Do I speak what is on my mind?
How long has it been on my mind?
Is what I am about to say an emotional reaction or is this my truth, deeply felt and clearly ready to be shared?
Is this right?
Is he/she right?
Am I right?
What IS right?
How long does this right live before I can let go and chill out?
The list of questions and emotions surged forth like I was standing at the top of a powerful waterfall. How easy would it be to simply step in to the current? How much pain might it cause, both immediate and downstream? How many times had this happened already? And how many more times would it?
As my inner waters surged forth, ready to engage and destroy, I turned to the hardest response for me: I froze.
The thing was, I was heartbroken. I am heartbroken. It’s a natural response, and one that, when felt, deeply provokes your spirit. It brings up so much baggage and turns even the strongest person in to a brittle, delicate, porcelain tea cup.
As a human, I feel. As a deeply emotional human, I feel. As a deeply emotional and highly sensitive human, I really feel.
As a strong character with a pretty fierce wild streak, I’m very good at acting on these feelings. To add strength to strength, not only am I very good at acting on these feelings, I have the additional onus of being incredibly gifted at sensing others’ energies and true intentions plus the personal and moral strength to stand up and call a bluff. I have always been this way, and trust me, as a kid it did not make me popular.
Learning not to immediately act on my feelings has been my bigger work for the past 6 years.
A few years ago a Mayan calendar reading confirmed this in a way I still clearly resonate with: I am the mirror in people’s lives. One of my gifts is to clearly reflect back to others their true persona – the good, bad and ugly. My mirror cuts through the façade and challenges people to face the raw underbelly of their Self. I am also a truth teller, and have the inner strength to say what needs to be said for the bigger benefit of upleveling the person and the planet. (It sounds a bit pompous, I know, but this is what my reading told me. With 3+ decades on this planet, I can tell you it’s really accurate.) My biggest challenges: not becoming a 2-way mirror and absorbing others’ energies, and knowing when to engage vs. release.
Back to my waterfall. My frozen waterfall.
By nature, I was ready to fight. I love stepping up for a cause I feel strongly about. Fairness ranks pretty highly on my list of strengths in any strength finder test. And shoot, what better cause is there than my own mental and emotional well-being?
I was also ready to flee. Of course in my world I don’t see it as fleeing, since that carries an undertone of victim and fear. I’ve always been better at the “let me storm away and remain convinced that I’m right, you are wrong, and I’m the martyr for having to deal with your BS.” Over the years it morphed a bit, from storming to walking away, and from martyrdom to completely disconnecting in a very cold, angry, unforgiving way. Yep, lots of fun for everyone involved.
So here I was fighting every single primal, lizard brain instinct I had. I wanted to speak up and say my peace because, dammit, I saw and felt things that this person just wasn’t capable of seeing. (Why oh why world can’t you just accept this already and listen to what I have to say!!?) I also wanted to walk away and stew for a few hours. Seriously, who doesn’t like a good stew of martyr, victim, and anger with a healthy dash of righteousness thrown in?
Instead I summoned all of my courage and did what was completely opposite and incredibly difficult for me. It was (and is) exactly what I need most to learn. I froze. I mentally commanded all of my work with mindset, energy, and movement/meditation and froze. But freezing in my world is, of course, not just any old freezing.
I call it receptive freezing or high definition freezing.
In a true lizard brain reaction, freezing is just as you would imagine: something happens, you are triggered, you physically and mentally freeze, unable to move and often even comprehend what someone else is saying or doing to you. Your body, mind and emotions go on lock down.
In receptive or HD freezing, I am highly alert and sensitive to every single noise and movement. I hear and feel more deeply than in my normal life. Just like an HD movie: same plot and characters as the regular film, but everything is more vibrant and alive, which means you receive more than you may even want to. (Seriously, I don’t want to see pores of skin that well!) To get a feel for receptive or HD listening, take a video of something and then slow that video down to a speed where you hear everything yet feel muffled or disconnected. This is easy on an iPhone – just film something in slo-mo.
Back to this story, I was eager to see where my practice had taken me. So I froze, receptively. I remained present, keeping my ears open, my eyes alive, and my heart broken open. I took a long, slow inhale and felt the fresh air entering my lungs and shoulders. (Yes, these were being kept open too). I listened to every word, watched every action, and shot out beams of wild compassion from my heart and entire body. In short, I became a Care Bear.
And something amazing happened. I loved it. I loved the interaction. Even the personal attacks didn’t phase me. I saw this person in a completely loving, compassionate light. I allowed them to say what they had to say and I simply remained present and open. Within seconds I mentally and emotionally released the attack. I actively listened to their words so I could discern emotion from pain and, ultimately, the message they needed to send me. I smiled. I relaxed. I actually wanted more of it.
Fast forward a few weeks to today. I’m not on some sadistic path to actually stir up drama to practice what I teach and learn. I am on a path to identify where else I can use this skill. It has made every interaction more dynamic. I have the most amazing people entering my life and all have similar things to say: I’m one of the most positive, fiercely strong, brave and vulnerable people they have ever met. I am raw and open and loving and, above all, human. And they want more.
I’m not saying this is an overnight practice. It has taken me 6 years of personal work, training (some certified, some not), and practice. This is active work. It can be exhausting. And I know the rewards are worth every single penny and moment I have spent and will spend.
My life is more vibrant because of this work. My remaining years on this planet are alive and full. I love what I do and I love working with my clients to create their own vibrant, dream life.
In the end, you only have this one wild, precious life. You can’t run away and avoid drama and anger, but you can choose how you will engage with it.
With Grit, Grace and my Care Bear Stare,