Can you help me with something? You know…Im good one on one….but when it comes to larger groups, I just have a lot of trouble. Im not sure if it’ social anxiety???……….
Following my weekly writing workshop class, ‘Journaling For The Self’…….a group of us routinely walk out to our cars together and share our thoughts and feelings about the class.
The workshop is an intimate one, as you can imagine by the title. It, amongst other intentions, is to help one create intimacy with oneself……to really get to know oneself, resolve old conflicts, unfinished business, work out internal conflicts, map out one’s vision, acknowledge one’s gains and accomplishments, etc.
People who came to learn more about the benefits of journaling and writing in general, have come to form a close bond as they share some of the intimate details of their lives in class. Something we don’t intuitively do early on in larger groups. The feeling is alive, warm, secure and comforting.
One of the participants, a bright, friendly, bubbly and very sociable kind woman asked me the above question, while standing outside of our cars. I like this woman, as she is authentic, a deep thinker and feeler, passionate, humorous, amongst many other things.
And here is some of what was shared…….
You know…….that has been part of my personal path. And what I am finding at this stage in my life, is that I have had enough of hiding…..it’s exhausting. I just think when you have this huge bubble inside of you that is wanting to burst with ideas, passions, wisdom, sharing, love, inspiration, song, poetry, connection……you get to a point where you are ready to be free, relinquished, flying, floating, whatever the resonating expression is for you. Sure it takes something to rewire the programming…..courage, faith in yourself and humanity, letting go of fears, old beliefs, sometimes a bit of a fight……but all of this is available to each and everyone of us, why not take full granted of this opportunity to be all that you know and don’t know yourself to be.
I remember an old coach of mine telling me.....'Lillian, you are a sunflower trying to be a daisy'. It was damn painful playing small.
My writing colleague identified with this space, with this feeling. And it has been my experience of late, in my therapy and coaching practice, that many people are now ready to create this kind of freedom for themselves.
Most interestingly, as some higher force might have it, when you are open to receiving, 'the things we are open to is a comin’'. I have had quite a few new clients come into my practice recently…..looking for this type of freedom.
And not surprisingly, today……my sister posted something she found on facebook, something I think you will really enjoy, and it sounds like this…….
There is no fight left in her. And thats the best thing that ever happened for her. For far too long the futile battle of light and dark has left her exhausted. She’s accepting both light and dark as the inherent gifts of the universe. She’s not in a duelling match with them. The light no longer wishes to ‘reform’ her dark, and her dark no longer wants to ‘control’ the light. Suddenly, she’s not playing the polarity game.
She’s not fooled into buying the teaching that there’s something wrong with her that needs fixing, and she’s got work to do before she’s finally ‘good’. Her divinity is in fully embracing her humanity. All of it. So where’s the imperfection?
The myth that one day light will vanquish the dark and there will be peace… would have kept her exhausted and imprisoned. She’s already at peace right now! Even the light and dark within her are sitting at peace with each other. Game over.
What she’s experiencing in the ceasing of war is an unbelievable tranquility and peace. Thank goodness she believed in her own wisdom - Sukhvinder Sircar
So sometimes we have themes in our lives, and it takes reflection at times to notice what the themes are.
What practices do you have in place to notice recent themes, recurring messages, invitations…..
May I suggest something?
One of our journaling exercises was to write a ‘List of 100’. We all have lists…..To Do Lists, Shopping Lists, Payment List, Bucket List……..
It helps to clarify, itemize, gather and notice…..when you want to find out what’s going on beneath the surface of an issue and it’s ok to let yourself repeat and then write the next thing that pops up.
In class I chose wherever my eyes rested and focused on the list of topics…..Things I Once Feared that I No Longer Fear. I surprised myself and wrote down 87 items…..repeating only one item twice. I would never have guessed I could come up with as many……and I imagine perhaps you might think this as well. What a great feeling to know that I have pushed through this many fears.
Give it a try…..see what come up, acknowledge yourself for getting your reluctance, your resistance out of the way and sitting with your yummy self for a cup of tea or coffee.
As usual I'd love to hear what has shown up for you, what you have noticed, what themes you are now awake to….
“Im just feeling sad, realizing that all this time, I have actually allowed myself to be in this place for a whole decade”
A courageous admission from a group participant I am co-coaching. The program has just started, we are in our third week….and like clockwork, the nature of being involved in any growth program that promises a shift in our lives…..calls up resistance, anger, sadness and the like……to be dealt with.
As we address what comes up….we start disarming the barriers we have in place to the life we want for ourselves. And this is the key…..addressing the walls that have been built throughout our lifetime to protect us, but simultaneously preventing the very thing we pine for.
She has been resisting this emotion, keeping herself busy…..”It’s thankfully been so busy at work that I haven’t lost myself in it”….she says. A common and understandable fear. “But I am bringing this to you to tell me what to do with it”. She is clearly sad, recognizing that she has been denying herself, unconsciously, the very thing that she has been craving, working towards, dreaming about.
Our beautiful minds create these tensions……this conflict……for a purpose.
Part of you wants to stay safe, and why not? Who would walk into a fire knowing it will hurt and scar them? Simple cause and effect. Walk into the fire, get burned!!!
Can you relate to this?
But did you know that you developed this belief when you were under the age of 8 years? Hard to believe, but we actually create a road map for life by the time we are 8 years old. But if you give it some thought…….8 years involves many new experiences. And if we don’t share our experiences, or if we don’t have the guidance necessary to navigate through our emotional terrain…..then we are left to our own devices to come up with guidelines around our self conduct in relationship to the world. And to be fair, even in the best of upbringings…..our parents cannot possibly know all that is going on within us…all the beliefs we are forming….and it is barely within our awareness that we are creating these beliefs in the first place.
Another woman shares about her resistance to doing the homework assigned in the program. When asked what the resistance is about, she shares “I wont’ be able to be who I am if I open myself up to a relationship”. A relationship is what is on her particular radar at this time in her life.
Afraid of change, afraid of not knowing what it will entail, perhaps an experience of being unaware of what she gave up in the past to be in a relationship ( having the awareness only after the fact), and…..a belief that no man will fully accept her for all that she is…..this self-protective part of her brain is rightly saying……don’t go there!!!!!
However, the conflict is in our biological pre-programming to be attached, connected, loved, adored, supported, cared for……. We begin this attachment, this programming.....the moment we come out of the womb…if not before. Without this attachment, safety and survival are impossible.
This lovely woman wants what attachment and connection promises without the growing pains of deepening intimacy….both with herself and with the potential partner. Logical.....no one wants the pain.
In a perfect world….that would be great wouldn’t it? Perhaps. It would save us from the suffering we have experienced.
But I would like to offer here that without any sort of suffering….whether it’s just in the knowledge that we want something we don’t have.....to the other end of the spectrum…..we would know very little about ourselves, and have very little personal intimacy. Without that…..we don’t get to experience the joy of knowing all that we offer, loving who we are, loving our lives….the people and circumstances within it.
How much would you like that kind of joy in your life?
Shifting and transforming are amongst the most delicious rights of passage we are gifted here, what are you doing to completely capitalize on this opportunity offered to you? What are the joys you have gotten to experience along the way?
I would love to hear……transformation is delicious!!!
Hi there again......
I hope this entry finds you well.
Opening our hearts to love also opens our hearts to pain. We know this intuitively, we know it from experience, we don’t need to read it anywhere.
Sure we may have had a few, or perhaps many experiences of pain when we opened our hearts to love, or anticipated love. And sure…..it’s real, it hurts, it can send us to dark places, keep us from being involved with others (at least for a while), even our own lives, be the trigger for alienation and isolation, and so on.
But here is something to consider.
Is it opening our hearts to love that causes the pain?
Or could it be a whole other set of variables that we were uninitiated to, that was the trigger? By uninitiated, I mean….we were young and unworldly…..we could not see past opening our hearts and immediately associating pain with it.......if our expectations were not met. Sometimes that "youngness" or "naivite" stays with us into our adulthood until we are in fact initiated into our own wisdom, our own worldliness.
For example…..lets take a teenager, age 15. She falls in love with a school mate of a differing race and religion. He reciprocates these feelings with poems and love letters at school and they are both sure of their feelings. It’s new, exciting, warm, comforting……safe and secure. After some time, the fellow calls to say he is coming to visit after her surgery. He comes to her door, with a new poem and one flower, but she won’t let him in. She explains that her parents won’t let him in because of his race and religion.
TheIn that moment, the racing thoughts are that there is no possible future for the two of them. He feels judged, hurt, rejected, not only by her parents, but now by her, because in his thinking…..she has sided with them by not letting him in.. He feels alone in this unnecessary conflict. Surely love trumps all this? She, in turn, feels bad because she does not share her parents views, but feels powerless in her wish to defy their position. They both have a new experience of love……it hurts!!!
These types of experiences begin to trigger the innate self-protective mechanism to guard against future similar experiences. If we have enough of these "types" of experiences, we might find ourselves closed off from taking risks in the are of love, or vulnerability in general.
The variables involved in this scene are mindset, religious and cultural wiring, gender power, youth and its relative power to parents/adults, and so on. They are young and dependent upon their parents for survival….defying her parents involves great risk to that instinct. She is also very emotionally connected to her parents and their “story” of surviving annihilation of their race, and to stand up against them, would entail a betrayal her young mind is not prepared for. She is also a female in a traditional home…..and here again, challenging gender roles and power would open up a conflict that a 15 year old is unprepared for.
So here is the rest of the story…..despite this experience, he continues to give her poems at school. The romantic love wanes, but the fundamental base of love does not, as both know it is not themselves that stand in the divide, but the dependence upon their parents for survival that prevents them from taking a stronger stand.
And here is the point……..
It is not opening our hearts that hurts, it is not love that hurts…..
What did hurt were the judgements, assumptions, and the fears that are carried over through generations of culture, religion, race…..however you decide it…..that created the divide. Through this young couples persistence to continue the expression of their feelings for one another, despite the hurt, testifies to the benefits of keeping an open heart. The important life lessons learned….. that they can stand apart from the values they do not share, that the larger society will not dictate their inner truth, that love see’s past differences, past fears and hurt. And they become initiated into the complexities of “relationship”, love relationships and otherwise. They also become initiated into their truth vs the larger truth of any set of groups or society at large, and what they wish to do about it once their personal power is fully developed.
Furthermore, they have created an experience, specifically their continued expression of love….contributing to their resiliency in the world of trust, love, faith, persistence, taking a stand for their truth…..etc. Resiliency is created by exposure to hardship. And resiliency is a necessary variable in living a full and joyous life.
If you are finding yourself with a closed off heart......know that you are doing this to protect yourself from a particular belief about the world, about lovers, family, colleagues…..
Discover, at a deeper level,
And you don’t have to go it alone…..we are not solitary creatures by nature. We find comfort and solace in shared experiences, shared world views……
Find the supports to help you heal. Find the supports that nurture your shared values. A community of like-hearted people can transform your life in great ways. Sharing your story with someone, with a different set of lenses…..who can walk through it with you, can make all the difference in creating a supportive mindset around opening your heart again.
Until next time ……
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