As has been the case for most of the country (and world, I’m sure), this has been a heart-tenderizing week. As I’m writing this, I feel like I’ve been in a fight. Part of me just want to curl up and sleep. Somehow, that seems like the ideal plan.
But, I’ve been trying to stay open, to find ways to not shut down or lash out. Too many times in my life, I’ve seen how destructive both of those can be.
This is hard work.
Earlier this week, wrung out from too little sleep and too much caffeine and sugar, I’m sitting in a class where I am being challenged. Challenged in the “Please don’t talk about who you are, because I can’t handle it” kind of way. I’m sitting in my chair, feeling my chest tighten up, writing really small notes to myself in my notebook (not wanting anyone to be able to read them, but needing to write down my own process), and fighting to not burst out into tears or walk out.
Both would have been fine in this class. But I kept thinking, “What if this were a client, who I am trying to build a therapeutic relationship with. What is keeping me from truly hearing them?” During the break, someone checked in with me, to see how I was doing. I consciously realized what I was trying to do and was encouraged to speak up about my process, if I wanted to.
Ultimately, I chose not to, right away, because I wanted to explore more of what was going on with me, what I was truly thinking, and to stay with the discomfort a little bit. Because that’s where the growth is – for all parties.
I don’t have the answers. I still don’t. I just know that when our professor asked us to imagine where the walls were being built, I didn’t immediately see walls. I saw myself, curled around my heart, wanting so badly to protect myself.
What do I need to say to protect myself, but also be open? Is there a chance that you can’t have it both ways? Is this what vulnerability looks like?
Perhaps there’s a reason the following quote’s been on my mind a lot recently.
“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” – Chogyam Trungpa