Sunday, January 14, 2018

Attuned to the inner family

Usually when we think about the “others” in our lives, we are referring to those we are in relationship with – our friends, lovers, children, families, and co-workers. We are asked to attune to their unfolding experience, to care about how they are making meaning of it, and to enter consciously with them into the relational field itself, where something unknown and creative is emerging.

But there is another “other” found inside us, weaved of the lost pieces of our hearts, broken dreams, partly digested feelings, and the entirety of our unlived lives. Just like the external others, these inner family members also long to be known, to be held, and to be honored. They appear in infinite forms – as vivid emotions, images, memories – and even as color, music, and poetry as it enters and fills us.

In this way, relational work is not only with an external other but simultaneously with the abandoned children of the psyche, the body, and the personal and collective unconscious. As we deepen our inquiry and our perception becomes cleansed, we start to see that the dividing line between the inner and outer other is quite transparent, luminous, flexible, and non-solid. In some mysterious way, they dance and play together, appearing before us as emissaries of wholeness.

It is to the degree we are able to empathically attune to the arising inner family that we will be able to truly hold another. If we are not able to attend to the inner darkness, chaos, and contradiction, we will never be able to practice intimacy with these qualities as they inevitably and organically emerge in our most intimate relationships.

Photo by Donnchadh Murphy

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

My next event is a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO. Tickets went on sale on January 1st, 2018 and registration will be taken in the order it is received.