So many of our limited beliefs arose from an environment of empathic failure, where the brilliance of a little heart was unable to be held, where the majesty of the emotional landscape was unable to be recognized and mirrored back… seeding pathways of unworthiness and shame.
Even if we did not experience overt neglect or abuse, an environment of consistent misattunement accretes in the psyche over time, where even subtle traumatic organization can take root and flower.
Yes, these narratives and feeling states have their origin in the past. But they must be maintained in the present to stay alive. This is a liberating discovery as while we cannot change the past, we can reorganize perception in the here and now.
This is not easy, and requires the capacity to tolerate, contain, and integrate the underlying anxiety that these beliefs, feelings, and behaviors helped to keep us out of.
Though we may genuinely wish to transform our experience, we simultaneously remain invested in certain ways of thinking and feeling, in order to maintain the protective function they have served. As painful as this is, it has adaptively kept us away psychic experience that threatened to take us down.
We must discover to what degree we still require this protection, or whether it is no longer serving our deeper longing to feel alive, connected, intimate, and free. To what degree it is keeping us out of life, out of full embodied participation in the magnificence of the human form.
We can’t just tear the old organization down in one great enlightenment experience, think our way out of it, or “manifest” it away in five quick steps. It happens slowly, by way of the activity of love.
As always, just what this “love” is cannot be revealed to you by another, but only by way of a secret language that has been placed inside you, awaiting your discovery. It is by way of attunement to this whisper that the poetry of new life will flow.
Falling in Love with Where You Are: Embracing the Joy and Heartbreak of Spiritual Awakening - our annual spring, five-day retreat - will take place April 22-27, 2020 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with myself and Jeff Foster. More information here.
My next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Ourselves in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True in 2020.