Monday, December 18, 2017

The wholeness of the inner family

It can take a tremendous amount of practice, kindness, and an unwavering love of the truth to explore the various strategies we employ to take ourselves out of feelings we do not want to feel.

For a variety of reasons, certain feelings have come to be associated with dysregulating anxiety, triggering a subtle, survival-level sort of panic. In response, dissociative pathways are put in place to get away from the underlying vulnerability and back to safe ground.

At one time, this was an incredibly intelligent, helpful, and adaptive response, and likely saved us from overwhelming disintegration. In the abandonment of the vulnerability, however, we cut ourselves off from the aliveness we so intimately long for.

The next time you notice the impulse to escape - by mindlessly complaining, attacking another, shaming/ blaming yourself, or falling down a rabbit hole of repetitive, ruminative self-attack - be kind to yourself and just stop. Pause. Feel your feet on the ground. Cut into the momentum of self-aggression. Not this time.

For just a few seconds use your breath to help you enter inside the feeling that is longing to emerge, not as an enemy but as a lost soul-part, returning to be united with the wholeness of the inner family.

As you return into the tender, shaky life as it moves through you - slowly, with kindness, at a pace that is not overwhelming, yet pushes you a little – the somatic tangles and psychic knots will begin to illuminate, and come out of the shadows where they can be compassionately attended to with capacities you once did not have.

In this way we cut into the habitual momentum of self-abandonment. We begin to see that the intimacy, connection, and aliveness we want so badly can only emerge in our willingness to touch the vulnerability and provide sanctuary and safe passage for feeling. Vulnerability and aliveness are not-two, and co-emerge together, each a pathway into the other, interpenetrating and balancing each other in union.

Art by Toshiyuki Enoki

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.