Living from your "bigger self"

Though you may not be able to tell by looking, some of the time I feel like a scared child: vulnerable, cautious, defended,... to name a few qualities. I look out from those scared eyes.

And at other times, I feel like an adult, a grown up... neither of those labels quite feel right (and as we and my son know, not adults are grown ups!) I feel undefended, curious, I can take risks, speak out when needed, feel and act from my values. It feels better to live from here, not just for me but for my family and the broader world.

How come we can switch from one to other in a moment and how can focusing help us get bigger?

It probably began with a hurt of some kind, a big hurt, or many, many smaller ones. These hurts went unmet or unheard (if our hurt is met in empathy and allowed to flow, then it does not linger) From that experience of not being met and of not having what our being truly needed - we are left with a profound sense of missing or lack. And we look out at the world from those eyes of wanting what was missing. Or perhaps we look out from the eyes of the part of us that never wants to feel that pain again - a kind of protective or defensive place.

For me, what is most usual, is looking with the eyes of fear, constriction, vulnerability or the eyes of protecting myself from contacting something deeper. For others it might be the eye of rage or longing... We all look from these places at times. And this need not be judged or criticised. It is not "wrong".

What I describe above are very broad brush strokes - a crude picture of how it is. The reality can be very painful and much more tangled. This unresolved pain of the hurt and what was missing can profoundly affect our ability to live freely and with happiness.

So, back to the switch...

Something happens - perhaps in awareness or out of it, that triggers this old hurt and in a moment we become that hurt one or the defended one. We may never even notice the switch.

And maybe thought effort or grace, we switch back and feel better again.

And something else happens. And off we go again.

What does Focusing offer this situation? A lot.

Speaking for myself I can confidently say Focusing (with other things too) have changed my whole being.

It offers me a chance to meet the parts of me that don't want me to feel pain (let's call them protectors) and really hear and appreciate their efforts to keep me safe. When they can relax, my life is certainly easier.

It offers me a chance to give empathy to that in me which felt the hurt and the missing. When I hear these parts, just as they are, with deep compassion, relief and healing can come.

It offers me a daily method in saying "hello" to all these parts and carrying them with me along life's journey. For me this is very relevant. Sure some parts of me rarely show up these days like they used too (some harsh critics for example) but some parts (like that scared part) still need a lot of acknowledgement and holding - sometimes many times a day. And I can still live my life, grow, be curious and take risks whilst holding that part. I used to wish for a day when I never felt scared or panicky but now I am happy enough living with them as my companions. Maybe they might retire one day. Maybe not.

It feels good to grow up a little, and to take care of what hurts. And finally after 25 years of practicing self awareness I feel like I can look out into the world with both the eyes of wisdom and the eyes of wonder that every child has, and hold everthing inside of me with curiosity and kindness.

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