The path of opening the heart is not the same as becoming an unboundaried, leaky vessel for the unloading of another’s unlived life. It is to the degree that we are attuned to our own grief, sadness, shame, and rage that we will most skillfully navigate within the we-space of the relational field.
Most of us were not trained in the art of embodied attunement as we live in an increasingly disembodied world, where the capacity to hold unfolding emotional experience was not encoded into a tender developing nervous system.
But despite early relational trauma, inconsistent empathic mirroring, and transgenerational narratives of dysregulation and insecurity, you can embody and practice this now. You can experience reunion with the disavowed inner other and play with him or her, weaving together emotion in the body, story and image in the mind, resting and exploring in unstructured states of being.
While appearing “compassionate” on the outside, being an emotional doormat involves the re-enacting of early, unconscious organization. We learned that devaluing ourselves was the most reliable route to get our needs met, fit in, receive attention and affection, and maintain a precarious tie to an unavailable attachment figure. This activity was not neurotic, but was lifesaving, creative, and intelligent from the perspective of a little one wired to connect.
But the inner passageways are luminous and ache for reorganization by way of the slower circuitries of empathy, curiosity, wonderment, and awe. Look carefully and see the ways you may habitually place others’ needs over your own – not out of true compassion for them, but as a re-enactment of early interactional fields of shame and unworthiness.
Inside, something is stirring, a longing being awakened to return home, for new circuitry to encode, for a new pathway to light up and come alive.
Slowly, one moment at a time. Safe. Connected. Open.
Raw. Tender. Sensitive. Embodied.
There is no urgency on the path of love.