Usually when we talk about the “others” in our lives, we are referring to persons external to us who we are in relationship with—friends, lovers, children, neighbors, family members, and colleagues. But there is another “other” found not external to us, but inside, weaved of the lost pieces of our hearts, broken dreams, partly digested feelings, and the content of our unlived lives.
Just like external others, these ones also long to be known, heard, and cared for, to receive a moment of our uninterrupted attention. They are not limited to only a few forms but appear in infinite ways, as shape-shifters who are of endlessly creativity in their ability to make their way into our experience to remind us of something we may have forgotten.
In this way, relational work is not only with an “external” other but simultaneously with the disowned and displaced figures of the psyche and body. Many of us long to be in a healthy, nourishing, mutually-loving relationship with another, a fellow traveler that we can walk through this world with and share in the beauty and pain of this bittersweet human experience. It is such a natural longing and one that we can honor and bring attention to, clarifying our motivations and intentions, realizing how little any of us truly know about the mysteries of self and other.
It is to the degree we are able to empathically attune to the arising internal other, in all of its forms, that we will be able to hold and be held by another. If we are unable to attend to inner darkness, chaos, and contradiction, we will never be able to practice intimacy with these qualities as they inevitably and organically emerge in our most intimate relationships. At least not to the degree that will fulfill our heart’s longing.
The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster