Saturday, March 3, 2018

The mystery of self and other

While one goal may be to regulate very intense feelings and emotions on our own, at times the most skillful and kind approach is to reach out to another for help, for a friend or partner or therapist to share their soothed, relaxed, grounded nervous system such that we may regulate with them.

Where, together, we can return into our window of tolerance and breathe deeply, bringing in new perspective, new levels of meaning, and to reorganize our experience in a new way.

This reaching out to another is not a sign of “codependence” or that we’re doing it wrong or that we’ve failed, but is the reality of a human nervous system, which is a miracle, really.

We are relational beings with open, sensitive, vulnerable hearts and mirror neurons and can offer one another so much. To listen to one another and attune deeply to what our brothers and sisters are feeling and how they are making meaning of their experience.

It can be difficult to truly reach out to another when we are struggling, when we are suffering, confused, or in pain. Many of us did not (and currently do not) have a safe place to share our feelings, our fears, our trauma, and our confusion. Stepping into this sort of trust is sure to bring forward so much within us.

It can also be challenging to listen, to feel deeply, and to let ourselves be touched by the pain and the struggle of another, as doing so has a way of constellating any unresolved emotional material deep within us. To set aside any demand that the other change, shift, transform, or heal – just for a moment – so that we can make contact without any agenda except to listen with our hearts open.

Yes, it’s hard. And at times heart-wrenching. And scary. And groundless. And uncertain. But here we are. To take that sort of risk, to push ourselves just a little, to share ourselves with our friends, family, co-workers, lovers, and counselors. To reach out when we need help and to truly be there when that same request is made of us. To explore the realities of self-regulation and also co-regulation, self-love and other-love, to dance in those opposites as we move deeper into the mystery.

Photo by Johnny Franzen

The next two events are a five-day retreat, The Place the Light Enters, with Jeff Foster, April 4-9 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO

The Path is Everywhere: A Weekend Intensive, June 15-18 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, CO