Sunday, October 30, 2016

It is already written inside you

Something happens and you get triggered. Someone says something or ignores you, or doesn’t show up in the way you want and need. You quickly become convinced that no one will ever see you as you are. Others are not on your side and the world is unsafe. And there is only one explanation at the root of it all: you are unworthy of such contact and something is fundamentally wrong with you.

In these moments, you are totally hooked. Your emotional world is on fire and you’re falling apart. You are shaming, blaming, and raging in all directions. The old voices remind you of how wretched you truly are. The energy is hot and surging through your heart. There is a panicky nauseous feeling in your stomach. Your throat is starting to constrict. You are about to collapse. Here we go again.

But wait. Breathe deeply from your lower belly. Touch the earth. Feel your heart beating. Return to your body and the aliveness of the here and now. See if it really is as urgent as it seems, that you need to disembody and find relief.

Give yourself the gift of sacred pause. This is no ordinary moment. The harbingers of integration have appeared. While you may never have much control over what thoughts, feelings, or emotions arrive in a moment of activation, you have a choice as to how you will respond. This choice is the threshold of a new world.

Depending on your early strategies for meeting overwhelm and dysregulation, you flow into motion. While these responses are wired in to your neural net, they are open, plastic, translucent, and awaiting reconfiguration.

No matter what is happening in the inner and outer landscape, you can start right now – you can lay down a new pathway. Slowly, over time, you can replace the aggression with kindness. You can replace the abandonment with holding. You can replace the rejection with curiosity and fiery compassion. You can develop a new relationship with your feelings, your emotions, and with the beliefs which have become the lenses through which you have come to see your life.

While the old narratives and emotional strategies emerged as the best ways you knew to care for yourself and to somehow make sense of empathic failure and a misattuned holding environment, you are the artist of a new world. 

Your canvas is the entirety of your embodied vulnerability, the tenderness of your heart, and the brilliance of your creative psyche. You can rewrite the story, rewire your nervous system, and find new meaning. No, this is not easy, and will take everything you have… and more. But it is already written inside you.

While it may seem hopeless at times, you have capacities that you did not have as a little one when the original pathways were formed. Call on the seen and unseen worlds to assist you. Open to the holding and the wisdom of the mountains, the oceans, the stars, and the blue rose inside you.

You are surrounded now by the heartbeat of the earth. Feel the new pathway emerging. Allow the new template to come online now. The template of love.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A secret alchemy of our time

With your heart open, look carefully at the ways you habitually place others’ needs over your own… not out of genuine compassion for them, but as a re-enactment of an early environment of shame and unworthiness.

Become curious about this. No need to go on a rampage of self-aggression, shaming, blaming, and raging against yourself. Slow way down. Just be curious. And warm. And open.

Anchor yourself in the wish to know what is true more than anything. Feel the support of the seen and unseen worlds around you. And then open more. Even if you feel closed, open even to that. It is in this seeing that the seeds are planted for a new way, one that is encoded with attunement, creativity, and a fiery sort of kindness.

This is a compassion that is full-spectrum, willing at all times to integrate and make use of anger, rage, fear, jealousy, confusion, and all somatic energies, recycling them and using their raw material for the work of love. Nothing is discarded any longer. All is path. All is grace.

It is from this revolution of embodied, skillful kindness, that the seemingly solid distinction between self and other will reveal itself to be quite translucent.

Like a rainbow.

You can actually play inside this translucence, where taking care of self and taking care of other co-arise and dance in union. It is a secret alchemy of our time.

Photo credit: Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, by Forrest Boutin

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Into the core belief

“No one is ever going to see me as I am. Because I am unworthy of being seen.”

This core belief is at the foundation of so much of our suffering. It is not random, but a deep conviction that arose intelligently in response to an early environment of empathic failure and chronic misattunement.

While incredibly painful, blaming ourselves for the lack of mirroring was much safer than placing the blame outside with our caregivers. To allow in the reality that this was beyond the capacities of our caregivers would overwhelm a developing little brain and nervous system. It was the safest way for us to account for not being met as we were.

From the relative level, as adults we can re-author a new narrative. We can update the pathways and tell a new story – one that is more integrated, cohesive, accurate and whole.

“Some people will see me as I am some of the time, according to hundreds of causes and conditions, including their own capacities and development. Yet even if they do not, I am okay, and I will not take this as evidence about my worth as a person. I will be there for myself to hold and metabolize those feelings of unworthiness and abandonment that may arise, knowing they are important energetic allies along the way on the path of the heart. They do not represent reality as it is, but rather the way that I had to construct it as a little one, longing for love.”

It is an act of kindness to know our core narrative, the essence-story you have come into adulthood with, and the corresponding beliefs that comprise it. For it is only then that you can engage skillfully, and decide in the here and now if you are ready to surrender the story, which has been with you for so long, so that a new one may be told.

While we all wish on some level to dismantle the stories of suffering, we must look carefully to see our investment in holding onto them, the purpose they are still serving, and what our lives will be like if we could no longer claim that we are unworthy. It is important that we not underestimate the immensity of this.

From the level of the absolute, however, no story will ever touch the majesty of what you are. You need not re-author anything. You can experience the story exactly it is, without interpreting it, needing to understand it, or without any movement to change, shift, transform, or heal it.

Surrounding it with your awareness, and with the warmth of your own heart, you allow it to come and go, resting in the field where all stories arise, dance for a while, and dissolve back into. You are willing at any moment to be the home and sanctuary for any thought, belief, perception, feeling, emotion, or sensation, to practice kindness and intimacy with it, without infusing it with reality. To stay close, but not so close that you fuse with it as who you are.

While it may seem contradictory to the mind, there is no need to choose sides between these views. You can dance seamlessly with both, using whatever skillful means are available to become more and more curious about who and what you are.

And then together we can rest in the erupting discovery that we will never, ever resolve the wild, untamed, creativity of love, as it comes out of the stars and infuses the relative with its qualities. But we will give ourselves to the mystery, and to become vessels for this love to come alive here.

Photo by Sandra Bartocha