We began this session with a discussion about my feelings.
I've been struggling listening to people when they get too dark, negative, or really angry. I'm not talking about NOT being open to discussing ideas, feelings and thoughts. I'm talking about when the conversation is all about how crappy the world is, or if someone is telling a story that I've heard countless times about their past - and I feel trapped that I have to hear again. I can see in their face - it's as if it happened yesterday.
The struggle is a few things. I struggle listening to the same story repeatedy. I'm frustrated that people forget what they tell me. They just go into monologues and I have to listen to the whole story (again as if it happened just now) again - with every detail.
I struggle listening to "the world is a fucked up place" attitude. If I have to listen to someone bad mouthing, being cruel, or just plain over opinionated - it bugs me.
Ursula understood completely. She gave me a few tips to try.
She said I could try to divert the conversation.
I could ask the person - do you need me to hold the space so you can complain or vent?
She says I can tell them, this is not my truth. Can we talk about something else?
Ursula said when people are traumatized, they feel they need to keep telling their story - at the high level of energy. She says they enjoy the high of it. They don't enjoy that it happened - but now that it has - they ride the high of the story.
She said it's hard - but tell the annoyed parts to go away. She says you want that to be out of your body posture and tone when you try and speak with them. She says call the person by name - get them out of the trance. They need to pop out of the story.
Once calm and relaxed you can continue with the questions:
I've heard this story before. Does it still bother you? You repeat it a lot.
She says begin with the end goal in mind. You love this person. They want love. That's our base need and want is love.
Ursula said, why do people complain? They don't feel loved.
She says okay - it others you. I am a truth speaker. But she says be careful not to be too blunt.
I actually took a moment and wonder if I get a hit of the high from their story - because why does it trigger me to be angry.
I told Ursula fear and anger just feels like I'm putting on a turtleneck. I don't like wearing turtlenecks. Too tight.
I told her with all these feelings coming up - my hypochondriac popped out. I started just getting nervous about stuff. She says love that part. It just wanted to worry - but again - it doesn't have to run the show. Say I love you - I'm taking of you - and I'm here for you.
We went in to do subconscious work. I was excited. Right away I felt a burning in my chest and tightness in my neck. I figured of course! I'm irritated and I've been worried. I wasn't sure what image wanted to come forth. I figured it's going to be annoyed.
We went deeper.
At first it looked scrunched up. I couldn't tell what it was. I kept pulling it further away so I could take a look. I was so surprised. It was a wolf. A beautiful silver wolf.
The wolf said - protect the pack. Family, friends and public. The wolf told me to use wisdom to communicate with others. She ( I felt it was a she) said you might have to pace sometimes. She said bide your time before you engage in conversation especially when annoyed. She said don't pounce.
The wolf told me I know the truth of how things are deep inside. Use that. She said use the embarrassment and the discomfort I feel when the old stuff comes up and the other parts want to talk. She says ask questions in your mind - what do you need - what do you want the outcome to be - and then go slowly and calmly. She said ask yourself - what do you want to communicate?
The wolf said - pace when annoyed. I could see her showing me how she walks back and forth. She said use all of it - all of your wisdom and tools to your advantage.
She was such a beautiful wolf and I just kept touching her whiskers on her face, and her head. I kissed her face.
The wolf said when I'm annoyed do what she does - she uses her ears which will perk up. Feel your body. You will feel your instincts. Use all those sensations. Something might be amiss. This is the time to use your strength and wisdom to solve and communicate. Be strong. Be strong like the wolf. Go ahead and howl.
It was a beautiful session. We closed with thanks.
And from Ursula:
So powerful, Rebecca is tracking like a wolf. When we heal hurt parts of ourselves we have a greater capacity to slow down and become more aware, mindful. When we know we can take care of ourselves instead of running self defeating patterns, our whole life experience changes. Over this series of sessions we have done, you- the reader can clearly see the growth. When we grow from the inside out, we become calmer, clearer, more self aware, more caring and compassionate to ourselves, and therefore to others. Life becomes more meaningful.
Yes, sometimes our heightened awareness also sees negativity as more aggressive than the norm it used to be. We tend to watch our words that we say to ourselves. You can also tell someone is doing their inner work when they start a sentence three times, cutting out the negative phrases. That's how we do, one thought at a time, one sentence at a time. All based on awareness. As if self auditing is not busy enough, now we have to deal with others who are not on the path. They are stuck where we were. We run as fast as we can away from where we were in our heads and hearts once we have a taste of freedom from negative patterns. So when people around us are still "There" we feel frustrated. AND a part of the spiritual path is acceptance of others. Who they are, why they are and how they are. Uggh! Exercising compassion and a deeper understanding makes us love people more. When the upset people around us feel more loved by us, they start calming down. They don't even notice it. They don't even know why. Then the result is you get more peace! It is a circular expression, you do your inner work, you love others, they calm down, you get more peace in your internal world and external world.
How is it possible that after doing so many sessions I could learn more and venture into new territory? Because Ursula knows what she's doing. She guides me and directs the conversation to best suit my inner growth. It feels like each session is tailor made to my personal subconscious. You might say - "of course it's personal - you're talking to her about you." What I mean by this is - there are twists and turns in this healing work. Even Ursula doesn't know what will come up. But because of her experience, her gift and her kindness - she is able to "mentally tailor guide" each session so I grow more and more each time.
I feel we are now embarking on part 2 of this subconscious work. After the image of "the lake" we took a break. Now we are back.
We didn't do subconscious work this time. I needed to speak with Ursula about something that had to do with her. I had to talk to her, the facilitator, about Ursula, my friend.
I got irritated about something - with her. That part is personal - between us. It's nothing bad. It's just - I don't want readers to take sides or come back with opinions. However, I want to describe the work. Because really - it wasn't so much about the who, what, when and how - it was about me venturing into new territory - setting boundaries, communicating and working through my fears about being angry or irritated with someone I care about.
I began the session with a preface. I told Ursula I was very nervous about the conversation. I was upset about something, with her, which made it feel sticky. I told her it felt important to discuss it with her and get through the fears about her leaving me if I was upset with her. I told her I had one close friend and we call this discomfort "The Cherry Pit". We say - okay - I have a lump in my throat (metaphorically) and I'm nervous because I want to talk to you. I know there was no ill intent from you but I feel strongly about working through my feelings with you. I'm hoping to do this in such a way that it strengthens our friendship - and after we work through this - we can pull that pit out - plant it - and it will become a tree. (metaphorically)
Ursula said she hadn't heard about "The Cherry Pit". I told her it was something we made up. Well, she was on board and ready talk.
We discussed the topic - going back and forth. It wasn't always comfortable. I was trying to figure how to release my feelings. Ursula was trying to read me and figure out what I wanted and needed. I was burning inside for a while. I felt so scared. I felt more anger rise within - that old stuff - which I learned from my father. "Cut them out! It's done! They don't get you! Leave!" But I hung in there. Ursula hung in there with me. She allowed me to communicate until we figured it out. And we did figure it out.
Once we figured it out - the burning began to subside.
Communication can be tricky.
But it is with non violent, clear, calm communication - I was guided to figure out what I was asking for, what I needed from this conversation, and to move forward. It wasn't easy. The old stuff kept rising to the surface.
What if Ursula gets mad at me for being upset with her? She didn't.
What if Ursula and I don't see eye to eye? We don't have to on everything - but we did see eye to eye on a resolution.
Should I run now? - No.
This is scary. - Sure. But what's on the other side? I wanted to find out. Ursula guided me to stay on course and be patient - and we will get to see the other side.
We got through it. It was a beautiful exchange. And a tree was planted.
Ursula complimented me on the preface I gave in the beginning. (that felt so good) She said I set up the conversation beautifully. As the conversation got knotted up a little, and I was getting frustrated, she guided me and gently explained - it is a good idea - if I can - to relay my needs. It helps the other person - so they don't have to try and figure it out.
She complimented me on waiting to discuss with her my strong feelings, instead of doing it right when it happened - when it might have gone a different way - because my anger and irritation was too loud. (that felt good too) I told her my old approach would have been to roar in the moment. She reminded me - of my parts - those strong parts- that sure - it's understandable to "want" to roar in anger. But what is the goal? If it is to get closer, than why roar? I was so clear, there was no ill intent. I just had feelings about something. So why roar? She reminded me - when you roar - the clean up after might take much longer. If I wait - calm down - sort through my feelings and thoughts - get clear - get concise and proceed to use non violent communication - the resolution will come much faster.
I felt those tingles after the session. I love those tingles. It means healing has taken place. I love it.
The little girl in me still wanted to make sure - "are you still there Ursula?" Yes, she most certainly is - and she felt growth in this session too. Even though she has experience in this work - she is the facilitator - I get the impression - she appreciates the growth too. She doesn't play the game of being above me. She sits besides me.
We closed the session with thanks. It was lovely.
And Ursula's feedback:
Always up for growth, is the best approach to life, because we will be challenged. Instead of dreading the school of life, if we get excited about it and breath through anything we can take it on and come out with cherry trees all around us.
When Rebecca opened with I have something uncomfortable to talk about and listed out her feelings, I automatically could feel myself sit back and go into space holding and listening parts of me. I could tell something was important and I need to be gentle and aware for my parts as well as her.
If she just started the conversation with arms swinging, my parts would have naturally jumped into defending and the whole point of any goals would have been lost. When we preface a difficult conversation with our hat in our hand, in a humble space, then we will get the result we are looking for.
That's the biggest piece in the puzzle of why people don't communicate. We don't know HOW. It's surprisingly not what we say that hurts others, it's HOW we say it.
Rebecca and I were in a social setting together and something happened. Instead of reacting, she had an inner talk with the activated parts and then presented to me and spoke FOR her parts instead of FROM her parts.
Sometimes we have no idea why we are upset about something. Sometimes we don't even realize that we are upset in the first place, but it comes out sideways and we may pick or criticize our family or friends who we are upset about. Can you see in your own life how that happens?
The way this rolled out was that we were able to lay out the different parts and explain what happened and get to a place of understanding all the parts involved. Most of the time when there is a problem or conflict it is based about a misunderstanding and an unmet need. So when we were going through the discussion, I was listening for what could be the need and where was the misunderstanding. We got caught in a loop where things were just being repeated, which often happens. Then we stopped, slowed down even more and were able to further clarify everything. Once I was able to understand what was going on, I could speak from three different parts of myself. That's what's great about doing this work, you can have parts conversations and everything makes perfect sense. I was able to speak from which parts were alive in me and what they were experiencing and why those parts were behaving in that manner. I defined three different parts of me so she could be clear about my intentions and actions.
Then we talked about the whole conversation and saw what was working, what was scary, what was useful, what happened to each of us as things were being said, where the connections were, what pushed us away from resolution and what brought us closer to resolution. That after-discussion was more helpful than the actual discussion. Navigating through conflict can be very intense and disrupting to our parts and our relationships. It was so helpful to process after the conflict to connect us again.
The one thing is we discovered when approaching a person with an uncomfortable conversation, is to add what the NEED is.
Which brings me to Non Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.
The steps are
When (facts times places quotes) happened.
Would you be willing to _____
I have a need for _____
So happy we had this experience together. It was good to exercise these parts.