Friday, November 9, 2018

The unknown other

Usually when we think about the “others” in our lives, we are referring to those we are in relationship with –friends, lovers, children, family members, co-workers. It is important to listen to them, stay close to their unfolding experience, become curious about how they are making sense of their lives, and to meet them in the creative unknown.

May we deepen in our capacity for empathy with the others in our lives, never forgetting that just like us, they long to be happy, to be safe, to feel connected, and to know peace.

Simultaneously – and in mysterious ways co-emerging with the external – another “other” dances within us. This one is hidden in the shadows and equally yearns for our presence, warmth, kindness, and care. It is not visible by ordinary sight and is weaved of the lost pieces of our hearts, broken dreams, partly digested feelings, dissociated joy, and the entirety of our unlived lives.

Just like the external others, the ones of the inner landscape wish to be known, held, and allowed home. Appearing in infinite forms – as the play of emotion, image, and sensation – even as a color, a piece of music, and the flow of the poetic, the other enters and fills us with its essence.

Relational work is not only with an external other (which of course is incredibly important) but simultaneously with the abandoned ones of the psyche and soma – personal, cultural, as well as archetypal.

As we deepen our inquiry and perception becomes cleansed, we may notice the dividing line between the inner and outer other is not as solid as it once appeared. It is very much there and must be honored, but at the same time it is flexible and even luminous.

It is to the degree we can empathically attune to the arising inner visitors that we will be able to truly hold the one external to us. If we are not able to tend 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 Lars Nissen/ Lars_Nissen_Photoart via Pixabay

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

The next book, The Unfolding Heart, will be published by Sounds True in early 2020, details to come

The next event is The Healing Shame Retreat: Spiritual Awakening and Transforming the Core Wound of Unworthiness, April 24-29, 2019 at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado, with co-facilitator Jeff Foster