Thursday, November 9, 2017

Updating the template

Painful feelings of shame and unworthiness have their origins in early empathic failure, chronic misattunement, and the reality of an inadequate holding environment. In order to make sense of this pain, we adopt a variety of limiting self-beliefs organized around the conclusion that “there is something wrong with me.” This primordial organization in a little nervous system sets off a template that can be very subtle, and can require tremendous levels of awareness and compassion to unwind.

Especially for those who were required to play the role of caretaker in early environments, where their entire sense of self came from abandoning their emotional world and attending to the other, they must go in as alchemists of the heart and the body and throw light into the dark places, for true compassion cannot arise from the activity of self-abandonment.

The invitation is to illuminate and update these beliefs (and their energetic resonances in the body), which have formed the lens though which we see ourselves and others, and the structure through which we engage in relationship. To begin to discover that these old compensatory beliefs are not true in any objective sense, but merely prior best efforts to make meaning of an earlier time, and carry absolutely no evidence whatsoever of your worth as a person.

To enter into relationship with the beliefs, the feelings, and raw sensations that long to be held. To enter into dialogue with the inner figures who seek just a moment of your attention – the scared little boy, the little girl full of rage, the ashamed and the forgotten, the lost and abandoned children of psyche and soma. To listen to her story, offer sanctuary and safe passage for his painful feelings, to flood him or her with a moment of pure empathy and compassion. To slowly begin to tend to that which could not be metabolized at an earlier time. To unburden the little one from the pain and trauma he or she has been carrying for so long.

When a painful feeling or sensation appears, slow way down and ask: what am I believing right now about myself that may be giving rise to this feeling? Flood the belief, the feeling, and the sensation with awareness, with warmth, with life, with breath. Start in the body and feel what is there, sense what is there, and then begin to uncover the limiting self-beliefs. And once they are out in open awareness, we can then begin our journey of re-authoring them into more integrated forms.

My new book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available 

My next event will be a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO.