Trusting Ourselves in Transition
Most of us very genuinely want to experience ourselves as healed, whole and able to fully step into a life of deep intimacy, creativity, and aliveness. This is a shared, authentic human longing. It is a precious indication that we have a sense of our origins, our non-physical, energetic selves, beyond the body. It is so important to honor and hold close this knowing instinct.
Simultaneously, it’s also important to realize that most of us share an unconscious investment in not healing, not being whole or intimate or creative. This is an adaptive and intelligent decision because, at a very deep (mostly unconscious) level, we know the implications of being utterly and absolutely alive are world-shattering. We have a very deep sense that if we express the truth of what we are, things will never be the same, a knowing that true healing means the loss of those familiar lenses through which we currently imagine ourselves, others, and the world. The images we’ve become identified with will dissolve. While this is exhilarating and exciting, and a big “YES” echoes in the back of our minds . . . it is also profoundly disorienting . . . and there is a counter-balancing "NO"echoing in the recesses of our minds, even if we can't actually hear it.
In our early relational experiences, we learned how to fit in, survive, and stay out of unworkable bodily states of fear, pain, loss, and grief. Our perceptual, somatic, and autonomic lenses helped us to stay physically safe (meaning not dead . . . injured maybe, even abused . . . but not physically dead). Spontaneous authenticity was not safe in the early days of this existence. And so, the idea of BEING still generates deep anxiety. As the lenses or filters we have used for protection are removed or recalibrated, we lose the protective and adaptive functions they provided when we were young, and we may find ourselves in a very direct, unfiltered relationship with life. It may feel as if our heart is no longer inside our rib cage but fully exposed on the outside, raw and tenderized. We may wonder why we’re “not healing fast enough” or why our process looks so different than a spouse’s or a friend’s. We notice that the direction of our unfolding doesn’t fit into the fantasies of a culture that is addicted to fast-paced-positivity at all costs. Rather than attributing this difference to our own weaknesses, failures, or some inherent wrongness about ourselves, we might remember, with mercy, that our adaptive strategies have been put in place with incredible creativity and intelligence, to keep us safe and alive; that they are, in their own ways, manifestations of a benevolent sort of grace. In those moments when you notice that familiar self-attack, shame, self-aggression, and critical self-judgment boils to the surface and slows you down, re-focus your attention on something, anything that is beautiful. Can you see clouds or flowers or a beautiful color in someone’s clothing? Can you hear music, smell food cooking, or touch a child or a pet or the fabric of your sweater? Redirecting your attention even slightly creates an opening, an opportunity, a footing from which you can step into a bit of beauty, a bit of spaciousness, the possibility of kindness to yourself.
Please understand that true healing requires the unraveling of your old images and ideas of yourself in simultaneity with the rebirth of a truer, more honest and authentic expression of your soul into the world. To accomplish this, we must all include a transition period, a middle liminal period in which we learn to be with what is passing away with compassion and gratitude . . . while at the same time surrendering and opening to the awesome responsibility of living and being the newer and truer emerging lights we are.