Thursday, June 16, 2016

There is only this moment

When feelings of shame and unworthiness appear, they come not as obstacles to harm, but as invitations to reorganize. As Frankl reminds us, our freedom is found in the space between stimulus and response.

As these young visitors surge in a sensitive nervous system, a doorway appears. While it may appear to flash open and closed, the opening is primordial and always available. Though at times it can appear hidden.

On one side is the old circuitry of self-aggression and abandonment. By way of denying or seeking urgent relief from the feelings, you re-enact the ways your vulnerability was met as a young child in your family of origin.

Depending on the ways you came to organize the experience of empathic failure, you will be guided into unique configurations of fight, flight, or freeze – as the spontaneous creativity of the “here and now” is replaced with the early circuitry of the “there and then.” Once intelligent, creative, and adaptive, you are discovering that these strategies are no longer supporting your vision for intimacy, connection, and aliveness.

On the other side is the new pathway of slowness, empathy, attunement, and kindness. Of meeting, containing, and metabolizing the dysregulating narrative, emotional intensity, and body-based raw sensation, with miracle capacities you once did not have. Not as a goal to further shame yourself for not perfecting, but as an intention, as an aspiration, a life-long practice to open into. And to return to over and over and over and over again.

No matter how things are flowing for you in the inner and outer worlds at this time, you can start exactly where you are, afresh in this moment. There is only this moment.

Photo credit: sunrise nearby at Lake Isabelle, Indian Peaks Wilderness, taken by Will Shieh