It was one of these weeks, where things went downhill. Or so it seemed. My partner was away for work. Puca, my dog, got diarrea. My daughter got the flu. My network of support was away…. and so on. I could see myself looking outside trying to identify the perpetrator of such a lousy plan. And I looked in all directions but me.
Looking at the projector
When I decided to look at the projector, me, I realized that if there was a perpetrator, the story I was telling myself was that I was the victim. There we go. Pulling this slippery thread I got deeper into the story. It was something like “hard work was kind of unfair, and that at some point this had to end as I deserved something better”. The more I got in touch with it, the question I asked myself was, where the hell did I get this…crap?! So the usual places. Culture, society, family….I immediately could spot some similar patterns in my family of origin, let alone in mainstream culture. Indeed, it was Cinderella’s tale, not surprising it was so familiar!
One painful thing about noticing this, is that I have consciously been inspired by the idea of dying feeling fully used by my community, having fully contributed to it. But unconscious stories play a stronger effect until… they become conscious.
Including and transcending our stories
And yet, knowing my story did not allow me to get rid of that story completely. I’m still working on it. Stories, as a form of mental patterns or personal complexes are attached to our bodies, bones and skins as sticky coats with a particular shape. Gaining awareness of them, allows us to disidentify from them by starting to relate to it. But how can we include and transcend them?
There are two ways we use at Integral Coaching to achieve this. The first one by inviting a new narrative. What narrative could I tell myself. Here’s one that served me well. The story of a Dakini, an empowering Buddhist feminine archetype.
The second way to transcend and include our stories is by bringing awareness to our bodies. Our bodies become the repositories of our unconscious, and by bringing awareness and letting go of tensions that hold these patterns we loosen the power of them and create space for something new. For this, Hatha yoga has been the path that has opened me the most, as well as embodied meditation from the Shambhala tradition.
To end this article, I would like to offer you a daily self-reflection for a whole week.
At the end of your day ask yourself: What narrative have I lived by today? How could I tell? How did it feel? What did this narrative create? Is there a different story I could live by? What could this make possible?
The more I embrace being in the present moment, the more I realize when I am not.
The nature of the mind is subtle and tricky. After years of meditation in community and on my own, my biggest step in this practice happened when learning intersubjective meditation or circling. This is meditation in relationship. For me it has always been easy to quiet my mind when I am alone or I can surround myself with the right environment. What was challenging was to hold a similar quality of being, while being in relationship, let alone groups.
The other day, as I was putting my daughter to sleep, she started crying for no obvious reason. Holding her in my arms, I noticed how I was closing to the experience, as my desire for her to stop crying was growing more and more stronger. As I realized what was going on in myself, I noticed, the subtly aggressive quality of my attitude with what was happening. I wanted to change it. And while doing it, I simply was blocking the unfoldment of the moment as it was, by trying to avoid my discomfort. As I realized that, I could relax and I started noticing other aspects of my experience: the smell of her hair, the touch of her skin in contact with my neck, the tenderness of her whole being, an awareness of the fleeting nature of that very moment. With this, my whole perception changed, and I could ease and melt in the moment without projecting any desire in it. And in a short while she stopped crying. And fell asleep.
I gained a new perspective to an embodied knowing to what it is to be mindful every moment. And it meant to me, to care for every moment in its full rawness, without projecting any desire in it. To became intimate with the present moment, so it can melt and transform in the next moment, and the next. And the next.
The next time you find yourself in a stressful relationship situation, ask yourself: What is my agenda being right now? Can I suspend it? What do I notice when I suspend it? What happens when I do it? How do I feel? How do others react?