Monday, October 5, 2015

A womb in which new forms of love may emerge

It is inevitable on the path of love that you will feel surging waves of disappointment, as it will never turn out the way you thought it would. This is one of the great gifts of the beloved – to seed deflation in the conceptual field, and wash away the known into vast, tender space.

If you provide a home for the death of old hopes and dreams, you will unlock the activity of the beloved within and without, and prepare a womb in which new forms of love may emerge.

If you will allow her, she will reveal your connection with the earth and with the majesty of the somatic world. And with the outrageous reality that love will never conform to your plans and most cherished beliefs. It is just too wild and creative for that.


  1. How does one "provide a home" exactly for the dead dreams and hopes?

    1. Hi Helen, thank you for your question. It is not possible, in my experience, to list in a few conceptual steps some sort of step-by-step 'process' by which you can re-embody to all those feelings, emotions, and aspects of yourself which you have spent your entire life organized around not feeling. It is very simple, yet very challenging work, to turn back toward that which has been disavowed as that dissociative activity has protected you and served you in very important ways. It takes a lot of time, practice, courage, and kindness, to stay with those very vulnerable feelings and sensations, and to create a new groove in your neural net – one of staying, of holding, of metabolizing. In my experience, this work is very very difficult to do on one’s own, as the dissociation occurred within an interpersonal environment; and thus, is best seen, unwound, untangled, unfolded, and illuminated within a relational field – with an attuned other.

      Almost all of my writing over the last couple of years might be seen as an extended meditation on the question you are asking. The basic idea is that there is no suffering or struggle inherent in the direct meeting of whatever feeling, emotion, or sensation arises in our immediate experience. And that suffering can only take root in the abandonment of the here and now - and in the unexamined archaic emotional conclusions and organizations that the mere presence of sadness, of rage, of hopelessness, of despair, etc. is clear evidence that something has gone wrong, that something must urgently be remedied, that we have failed, or that we are not okay. And it is by turning toward whatever is appearing and infusing it with presence, with awareness, and most of all kindness, that its true nature will reveal itself - as open, warm, tender space. For it is only by staying fully committed to and embodied to our vulnerabilities in all their forms that we will realize the aliveness that is always, already present.

      As young children, we learned very intelligently that it was unsafe to stay embodied to certain feelings, emotions, and sensations, as to do so disrupted the very precarious tie to our caregivers or otherwise caused those around is to withdraw attunement, mirroring, affection, attention, and love. Because we were developmentally incapable of seeing this as the result of limitations on the part of our caregivers, we internalized the rejection and located the problem within ourselves – concluding that there is something wrong with us and that we are not worthy of these things. Certain feelings and emotions have come to be associated with survival level panic and anxiety, which was accurate from the perspective of our early organization of experience.

      But here we are, as adults, with capacities we did not have as little ones – to stay close, to turn toward, and to metabolize this material – poetically referred to as creating a ‘home’ for it, rather than turning away, scrambling into fight/flight response, bailing out of our bodies, and abandoning the surging of the here and now. ‘Creating a home’ is a phrase I borrowed from Robert Stolorow, the founder (with a few colleagues) of intersubjectivity theory, the Western, developmental approach I am most influenced by. Again, so much of my writing over the last couple of years is in one way or another about offering a home or sanctuary for the unwanted and yet to be metabolized emotional-somatic world. Take care, Helen.