Updated: Jan 24
When I was in art school in New York City back in my younger days, we had an assignment to create a self portrait. The professor went around and asked us to tell something about ourselves and how we might express that on the canvas. So many of my classmates had this oreo cookie image that there are two sides to them, the tough side that they put out to the world and the sensitive side they kept safe inside that only a few select people could see.
All too often, it’s the scenario most of us play, except along with the sensitivities we keep inside are all the other emotions we don’t feel because we are afraid to and can’t express them. Our sensitive side will be hurt, our tears will be overwhelming, our rage will be uncontrollable. There is an enormous fear for us to be and express those parts of ourselves.
Culture, religion or family values may have dictated such expressions aren’t appropriate or acceptable. Our trauma responses grow an abundant garden of protectiveness to keep us safe from overwhelm, intensity and threat and this is a perfectly natural response. But what happens is the definition of the inside and outside gets increasingly separated and thickens like a wall as we try to keep our feelings on the inside from showing up on the outside. The more we protect the sensitive self the less we can BE that sensitive self when we need it to come out for our friendships and relationships. Or, when emotions finally do find their way to surface there is an uncontrollable excessive expression that leaves us reeling in “This is why I keep it all inside! This is too much!!”
The trauma garden of protectiveness, wraps its vines around all situations, not just the ones that are really threatening to us, until we somatically learn how to distinguish real overwhelm from sensation that is overcoupled with something else. For example, the excitement of a new relationship ( which somatically may be perceived as overwhelm ) may trigger our protectionary protocols making it impossible to get close to another person. And we don’t understand why. Why are we sabotaging a relationship that we actually want?
Anything that is caged cannot fully express itself. After decades of suppressing emotions they pretty much become armor, ridged and impenetrable. Energetically they become so bound up they actually putrefy like the bottom of your compost bucket when you forget to take it out. Then we wonder why we are tired and feel so isolated, even when we are living healthy lives and have people around us who love us.
It is never too late to begin to re-relate to ourselves. Over-coupling of felt sensations can be undone through embodied presence practices and working with gifted healers. My journey began when I was 50 and, though its been difficult at times I never regret it. The feeling of being able to meet all parts of myself, and the freedom to express those parts, so there’s no, inside and outside is the liberation, and freedom we all seek. Its also a necessary way of being in order for us to have healthy communities and a more stable planet.
Need assistance with developing a new relationship with you? Eileen is an alternative healer who has completed 15 vision quests enabling her to be a clear and affective conduit for your personal growth. She has worked with embodied presence practices for the last 8 years and is a certified Unified Mindfulness Coach. Contact Eileen@relaxandexpand.com or 518-410-4402
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