What is Really Happening In T/Here?

Nicole Hartley Bradford
3 min readNov 18, 2022

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This question — versions of it — have been proving valuable in my life.

I ask myself, “What is really going on, here, inside me?”

I ask others, including you, “What is happening with you right now, inside, truly?”

Questions like this are gateways to authentic and honest relating, if I, if you choose to go through.

What is really going on IN YOU that you would read this article about this question?

What is driving you? What voices are active? What feelings and emotions are alive? Is numbness happening? What are you avoiding? What are you going for?

(Go ahead and pause reading now and write for 5 minutes on each of those questions. No? Yes? What is really happening in you about that?)

Something that emerges as I ask myself this question is that I notice how often I want to create intimacy and take steps to create it while AT THE SAME TIME I am avoiding intimacy — actively.

For example, I felt authentic gratitude for a teammate who was doing some cleaning of hard-to-reach spaces. I had the impulse to communicate this, to make my thanks known in our relational space, to cultivate the intimacy we share. Yet when I voiced my appreciation, it came out robotic, formal. Something in me was avoiding making more authentic contact with my teammate. What the fuck?!

As I discover and practice more radical relating…and succeed, the more I find more ways in which I sabotage and undermine radical relating.

It is easy for this to become Low Drama, or, using other language, further sabotaging, by going into stories of ‘I am a victim, poor me, I need someone to save me from my shitty life’. I can get hooked by the revelation that my deeper underworld is at work, become discouraged, and talk myself into a standstill.

In a way, stopping to write about this is partly hiding. Here I am, on my computer, avoiding being with others and creating intimacy, even while it is partly, purpose-wise, about gaining more clarity about how I create and avoid intimacy, for the purpose of creating more intimacy! There are purposes and cross-purposes active in me.

What is really going on?

What is really going on is I have a longing for intimacy, for becoming deeply at home in myself and with others. It comes with deep, old sadness about how often I have gone without intimacy, and how normal it became to go without it. Even when I saw chances to create intimacy, I feel sad about how my inner defences would so often spring into action, thwarting and destroying relational spaces that I had given time and care to cultivating. I lost people I didn’t want to lose.

What is really going on now is goosebumps as I see this more clearly and own it more honestly. This isn’t the first time. What else is going on is — still some numbness about it.

A question arises, “Is it possible to feel what is under my numbness here in my room, on my computer, alone?”

This would be an experiment. Again, it is one I have been doing for years, but it never gets old because each time is different.

I am going to do it now, lower my Numbness Bar.

Will you do it too?

Yes? No? What is really going on for you about it?

I asked myself…and got the impulse to video record myself finding out. Here, you can witness.

Here I am on the other side of the video/experience. I feel glad to have more evidence that this question,”What is really going on for you right now?” …and the honest answering of it, ARE gateways to the creation of intimacy, to discovering what keeps me from being more fully alive. These are questions that create possibilities for becoming more fully alive, for all of us.

Thank you for reading, thank you for caring about creating intimacy. If you want to explore more about Radical Relating, you can click through to the website. You can also get in touch with me, I am always up for more experimenting to create consequences that are part of living alive, collaboration and tackling the Big Problems facing humanity today.

Love, Nicole

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Nicole Hartley Bradford

Nicole is a catalyst on the “Help Gaia’s Risky Human Experiment Succeed” Team.