February 6, 2017

Feeling in a dip? Dig yourself a canoe

Inner Relationship Focusing - part 2 

‘I have nothing to talk about. My life is balanced, pretty much. No major dramas. Work is good. Family - all good. No problems,’ I think, but keep my eyes closed.

And yet, here I am sitting on a soft couch at Michal’s house, 4 of my classmates watching our short demonstration. Suddenly I find myself talking about my relationship with my hubby. (Sorry, hubby!)

“Stay with that…” whispers Michal.
I take a long breath.
“Feel in your body what’s coming up for you now…” she suggests to me.
I feel a tightening in my chest and throat. Wait a minute, screams another part of me, don’t you dare cry now! And anyway, why do you want to cry? Everything’s fine, right?

I keep breathing, and expressing how I am feeling. From time to time, Michal quietly reflects some of my feelings. I feel heard. I keep going.

Stop being so whiny! Shut up and suck it up. My life is good. Near perfect.

Don't back off from the horrible feelings*

But Michal encourages me to stay with the part that feels whiny.
“It’s hard for me to go there. I shouldn’t,” I say. And yet, those voices, the ‘don’t whine,’ are not my only voices. Part of me does want perfection. That part wants improvement, growth, change, development. ALL THE TIME.

I follow the windy road of my thoughts and feelings, the things I want and need. What I feel I’m not getting enough of. What I wish I could have. I hardly know what I feel, maybe some sadness and disconnection.

Suddenly an image comes to me. My old dugout canoe. I climb off of the yacht (strangely enough - this was really my childhood home), where I have no “me space,” and into the canoe. Only one person at a time can fit into it. My sister or me. It’s too small for my parents. It’s not very steady. If I sneeze, it tips over. I paddle over towards the shore, away from my family. I am strong, capable and independent. A small wave bounces me around. The canoe tips over and I giggle, as I flip it over and climb back in. The warm tropical water is refreshing.

After sharing this image out loud, my metaphor for the strong, rough side of me that is also sometimes unstable, but independent as well, I feel refreshed – issues feel resolved.

No one is to blame after all, except perhaps me, for forgetting that I carry my dugout inside of me, and whenever I want, I can hop in and go for a little paddle.

* * *

* For more reading about Inner Relationship Focusing, and some of the techniques Michal used in this demo, go here:  https://focusingresources.com