At times, you may find yourself with a friend who is upset, falling apart, confused, hopeless, sad, and afraid. Nothing is making sense anymore, they are overwhelmed, and the emotions are unrelenting.
You are unsure how to help.
While their pain may trigger you, and bring alive an avalanche of urgent, anxious, fixing energy – activating the shadows of your own unlived life - an invitation has appeared.
Slow way down. Ground awareness in your body and listen. Not just to the words they are saying, but to the secret request that is emerging out of their heart. Perhaps they are not asking for you to fix, cure, or even heal them. Perhaps their deepest longing is not for advice or teachings or even being reassured that everything is okay. It is not okay, and that is okay.
While you may be burning with the need to talk them out of their experience – overflowing with solutions, techniques, and processes – return into spaciousness. Infuse the environment with pause, rest, and resonance. With the slow circuits of empathy and presence, step into the vessel and seal it with non-urgent loving kindness.
This may not be the moment for you to give your friend an answer, but to hold them as you confront the vastness of the question together.
Offer the gift of a soothed, calm, and regulated nervous system. Turn your heart into a temple and sanctuary where together you can validate their feelings, and provide safe passage for their process to unfold. Do what you can so that they feel felt, that they need not heal in this moment in order for you to stay near.
Never, ever underestimate the power of love. Even one moment of empathic, attuned, contact can change our lives forever. Please don’t forget that for many, they have never actually known this sort of holding – or have had it in only very small amounts.
You have tremendous power to be a vessel in which healing can come into this world, to help another make new meaning and find new breath. To slowly dissolve the trance of unworthiness and know their true nature. Please do whatever you can. And please never, ever give up on love.
My most recent book – The Path Is Everywhere: Uncovering the Jewels Hidden Within You – is now available
The next book, A Healing Space: Befriending Yourself in Difficult Times, will be published by Sounds True
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