This one has more of a glimpse into my personal journey, dealing with a large triggering of pain inside me, and the compassion that came from it.
The last couple weeks have surprisingly full of triggers for me with an online group that I’ve been part of, a group related to the Michael teachings. Although it was somewhat painful and resulted in me distancing myself away from it, great lessons came up for me.
Essentially, in this group, which is spiritually oriented and focused on balance and behaving with compassion, a few people (some of whom were moderators) behaved very differently in private emails than they did in public. In one case, it was flaming; throwing insults, wishing pain and destruction, being quite nasty. This went to the level of being an online stalker over the past few months, and there were some phone calls and text messages as well, all nasty and wishing pain. This was primarily to Karen, but to a lesser extent to me.
What triggered my own pain was that the online group (although I’ve met most of the people on it face to face), which styles itself as focused on community and support, was totally unsupportive of bringing this up publically. It was “a private matter”, and it didn’t matter if it got to abusive actions, it wasn’t their business. Even if the other person (who was part of the group) made nasty innuendo publically. The hypocrisy of this struck me – the philosophy of community and support seemed to be thrown by the wayside. The moderators even suggested the police, showing they understood the scope of the issue somewhat, but refused to do anything themselves. It came to a crux Monday. I’d posted publicly what was going on as factually as I could, without any blame that I could see, and was basically told “personal issues involving people we know are not something we want to see on here”. Nice support there! It brought up a lot of pain inside me – especially long term stuff related to support.
So that’s the background. However, this is about my personal journey, not any rant on the flaming the anonymity of the internet can bring. Such things abound in this extremely isolated society we’ve created. What resulted next is what’s important.
Karen called me to offer her support on it Monday, and was indeed incredibly supporting. What was unusual and special about the call was not anything she said. The entire call, lasting close to 90 minutes, did not have many words in it at all! She simply gave me space to be who I was, which included the pain that was occurring. There was absolutely no “problem” to fix, nothing to resolve, nothing to make go away. It was simply two people with much love for each other simply being present, and the fact that there was a large amount of pain was incidental.
So what happened? Of course, like anyone in pain, at first I wished other people would change so I wouldn’t have to be triggered like this. I’m human too! Though I knew it was a triggering, so I didn’t identify too much with these thoughts. After muddling along, gradually accepting that there was no escape from the inner landscape I was in, I started scribbling on a drawing pad in charcoal. No definite shapes; just dark, sharp movements, expressing the chaos inside myself right now. Balls of small abysses accumulated on the page, bringing form to my internal world at that moment. It didn’t last long, but was enough to bring more acceptance and flow to what was coming. Karen was silent all through this. This was not a silence based on zoning out; she was present with me, with her full attention at hand. There was nothing that needed to be said; her presence said it all.
Her words describing her state were “It was about holding a space open for you, and acknowledging the perfection of whatever it is you were experiencing. In that moment, it was perfect, and there was no need to exert influence to change. I knew you were capable of doing it yourself.”
Soon enough, I felt more open to myself, breathing more fully, and lied down on the couch. Tears came. Tears, tears, and more tears. There were no reasons for the tears at first, and I didn’t need any. Some times reasons are like a straightjacket, restraining the human dance of emotions. I simply allowed what needed to come out. The expansive presence that was created in that moment created a magical, permissive atmosphere. This was no exercise of catharsis as seen in workshops; it was simply a gentle allowing that fully reincorporated parts of me back into myself. Tears flowed for the better part of an hour. Karen felt the pain, but didn’t see anything to fix at all. The warm silence continued. After tissue after tissue got tossed away, I came to a realization: I discovered I didn’t really know what true support was. I wanted it of course, but didn’t have the knowledge that can only come from repeated experience. This not knowing was profoundly opening; it brought me to see how much support I was getting in that moment. Funny how not knowing and seeing go hand in hand.
Going through my own pain and the openings this created helped bring me to a more neutral space about the online incidents. I’ve backed away considerably with those groups, because it’s clear that their version of support and community is quite restrictive to me; it’s based on protection instead of vulnerability. But this is perfect; they simply want different things. I’ll continue to meet these same people face to face (except the person who did the stalking), but won’t expect any support from them. Paradoxically, this whole experience helped me find far more support for myself; the experience of spacious allowing and acceptance has followed me since. The image I’ve had of support has changed from one of a building’s unshakeable foundation to something like an open space to play in, based in the present moment.
All of this has been intrinsic to my exploration of universal Love; it’s brought more of a visceral understanding, and definitely brought strides in living it with myself and others. My friend Sophie got a whiff of that Friday!
(oh yes, and btw, it was my birthday Saturday! It was wonderful! Here’s a picture of me to celebrate. No, this wasn’t taken on my birthday – rather a few weeks ago – and I love it! The background is one of Sophie‘s paintings, in my home.)