Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Relationship as path

In any close relationship (where we take the risk of allowing another to matter) we open ourselves to the two primordial archetypal energies of abandonment and fusion. Sensing the potential for shattering reorganization, it makes sense that there is some hesitancy in stepping all the way in.

We come into relationship with a living template of past relational experiences: will I be safe? Can I be fully as I am? What about all of my eccentricities, sensitivities, vulnerabilities, and weeping wounds? Will I need to be someone different in order to be seen and held? Will I lose myself? Is this all going to be worth it?

Inevitably, ruptures will occur within the relational field, in that tender intersection between ourselves and another. But these ruptures are natural, organic, and quantum, and reveal themselves to be secret portals to wholeness.

A healthy relationship is not one where there is never any conflict, but where rupture is repaired, where repair is path, and where we honor our connectedness as well as our autonomy. The invitation is into the unresolvable mystery waters of separation and union, not unconscious merging into some homogenized leaky middle.

Each of us arrives into the emerging we-space with biographical, cultural, and archetypal patterning, schemas, and implicit worlds of meaning. These intertwine to weave the interactional field, along with the companionship, play, and shepherding of the mysterious Other, the third who also appears.

Through co-regulation, co-articulation, and making sense of our experience together, the templates reveal their transparency and become ripe for revisioning, open to be re-seeded with empathic circuits of resonance. But in the core of that ripening it is tender and sensitive, and will ask everything of us, dissolving the dream of the way we thought it was all going to turn out. That dissolution is neither error or mistake, but is of the holy.

This is why close personal relationships can be so achingly painful, on the one hand, while simultaneously being the most majestic and transmutative temple on the other.

Art credit: Owl, as sol and luna, clay sculpture by Krista Marleena 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Take a few deep breaths

The next time you notice you’ve turned against yourself, tangled in a looping storyline about how you’ve failed, how you’re not enough, how there is something wrong with you…

Slow way down. Allow your center of gravity to drop, directing your energy and awareness toward the ground. Feel your feet on the earth.

Before you abandon yourself and your embodied vulnerability – parachuting into the unstable waters of rumination, shame, and blame – sense the roots extending out of the bottom of your feet and into the mud and the womb and the holding field underneath you.

In just this one micro moment, you are being asked to care for yourself in a new way, to see behind the veil, to cleanse your perception, and with compassion, to encode a new pathway. To provide a home, a sanctuary for the emotional and somatic world to unfold and be held.

With the ally of the breath, shift your precious life energy out of the overwhelming narrative, for it is no longer safe there. It is neither nuanced, nor subtle, not majestic enough to honor what you are and the intelligence of the ally and Friend as it courses through you.

Open into your belly, your heart, your throat, and the holiness of your nervous system. Place your hand onto the rippling life and listen.

Taking a few deep breaths, ask: what is wanting to be met now? To be known? To be birthed and touched in this moment? What is the wisdom of the soul, in its creative unfolding, longing for me to feel and metabolize?

In what way am I being asked to care for the vulnerable, the tender, and the shaky within me?

With curiosity, patience, and mercy, see the ways you leave the embodied world of pure feeling, bailing on your vulnerability as you escape back into the conditioned, old, unsafe narrative of complaint, resentment, shame, blame, and self-attack. Return home.

While it may seem you are longing for something outside you, in these moments you are only longing for your own presence. For safety where it was unsafe. Companionship where you were lonely. Reassurance where you were afraid.

For you need yourself now more than ever. This world needs you now more than ever.

Image by Kieu Truong

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The body will reorganize when it feels safe

Trauma occurs when our capacity to process emotional, psychic, and somatic experience is overwhelmed.

In addition to this shattering of information processing, there is the lived reality of the missing Friend, resulting in an unendurable sense of aloneness.

Not only do we experience a flooding of unbearable images, feelings, and sensations, but at some basic level we’re alone with all that.

In my experience, it is this aloneness, in the end, that is so devastating to us as sensitive, relational human beings, with a nervous system that has been crafted for companionship.

As an act of mercy and compassion, we make the journey inside the neural network holding our unmetabolized shame, rage, terror, and grief. For it is within the center of that mandala where we will find the frozen, confused, and scared one who has become stuck in the time machine of trauma and lost in the disorganizing fields of implicit memory.

To behold the lost orphans of psyche and soma and listen, hold, feed, surround, and love them, so that they feel felt and understood, and more than anything help them to know that they are safe now, perhaps for the first time ever.

To bear witness to their untold story as it unfolds across verbal, somatic, and autonomic narratives:

“Yes, I hear you, I see you, I want to know you, hold you, care for you, listen to you. I will not forget you. I will not forsake you. You are allowed to be. You are no longer alone. It is okay now. You are safe. Even if you continue to shatter, I will collect the pieces within a holy vase.”

It is a reparative neural experience that unveils that sacred soothing, where the unmetabolized images, feelings, and sensations are taken into the sanctuary and placed on the altar in front of us. This holding allows the secret nutrients to be disclosed and for the scattered pieces to return to their rightful place within the larger ecology of being.

While understanding and insight can be supportive, it is right-brain immersion in fields of safety which fosters cellular restructuring.

The psyche will reassemble when it feels safe.

The body will reorganize when it feels safe.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The golden scaffolding of a new world

It’s an act of mercy and compassion to step back and acknowledge how much we’ve been through over these last couple of years. Just to be alive as a human being on the planet right now carries with it a certain tone of activation in the body and nervous system.

It’s like there’s been a continuous drip of a soul-level cortisol or adrenaline, on the one hand, and a collapse into hopelessness/helplessness on the other – an alternation between hypervigilance and a numbing or shutting down.

Each of these responses and the bodily felt arousal that accompanies them are coherent and make sense. In addition to our verbal narratives and stories, there are the stories of the body (somatic narrative) and also those of the nervous system (autonomic narrative) that weave together worlds of meaning.

Underneath it all, a deep longing to rest and to feel safe again in our bodies, to re-tune and enter consciously into the next phase. Something has fallen away that we will never be able to return to, but the exact nature of what’s coming next has yet to be given.

This not-knowing where we’re headed can generate that deep, even cosmic sort of restlessness that many are experiencing. We are in that period of liminality and transitional space, in between the way things used to be and the birth that is yet to come.

The temptation is to get out of the in-between and into the rebirth as quickly as possible. But if we bypass the reorganization prematurely, we will not be able to receive the gold that is found only within the core of that which is falling apart. This is the invitation into the rich, alchemical yellowing.

This is a difficult realm to navigate as it is not held as valid and honorable in our conventional world. But it is one of potential and creativity, a doorway to experience that is not always available in times of certainty and flow.

In the very center of the paradox and contradictory energies is the water of life. It is a courageous journey into that territory and one that will surprise us.

It may grind us into dust, but it is the particles that survive that initiation that form the golden neural and soul-scaffolding of a new world.