Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving Through the Old Story to a New Story of Presence

Many years ago, through important inner work, I discovered a story about why I had gotten “fat”. I came to believe that as a child I took responsibility for my parent’s emotional pain. Taking responsibility for their pain, made it mine and food was the escape. Now that I have stopped “escaping” my emotions with food, I am forced to face them. It’s only through facing them that I have been able to realize, that often times the emotions I feel still come from me taking on the emotions of those around me. Sadly when I have done this, I completely lost sense of myself, as well as the present moment.

Looking back at the last year, I can highlight example after example, of times I experienced sadness, anxiety or anger because of how another person was feeling (or at least how I perceived them to be feeling). Each time I became obsessed with thoughts of how I could fix their problem and even blaming myself for it. I became hypersensitive about being the cause of anything else that might escalate their discontent. All of this caused great anxiety and if you have ever experienced anxiety you know how uncomfortable it is, not just emotionally, but physically. In these instances, I felt completely disconnected from myself as well as the other person. When I am disconnected from myself and others, I am not present.

Today I am reaffirming my commitment to my life’s purpose (embracing the present moment) and using it to bring this old way of behaving into the light of consciousness. It’s time for a new story. The old story is no more than that, “a story.” Honestly, I don’t even know if it is true, and focusing on it keeps me stuck in the past. What matters now is that my new story is one I create in each and every moment. Every moment it starts right back at the beginning. In each moment there is no room for grasping onto other people’s emotions. In each moment there is no place for feeling guilty or responsible. When I separate my own emotions from those of people around me, only then am I able to fully be connected to them, to myself & to the universe.

I am going to use a little mantra to help me stay in a place of presence, if I find myself reacting to another person’s emotions. It is based on a meditation posted on the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations websit this week. Check out A Survival Meditation by Reverend Nathan Walker (First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.)

As I breathe in I notice I am reacting to someone else’s emotion
As I breathe out I know I am separate from that emotion, which helps me stay present.

How do you let yourself be affected by the emotions of the people around you? How does this impact you? Does your taking ownership, lessen the chances that they will process the emotion in a healthy way? What if you could stand in presence and support your loved ones a way that not only encourages their highest good but your own?


...focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
--Greg Anderson



A HUGE shout out to my friends who came out to CrossFit this week, to check out my new passion. I feel blessed to have you in my life. YOUR support is invaluable. On a side note I'd like to proudly announce a new CrossFit PR (personal record). I did the 400 meter for the first time without having to stop and walk!

1 comment:

Cindy Handler said...

Thanks for continuing to share your journey Steph. I wish I had had your presence of mind when I was your age, it would have saved me years of self-consciousness, self-hatred and bad decisions. You are an inspiration!

Also thanks for sharing a great CrossFit success story!