I enjoy connecting with others and crave authentic relationships that allow us to share personal experiences about ourselves. I believe that being able to share and be vulnerable brings more depth to our relationships and helps us to grow through our exchange of stories. It also helps us to see that we are not alone in our experiences which can help us to transmute feelings of isolation, separateness, and even thoughts of suicide.
A recent situation helped me to recognize that the shadow side of this deep craving for connection also comes from a need to feel safe. I could see how this unhealed part of me will at times attempt to create allies to prevent me from falling into danger. This behavior stems from years of conditioning.
CREATING FROM THE SHADOW DOESN'T WORK
Anytime I unconsciously create from the shadow, I weave fear and confusion into my relationships. When this happens, my “vulnerable sharing” comes from a place of desperation; desperation to feel loved, valued, and connected to others.
This often causes the recipient of my “shadow sharing” to craft their own stories about what I have shared and depending on the lens in which they view the world, then leads them to form unhelpful judgments about me. This often leads to a very awkward and uncomfortable situation for both of us and leaves me feeling rejected and abandoned. This pattern has shown up over and over again throughout my life. I was only now willing to accept my role in it.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
I. I received a gift in this recent this situation. It has allowed me to see the deep wound at the root of my shadow behind this behavior. At the opposite pole of love and connection is rejection, abandonment, and isolation and it is these emotions that my shadow is attempting to protect me from.
What may seem counterintuitive is that we cannot create alliances to protect us from these emotions. We can only dance in the energy of love and companionship that we generate through the beautiful partnerships we have formed with other beings.
There is also no need to protect ourselves from rejection, abandonment, and isolation. We must only lean into love to find that there is nothing to be protected from. This “need for protection" is related to identification with the false-self and not our true self. The true-self knows that all emotions, heavy and light, add to the magnificent experience of being human.
II. There is nothing wrong with sharing my heart, sharing my love, and sharing my truth. This is a beautiful way to connect and engage in this world. What is important is to use discernment with who I share with and recognize in advance why I am choosing to share what I share.
PRACTICING RADICAL DISCONTINUITY:
Creating new patterns and breaking away from old habits requires the practice of radical discontinuity. Discontinuity means an interruption in the normal structure or pattern. We see the discontinuity in nature when the earth quakes and erupts. This eruption mirrors the psychological, emotional, and spiritual disruption that must occur in order to create a change.
This process can feel like complete destruction, and it is. It is essential to see the situation for what it is. Destruction is not good or bad. It presents to us both renewal and death; the death of old ways and the chance for new life to spring forward.
Where we choose to see only the “death” and destruction in the situation and not the renewal is where we create more pain. We can also count on the situation showing up in our lives again. Sometimes with the same players; sometimes with new ones.
When we practice radical discontinuity while in the midst of a distressful situation, the dis-ease is multiplied, and we are often left feeling desperate, afraid, and out of balance. This is because we are afraid and out of balance and a part of us probably is desperate to cling to the status quo and keep things the way we are. Stay with yourself. Don’t run from the destruction. You are learning to create a new sense of balance; one that is free from behaviors that bind you and keep you small.
Practicing radical discontinuity amidst an already difficult situation is the way we build our capacity to “hold” ourselves. There is a gift in the face of destruction as it presents us with the opportunity to bring our most creative self forward. To hone our skills as alchemists and transmute the coal of our pain into the gold that blesses all of humanity. When we heal ourselves, we help to heal the whole.
Our power is most potent when we are in the space of dis-ease and destruction. This is because we can choose to use our inner resources, including that of radical discontinuity, to create rather than succumb to fear and the habits of limited thinking.
I am choosing to see the gold in my present situation because now I do not have to repeat the behaviors that arise from the small parts within me. I can notice when I am creating from my shadow and choose to create connections from a place of love and authenticity instead.
The key is to offer yourself gentle compassion and kind words that can bring ease to you through this transformative process.
Offering statements to myself like, “I am growing through this. I recognize that I am hurting and that this is uncomfortable but I am growing through this” has been very healing for me.
So I implore you, lean into the practice of radical discontinuity and when your shadows present themselves, be open to the gifts they have to offer you.