A couple weeks ago I wrote on my facebook status, "Cried all day. Working to figure it out." I know that when we have a rupture in our emotions or find ourselves reactive to ordinary events (reactive - strong response, triggered emotions etc.) then we must pay attention. Inside that reaction or rupture is our truth forcing its way to the surface.
My erupting emotions are tied to deep family of origin experiences, family dissonance and trauma, and my estrangement with my father. But what can one do? I simply tried to stay awake to the emotions. And I have to admit, I felt embarrassed that my close colleagues had to see some of my less mature edges. It feels very childlike to be honest about these deep places - maybe because it is the child in us that is hurting.
Anyway, already I sense I am healing, and healing in my core self. Healing happens level by level, ever deeper. It is a lifelong process, this healing business. I came across this quote from Anthony de Mello who was always calling people to wake up and become aware of their lives.
If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day, if you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass, that is, accurately, clearly, exactly as it is without the slightest distortion or addition, and if you observed this reflection without any judgment or condemnation, you would experience all sorts of marvelous changes coming about in you. Only you will not be in control of those changes, or be able to plan them in advance, or decide how and when they are to take place. It is this nonjudgmental awareness alone that heals and changes and makes one grow. But in its own way and at its own time.
My evangelical background was not fully comfortable with this quote, and so I chose not to use it in my mentoring class. But I couldn't just dismiss it either. I had to think it through. Am I uncomfortable with looking at myself 'without judgment or condemnation' because, well, aren't we sinners? And don't I co-create my brokenness and need to own it instead of just being aware of it? Is it true that awareness brings growth? Doesn't God bring growth? And so, my niggling thoughts pushing this quote around and around like a cat pawing the dirt.
I put the quote on my desk and kept reading it. This morning I came to work with a deep sense of peace and a shift in my feelings and understanding of this eruption. I reread the quote and it rang fully true! My own judgment of myself resists change - it holds me in a place that says I deserve not to be well. And this, frankly, is NOT Christian thinking, although many Christians think this way. And if I don't simply stay present to my pain I will finally need to create my own false blessing to survive, crafting yet another layer of 'cope and cover' that only serves to distance myself further from the place of truth within me.
Over and over I learn that when I take my hands off my own formation and allow God's hands to move into places that are open and vulnerable I am transformed, gently, noticeably and without striving.
I am quite sure this is my experience this past few weeks. I know a fuller health as I enter this day. The change is deeply internal and my joy now is to live into it and discover new freedoms.
Can I recommend if you are troubled that you stay in the trouble as peaceably as you can: look at it, become alive to it, and let the healing light of God's love warm that place. Who knows what you might have happen?
But in its own way and at its own time.