Saturday, December 4, 2021

If you want to help someone, help them to feel safe

So many of us feel shame about our trauma and wounding, as if it is evidence that we’ve failed, it’s our fault, and that we should be able to “get over” it and heal on our own.

Even if we “know” that these conclusions are not accurate, these schemas live implicitly in our sensitive bodies and nervous systems, where they remain open for neural revisioning when (relational) conditions are ripe.

These heartbreaking lenses of perception are reflected back to us by an increasingly disembodied and left-brain dominant culture, giving rise to the contemporary fantasy that I “should” be able to do it all on my own.

The tribe has broken down, replaced by the device and the slow cortisol drip of a sympathetically aroused collective. And we wonder why it’s all falling apart.

The emotional pain is tragic in and of itself, but underneath it is the underlying shame and deep sense of being alone, which is really at the root of trauma.

At times, it can be overwhelming to hold and metabolize fear and anxiety on our own. But with another nervous system, our windows of tolerance expand as they come together. This alchemical blending allows us to integrate experience that outside the relational field would otherwise send us into unworkable states of fight, flight, or collapse.

As relational mammals, we are wired to co-regulate. We are not meant to “do it all on our own” and it is not an indication that something is “wrong” with us if we cannot always contain our own wounding.

Rather, it is evidence we are alive, with an open, sensitive, majestic, and sometimes achy human nervous system.

We can do so much for one another, to help hold and transmute both transgenerational, biographical, and collective trauma. To slow down, with our presence and miracle mirror neurons, listen deeply, and be with another in a way that they feel felt and understood. Our world so desperately this needs right now.

If you want to help someone in your life, help them to feel safe.

Instead of “I am alone” with this fear, pain, and grief, “We are here together, and healing is possible.”

And then transmit this embodied realization into the neural circuitry of the world.

Photo by RitaE

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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Relationship as path

In any close relationship (where we take the risk of allowing another to matter) we open ourselves to the two primordial archetypal energies of abandonment and fusion. Sensing the potential for shattering reorganization, it makes sense that there is some hesitancy in stepping all the way in.

We come into relationship with a living template of past relational experiences: will I be safe? Can I be fully as I am? What about all of my eccentricities, sensitivities, vulnerabilities, and weeping wounds? Will I need to be someone different in order to be seen and held? Will I lose myself? Is this all going to be worth it?

Inevitably, ruptures will occur within the relational field, in that tender intersection between ourselves and another. But these ruptures are natural, organic, and quantum, and reveal themselves to be secret portals to wholeness.

A healthy relationship is not one where there is never any conflict, but where rupture is repaired, where repair is path, and where we honor our connectedness as well as our autonomy. The invitation is into the unresolvable mystery waters of separation and union, not unconscious merging into some homogenized leaky middle.

Each of us arrives into the emerging we-space with biographical, cultural, and archetypal patterning, schemas, and implicit worlds of meaning. These intertwine to weave the interactional field, along with the companionship, play, and shepherding of the mysterious Other, the third who also appears.

Through co-regulation, co-articulation, and making sense of our experience together, the templates reveal their transparency and become ripe for revisioning, open to be re-seeded with empathic circuits of resonance. But in the core of that ripening it is tender and sensitive, and will ask everything of us, dissolving the dream of the way we thought it was all going to turn out. That dissolution is neither error or mistake, but is of the holy.

This is why close personal relationships can be so achingly painful, on the one hand, while simultaneously being the most majestic and transmutative temple on the other.

Art credit: Owl, as sol and luna, clay sculpture by Krista Marleena 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Take a few deep breaths

The next time you notice you’ve turned against yourself, tangled in a looping storyline about how you’ve failed, how you’re not enough, how there is something wrong with you…

Slow way down. Allow your center of gravity to drop, directing your energy and awareness toward the ground. Feel your feet on the earth.

Before you abandon yourself and your embodied vulnerability – parachuting into the unstable waters of rumination, shame, and blame – sense the roots extending out of the bottom of your feet and into the mud and the womb and the holding field underneath you.

In just this one micro moment, you are being asked to care for yourself in a new way, to see behind the veil, to cleanse your perception, and with compassion, to encode a new pathway. To provide a home, a sanctuary for the emotional and somatic world to unfold and be held.

With the ally of the breath, shift your precious life energy out of the overwhelming narrative, for it is no longer safe there. It is neither nuanced, nor subtle, not majestic enough to honor what you are and the intelligence of the ally and Friend as it courses through you.

Open into your belly, your heart, your throat, and the holiness of your nervous system. Place your hand onto the rippling life and listen.

Taking a few deep breaths, ask: what is wanting to be met now? To be known? To be birthed and touched in this moment? What is the wisdom of the soul, in its creative unfolding, longing for me to feel and metabolize?

In what way am I being asked to care for the vulnerable, the tender, and the shaky within me?

With curiosity, patience, and mercy, see the ways you leave the embodied world of pure feeling, bailing on your vulnerability as you escape back into the conditioned, old, unsafe narrative of complaint, resentment, shame, blame, and self-attack. Return home.

While it may seem you are longing for something outside you, in these moments you are only longing for your own presence. For safety where it was unsafe. Companionship where you were lonely. Reassurance where you were afraid.

For you need yourself now more than ever. This world needs you now more than ever.

Image by Kieu Truong