I am done with the stories in my mind. I have spent months trying to figure out how to be friends with people I love, but with whom I am unable to find a fulfilling relationship. And I have beat myself up for not being able to align myself with that love. My teacher told me “Boundaries do not have to be places that we defend from; they define the places where we can connect.” But when it feels like connecting is always leading to being hurt, that is a perpetual feedback loop of “I love you, let’s connect. That hurts, go away. But I love you, let’s connect. But it still hurts, go away”, and I want off that particular merry go round.
Let me be clear: this pattern exists for me with lovers, family members, friends, and occasionally my pets. With my family, I was able to justify myself by referencing patterns of violence, abandonment, and narcissism. With my friends, I could point to what I value and whether that is true of our dynamic or not. With my pets, I could even justify why I was not taking the dog for a walk today, or why I pushed the cat away based on if they were affectionate and obedient. And with lovers, I could go through a whole script of how they hurt me, how our vibrations were not aligned, and what needed to change in each of them to be able to relate to me.
Now, I truly do understand that my relationships with others are a projection of my inner story. I really do. If I needed any evidence of it, I can see it in how I project on a good friend of mine – I am working through issues from lovers and spouses with him, and I can see my projections on him because he is so clearly NOT these people. And that is where alot of the sustained pain has been: as an awakening soul, I know this should not be enough to stop me from being free, and until I can resolve this thorny knot, I will not be free. I want off. This is ridiculous.
So two things intersected: I began doing The Work from Byron Katie, and I began a course called Speaking the Language of the Heart with Alejandra Siroka. The two programs are related, although I didn’t know that when I was drawn to them. Byron Katie looks closely at the stories we tell, that we suffer from. The language of the heart has been instrumental in connecting my heart chakra and throat chakra, in that I have been conditioned to not recognize my own needs and not speak to them. For example, I recently realized that much of my extreme anger reactions come when I do not feel that my need for respect is recognized. Normally, that would trigger me running and pushing the person away because I did not want to feel the lack of respect, nor the anger, and I could not find a way out of that. I just felt like a failure because my needs weren’t being met AND I was acting in a way I didn’t value – escalated anger bordering on viciousness.
First, the Language of the Heart has been giving me a tool kit to 1) identify that which I value, 2) recognize when it is not being met, and 3) to speak it in a way that aligns with my values of peace, respect for others, and loving compassion. If this wasn’t quite huge enough, Byron Katie’s work has helped me then challenge the story of suffering I create when my need isn’t being met, and to move into fulfillment from a non-dual space; in other words, recognizing that only I create the state of suffering, and that my True Essence can help me recognize and challenge that story so it doesn’t have power any more. She tells the story like this: “Imagine that you are walking on a street at dusk and see a snake on the road in front of you. You go into a state of fear and anxiety. Suddenly, a light shines on it and you see it is not a snake, but a rope. You are not longer afraid. And no matter how many other people are afraid because they think it is a snake, nor how many times you try to see it as a snake, you will never be afraid of it again.”
I cannot tell you how deeply I am experiencing freedom. So many of my fears were triggered over the last week: I am managing more responsibility as I return to a traditional work schedule, I am parking next door to an old lover’s home, I walk through the park we picniced in or went to see Christmas lights in every day, and I have new exciting things happening every moment that I want to tell to someone to share my journey. And I have been angry, sad, fearful, withdrawn…all the same old stuff that was happening before I was deeply into my spiritual practice. With the exception that I AM more awake, I AM more aware, and I have moved farther away from conditioning.
So, the story has been getting in the way. And using the tools from Alejandra Siroka and Byron Katie, I have been moving them away by shining light on the snakes. I don’t feel the rage anymore. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. The snake is a rope. Ok, sometimes I have to look back to be really sure I was right that it is just a rope, but inevitably it is a rope.
How cool is that?