“The heart is where the pain comes from. And this is why you feel so many disturbances as you go through the day. You have this core of pain deep in your heart. Your personality traits and behavior patterns are all about avoiding this pain.” – Michael A. Singer (the untethered soul)
The pain he is referring to is the fear. Its an underlying fear that is based in things we experienced during the forming years of our childhood. As a child, we are so full of wonder and so open the small things (and big things for many) created a slap to all that wonder and openness. We began to build armor. This layer was to protect ourselves from the pain. Think of a child of a divorce. This places one parent as a main caretaker (today that has changed with a more shared responsibility – parenting plans that put the children with each parent equally are encouraged) the other parent becomes an every other weekend parent. Think about how excited that child gets when it comes to that weekend they get to see that other parent. They were used to having that person in their life 24×7 and now it’s every other weekend. The excitement that builds up is huge. Now witness what it might feel like to that child to be sitting there, bag packed, waiting on the bed looking out the window. A glance at the clock. Back out the window. Its 5 minutes past time. Now 10. Now 15. The phone rings in the other room. The other parent is sick, not feeling well – they aren’t going to to make it. That child may not be able to fully put the thoughts together, but they feel pain. If they were able to put it into words they might ask or wonder why that parent was able to be with them while they all lived together. Hadn’t they spent time together when that parent was living at home and ill? Why would they cancel a visit? A child might not think logically through this. All they feel is pain. So, there is a layer built around that heart to cover pain. The next time the visit comes up, the bag is packed but suddenly there is the added listening for the phone to ring. The majority of the time it doesn’t ring – but they are still arriving past the time they said they would. Sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes an hour and still sometimes that call did come saying there was too much work, that they didn’t feel good or stating some other conflict that was going to keep them from seeing each other. Humans are adaptable. As something like this happens to a child they build a layer over their heart to keep from feeling the pain. Eventually they are still packing their bag, but their true expectation (this is the protection) is that the visit is not happening. That way when it does happen it is all fun, great and fantastic. As the child grows up, more often than not, that pain never goes away. We aren’t usually taught how to handle that pain, we keep it all inside. Every time there is a plan with anyone they have that same underlying fear. There is an expectation that they will have the person they have plans with change at the last moment. Now when they are looking at the clock and their date is 5-10 minutes late it is a physical reaction. The heart beats faster, the mind starts racing and imagining that they will cancel, there is a fear and anxiety that they no longer connect with those childhood moments. Only the fear is there. Protective armor and thoughts kick in. But it is that pain from childhood that is being felt. This can trigger hurt and even anger. The other person gets confused and hurt. They wonder why the person is angry and maybe even wonder why there is anger and not worry about safety. And wouldn’t you know it? The universe brings people into our lives that trigger that pain on purpose. They bring a chronically late person into our lives. Thus, the conflict and opportunities for growth and learning. The rehashing of these wounds can lead us to personal and spiritual growth if we choose that.
“This is why simple everyday interactions can affect you so much. If the core pain was not motivation behind proving yourself each day what people say” (or do) “would not affect you. But since avoiding the core pain is why you’re trying to prove yourself you end up bringing the potential for pain into everything that happens. You end up so sensitive that you are unable to live in this world without getting hurt” – Michael A. Singer (an untethered soul)
In the book I have been quoting, an untethered soul, he says there are two choices. The first is to leave the pain inside and continue to struggle with the outside events that keep triggering the pain. The second choice, he says, is to make a conscious decision that you no longer want to spend your entire life avoiding the inner pain. I pull a handful of things out of his writing that would help with this:
- Don’t be afraid of it (the pain and fears)
- View this pain and fear as a temporary shift of energy.
- Realize rejection, abandonment or the other associated fears are truly, in reality, nothing to be afraid of.
- Know that to be free and enjoy life spending the energy and time worrying about the “what if’s” are going to waste valuable time that could be spent enjoying the NOW and just BEING.
- This would mean that when someone is late, that the person with these childhood fears would look at the pain, feel it, and realize it is a fleeting emotion, just some energy. Realizing that there is a choice to be made to feed into the fear or release it is ours to make.
I resonate strongly with all of this. In my heart I know that being able to look at these fears in this way is a tool. Stopping the habit, building new neural pathways, is harder than a book (or blog!) makes it sound. The layers for me (and I believe for all of us) are complex. It is taking a lot of time and patience, which I often lack) to get to know myself, to understand the reactions and feelings I have been covering up with layers of protection for so many years now. As each layer is peeled away, there are new things there. The path of life is a journey – there isn’t a final destination. Taking things one day at a time, smelling the flowers along the way, listening to music and DANCING, finding love and joy right from the heart is my goal. Making the way through the layers is just part of life – We can choose to look at layers like onions, or we can look at layers like PARFAITS….. https://youtu.be/GZpcwKEIRCI
“The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation. In order to grow, you must give up the struggle to remain the same, and learn to embrace change at all times. One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems. We normally attempt to solve our inner disturbances by protecting ourselves. Real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.” — Michael A. Singer (the untethered soul)
Knowing that the challenges and problems of life lead to growth is not new for me. I live my life, both work and personal, purposely and intentionally on a clear journey of improvement. I am always looking for ways to improve, be better; get better. Finding ways to be a better mom, a better leader, have a better team. As I have focused on this recently I have recognized a pattern in my love/partner relationships. I believe we often look outside ourselves and at the other person as being the issue, but there comes a time in life where we realize that it is never about the other person. It is all about ourselves. Opening our eyes wide enough to see the patterns is key in helping us take the next step to growth and learning. And it is that time for me.
It’s time for me to learn and grow and make some changes. It is time to stop participating in the pattern by default. The pattern can be comfortable but when I truly look inside, I know I am not happy with comfortable. I am ready for discomfort. I am ready to step into the fear and move from comfort to authenticity and joy.
We enable the continuation of these patterns through different learned behaviors. As I am making this line in the sand and saying – time to change – some of the behaviors I will be focusing on are:
Lack of boundaries: By not creating boundaries it becomes easy to accept things that after a prolonged period of time together aren’t conducive to having an intimate relationship.
Woundedness: We all grew up with certain levels of dysfunction in our lives. That, in whatever form it came in, created a part of us that reacts from a wounded place. Perhaps a compliant caretaking place, or controlling fearful place or anywhere in between; or even seesawing between different ends of the spectrum.
Self Love: Most of us don’t. Even those with lots of big talk about how great they are, even they and maybe even more so, they have a gap around loving themselves. My heart absolutely knows that it is important to know that focusing on having a strong base and a true love for the self is important work and can help create a true ability to not only be comfortable with our selves in all kinds of circumstances but only when we love ourselves can we be truly authentic and find the ability to not only love but be loved.
The inner work I focus on to an exhaustive level (big sigh!), I know – has been a key to my getting more in touch with myself. The largest part of this consists of recognizing my reactions and feelings that I was not cognizant of earlier. The more in touch with my feelings the more I realize how much I have been on automatic pilot. The more I see how very reactionary I have been. I withdraw and fly away as quickly as I can. Instead of running, what would happen if I step into the fear. What would happen if I stay, learn how to communicate my feelings, take conflict head on, tell people how I feel?
As I start blogging again, that is what I am hoping to share with my one or two readers. I have realized that this writing is not necessarily about getting readers but helping me organize my thoughts. To take the things that I am learning and hearing and reform it, rewrite it in some format that I am working on the message again… all for myself… and hey, if one person reads it and gets something from it… its like the starfish story that I have used many, many times —
The idea of the inner child and adult are not new to me. I have read much material around this concept. The concept is something we can wrap our minds around to understand the inner workings of our mind and resulting actions. Reading Healing Your Aloneness; Finding Love and Wholeness Through Your Inner Child (by Erika J. Chopich and Margaret Paul), I have learned and have been slowly becoming to realize I (my inner child actually) has been working to achieve some sense of connection. I am disintegrated and it has come out in different ways (Including all those voices in my head!). My personal relationships is where this hits hard. There is a part of me dying to be loved. Wanting to be appreciated, to be wonderful. This reaches out in all areas of my life. Along with this book; I also learned my personality type according to the Enneagram (details of this will be saved for another blog!). I have discovered and believe myself to be a Four. Fours are operating from an underlying feeling of abandonment and unworthiness – they look at others as better than them and struggle with that “envy”.
All of this manifests in my life in different ways. At work, it manifests in different ways and I can see how it has definitely been a part of my success. At home, I seesaw back and forth around what must get done around the house. In my personal relationships I am quick to open up and trust, but also very quick to believe myself to not be worthy and often close or end a relationship, or keep myself at an arm’s length. All of this is based in feelings of fear. Fear of being left, fear of not being loved.
Opening up to someone is a gift. What I have to give and offer to others is a gift. Because I am coming from a place of loneliness I accept less than optimal situations and allow people into my life that can’t or don’t provide back to me on an equal level. I now see this as my lack of boundaries based on the very needy place that part of me is coming from. The loving adult in us needs to be the part that protects and creates these boundaries.
There has been this idea that spiritually we must let go of the old to allow room for the new. I’ve done a whole lot of letting go over the past 3-4 years. A business, a job, a marriage and some other very special connections. There are a handful of times in my life that because of my fear I have turned my back on what may have been very healthy and good relationships. I went for the easy, distant and painfully familiar connections that were not authentic and truly intimate – but this has been safe for me. I didn’t have to get close and therefore hurt.
I’ve given to people that are not able to give back. At times they are emotionally shut down (probably just as scared as me!); or they have things going on in their lives that keep them from being an equal partner in our relationship and I have made efforts to keep them in my life. I am beginning to see where this may have been at the expense of something. The journey to finding myself worthy is
Growing – I Hope!
It seems that I am being called to find the adult that through having a daughter is learning the true value and need of loving, caring and taking care of another. In the sense of taking care of myself I need to set boundaries that only allow those that can be a true intimate partner. By the way, I will mention that although this seems to be played out in my male friends and relationships it can and has happened with female friends as well. The difference is that the relationships with the opposite sex are filled with allowing more of myself to become connected to them and can therefore become filled with deeper feelings and pain. I only recently began truly letting some female friends in and it has been one of the most fulfilling things for me. I am grateful for this learning. As I walk this journey; I know there can not be a mistake; only lessons full of learning and growth.
As we move through life, there are times that we go through cold winters; times in our life that seem dark; tough, lonely. During these times it is easy to be tough on ourselves, to beat ourselves up. It is great to have some things to work on making life feel better. I heard a recent message called “Spiritual Remedies When You’re Down on Yourself” Who couldn’t use a list of spiritual remedies?
This is summarized from a message given by Dr Richard Teel and can be found here in its entirety.
When we get down on our self; understanding is the first step
Healing begins when we stop demanding things to be different for us to feel better
Healing happens when we stop the struggling against and start taking responsibility
Healing flourishes when we make a new choice and practice a fearlessness.
What are the things we can DO to start the healing cycle?
- Heal the core fear
- Open your healing heart
- Unleash daring and DANCE
So, DANCING is one thing that can start the healing cycle! The subject of dancing has been coming up often in my life. I always feel like dancing, doing the happy dance, dancing while listening to great music – but this is also a metaphor with how I am feeling around my entire life and the joy filled feeling around many things and today’s discussion helped me see so many things in my life as my way of expressing joy and DANCING!!
- Watching my daughter blossom into the young lady she is becoming
- Spending time with positive minded friends
- Looking for ways to participate in life around me with things that are joy filled
- Conversations around the DEEP subjects of our life
- Reconnecting and clarifying perceptions and misconceptions from the past – leading to clarity
- Following initial intuitive gut instincts
- Being ok with unconventional
- Having some fun and exciting goals
Soooooo, SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME!
I have been listening to a recording of a teaching around A Course In Miracles – led and taught by Tama Kieves. Something that came up on one of the recordings really gave me an AH HA moment. The topic was around forgiveness. I believe this is such a hot topic in everyone’s life. There seems to always be something going on around us that in order for the cycles in the mind to stop; the need to forgive and move on is at the heart of it. Some of these are easy – someone at work said something that triggered hurt – it isn’t a big enough deal to deal with any conflict around because you notice your own sensitivity in it, so you forgive (and easily forget) it. A former boss indicated that one thing that is good to do is to look at it and ask yourself – “are you going to remember this in 5 years?” Then there are those harder ones. They are around our families, an intimate relationship or something that left us feeling hurt and betrayed. Perhaps it has become OUR STORY.
This idea of “scripts” was a lightbulb going on for me. I can now find myself understanding the reason I sometimes get upset, hurt, angry, or have my mind spinning around something that has occurred – I can clearly see that the person is not acting from my script. Although I would have always told anyone that I don’t have expectations of people, I have – in fact – still been expecting people to do things in certain ways in some circumstances. Return phone calls, texts, respond in a more loving way to me; honor and show me that they feel I am a worthy person. So, as my head does with these things, I started spinning on some of my current situations. The question that then came up for me, – does that mean we allow the treatment that isn’t following the script?
There isn’t one answer. It depends. So what does it depend on? My answer. If someone crosses your boundaries then we don’t allow it. I found the following definition for emotional boundaries at www.psychcentral.com: “they distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.”
We have the right to have boundaries and when we have someone or something cross our boundaries we do not need to allow that person in our life.
Something new has happened in the last couple years. I have had a new realization – I started noticing a voice inside my head that I had not noticed previously. The thing is, I know it has always been there. And, before you think I have totally fallen off my rocker, it isn’t like I am schizophrenic; it is my thoughts – not something outside. I had thoughts and judgments that I was not fully conscious of. Why they have become louder and something I notice now I am not so sure.
What I first noticed is that I had a voice that was providing guidance. This voice would provide me information on a situation around me; a voice that would trigger a physical feeling. It would tell me the person I was speaking to, or the decision I was making in the moment was not someone positive for my life, or that it was not something I wanted to be doing. I would immediately not trust it and I would rationalize it away. I would basically argue the true guidance away.
The next thing I noticed was the judgment and critical voice around all that I did. If I watched a few hours of TV instead of cleaning the house; if I didn’t get enough done, if I didn’t do something at work that I thought I needed to do this voice came out like a vengeance. It beat me up – it drove guilt, it argued with a part of me that was trying to be easier on me.
I came to a realization recently through visiting some past history, where some very clear understanding of what not listening to that initial guidance led to. By not listening to my instincts, my intuition, my gut feelings — I made choices – that had I listened to the gut feelings, may not have been made in the same way. Obviously, these choices have all brought me to where I am today (a place that I would never want to change). Although I do see where I was stalled in some areas of my growth, I continued to strive to look inside and grow and be a better person. Today, I see where I have been living in a protective shell, hiding away from the truth – hiding from being able to be authentic and real with others and myself. The voice has provided me visibility into many things about myself. And, I am just beginning!
Today – I experienced it.
This term was coined by Daniel Goleman. He is behind EQ – Emotional Intelligence. His work is based on the neuroscientist Joseph E. LeDoux’s focused work on the mechanisms of fear. In a high level description, it is the activity that takes on in the brain when one experiences something that scares them. Often this can be something that is not even rational. Based on our own dysfunctional upbringings we have things that we are overly sensitive over. Someone can say or do something that flips a switch inside of us and we find ourselves reacting irrationally before we have the ability to get a hold of the emotions. Voices may raise, our physical bodies react – our heartbeat quickens, we stop breathing, our blood circulation and blood flow is actually reduced, there are chemicals released into our body. When we experience that hijack and we feel a reaction and go into a flight or fight mode the adrenal glands release hormones called CATECHOLAMINES – adrenaline and noradrenalin are released when our bodies experience this Amygdala Hijack.
From the thalamus, a part of the stimulus goes directly to the Amygdala while another part is sent to the thinking part of our brain. If there are experiences recorded in our memory that tells us this is a flight or fight situation, the Amygdala will take over the thinking part of our brain by releasing the hormones. The emotional brain registers activity milliseconds earlier than the rational brain so we end up reacting before the rational thinking responses can be activated.
Goleman explains that this hijack exhibits three signs: “strong emotional reaction, sudden onset and post episode realization that the reaction was inappropriate.”
I was having a loving, nice conversation with a family member when suddenly they said something that triggered this response in me. My reaction actually caused the same reaction in them; which took the conversation into a very ugly drama filled experience. Afterwards, I worked to capture the things said and done by myself and them so I can review and work to find a way to respond rather than react when something like this happens again in the future. Although I believe my thinking brain did re-enter the scene the hormones within the body made it very easy for the thinking brain to be slow to the respond to their reaction. What a vicious circle.
It is quite the coincidence that discussion in a leadership class I attend discussed this hijack yesterday.
So…. I can label it – now to be able to find the ability to always be present enough to let the thinking brain be faster than the Amygdala!!!!
Life has had many changes for me. As I looked at how to work on finding the balance and joy from life as I have hit many bumps in the road emotionally; I knew I wanted to start up blogging again. What I contemplated was whether to start completely over or to continue here. As I look at my old (WAY old by the way!) posts I believe that the story this blog shows is telling.
I have been one that wants true authenticity. If I started blogging somewhere else in more of a hidden manner that goes against what my heart believes. Is it scary? It really, truly is… Very Scary.
My biggest change; my husband and I separated and then divorced after being together for 19 years. That is a long time to be with someone. This was final in September of 2014. The year up to and including this period of time has been very much a roller coaster ride.
Now it is time to create the life that I want. This life includes my beautiful daughter and working to ensure she has stability and feels nothing but love. This life includes my work, the career of being a leader in the chaotic corporate world and leading others to find balance and joy amidst that environment. This life also includes ME. I have often put ME, last. As I did this, I found myself in situations that I stayed in without thoroughly thinking through.
Welcome to 2014 — Time for renewal – for clear intentions and lots and lots of joy and love!
Yes, it has been 10 months, but — I AM BACK!
I work for a company that was purchased, it has been called a merger, but we were bought. The integration and my new job began officially in April of this year; however the work and interviews and the unknowns all began October/November of 2010. It has turned my life quite upside down. My regular exercising, my healthier (although not perfect) eating habits, my personal development study, my fairly balanced life — went crazy, upside down! My new job in this merging company has meant travel, a new boss – who is actually a former boss (who luckily is AWESOME), a new team, and an entirely unclear and unknown, chaotic world. I have spent time on projects which have ran into brick walls of political spiderwebs. I have started projects only to find others are also doing the same thing. I have been given lead on projects that confusingly get pulled. Bottom line — totally and completely upside down.
I have missed my husband and daughter – a lot! The toughest part has been the travel and the time required for work pulling me away from home. Several missed events at school; missed pick ups. All of this is so extremely difficult. My husband has been unbelievably supportable through all of this. He helps ground me; knowing I have them always, to come home to, to depend on; helps me make it through all the craziness.
In the last week, I have realized that my new job is giving me something new, something I haven’t necessarily had before. I am managing other managers. Usually I have managed mostly individual contributors. This is new for me, and as I realized, is giving me an opportunity to really do something that I love. I can work and strive to be an influence for people who are responsible for managing teams of people. Our company is going through very tough times; it requires strong leadership skills, new leadership skills. I really am getting to pursue my passion. Helping others and teams be successful, strong, balanced teams. I certainly am in a place that will make this not only necessary — but also hugely challenging.
Don’t Quit Till You Have Nothing Left
We can all do more than what we think we can do! Can we be our own coach and drive ourselves to the point that we have nothing left? Till we reach our desires? To continue working with our kids to help them reach adulthood with a good base to make it in our world; to learn and grow?