Stop Pulling! How Do I Do That?
By Mark Lersch, MA, LPC(CO), LPCC(NM)
The Dilemma: Picture this scene. You are standing on a small ledge on the side of a canyon cliff wall, desperately grasping a protruding tree root; you are deathly afraid of heights; there is no way up; far below you there is a safety net strung between the rocky cliff walls; below the net, there is a friend with a megaphone telling you it is safe to let go and allow yourself to fall to the safety of the net (as the friend did).
You are struggling to talk yourself into letting go, reassuring yourself that all will be well, that you will survive. With limited success you try to connect with your spiritual guidance to find out the truth about your safety and to make sure it is loving to jump. Simultaneously your fearful wounded self is screaming inside, “You are going to die!” You try to will yourself into letting go. You try to convince yourself that your friend survived. You know from your spiritual guidance that the truth is that it is loving to let go and jump, and yet, you cannot bring yourself to jump. Your hands don’t cooperate. They appear frozen and locked in a vise-like grip. You pretend to jump and yet your body doesn’t follow. You know the truth intellectually: I have to let go and jump in order to live. That’s the loving thing to do! But somehow you can’t get your body to cooperate! In fact the more you try to make yourself jump, the more scared you become and the more rigid and locked to the cliff face you are.
Meanwhile, if you are the friend standing below, you consider different options to help the person to jump to safety. If only I can get my friend to jump, then everything will be ok! I can try to encourage, but when that doesn’t work I feel so helpless and frustrated that I threaten to walk away and leave. When that doesn’t work I try to entice, coax. When that doesn’t work I shout in anger and try to shame my friend into jumping. Perhaps it’s my fault; I must not be doing this right. I am going to lose my friend if I don't do something. I connect to my spiritual guidance and it urges me to walk away and take care of myself and yet, I cannot get myself to walk away from my friend. Nothing seems to work. Maybe I should have a drink...
This is an analogy for the dilemma we sometimes find ourselves in regarding our relationship dynamic. When we are disconnected from ourselves and from our spiritual Source, we unconsciously pull on our surroundings (especially our partner) to get from our environment what it is we feel we lack. We might be the puller or the pullee (the pullee is really also a puller, just doing it in reverse). Sometimes we vacillate from one to the other depending upon the situation. Even when we become conscious of our pulling and stop the outer pulling behaviors, we somehow cannot stop ourselves from pulling energetically. We try to take care of ourselves, connect with Spirit, take the loving action for ourselves and yet, cannot stop pulling or reacting to the other person’s pull.
This is the dilemma. How do we find our way out? How do we solve this conundrum?
Here is the result of the solution yet to be revealed: As I experience myself standing on the cliff face or far below under the net, I close my eyes and when I re-open them I find myself sitting next to my dear friend in the safety of my home sipping a delicious Starbucks. A smile comes to my face as I realize I am no longer on the cliff face and I am no longer under the net peering up at my friend…. What is the solution? How did I get here? Part 2 will reveal my thoughts…what are yours?
Mark Lersch and Karen Kral are certified Inner Bonding facilitators and licensed psychotherapists. They are facilitating a couples intensive at their home in Colorado September 16, 17 & 18. For more information: www.corequestpotential.com