Sometimes the most affective approach is one we wouldn't expect
In our culture, we're often taught to rush, force, and contort ourselves. Harder, faster, stronger. When we hurt, we dig in deep to those muscles. No pain, no gain. We don't like how something is so we try to change it to make it fit, or maybe we deny it's existence entirely. (Toxic positivity, anyone?) Maybe we build up walls or brusk defenses. That'll keep those perpetrators out.
All of this is understandable. This is what we've absorbed by osmosis about how to approach life. It's also very human of us to puff up and protect, shut down, or put up walls when we don't feel safe. Sometimes that is exactly what we needed to survive a certain situation. We can be grateful that those survival mechanisms helped us at times when we really needed them.
Then, many times, we get to a point where we are safe, and those strategies become maladaptive. We can continue as is, or we can try for another way.
Sometimes the thing we need most is gentleness. Softness, ease and safety surrounding us, can help us let down our guard and receive the healing we've needed. One of my former business coaches and teachers Mark Silver used to say that gentleness is the antidote to anger. This was a startling ah ha for me. As I began practicing it, I realized that gentleness disarms the anger. There is no longer anything for the anger to fight against. Gentleness also reflects back how hard we've been trying to protect ourselves from getting hurt. As the anger no longer has to defend, our soft underbelly, the tender vulnerability hidden within gets revealed. But we aren't left out in the cold. That gentleness also holds and cradles that vulnerability, airs it out, and soothes the pain. I've seen this happen on all levels, physically with tight muscles that release with gentle touch, and mentally and emotionally as well.
Are there places in your life where you could benefit from offering yourself more gentleness?
Do you need a safe space where someone can offer that for you? Reach out or book a session online.
Here in the United States, election season is in full swing. As debates and interviews air, articles release, and opinions are displayed on social media, chances are you feel a mix of emotions: fear, concern, frustration, judgement of those with other views, righteousness, hope for something better, a desire to do something, ambivalence, hopelessness, etc.
Regardless of your political stance, the dynamics that are at play in our country give us each a chance to look at ourselves more deeply. What we see playing out between the candidates, their parties, and supporters mirrors the conflicts that occur within our own mind. As human beings, we all have a tendency to get caught up in blame games (making others wrong, and punishing ourselves with guilt for things we have done). We can inflate ourselves as a protective mechanism, so others do not see our faults, and insecurities. We dwell on the past. We divide ourselves into Us verses Them, making one group the good guys, and the other the enemy.
As many of the collective energies are feeding off of these divisive dynamics, how can we shift to a more aware space, and perhaps even heal? The key begins with embracing our humanness, our vulnerability. In order to really connect with ourselves, and then in turn with each other, we must be authentically honest, and real. What is underneath our desires? Can we gracefully and compassionately acknowledge the mistakes we have made in our life, and allow others forgiveness for theirs? Are we willing to see that at the core of our views, the vast majority of us have a need to feel safe, cared for, and loved?
When we give ourselves the safe place to truly acknowledge all parts of ourselves, those we like, those we don't, and those that we pretend aren't even there, we create ripe space to transform. We start to see more clearly what things really are. We begin to connect. We begin to listen with willingness and respect. We begin to heal.
No matter what you are feeling now, are you willing to allow compassion to seep in for yourself? How would that look, feel, or sound for you?
Share your thoughts of how you are cultivating compassion during this election session here.
If you would like support in this process, feel free to schedule a session with me.
We are all in this together,
It's hard to have healthy boundaries when you step into someone else's bubble.
I was working with a friend recently who had an important (possibly emotional) conversation that she needed to have, and she asked about ways that she could set a boundary while still keeping her heart open. She had realized that she had put up such a thick wall that, while it somewhat protected her from feeling pain, it prevented her love from flowing, and really seeing her situation and those close to her with compassion. Developing this balance of honoring yourself and your needs without blocking connection can be a delicate dance, especially if you are an empath (feel other people's emotions or pain in your body).
As we began practicing ways for her to maintain a healthy boundary in different scenarios with each other, she began feeling guilty for how she was making me feel. The thing was, I actually felt just fine. Through more exploration, we realized that she was unconsciously stepping into my energy field. Because we all interpret the world through our own filter, she was sensing something that I wasn't feeling. That is how she would have felt (past experience and wounding had clogged her filter). This had been the way she was operating in other relationships, and as a result she would often be overwhelmed by what "the other person was feeling." This tendency was also making having a healthy boundary near impossible, because you cannot have a boundary when you are the one stepping in and sharing someone else's bubble. While this realization was humbling, it also made it clear what she needed to do: step or breathe herself back into her own space. Here she could be observe what was happening around her (if she chooses to), while being connected with what was occurring within her. This posture gives greater awareness of our filter (our sore spots, joys, triggers, and areas of patience), and allows us to take full responsibility for ourselves and the lives we create.
If you ever find yourself overwhelmed by what another is feeling, or becoming highly invested in how they live their life and the choices they make, I would invite you to tune in and see if you are centered within yourself or if you have stepped outside of your energy. If you need to, simply call yourself home, like you would to a loving friend.
Reiki Master Teacher and Owner of Embrace Your Essence