A Rough Landing and Then an EpiphanyBy Phyllis Stein
October 08, 2011
Who runs the show when you are feeling physically miserable, your wounded self or your loving adult?
I was flying into Washington DC this week for a meeting. At the end of the flight I had been listening to a beautiful healing meditation, but then it was time to “turn off all electronic equipment.” So I grabbed the American Way magazine from the seat back pocket and started working on the Soduku puzzle (the “easy” one, I am not very good at it). I got so distracted that by the time I noticed that the descent had been turbulent and bumpy, I was feeling queasy and basically awful. The rough landing (as one passenger remarked “I guess he hit the flat spot on the tires”) and the unnecessarily abrupt deceleration added to my misery. I desperately, as one does in these situations, wanted to feel better and quickly! Suddenly, it dawned on me that if I was feeling awful, my little girl was feeling just as awful and needed my help. So, for the first time, instead of focusing on getting over feeling bad, I reached out to her just as I would do with an outer child. I opened my heart to how bad she was feeling, held her and just stayed in compassion for her. Immediately, as if tumblers were falling in a lock, I saw three things. Click! I saw how it was when I was little and feeling bad physically. How my mother just wanted to fix me, to get me to stop feeling bad as soon as possible. My feeling bad did not cause her to have any empathy or compassion. If anything she was annoyed because she had to do something about it. Then, click, I saw how I had treated my own children when they were feeling bad physically. Sure, I cared that they were hurting, but if anything my heart stayed closed and I went into my head trying to fix them and when that did not work, I too became annoyed. Click, the third tumbler fell into place as I realized that I had done exactly the same thing to my own little girl, trying to fix her and even subtly judging myself if I could not stop feeling bad quickly. Somehow, although I had learned through Inner Bonding to be there for my little girl when she was was feeling bad emotionally, feeling physically miserable remained stuck in another category, to be handled by my wounded self. But this time it was different. And what was amazing was that by the time we got to the gate not only was I no longer feeling sick, my little girl and I were actually feeling really great! Click! I do think I am finally starting to get this Inner Bonding business!
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Pain and joy are in the same place in the heart. You cannot put a lid on pain without putting a lid on your joy as well. Are you opting for the flatness of the illusion of safety, or are you willing to experience both the lows and the highs of life? Today, cry and laugh with your whole heart.
By Dr. Margaret Paul