Archive for October, 2008
Tags: healing work, On Happiness, On Thriving, TIA - gut / needs
I invited a friend over to my place yesterday.
The homebody-recluse that I am, I rarely invite people over, although I yearn to host guests more often. Instead I get worried about the consequences of people judging my space, and I close down. This time though, instead of refusing the visit, I chose to suspend my discomfort and do my “work”.
This morning I processed it. I asked myself what was stimulating my nervousness about him seeing my place. The answer that surfaced was, “I want him to like it.” I asked myself, “if I got that, what would it get me?” The response I heard was, “if he likes the place, it’ll mean he will still like me.” I again asked myself, “if I got that, what would it get me?” What emerged was, “if he likes me I might have a possible life partner.” Again I asked, “if I get that, what would it get me?” What emerged is, “possibility for home….stability, security, peace…joy.”
As I connected to this core, underlying yearning, this root desire for stability, security, peace and joy, I noticed muscles in my body relaxing. As I exhaled more of the tension, and rooted myself to the fundamental beauty of stability, security, peace and joy, I felt softer and softer. More and more, I shifted to a state of clarity, equanimity, and ease, absolutely free of tension.
My experience this morning got me thinking about the process I live for “Powerfully Processing Pain” – and the freedom and benefit it’s brought me.
And then I got excited about sharing it with you.
- Would you like fewer arguments and more power with others?
- Would you like to finally live a life with full choice and freedom?
- Would you like better, more sustained and more fulfilling relationships?
When we cultivate habits of Powerful Pain Processing, we cultivate the capacity to thrive and to find the freedom and fulfillment beyond our wildest dreams.
Our culture doesn’t teach this core skill, the skill of how to powerfully deal with pain.
No matter what, pain happens. How do we live with it in a way that is most likely to open us and the world around us into greater ease and fulfillment?
For the sake of simplifying the conversation, let’s say that as human beings, there are generally four ways that we tend to respond to pain:
– We can close down around our pain, trying to protect ourselves from it. Ex: I don’t want to be hurt so I will write off the opposite sex. Ex: I don’t want to risk hurting myself to I will never ski again. Ex: I don’t want to stir him/her up, and if I talk about that it’ll blow up, so I won’t talk about that with him/her.
Especially right after a painful experience, this ‘withdrawal’ tactic can give us a short-term shielding to give us time to heal. Long-term, however, this tactice closes down our life energy and limits possibility, reducing our choice in the world. Less choice = less freedom.
– We can recycle our pain – resort to blame, wrong-making, labelling, “shoulds” and “have to”s to close others down to prevent our pain. Ex: I’m a jealous spouse, when I see my partner talking to people of the opposite sex. I won’t do my work about my pain, instead I’ll tell my spouse that they “shouldn’t” act that way and that they “have to” stop. I’ll tell them what they are doing is “wrong” and “bad” for our partnership. Ultimately though, all of my attempts are so that I don’t have to hurt or feel pain. What I may or may not realize, though, is that I’m demanding my my partner close down his or her life energy to suit me. Ex: I broke my leg skiing because of those “bad” snowboarders who “shouldn’t” be in the way. It’s “wrong” to allow snowboarders in normal ski trails. The owners “should” pass rules to ban snowboarders so that people don’t get hurt. What I may or may not realize though, is that I’m attempting to limit someone’s choice and joy in order to accommodate me. Ex: He/she gets stirred up every time I talk about this – what an idiot! Anybody with a little sense would be different. What I may ro may not realize though, is that I’m choosing to close my heart to the humanity of the other being, dropping compassion in favor of me feeling better.
– We can choose not to address it, and let it grow into greater pain. Don’t want to attend to it now? No worries, it’ll get bigger. Don’t want to attend to it later? No worries, it’ll keep getting bigger until it can’t be ignored anymore. Ex: I bite my tongue when my spouse flirts until one day I blow up, or decide I’m fed up and divorce. Ex: I spend years not skiing out of fear of hurting myself. I also do this with other areas of my life, relationships, work, my dreams. Over the years, all of the ways I’ve chosen closure instead of freedom catches up to me. I feel disgusted with myself and how limited my life is. I have lots of stories about why I can’t do the things I most yearn to do with my life. I wind up diagnosed with depression.
– We can work with pain to find a way to metabolize it so that freedom and equanimity emerges rather than closure or more pain. Ex: I want to talk about this, but I’m afraid my partner will get all stirred up about it. Why does this scare me? Because I want peace between us. What would that get me? Hope that our relationship will stay in tact. What would that get me? Security in my home. What would that get me? Peace of mind and joy. Now that I realize my core desire is for peace of mind and joy, I can exhale the tension and fear I was feeling, and root myself in the beauty of my deepest yearning. Connected to this root yearning (this desire for peace of mind and joy), I can 1.) Find 10K strategies to bring me peace of mind and joy without fear of expressing myself. 2.) I can release the frustration around the thing that orginally irritated me, so that I find peace despite it, rather than only finding peace by changing it / solving it. 3.) I can connect to the deepest truth of who I Am, realizing my conscious connection to Infinite Source. Here I discover I have no discomfort to begin with about this. From my connection to Source I find freedom and equanimity.
From this equanimity we can act, or not act. From this released state of peace we can express our concern and our desires, or not. We can find other strategies for our desires, or not.
In any case, we are at choice.
The freedom of choice is far more powerful than the limitations of fear and closure.
Working with pain powerfully requires a few foundational skills:
a.) the ability to translate our experience to the underlying yearning and needs that are often unconscious within us
b.) the ability to recognize shift in our physical body and shift in our emotional body, so that we can easily see when our work is powerful or not powerful
c.) the ability to recognize when we’re doing closure, contraction, fear, insecurity, or worry – and a desire to work with those moments (either instantly or after-the-fact) as opportunities to increase our freedom and peace of mind.
Living with this as a life practice eliminates huge amounts of stress from my life, and brings me huge results in terms of finding peace of mind where it didn’t exist before.
And people say I look younger, too. 😉
If you’d like to cultivate greater skill in Powerfully Processing Pain, you can email me at gail at integratedcoaches dot com, or call me for a free consultation. 914.882.9667.
For the record, he said my place is nice. Not that it matters – ironically I no longer feel concerned about his opinion about my space. Isn’t it funny how, in the Infinite Greatness that we most deeply Are, personality / ego still emerges?
Me, I love practicing mastery both in cultivating my connection to Source and cultivating mastery in attending to the personality phenomena that arises.
Join me there?
I met someone recently who’s totally new to Polyamory, and asking me questions about it.
One of his comments was, “I just don’t know how I’d feel about it.”
Anyway, this conversation got me thinking about so many people I’ve met over the years – how so many of us tragically choose to shut down our heart and love out of a desire to protect ourselves from possible pains.
The conversation also got me thinking about so people I know who have suffered huge losses out of a lack of skills in how to easily metabolize pain. Lost relationships, divorces, anger, accusations, belittling – it splits my heart open in heartbreak.
Egads how I love the inspiration life brings.
It occurred to me that the phenomena of dealing with pain powerfully isn’t just for polyamorous folks – relationship pain happens even if you’re monogamous. Monogamous people suffer jealousy. Monogamous people deal with spouses having attraction to others. Monogamous people get frustrated at their partner’s actions sometimes. Monogamous people worry about the longevity and stability of their relationships.
Pain, worry and discomfort can emerge in our experience no matter what our circumstances. How do we live with it in a way that is most likely to open us and the world around us into greater ease and fulfillment?
Our culture doesn’t teach this core skill, the skill of how to powerfully deal with pain.
So I got mad inspired and wrote this post:
Powerfully Processing Pain
I didn’t write it poly-specific – but it applies to the subjects of monogamy and polyamory too.
Tell me what you think of it.
We can’t keep doing things the way we’re doing them.
While our systems are based in fear, our systems are full of solutions based in hidden agendas, desires for control and the desire to benefit even if the reward comes at the cost of the system at large.
While our systems are based in fear and the symptoms of fear, we’ll keep manifesting the same failures over and over.
While our solutions are not held accountable to the systemic costs, we’ll keep emerging systems that ultimately will create more problems than the fixes the solution was meant to provide.
While we continue to ignore the consequence of creating solution out of fear, and while we continue not to account for the impacts of our solutions on flows across the system, as a species we are destined to fail.
We’re immersed in scads of examples.
In the housing system, banks took advantage of the system in order to profit. Digital resources were created where actual resources didn’t exist, benefitting the people at the top while the people at the bottom ultimately lose: if someone can’t afford a mortgage and go into foreclosure, they lose their house, they lose their credit rating, they lose the emotional costs, the employers lose the attention of the worried employees, everyone loses.
Look at the economic system – wall street investors and brokers took advantage of the system. Like the housing owners and the dot-commers, value was attributed that was far greater than the actual value of the resources within the system, out of a profit agenda. When the bubbles burst, dot-coms failed, the housing market failed, and now the numbers on wall street are plummeting.
Look at the American political system. Voters deal with the political dance of negative campaigning and empty sound-bites. Instead of system transparency and leaders who act congruently and consistently, we get tap dancing leaders who say one thing but do “Who Knows What” because ultimately they’re interested in control and their own agendas.
Look at global warming. We create solutions based out of profit motives and inattention to the systemic whole and the system starts to fail.
Look at the peak oil crisis. We’re running out of places to drill, we’re running out of oil stores. We tapped a finite resource with a profit motive without attention to the greater system and now the greater system is depleted beyond our capacity to restore it.
Look at the disappearing rain forests. We’re draining the very heart that makes oxygen abundant on our planet, out of profit motives hungry for land and trees. While we tap the resource with a profit motive without attention the impact on the greater system the greater system suffers, and then we all pay the price.
Look at the emerging water crisis. Even in the abundance of America, major populations like southern California and the south western states of Nevada, Arizona and Colorado teeter on the precarious edge of a water crisis. Smaller populations, such as American Indian populations within those areas live daily without running water and sufficient water for sanitation, cooking, or survival. Our water tables are low and without restoration, increasing numbers of wells are running dry, fresh water is increasingly scarce on the planet, and yet Americans per capita consume (and wastes) two to SIX times the water of other countries.
We’re asleep to the pending doom of this vital resource, and we don’t even know we’re sleeping.
Look at corporate America. While the Enrons profit the stockholders at the expense of employees, the Enrons are destined to collapse. While companies lay off thousands to sustain shareholder profit, public trust falters; lack of employment means public resources run dry for investing, resources for purchasing houses run dry, the housing market fails on faulty loans, banks crash and the stock market plummets. Economies worldwide falter.
When will we learn?
When will we choose another way?
Only by revealing our pandemic of fear, and only by improving our system accountability, will we have hope for survival as a species.
The Silent Pandemic of Fear
Our systems, everyone, operate out of a foundation of fear. We are a population living with extreme functional capacity, living psychotically on top of a profound undercurrent of fear. Fear for survival, fear for order, fear for providing for our families, our communities and our countries – these are just a few of the foundational fears we unconsciously live on while choosing our actions.
Look at our survival fear and fears that seek greater profit. From this fear we have created a system of human animals running out the time of life on hamster wheels, exhausting lifetimes of energy for scraps of hope that we’ll have enough to pay rent and feed our families. We smother the fear that something will happen to our health, because we don’t have enough to account for that. we are enslaved to our jobs and our overwork because we fear if we don’t do it, we won’t be able to provide for our needs or the needs of those around us.
This is just one example of how fear-based solutions ultimately and consistently fail.
With fear at our core, we seek profit and control. As human animals living on top of fear, we seek to manipulate circumstances to our advantage. From this root of fear we emerge profit motives, personal agendas, desires for personal gain, desires for control, and solutions that deplete the system at large.
No systems that are emerged out of this foundation of fear will work. It will always come crashing down.
What we have to learn, what we have to practice, what we have to develop as a habit, are both spiritual and practical solutions.
Out of our desires for personal gain, we neglect to practice articulate measures of (and accountability to) how our systems are affected by the solutions we create. We don’t practice proper accounting for the costs of our solutions.
– solutions emerging only from spiritual equanimity and freedom
– proper accounting for how solutions impact flow systems
We can no longer afford our ignorance of the long-term impacts and system costs. We can no longer afford the costs of solutions that attend to a narrow margin of profit motives while neglecting the system at large and the impacts to those systems.
While our systems, everyone, operate out of a foundation of fear, our solutions for survival and social order will ultimately and always fail.
Better Solutions – A Two Part Plan
Spiritually we need to shed light on this mostly-unconscious, mostly buried pandemic of fear. Solutions that emerge out of fear need to be replaced with habits of healing and solutions emerged out of the equanimity and presence of greater knowing.
We need to replace our disconnection from our fear and our disconnection from that which is greater than ourselves with awakening to habits of profound self-connection and habits of continual connection to Source wisdom.
We need to awaken to habits of attending to fear by pairing fear with griefwork and healing, and allowing our knowing of greater truth to emerge – the greater truth that there fundamentally is no such thing as unsafety. Only from this knowing can we create practical systemic solutions that are less likely to unravel under the weight of abuse rooted in a desire for control, personal gain, or fulfilling hidden agendas.
Practically we need to generate structures to provide tangible minimums that account for the system at large. Systems for order and survival, including currency systems, need to be conscious of and account for:
– life alienated or life serving – to what degree is this solution directly in service to universal needs across the system, to what degree does this solution interrupt flows and deplete universal needs across the system
– direct service strategy chains vs/ indirect strategy chains = the larger the number of steps in a system, the more likely the system will contort under the weight of human mistakes. With shorter, more direct strategy chains for serving needs, the more likely the solutions will produce positive outcomes in the long-term and for the system at large.
– flow systems – money (currency) is meant to support flow of products and services across miles, countries, languages, etc. However there are other flows that are affected by the solutions we create. If a nuclear power plant dumps waste into water, not only are flows of electricity and energy impacted by the company, but so are the water flows. What are the various flows we live among, how do we measure them, and how can we hold individuals, organizations, companies, and countries accountable to system-wide flows?
– accounting for upward spirals outside of the main system – solutions can exponentially benefit greater and greater numbers of people and flows, or solutions can benefit one flow while exponentially costing other people and flows. What kinds of solutions create upward spirals of exponential and increasingly wide benefit? What kinds of solutions create downward spirals of cost and depletion across flows while benefitting only a small number?
If you want to:
- talk more about this doctrine
- discuss the four items above
- learn more about alternative currency systems
- learn how to integrate new habits that replace fear with equanimity and transpersonal awareness
- see practical ways to emerge solidly-based solutions rather than solutions based in fear
With love and light,
Thank you Tom Goddard for turning me onto this poem.
It doesn’t interest me if there is
one God or many Gods.
I want to know if you belong or
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know if you are prepared to
live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you.
If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying, this is where I stand. I
want to know
If you know how to melt
into that fierce heat of living
falling toward the center of your longing. I
want to know
If you are willing
to live, day by day, with
the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have been told, in that fierce
the gods speak of God.
I had another one of “those” experiences today – the Hurlyburly kind of experiences – the kind where I get pushed out of a moving vehicle because the driver is a paranoid who doesn’t understand that when I say, “Jack In The Box”, I’m neither talking code nor am I trying to offend him – I’m simply talking about loving fast food.
It’s crazy making.
In this case, the first “push out of a moving vehicle” was me being accused of unprofessionalism and shaming someone, when what I was really talking about was wanting to work at a rate that I enjoy. He apparently was mortified that I’d reject his request that I work at less than 1/3 of my usual fee. I take no issue with his desire to hire someone at his rate; I just am not personally available for that rate right now. Normally I try to go above and beyond the call of duty if I can help – refer the client to another professional. But in this case I couldn’t even do that – I don’t know anyone who works at the rate he wants. So I told him I couldn’t recommend anyone.
This conversation resulted in me getting labeled (unprofessional) and banished (“bad taste”) and accused of “writing a shaming reply”.
Normally I bite my tongue on moments like this, use the law of two feet, and take me somewhere more fun and less … painful.
But I’ve assigned myself a practice in more frequent expression and less frequent self-extraction from the scene, so I spoke up about it. His response was, “it’s not worth arguing about”.
Of course not.
Then it happened with someone else.
Imagine the scene:
I am on the phone with a friend who asks me my constraints for a meet-up (presumably because he was trying to arrange a meeting). I shared my constraints, imagining that he’d now take the info and use it to make a proposal for our meet.
Instead, he grabs onto the content of my constraints and starts explaining HIS position on MY constraints.
Huh? Did I ask for that? No.
So then I tell him I’m confused: he asked my constraints, I gave them, NOW what would he like to DO about the meet? Wasn’t that why he asked my constraints in the first place – so that we could make a plan on when to get together?
He wraps up the conversation by saying that we have “communication differences”.
Am I insane to think that if someone asks a question and I answer it, it’ll be used for the original intent rather than used to digress to a second conversation?
My sister says, “Get used to it. Men are idiots.”
I prefer to live viewing the world with more innocent eyes. But I’m sure you can tell I’m a bit frustrated that this even happens.
Whoever the writer of Hurlyburly is, he/she is a f***ing genius. A true representation of the insanity of life. For all my spiritual practices, this phenomena still breaks my heart and makes me want to grab a burger and head home alone again. Thank you Universe for AFGO.
By the way, don’t watch Dancer In The Dark right after watching Hurlyburly, and then turn around and watch The TV Set. Really depressing for anyone with a rational brain. Talk about the insanity of living in the modern world where people don’t hear each other, make assumptions rather than realize and check them out, and the people who do listen deliberately twist words and accountabilities to suit their own agendas.
Makes me want to pull out my hair.
It SOOOoooo doesn’t have to be this hard!!
Any advice, anyone, for how I can live with this without dying of heartbreak or going crazy or turning even *more* reclusive?
Off to the gym,
“Insanity sometimes is the sane response to a mad society” — Ronald David Laing
Tags: healing work, On Wisdom, TIA - gut / needs, TIA - heart
Do you realize that your fear…your contraction…your closure…are all simply by-products of your ungrieved pain?
Find the path to full and complete grief, and you find the path to liberation from fear – permanently.
A brother is killed by terrorists. One sibling fears terrorists. If this sibling grieves fully, this sibling finds infinite liberation from the illusion of victimhood, thus freedom from fear. Another sibling acts out of blind vengence couched as “justice”. If fully grieved, this sibling finds action based in powerful equanimity and clarity.
A woman decides she hates men. Ask her her story, and you find she experienced painful breakups or painful yearning for what she has not yet found. In the former, her hatred is based in the ungrieved pain about what happened, and fear that the situation will happen again. In the latter, her hatred is based in core heartbreak she has not grieved. If fully grieved, this woman’s hatred will transform to peace, radiance, and effortless magnetism.
To learn a 3-Breath process for completing the grief process fully, email gail at integratedcoaches dot com, or ask for it in a comment, below!