When I am activated; when I feel emotions and bodily sensations are taking me beyond my capacity for tolerance and control – I know my story . . . the core beliefs that usually lie just below awareness are active and operational. What I believe is true about myself (even if it’s not); what I believe is true about others in my various relationships; what I believe about whether it is safe to take a risk to speak or act with vulnerability . . . These core beliefs form the template or filter through which I have engaged with the world my entire life. There are general themes of victimization, blame, resentment, shame and righteousness.
Interestingly, when this narrative is cascading through my thoughts, it is a harbinger of potential integration. It is tired and old and worn out, and waiting to be re-written, re-imagined, seen with new eyes and heard with new ears. As blood rushes to my head, as heat surges and the tempo of my heart and breath accelerate against the pressure of angry resistance and constriction, I have a moment of knowing, self-seeing.
My physical sensations clarify for me that I am at a choice-point. I have a small window of awareness in which I can pause; I can turn the intensity of the moment into a passionate inner inquiry into the source of these strong feelings. I can follow the tightness in my chest or the gripping in my solar plexus into the old stories that are ready to be revealed and updated.
Invariably, when I enter into relationship with the narrative and ask it to reveal itself: asking why it has come, how is it trying to protect me, and what it needs . . . I hear the love at the source, the good intention of an obsolete perception or understanding that has generated a no-longer functional behavior.
With capacities I did not have as a child when the narrative was formed, I can attend to the experience at hand, observe with presence, curiosity and an attitude of “not doing” . . . allowing the body to begin the journey of encoding new circuitry, of laying down a new pathway for attention and acceptance. In simple, silent presence to the body’s wisdom, the various elements of the early wound emerge and integrate without the interference of new story or more meaning-making.
The body’s intelligence is teacher and guide. Seen and unseen energy is drawn to the focus of my attention. Insight and understanding surfaces, bubbling up to the mind from the body’s depths without the effort of analysis. The truth of what I am; of what this physical experience is, arises from the disintegration of old stories and beliefs.
I have found that asking another to bear witness to this process, a therapist, a lover, a friend, a teacher, a tree, a bird, a cat, a mountain, the sky, the sun, or the moon helps to sustain the transformative unfolding of the true narrative about this existence. Allowing myself to be seen and held as I surrender helps me to see, even more clearly, what is most true.