GRACE PRINCIPLE ONE: all sensations/emotions are okay.
KEY PRACTICES: not trying to fix discomfort in self or other; staying curious.
One of the core premises of Being Held is that each person, each soul, each individual is whole, right now. Not broken, not needing to be fixed, per se, as much as welcomed.
We are not on the way to some place or time where we will be complete. Thoughts like, once I get control of this, or change that, or let go of this, or learn how to do that, etc, usually indicate we are on the frustrating path of trying to fix our behaviour before we believe we can be fully authentic and alive.
The part of our "character" we want to fix or change seem to take over our rational thought (driving the bus) and "cause" us to behave in ways that have negative impact on others, resulting in separation instead of the connection our soul longs for. Those moments of uncomfortable disconnect are usually followed by feelings of shame, guilt and/or recrimination.
Much of our "fixing" consciousness can be traced to childhood. In our culture, parents embark on a process of "fixing" their children pretty early on. And it is natural to do so, because, as parents, we want our children to be loved and to function successfully in life, career and relationships. So, as a child, our reactions to discomfort are seldom welcomed. We are told to be quiet, behave, you know better, stop crying, go to your room, etc, etc.
And so, here we are as grown-ups, wanting to fix our anger, our lack of voice, our fear, our anxiety, our stupidity, our know-it-all, our pushing in, our running away, our self-judgment... all rooted in our family/cultural learning of what behaviours are wrong or broken or bad.
The key to Welcoming What Exists, is flipping this perception. Welcoming says that all parts of me, and of you, are welcome to express in the ways they do because they are integral and important parts of our character. They are trying to protect our worthiness, to protect us from judgment, to protect us from perceived harm or discomfort. They are all lovers of us, by working hard to keep us safe and comfortable in a critical and unfair world. And because all the parts of us love us, they carry wisdom about how to manage being me in a chaotic world.
We do not like to feel uncomfortable. When confronted by sensations like unfairness, not-knowing, loss, numbness, frozenness, threat, physical pain, betrayal, rejection, I'm too big, too small, etc, our protector parts usually come to the rescue. Why? Because no one held us long enough and gracefully enough to give us the knowing, the assurance, that the discomfort these states create is normal and okay. Nor does the discomfort mean we don't belong.
Welcoming is developing the capacity of being with our own discomfort and another person's discomfort, without wanting to make it go away or be "healed". And not just being with it as in being in the same physical space, but actually being with discomfort in loving connection — with loving/holding touch.
So when I get uncontrollably angry with someone, and/or someone gets uncontrollably angry with me, the principle of Welcoming would say, "Ah, notice that powerful part, see how it fights for worthiness. I wonder if I, or that person, could allow these parts to be held in their discomfort and be valued in their cry for love. Because their parts and my parts, and the situation already created, doesn't need to be fixed, but both of us, and our parts, can be seen, held and accepted."
Uncomfortable sensations are part of the wonderful aliveness of an unpredictable existence.
The practice of not fixing when holding another person, or being held, is allowing or being with an uncomfortable or ecstatic sensation, however it is expressed, without offering a prescription, or an affirmation, or a healing modality, or a solution, etc.
Welcoming is simply offering loving presence and connection — to say that this experience is a natural response to the discomfort and unfairness of life.
Welcoming is offering loving acceptance and grace for all the emotional and physical expressions of our soul.
Another key practice of Welcoming What Exists is an inner commitment to stay curious about how and why I react to uncomfortable behaviours in myself or others. That is, rather than jump to conclusions or make judgments about what behaviour means, about them, or about me, can I be curious about why these sensations and behaviours show up?
Wanting to know more about a part of another person's character, or one of my parts, keeps me open and curious, rather than judgmental and trying to fix. Sample curious questions might be:
What is this part uncomfortable about?
When did this part first show up?
Where does this part live in the body?
If this part had a name, what would it be?
How does this part protect me?
What benefits has this part brought me?
How has this part negatively impacted me?
How has this part negatively impacted others?
Would this part like to be held, or touched?
If this part could speak, what would it say?
These types of questions don't need to be verbalized (although they can be when welcomed). They are more about keeping an inner stance of curiousity rather than a declaration of right or wrong and endless solutions.
May we all welcome each other's experiences and sensations with openness, curiousity and grace, resisting the urge to make them better or go away.
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