggered a desire for self expansion, a kind of broadening of self. And in my opinion, there’s another piece here. It’s that when we are in the presence of existential risk, or thrill, or inspiration, we’re closer to the existential aliveness of our gift zone.
And in that zone, we’re perched between fear and exhilaration. And in that zone, we’re more likely to remember the urgent importance of love. So every one of us has a suspension bridge inside us that we can visit any time we want. And it’s the challenge of living in our gift zone.
So I just want to say one more thing here about this, which is there is a challenge here. And Gene Gendlin, a very brilliant psychotherapist who developed an amazing technique called focusing. He said,
“Don’t let yourself get too freaked out by going too deeply into these feelings if you can’t bear them.”
And he said,
“If you want to smell the soup, you don’t stick your head in it.”
So the minute you are touching the ripples of your gift zone, you don’t have to barrel through into a deeper state. You could just be there.
It’s like being in bed with someone you love and your shoulders are just touching. And you’re half asleep, but you know that your shoulders are touching. You know there’s a connection. As long as you’re feeling that kind of connection to your gift zone, you will be enlivened, you will be more beautiful. You will be in connection with the impulses of your core self, and that is where your magic is.
Living Within the Realms of Your Gift Zone
So I want to share one last thought and then I want to give you a fabulous exercise to help you live this stuff. And here’s what I want to say. The more you live from your gift zone, the more you will meet people you wouldn’t have met. The more you will create things with your signature in them. The more you will inspire people.
You may feel strange and scared at some times, but you will be claiming new ground of your personal goodness. And I promise you that is ground that other people will want to stand on.
When you live in your gift zone, you will shine. A lot of people won’t notice it and that’s just fine. But the people who have been hungry for someone like that you, will feel thankful that they finally found you. Live in your gift zone and you will be beaming out some kind of something that calls to the people who are made for you.
So now I finally in closing, want to teach you a fabulous process that I call the intimacy fix. And it’s a process to help you move into your gift zone at any given moment. It’s humbling, it’s fabulous, it works. And it’s you creating your own recipes for deeper intimacy. So here’s all it is, and you can do this right now with me.
The Intimacy Fix
So picture this target, right? And the inside circle of the target is your gift zone. The next ring out is the zone of protection. That numb place. And the final ring out is the zone of disconnection, which is that place of deep, deep emptiness. With no judgment of yourself, if you took a pencil and were going to put where you feel right at this moment, where would you place the pencil? Is it in the gift zone? Is it in the zone of protection? Is it in the zone of disconnection?
So here’s what I want to say. If you are in the zone of disconnection, I have a big suggestion. Don’t try to get out of it yourself. Be in connection with someone who you care about and feel safe with and who supports you, because it’s really hard to get out of the zone of disconnection alone.
Because in the scariness and un-safety of this state, we revert to our deepest, most reactive reflexive defenses to protect ourselves. And it’s hard or impossible to get out of those alone. So if you’re in the zone of disconnection, there’s no shame there. We have all been there. Seek help.
Listen and Respond
If you’re in the zone of protection or you’re in the zone of your gift zone, the same next step will apply to you. Feel what it’s like to be there, and imagine what it would be like to just sidle a micron or two over to your gift zone. Or if you’re in your gift zone, deeper to the core of your gift zone, deeper in toward the center.
It might be a micro shift inside you. It might be asking for someone you love for a hug. It might be taking time alone. Whatever it is though, just take a minute to think what would help move you just a squeak closer to the center of your being. And see if you can do that and give that to yourself.
And I just want to share an example of this from my own life. So here’s what it is. I am with my husband, and I am not in my gift zone. I’m in my zone of protection, and I’m not feeling as connected as I would like to feel. So what do I do?
I could either just stay there and act like a normal human adult who has to bear those things and live with them, and is fine, and is just totally cool. And God knows I am often tempted to do that. Or I could ask, I could ask for something. I could ask for time to share deeper feelings. I could ask for a hug.
Simple Acts of Giving in to Your Gift Zone
Today we were in the supermarket and an elderly woman fell. It was really, really scary and we helped her until the ambulance came. But I was so shaken. So there I was in the supermarket and I just said to him, “I need a hug.” That was a moment of saying I’m not in my gift zone. I am shaken. And that hug helped.
Another example is when I need something, and this I think is true for all of us. When you need something but you feel embarrassed that you need it. So you distance yourself. But a way into the gift zone is actually making an ask. Whatever that ask is.
“Can we have some time together? Can I talk to you about something? Could we just have some dumb time watching TV together on the couch tonight?”
Whatever it is that the need is, but this is an intimacy fix exercise. It is that you think, where am I on the target? What would move me closer? And if you’re in a relationship at that point with someone, what would move you closer in terms of your communication with that person?
It’s a sweet process. It’s humbling, like I said. But it’s glorious because when you do that, your reverb, the beautiful reverb of your being is going to be louder. Your vibration will be stronger. And in physics, something I’ve said before, in physics, the definition of gravity – The more mass something has, the more gravity it has.
Letting the Gravity Pull Love into Your Life
The more you’re in your gift zone, the more mass of self, of authentic living self you embody. Hence the more gravity you have. And gravity is defined as a force that pulls things from the outside into the center of the object that has the gravity.
The more you live from your gift zone, the more beautiful gravity you will have to pull love into your life.
So thank you for listening to this important episode of Deeper Dating. I look forward to seeing you next week. And if you like what you heard, please join my mailing list at deeperdatingpodcast.com, or leave me a review on iTunes or anywhere else.
Thank you all so much.
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The intimacy fix exercise helped me to record an original song. Thank you Ken.