Most of us we were not trained in this embodied attunement and this level of holding was not encoded into the nervous system of a little one longing for a field ripe enough to contain the magic and brilliance of a unique, unfolding emotional world.
Despite early relational trauma, inconsistent empathic mirroring, and disorganized narratives of attachment, you can learn and practice this now. You can experience reunion with the disavowed inner other and play with him or her, re-embodying to the flow of pure feeling, vision, and imagination.
While appearing “compassionate” on the outside, being an emotional doormat involves the re-enacting of early, unconscious organization. We learned that devaluing ourselves was the most reliable route to get our needs met, to fit in, to receive attention and affection, and to maintain a precarious tie to an unavailable attachment figure. This activity was not neurotic, but was lifesaving, creative, and intelligent from the perspective of a little one longing for life.
But the pathways within you are luminous and ache for reorganization by way of the slower circuitries of empathy, curiosity, wonderment, and awe. More than anything it requires a new commitment and vow to dissolve the trance of self-abandonment, especially in a moment of emotional activation.
Look carefully and see the ways you habitually place others’ needs over your own – not out of true compassion for them, but as a re-enactment of an early environment of shame and unworthiness.
With your inner and outer breath, seed the somatic field with holding and attunement, receive the longing for an update to your holy nervous system, and lay down a new pathway.
Slowly, one moment at a time. There is no longer any urgency. There is no urgency on the path of love.
My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.