When My Gifts Become My Defenses
I pursued my Authentic Movement experience with Pat in my recent Pathwork helper session. More beautiful mining of the riches in this experience with Pat.
While as witness I was so intent on remembering Pat’s movements, that I erred on the side of exaggerating and interpreting her movements. In this behavior I was not really witnessing her nor was I entirely present to her and her movements. I was safely in my head, doing what my head likes to do: record, organize, interpret, and, when possible, come up with “helpful” insights.
But with my Pathwork helper I came to see these ways of “witnessing” not as being present to Pat but rather as defenses against truly feeling my own feelings in the presence of Pat and her movement. Yes, remembering, interpreting, and having insights are perhaps gifts I can offer, but when I use these gifts with some intensity, even forcing sometimes, I can see where my intensity keeps me from feeling my own feelings. My intensity to engage some of my gifts keeps me from being present to myself.
On the other hand, feeling my own feelings is being present to myself. And being present to myself is a prerequisite to being present to Pat.
So what were some of the feelings I was not feeling and why was I not wanting to feel these feelings but instead even using some of my gifts to defend myself against feeling my deeper feelings? I found these to be very challenging questions. I simply was not aware of what my feelings were while witnessing Pat. I was too intent on remembering, interpreting, etc. As I reenacted the experience and stumbled through possible feelings, I eventually arrived at what seems to have been one of the underlying feelings I resisted feeling: loneliness. And with this the feeling of grief of always seeing myself to be an outsider.
Let’s slow down here. This is a lot to take in. Let me slowly feel the loneliness, where is this in my body? My heart area. What color is it? Black, pervasive blackness. It feels damp and cool. It smells like death. No life, no light. Fear comes up. Just be with the fear. It is said we defend against feeling our feelings for two reasons: we fear they will annihilate us or we fear they will make us appear bad. I can relate to both with loneliness and grief.
But this is not a one-time experience. Not a “Feel-it-and-O-great-it’s-over-with” experience. Rather, gradually, by being with the loneliness I am being present to my true self in its present state. From this presence I can be present to Pat and relate to her in whatever her true feelings are. And with this very experience of relating, the loneliness lifts. Or so the theory goes, but in this case the theory has a ring of truth for me.
Yet there is a deeper issue. I realize that part of me intends to stay separate, fearing annihilation of self if I experience oneness with the All, oneness with Pat. This little ego in me fights to stay separate no matter what! And when my little ego does manage to imagine itself to be separate, loneliness is the result. So I at once intend to stay separate on the one hand and I long for the opposite of separateness, namely connection, on the other. Let me just observe this inner battle. Nowhere to go, but just be aware of it.
So I observe these aspects and parts in me. I do not judge them, but rather feel a compassion toward them. I feel that compassion in my heart. And in this state, I sense my heart opening more fully, not only to myself, but also to Pat and to others. Let me not rush off from this space just now. It is fresh and new. Let me not begin thinking about all this again but rather just be here now and feel.