What does welcoming mean?

I love the word "welcoming" and I use it a lot in my courses and sessions with people. I invite myself and others to "welcome" feelings or parts of themselves that arise in focusing... and I wanted to share what I really meant by it as it's one of those words that means different things to different people and can easily be misunderstood.
Let's start by saying what it's not; It's obviously not being critical or judgemental, nor is it coming with an agenda to "let go" or "get rid of" something. And to be welcome - parts of us don't have to speak or show up in a certain way (they are welcome as they are!) It's also not inviting a part of you in and then saying "here, take the keys of my life and do what you like!" It's not a total acceptance in that way. Neither is it saying "Hey - I love you and everything you do is just fine"

What is it then? I see it like this: we make a space at a fireside for this something, we do this knowing that there is more beneath the surface of any part (or any person for that matter) We sit with them and simply listen. We might ask them or have the attitude of asking them " how is it for you in there?" We keep them company as they are and be with them.

Many of us have not really been welcomed in this way in our life - more often we have had the opposite - where we have lived in contexts where so much of us has not been welcomed. So for me this is a radical act, a healing act, both inside and outside.

I spoke more about this on my recent free webinar "welcoming the exiles" you can find the recording here.

As Rumi says:

Welcome difficulty.
Learn the alchemy
True Human Beings know:
the moment you accept
what troubles you've been given,
the door opens.
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