I’m committed to staying present so that I can receive and share those gifts.
This past weekend, I attended a compassionate connections workshop. I didn’t know anything about the workshop, except that my friend, Megan Cannon, who has been a beautiful example of compassion for me, was leading yoga for the workshop...and I was immediately led to show up there.
The very first trigger happened for me before the workshop even begun, when I experienced a woman who was expressing her emotions in a way that triggered a feeling of irritation and annoyance in me. Because of the commentary that was playing in my mind, she appeared weak, needy and demanding of other people.
Because I recognized this commentary as a pattern that has been playing for me for as long as I could remember, I did not pursue the commentary with my attention. Instead, I directed my attention to feeling the triggered feeling that was coming up in me.
Then I watched as another woman in the group gave voice to the thoughts that were vying for my attention. I noticed the tendency of my mind to agree with the sentiments being reflected by the second woman...kinda like “yeah chick...don’t you see that you’re disrupting the whole group with your demands for attention and respect? It’s only because you think you need these things that you don’t receive them...and it’s not like it’s everyone else’s responsibility to give these things to you.”
l laughed inside when I saw these judgments play out in me, coupled with the irritation and annoyance that were being pointed to as “proof” that said judgments were really true. I was able to experience both of these women plus the thoughts, feelings and judgments that were coming up for me.
Then I watched as my friend, Megan offered a small thing from Megan’s perspective, that was obviously a big thing from the other’s woman’s perspective. I witnessed the appreciation that the woman reflected for Megan because that small gesture made her feel included, respected and understood.
To my surprise, amazement and delight, the woman who appeared needy came right up to where I was sitting on the first break and started relating with me from a very open space. Normally a woman who showed herself to be this needy to my mind would not feel to relate with me like this because the judgment projected by me would close her off even more.
But this is yet another example of the forgiveness that arises without effort when thoughts of separation are recognized for what they are. I’m not talking about forgiveness for her acting like anything that I didn’t like. I’m talking about forgiveness for the judgments that arise in my mind in the instant they are being presented as truth.
Out of the three women, my mind related more with the woman who represented strength and self sufficiency to me...not the “needy” one, and not the “compassionate” one. But it turned out that the one who appeared “needy” to me was the one that seemed to be the most drawn to me.
I could tell that paying attention to her for as long as she could stand to be around me was what I was being called to experience. I just kept watching as the triggers arose and receded again, and I also watched as my mind jumped to try and fix her.
Because we were a triad with Megan for the first few days, I got to witness how Megan responded with understanding and empathy to this woman’s projections of self doubt and perceived limitations. After the second day, Megan left the group, and I was on my own with this woman.
I witnessed the apprehension and self doubt in my mind that I would trigger this woman into closing herself off and alienating herself from me...as this has been my experience for such a long time. But that didn’t happen this time...not because I used a new and improved method of fixing her, but because I was way more interested in connecting with her than in trying to improve her life experience.
She expressed so much appreciation for all that I shared with her, that I felt led to share the judgments about her that were playing in my mind, and how my experience of her has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. Now she plans to spend time with me in Puna and possibly even be the first representative for Miracle Botanicals, my line of aromatherapy products.
I love my triggers and embrace my pain, as it’s been proven to my mind that these are the access points to intimate connection, communion and understanding...which are the human longings that are most often sought to be fulfilled through mental strategies. I can see now that reliance on these strategies instead of loving in the moment at hand is what leads to hurt feelings and a sense of being unfulfilled for everyone involved.
Nothing will ever be the same for me now that my mind has been exposed to this deep wisdom.