Reading the first portions of your book Wheeling to Healing is creating an opening in me. As you know, I recently attended a Nonviolent Communication Class founded on the work of Marshall Rosenberg. I have been learning that feelings point to needs, needs either being met or unmet. Feelings anchor in our memory conditions that create safety and conditions that create danger. Our needs are real and must be met to create a sense of well being in a person. Its all pretty simple.
My need to be seen and heard has been validated by that NVC class. It's like someone has finally said “It’s ok, Holly, and perfectly normal that you have needs. You have the right tools, finally, to ASK for what you need and with these right tools people will listen to you!” ...Then another part of me says, " Oh yea?" And I remind myself that the word ASK, means being able to allow a “yes”or a “no” by another, regardless of whether I'm using these “right tools”.
Staying safe emotionally when I am asking another to listen to me requires my ability to discern who will most likely say “yes.” I have a better chance of a willing "yes" if I have an attitude of invitation rather than a demand for their attention. How about simply making myself available to others? How interesting that both our needs might be met just by my becoming available. But this availability to others requires my being available to myself as well. Its not an either or. It's a both. Interbeing is real. Its an opening in my mind to include another with myself. Its a diffusion of attention on both myself and the other. Not one or the other.
Often my need for attention is so powerful and overwhelming that “asking” for attention is far too risky. I feel like a desperate beggar and that does not invite someone to be with me. When I am feeling this vulnerable I can hardly sit within my own skin. But that is precisely what is best for me, to hold still in my pain and let it be. Buried deep there is a whimpering cry to myself saying “Save me from this deep pain of abandonment and isolation!” It's really quite simple. Just stay with me. (Easy to say, hard to do.) Stay connected to myself. The more I can do this the more trust in my own self will be cultivated. Pain and compassion arising together in my mind and heart. Sometimes the anxiety is so great it absolutely requires another person to be with me.
I would like to think of myself as healed from my childhood trauma. After all, look at everything I have done! I have undergone years of weekly sessions in therapy, schooling in Counseling Psychology, learning about child development. I studied deeply about codependency and unwholesome behaviors resulting from it. I took a course in boundaries and honoring my own and others boundaries, recovering from childhood sexual abuse, attended women’s support groups, meditation retreats, self care courses, stillness practices. Certainly after all this and 15 years (on and off) of meditation practice, couldn’t I be done with my woundedness?
Apparently not...says Life. It asks "Why be done with your woundedness when it offers you a golden opportunity to revisit your pain with a "Beginners Mind"?, (as they say in Zen). Maybe every day I can meet myself with a Beginners Mind. There is no done. There is no there to get to. Every day is there. Everyday is a beginning for opening to interbeing. My compassion for myself and others inter-is with my connection to my woundedness and my daily small sufferings in life, as well as my joys.
James, I bought your book because I wanted to know you better. I wasn’t even thinking your book might be a healing thing for me. I haven't given my childhood woundedness a thought for a long time. ( I've been focused on my sufferings as an adult and demanding others to give me their attention!) Your story, though, is creating an opening in me. It is creating a wider view in me. It brings out my story. There is a sweetness I feel in my heart that my story may touch others the way your story is touching me. Sharing helps repair and rewire my neurons for interbeing, interdependency. Your story James and the stories of others gives me courage.
Sharing repairs the fear, isolation and loss of trust that resulted from years of my childhood cries to be seen by my parents, who, in their pain, could not see my crying and my need. I can literally feel right now the black hole of my despair that I often felt as a child. And yet right now I can write about that despair, look at it, and give it the attention and compassion it deserves, once again, once again. And tomorrow another beginning to do the same again.
Thank you James for creating this forum for discussion and a place for people to share what is meaningful to them.
It is meaningful to me to open up to myself again, and again. Holly