The holidays hold a powerful energetic field, woven of light waves that include our collective history, our most profound myths and sacred stories, our human longing for community and communion, and the shimmering promise of birth and renewal that is the open door of soul incarnation.
The magic of this time of year casts into high relief our primal hunger for true nourishment — for love and tenderness, home and belonging, generosity and kindness. It brings to the surface our secret desires and painfully unmet expectations.
In the crucible of holiday gatherings, old patterns of relationship emerge, scoring our hearts with the gap between what we hope for and what is revealed. The masks become unwearable, unbearable. We flee from them down familiar alleyways of reactivity and rejection.
Here’s a practice you can play with, today, to meet these painful patterns in a new way.
That one wiggly, barely-hanging-by-a-thread tooth that you keep probing with your tongue even though it hurts and bleeds and tastes of copper and panic each time you touch it… That.
Feel the wobbliness and zing of it. Feel the ways in which it sizzle-brands pathways of pain, adrenalized avoidance, irresistible attraction throughout your body. That shaky, oh-my-god-this-hurts-I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this-again feeling that leaves you breathless, a little sick, ashamed, agonized — again.
Take a breath. Let it go. Another breath. In. Out. In. Out. In…Out…
Let the metronome of your breath restore you to your senses.
Explore the relationship between the Thing That Hurts, the You That Hurts, and the You that keeps pressing on the thing that keeps hurting.
You’re exploring what is, rather than what has been — probing biology, not history. Your history shapes your biology, but what you choose to practice today, and every day from here on, becomes your history, becomes your biology.
Drop your gaze down into the cavity of your body. In and under and between the zing of pain, the swirls of panic, where do you hold the You that is steady, calm, patient, sure-footed? Tune into the You that is loving, courageous, open-hearted, reliably kind.
Feel the texture and flavour, the warmth or coolness, the heft and buoyancy of your powerful self. Feel it in the steadiness of your heartbeat, in the calm center of your belly, in the strength of your thighs — wherever your joy, your wisdom, your generosity and power live, within you.
This feeling is energy, and energy is mostly empty space. Bring your awareness into the empty spaces inside the feeling of steady strength, reliable kindness, in your body. Expand your soul’s presence throughout these spaces, filling them with your radiance, with your soul’s light.
Notice what happens when you do this. Notice the quality of your breath, the pattern of your thoughts, the sensations in your body, the feelings that arise and dissolve in your belly, in your heart.
Now, from this place of fullness and presence, invite the Thing That Hurts to reveal its heart to you. Ask it to show you where it lives, in your body. Notice its texture, weight, and temperature. Notice the feel of it in your body. Ask it to tell you about itself. Be curious, willing to learn. Ask it to show you who and what it is, what it hopes for and dreams of, what it needs and desires from you.
Knowing that it is energy, and energy is mostly empty space, expand your soul’s presence into the empty spaces inside The Thing That Hurts. Meet it inside itself, with your soul’s love and presence. You’re not trying to cut it off, get rid of it, or change it in any way — you’re simply meeting it with all the love and wholeness that is your soul’s essence.
Feel what happens, when you do this.
What do you know now, that you didn’t know when you entered into this exploration?
Feel the texture of your heart. Can you soften it, widen it, let it be as receptive and generous as it really is, even in the face of The Thing That Hurts, The You That Hurts, and The You That Keeps Going Back For More?
If you can soften and allow your heart to be receptive, let it be so. If you can’t, and your heart feels rigid, let it be so. Give yourself space and kindness to be where you are right now. Let your willingness lead the way.
Be willing to embrace yourself, your feelings, the situation, and the other people involved, with a powerfully loving, spacious, generous heart. What creative responses emerge, from this place within you? How will you use your power to bring a clearer, stronger energy of love and truth into this situation?