Longing to be Seen
Yesterday Pat and I used Authentic Movement in our couple’s counseling session. Pat has done authentic movement for many years with our counselor, I off an on, but yesterday was the first time we tried it with just the two of us and our teacher.
Authentic Movement for two means one person moves, follows his or her internal guidance, allowing the body express whatever it is moved to express from within. When witnessed by another, this movement becomes vulnerable since you, the mover, do not know where you will be led by your own body/emotions and yet another is observing you. This is doubly vulnerable so when the witness is your significant other. All of this I learned in our first experience.
The teacher, who has worked with us now for some time and who knows us pretty well, noted how much I long to be seen, accepted, and loved just as I am. Growing up as the “performer,” I did not experience this being seen, accepted and loved just as I am apart from performing. Oh I’m sure it was there, but I was not taking it in for whatever reason and got caught in being seen and loved in my performing role rather than being seen, accepted, and loved just being me. This is my work. And the teacher sees that Authentic Movement with Pat may proved to be a real blessing for me, opening me up to self-seeing, self-accepting, and self-loving.
I observed to our teacher that my blog may be motivated in part just to fill this need to be seen. The teacher agreed. And helped me to have no negative judgment about my blog just because it was in part driven by a deep longing to be seen. Even this level of acceptance was not easy for me to take in. I seemed to be looking for ways to make my blog wrong and bad, self-centered, and bla, bla, bla. Breathe, Gary, just let it be what it is. Now this brings a smile to my face!
In our practice session I was the witness and Pat the mover. How present could I be? My performer was so in need of getting it right, for being a “great” witness. Instead of being present moment to moment, I went into trying to “record” Pat’s movement so that I could share later, sharing being a part of this Authentic Movement process.
Beyond sharing I interpreted what I saw rather than just seeing the movement. So I would have Pat “pushing away” rather than “her hands moving away.” Later when we shared, I found I not only did not have a correct interpretation, I did not even have the movement itself correct. I would see movements faster or more intensely executed than they in fact were.
This first witness role was a big lesson for me. I do not see Pat accurately even at the movement level, and my interpretations distort even further what I see. And I get this as a life pattern! I do not see another or hear another accurately or fully but rather through my own filters, as I guess we all do.
And to make matters worse I shall have “insights” that I view as brilliant and helpful. These insights take me even further from the person. They are all about me and my brilliance! And insights, as I have learned, are not always accurate or helpful. An insight out of season, in fact, can block another’s development rather than further development. Insights must be self-learned, not led to by me. Another valuable but painful lesson.
In looking at my need to be seen, accepted and loved, I notice how I have placed my identity in the hands of others. For example, if I inwardly do not see my skills as a Pathwork Helper, I shall look excessively for endorsement from outside. Compare this to a state where I see my true skills in being a helper, accept and appreciate them in myself, and come to healthy love for myself with these skills. From this place I would not be needing constant affirmation for my work as a Pathwork Helper.
This does not mean I have no faults or limitations, but that in seeing these faults and limitations I accept them as well, and work to let them dissolve. I do not trash myself in the extreme for the faults I have, but rather accept them fully. This is necessary for me to accept the faults in others as well.
I notice that in the presence of Jesus Christ, people were fully seen by him, fully accepted by him, and fully loved by him. This was the phenomenon of being in the presence of Jesus Christ. And in the presence of Christ people could fully see, fully accept, and fully love themselves. This was their experience of unitive consciousness vs dualistic consciousness. Jesus would say, “YOUR faith has made you whole,” not, “I heal you.” The phenomenon of being in Christ’s presence was self-empowering simply because of Christ’s perfect unconditional love. Is this the phenomenon of being with Jesus Christ today?
Now to think of Pat witnessing my movement, truly seeing me, accepting me, and loving me. This brings up fear in me. I see that I do not yet fully trust her in this space. I feel sad about this, but as our teacher said, “In your movement give expression to whatever is there, including your lack of trust in the witness.” It is all OK. Hear this, Gary. A new chapter in my life for sure.