As we awaken this day, set out on our caffeine fueled day of doing what it is we do, it's hard not to take notice of the profound time of change and transformation all around us. The light has really shifted, the air has dramatically cooled, the palette of the landscape is reacting accordingly and the many humans around us seem to have switched gears and are in a greater rush on their way to do what is it they do.
Do we notice the subtle transformative shifts and evolvement from within us as well? Can this be true? Do we internally make movement and recognize and respond as nature does? How do we (or don't we) adapt to our own emerging sense of change --feelings and thoughts from within us that motivate (or stifle) our own transformation and growth? Take off your headphones, put down the cell for a sec and listen to what's going on in your mind's soundtrack today.
Usually, we first hear the THOUGHTS and demands from within dictating what, how, and why we "should" be doing things better and differently. Maybe the FEELINGS we can reach is nature's way to remind us humans to recognize, respond and adapt to these times of external and internal change. I was reminded of the following that I will share with you. Lots to talk about.
"Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is we're holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we'd rather collapse and back away. They're like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we're stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it's with us wherever we are." PC
Last week I introduced the concept of creating "space"... even recognizing that such a space is possible. I suggested that there's space that exists between the constant incoming "stimuli" we receive in the form of messages, glances and statements from others and our "responses" delivered in the form of our mood, reactions, attitudes and behaviors.
Can we become aware of our immediate reactivity to such stimuli and our resulting impulses to defend what treads upon our deepest long-held sensitivities and vulnerabilities?
From the moment we wake and begin to face others-- as we roll over in bed, commune on the streets, engage at the office or interact virtually we are available to this stimuli that in turn generates feelings within us that prompts a response--inward and/or outward.
Are our outward responses a manifestation of our internal sensitivities that are ignored, denied or too intense to attend to? Can we slow down and take this "space" for breath and composure? Can we use the space between stimuli and response to uncover what the specific stimuli brings up inside of us rather than responding in a misguided, defensive and self-protective way that in turn becomes the stimuli to others?
Consider this today... "Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know...nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don't like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But, what we find is that nothing goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run away... to get far from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter without hesitating or retreating into ourselves."
Here's a great one that I will be working on with with people this week. Perfect for this clear, crisp Monday as everything around (and within) us is ready for change... See what comes up for you.
RC "I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate, or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we are making them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them (and ourselves) become what they (we) are capable of becoming."
I often notice how challenging it is for many of those that I work with to begin, for the first time, to attempt to cope with the deep (sometimes buried) emotional wounds of the past. We humans, with complex minds, have the burden of containing and perhaps compartmentalizing everything that’s come before the moment were ready to open up in an effort to reconcile with that which is old and haunting. We absorb experience like sponges absorb liquid; soaking up matter into our dense core and holding onto what’s trapped there until leaking begins, overflow occurs, or is squeezed out. We are not like the computers and smartphone were used to using and do not have the ability to decide to “delete” what hurt us or what is no longer useful. The pain of containment becomes, at some point, more unbearable then the pain of releasing what’s trapped within us, that which has formed the way in which we defend ourselves from the vulnerability that was once so real. As I spoke with a young client yesterday I was awestruck by the body art so boldly displayed in view. Gorgeous, private symbols and sacred reminders of despair, loss, triumph and glorious hope etched across arms, shoulders and back. As we began to exchange words, I couldn’t help but feel the profoundly energetic release into the room. I was reminded of the words of Anais Nin…
There exists a space between strength and softness in our lives. The theme of balance is at the very heart of living well. Many are seeking balance, the space between, in many areas of their lives.
What is the space between strength and softness? It’s almost a koan–a seemingly unanswerable question. The only way to solve a koan is to look at the question in a new light. To reframe it in a way that allows for a whole new perspective. This might mean tapping into a feeling–an instinct or intuition–not identifying a concrete, clearly articulated answer. Does strength mean hard? Unwavering? Not necessarily. Adjectives like strong or tough are often applied to people who are prickly or who never reveal vulnerability. You might be strong, but that doesn’t mean you have to be hard. I’d like to think of myself as a rope, not a piece of metal. Ropes are strong and can bear a great deal of strain, but they are also soft and flexible–malleable. Metal, on the other hand, is strong but impenetrable. Ropes are made of fibers braided together. Each piece is strong, but woven together, they are even stronger. Metal is a barrier; rope is a connector. There is tension in a rope when it’s pulled on, but that’s when its strength is revealed. Metal is always the same shape, it doesn’t adjust itself based on circumstances. Rope accommodates to meet the needs at hand. It’s strong when it needs to be, but coils up when not in use. Do I feel aligned? Balanced? Solid? Unsteady? Would a small adjustment here or there make a difference? I like to think that in questionable moments, I’ve found the space between strength and softness.
In coping with daily tasks and interactions we are at our best when we can achieve balance, strength and flexibility in both MIND and BODY. Both must work in tandem to maintain a supple quality that promotes comfort and steadiness that is vitality. Physical and mental stressors create stiffness and tension. Anything that makes us stiff can also break us. Only if we are supple will we never break.
Gentlemen, start your engines. What becomes us men when we’re operating “in the zone”…all systems go? Drive and determination can offer our egos reward in the form of success and achievement. That wonderful feeling of manly conquest. In the bedroom and boardroom the gratifying sensation of accomplishment and power well earned. A winning moment in a big meeting; the sale; the deal; the set; the power lift; bulging biceps and bank accounts. But, what happens to us, what becomes us men when in unfamiliar, uncharted, uncomfortable territory? When we feel like we’re losing footing, trembling to hang on and trying to stay the course? Defeat? The ego melts…do self-criticism, judgment, and anger emerge? How can we right ourselves and what may we consider when we’re not feeling “in the zone”, and what message can we listen for when we're just not feelin' it? Consider this. "When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality." PC