Daring to Board the Feeling Train
Couple’s Session With Sage and Anthony – Wednesday, January 9, 2013 (listened to Thursday, January 17)
Unknowingly, our couple’s session with Sage and Anthony helped to prepare me for the graduate program that would begin the next day (Thursday) (and that I wrote about in my previous blog). Pat and I introduced the session with Sage and Anthony by sharing some of what we had shared in our coffee time earlier that morning. In our coffee time we had discussed my experiences of listening to our previous session (we record our sessions and listening later really helps us take in and integrate the material). I had shared with Pat how I felt embarrassed by how I showed up on the previous session – words, words, words, all of which on many levels were part of a defense structure to explain away rather than feel into my feelings. My words sounded stupid to me as I listened to the recording. My words had covered feelings of confusion, feelings of loneliness in my isolation from Pat, Sage, and Anthony during the call, and feelings of pain in not knowing how to be in this wordless place with myself and others. I shared that I was helped during our coffee time when Pat had noted that my state here was the same state I may have been in when, as a small child, my balloon broke and all I could do was cry. Neither Mom nor Dad comforted me, and I had no words, only tears.
During our coffee time I also had shared how flustered I was by Erena’s making last-minute writing assignments for the upcoming graduate program class. This was where I came up with the metaphor of being like the sea anemone that quickly closes when any danger is around. Pat: You seem to be in that very young wordless place, longing to be held by Mom, but Mom was not around. This feels like a breakthrough for us – to see how when you are in a wordless place you defend yourself with words, words that could not possibly express your feelings in those wordless, defenseless places that you felt as a young pre-school boy. Gary: Words deflect my inner process. I feel safe behind a wall of words. When I do not feel I am in a safe enough place to truly feel my feelings and express them through my wordless affect, I talk, talk and talk. If I dared to express myself through my wordless affect I would be emotionally naked. Pat: Without words we are left to connect emotionally and experience intercourse on a feeling level rather than on a wordy intellectual level.
Sage: Perhaps this is spiritual stripping, stripping off all that is not real. And this stripping leaves us naked in our realness. This nakedness is heaven! We experience heaven when we are able to remove any and all barriers that cover our real selves – physically, emotionally, sexually, intellectually, and spiritually.
(Pat then went on a roll, explaining how things are for her in the lands of higher frequency energy) Anthony: How was it Gary, when Pat really elaborated here where she was? Gary: I could not keep up with the words. I could not take in what she was saying. Had I been more aware I would have called for a pause. When Pat gets into her space of high vibrations, although I appreciate her here I cannot keep up with her. It seems that speed is an indicator – when our talking is fast, we lose connection. Anthony: Pat, here Gary raised some points that could have been taken in as judgments, but you appeared undefended and open. Gary, you were received. Could you take in that Pat was taking you in just now? Gary: No, I was not aware, and I did not take in that she was taking me in. This question would not even have come up for me. And I notice that I am somewhat uncomfortable being taken in and seen here. Anthony: This is such a delicate and fragile area. Pat: This is new territory for us. How does this interchange between us go? Part of me feels more comfortable being “out there” in “high frequency energy land.” You, on the other hand, bring a solidarity that keeps me from flying away.
Gary: I remember the other night at dinner at Stone Creek. You had a nice glass of Riesling, but the next day you confessed that you actually felt “high” from that. Pat: I feel disconcerted here, how does this relate to what we are talking about? [I proceeded to explain how this related, and Pat could see where I was going. We spent time talking about this for several minutes – concluding that we were a good match, etc.] Anthony: I would like to pause and go back to your comment, Pat, “I am disconcerted.” That was a feeling statement. Let’s freeze-frame that. What was going on in you when you said this? And Gary, what was going on in you when you heard it? I understand the content before and afterwards, but it might be useful to see how you each behave when you are in a space of dis-union or discord.
Pat: I was lost and scared in that moment, feeling unsafe. I constricted, like the sea anemone in danger. I pulled back from you. Further, I was embarrassed and disconcerted. I didn’t know where we were going, or what was in the field between us. Then afterwards as you explained yourself I came back and opened up. I think I was looking for corroboration, assurance that we were still together and connected. Anthony: That was all going on with Pat, and Gary you came back with words, with explanation. And the next several minutes you were in dialog with each other. But Gary, if you did not use words of explanation, what feelings might have been there in you when Pat said she was disconcerted? Perhaps you were scared too.
Gary: Yes, I had feelings the moment Pat said she was disconcerted. I sensed that I had done something bad, that you, Pat, were not trusting me and not trusting motives I may have had taking the conversation in this direction. My words of explanation that followed were words of my defense, to show that I did not have nefarious motives, to prove that I could be trusted. But I also felt resentment toward you for not trusting me. It often happens that I sense your antennae up on the lookout for danger coming from me. Rather than confront you on this point I usually collapse and resign myself to not being trusted. In the end I feel quite sad about this aspect of our relationship – that so often you do not trust me. Pat: I hear you. You don’t feel trusted. Gary: And I get frightened too. I do not know what to do or how to behave in this space of feeling untrusted – so I defend myself with words. Sage: Maybe you are both frightened in that moment, maybe experiencing fright is the train you are both getting on in that moment – the “Feeling Train.” And fear intensifies on this train because you do not know where this Feeling Train is going! Perhaps the opportunity is to meet feelings with feelings rather than either one of you meeting feelings with the “Dominant Logical One.” Perhaps the Dominant Logical One is a defense against feeling whatever either of you is feeling.
Pat: Neither of us is proficient in riding on the Feeling Train. Just to recognize feelings when they show up is new territory – to feel the frightened rabbits that we are in those moments. Gary: My pattern is this: instead of boarding the Feeling Train I rather go to my comfort zone of the Dominant Logical One. Sage: [Pause] I feel so tender toward you both as you board the Feeling Train and experience those deep feelings that you have for so long avoided. Anthony: [Pause] And feeling tender toward all of us who really take the time to slow down and enter places of disconcertedness. And why is this such a frightening place? Because, perhaps, it is such a place of intimacy. Pat, it took great courage for you to stop Gary’s words and announce that you were disconcerted. You think to do so risks burning the house down! But actually your courage in sharing your feelings of being disconcerted in that moment builds the foundation of your intimacy. Sage: Pat, you were daring to stop the conversation and, in your own way, perhaps even unconsciously, asking Gary to see you. Gary’s words notwithstanding, you were asking to be known by him, by us, in your feeling space of being disconcerted.
Anthony: Such fragility here. And earlier, Gary, at the beginning of this session when you were so clearly in your emotional body — bursting balloon space, well that was heartbreakingly beautiful. Sage: Yes, Gary, talking about being known! You let us really see you in your feeling space. Pat: You two are showing us the way in, you are showing us how to be intimate, just sharing our disconcertedness when disconcertedness is there.
Shared in love, Gary