A Catalyst for Growth and Recovery
Here’s a theory to consider:
The modern-day salute was adapted from the practice of medieval knights who, as a gesture of mutual respect when passing one another on the battlefield, would lift the visors of their helmets in greeting.
It’s a romantic notion. It may or may not be true, and it’s almost certainly partial. Regardless, the symbolism is rich: they removed their armor and allowed themselves to be seen.
The armor most of us wear today is of the psychological sort, but we wear it for the same reason: We’re protecting ourselves. We don’t want our soft, squishy hearts to be vulnerable. We don’t allow ourselves to be seen. It’s a lonely way to live.
Our relationships with others can be a powerful healing force, and they can be one of the most rewarding (and yes, challenging) aspects of our lives. In fact, even for the introverts among us, our ability to navigate our relationships is one of the most potent factors in measures of happiness and life satisfaction.
For me, and for many addicts, the lower-left quadrant of relationship and “we space” is one of the hardest. The deep-seated shame that accompanies addiction (or depression, or trauma) causes us to contract, lest others see our truth and judge us unworthy and unlovable, just as we have already judged ourselves.
And yet, it’s only through visibility and vulnerability that we heal. The antidote to shame is acceptance, and it’s impossible for others to accept us if we’re not revealing ourselves to anyone. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, cultivating guileless vulnerability and authenticity is essential.
Not every relationship needs to be a crucible for growth and transformation. The overwhelming majority of our relationships—even primary relationships—are developed and chosen for harmony, peace, and comfort. And truth be told, that’s perfectly healthy.
But we do need a space to be seen and to be vulnerable. Whether we find it in our friends, a support group, or with a therapist, the open integrity of sacred relationship keeps us honest and helps us grow. And in every case, this type of relationship can only flourish with an undercurrent of compassion, safety, care, and respect.
When others truly know us, when they’re seen all of us, they can shine the light on our blind spots and illuminate our shadows. And any enlightenment experience, in the absence of shadow work, is inherently incomplete.
This week, let’s lift our visors. Let’s remove our armor. Let’s allow ourselves to be seen.
[1:55] How do we get the courage to face our Shadow? And then once we get the courage, what do we do?
[2:20] The practice of transparent openness in our relationships and how, through those relationships, we can work on our shadow in real-time.
[2:40] How our relationships can provide the incentive to reach deep within ourselves and find the courage to face our shadows, as well as accountability and penetrating insight.
[3:57] With whom can we participate in the transparent openness and shadow work of sacred relationship? Is it possible to engage in this kind of soul-bearing with our partners? Our friends? Our families? Everyone? What qualities do our relationships require for this level of intimacy and honesty?
[4:55] How our ability to navigate our closest relationship determines our overall levels of happiness and life satisfaction in a very real and impactful way, and why the depth afforded by our closest relationships, including the strife and hurt as well as the joy, grounds us in connection and meaning.
[5:45] The importance of mutual trust, understanding, and compassion to engender the safety that sacred relationship requires
[7:00] Harmony and Peace or individuation and growth – which is the goal of the vast majority of relationships and friendships?
[9:35] Imbuing our conflicts in our individuation relationships with heart and compassion
[9:55] The challenge of expressing the truth of who we are, with honesty and authenticity in our relationships instead of disappearing into the unhealthy facade of pretending to be who we think others want us to be, and why sharing that truth is essential for our growth and evolution
[11:25] The fear of vulnerability and the impulse to hide – returning to humility through baring our souls, and how this leads to authentic intimacy – not only in our relationships with others, but with ourselves
[13:10] Why this level of honesty and authenticity is especially critical to those in recovery
[13:47] The cost of withdrawal as a conflict-management style, and why we must face our fear of vulnerability in our relationships
[15:32] The divide between secure and insecure attachment styles, and how both “moving towards” and “moving away” are rooted in the same insecurity
[17:35] The roots of attachment theory and the development of our attachment styles – how our intimacy and connection styles, developed in childhood, continue to show themselves in our adult lives unless we consciously intervene and cultivate a different attachment style
[20:50] The prevalence of insecure attachment styles among addicted populations, and how this compares to the population at large
[22:20] How our desire to drink and use is influenced in a profound way by our ability to form secure attachments or lack thereof – changing our neurochemistry to assuage the feeling of loneliness and rejection
[23:20] What does healthy attachment look like? Emotional responsiveness and affect attunement. The importance of responding to others with care and concern as well as accuracy, and how the way others respond to us impacts our attachment style
[24:30] How a skillfully attuned therapist can often act as a surrogate for the emotional responsiveness and affect attunement we missed in childhood
[25:08] The ego-dystonic reaction that occurs when people who’ve never experienced it are skillfully heard, why it can be so uncomfortable, and how a measured approach can help acclimatize us to vulnerability
[26:58] The skills of an effective therapist and tuning into the uncomfortable self-contractions that follow displays of authenticity and truth
[28:28] The effects of different meditation practices on our feelings of isolation and loneliness, and how we can adopt a more integral approach to cultivate different aspects of healing and growth through compassion, metta, and forgiveness practices that increase our feelings of connection
[30:30] The neurobiological effects of vividly imagining the presence of others in our compassion and forgiveness practices, and why the method can be so powerfully healing
[31:35] Removing the shame around our needs and having them met, and how our wounds can lead us to invalidate ourselves and our emotional needs
[33:43] Bridging the gap between acknowledging a complement and truly letting it in; how we develop the capacity to heal our perceptions of ourselves
[35:44] How leaning into our fear and leaning into our discomfort is necessary when it comes to our golden shadows
[37:00] How intimate knowledge of another adds weight and believability to the expression and belief of positive traits, and why we can be dismissive of complements when they come from people who haven’t seen the totality of our truth
[40:14] How framing the complements we receive through a larger non-dual perspective and seeing ourselves as vessels for the expression of the divine can allow us to integrate the possibility of our potential and our goodness
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08/25/2017, 43:59, 30.21 mb (Audio)
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