Listening to the subtle wisdom that whispers through the magical vessel of your body is almost impossible at first.
Decades of programing that has trained you to be nice, polite and kind to others has also taught you to ignore, push aside and abandon your-self.
Your desire to be loved, belong and feel safe has created a vault in which your longings, your objections, your cravings, your clarity, your intuition, your impulses and your aliveness has been locked away so as to not rock the boat that holds and houses you.
And after some time, be it weeks, years or decades there is no more room in the vault. So you go about building a bigger vault, with stronger walls, thicker chains and bigger padlocks.
You become tired, exhausted even, spending so much time and energy maintaining your vault. You feel engorged inside as it takes up more and more space and eventually it seems there is no room to move.
And then it happens. As you open the lid just a sliver to shove in yet one more small, seemingly insignificant impulse, the vault explodes.
For a moment, until you manage to force the lid closed once again, a torrent of sadness flows, volcanic rage erupts, fear tremors... like a unexpected and uninvited earthquake through your tender body.
It is terrifying. You'd forgotten what you'd put in that vault, or that it even existed. Until now. And you realise that you've been numb for years or maybe decades to the possibilities that lay dormant within.
You begin to remember that a long long time ago you chose to hide your true self away in the name of safety... and now realise is was not 'safe' at all.
As you take a closer look you begin to see that the vault is powerful beyond your mind's belief. It is in fact not a vault at all, but a treasure chest. A place where you've hidden your most valuable riches that were too bright, too unsafe, too much in contrast to a culture that hasn't learnt how to feel, and sense and listen to the subtle wisdom of its human bodies.
It seems scary at first, to look inside. There is soooo much in there that it can appear toooo big to let out. Something in you knows it will be worth it. Even though it may take time... and will... and courage... a life-force like you've never known before is waiting. All you need to do is commit to stepping (one step at a time) into the unknown and trust the gifts that these treasures have to offer.
As your curiosity draws you to look inside, you will be called to create and lean in to new spaces and friends and cultures even, within which to express and release your treasures from your chest.
And they will be wild, and unruly and even crazy at first. And they will need these new spaces and new friends and new cultures to hold them as they spill out.... Let them be. They have been locked in that tight dark chest for way too long.
Open your chest and let the treasure pour out.
What you will most likely discover in the process, is that your permission to release your treasures, over time, is in itself, the revealing of a new story where safety and love and belonging emerges from within.
And once the big rains pour and the storms roll through and the earthquakes shake you to your core... the seas will calm and you you will have infinite space within for all of your longings, your objections, your cravings, your clarity, your intuition, your impulses and your aliveness that were once locked away, to flow through... to be seen... to be valued... to be heard... to be loved... most importantly, by you.
And in the spaciousness of being you, you attune to the Subtle Sensory Wisdom that is speaking through you in every breathing moment. Guided by all that is... you.
On Monday night I stepped into the final ritual of The Feeling Rites #3.
A journey around the Medicine Wheel holding the energy of the 4 core feelings we work with. It has always been a powerful end to the 6 week journey for me as I witness each participant step in to the Wheel and acknowledge, honour and express a declaration to these feelings that hold a whole new and powerful meaning in their lives.
This time, as we gathered at the centre of the wheel for a closing circle my tears began to rise as I listened to each person share their experiences of insights and/or transformation from the 6 weeks.
I heard that people could communicate with family and friends in a whole new way that was connected to how they felt and could land with others in a way they hadn't experience before. The tears rumbled.
I heard a practitioner share how powerful this work was and how it will serve them in how they can work with others. The tears began to rise.
I heard how taking responsibility for feelings served someone to more fully embody their adult self and and to show up more in their lives for themselves and others. The tears rose higher.
I heard how the simplicity of this feelings framework was incredibly empowering; having tools and steps to work with feelings and emotions that we feel every day. The tears filled my eyes.
And I heard how, having been to many workshops, that there was a way that we (Gero and I ) went about facilitating that was unique, different and real. The tears began to fall.
It was my turn to share now and my face screwed up and the tears flowed and I shared how I was connected to a deep sadness. An emotional sadness that spoke of a part of me that had been keeping me at a distance to my purpose. A sadness that also told me that I was right on track and to keep on going.
The thing is, it is due to us allowing tears to fall, fear to be seen, anger to be expressed and joy to be felt with clarity and purpose that seems to make us unique as facilitators in the eyes of our participants.
I want to be clear that I'm not saying we're better than, this is just our unique way of facilitating from a place of identifying feelings and emotions and distinguishing the two that supports a particular kind of relating.
I really believe that feelings are our common language and when we can show up and communicate with them it has an impact.
And... for me this still hits up against a belief that I've somehow let in that Facilitators need to have their shit together. That I can't show any emotion ( a little feeling is OK) as I'm meant to have that sorted and people may not trust me if I do.
Oh the irony and the simplicity that we're trusted even more as we model and embody what we teach.
So in hearing all of this feedback I allowed the tears to come and I shared my gratitude, and my fear of being seen and my joy that sometimes comes with tears also and it was welcomed.
Sadness is the medicine of connection. As a feeling it comes to reconnect us to self or other in the moment. As an emotion, as mine was at the time, it came with an attempt to be heard and felt from the many times it was ignored and pushed away in the past. The many times I ignored the calling of my true purpose.
The message was loud and clear this time. "THIS IS YOUR PURPOSE. IT'S POWERFUL. IT'S TRANSFORMATIVE. KEEP GOING."
It was a timely message after a tough couple of weeks where at times I was ready to let all the balls drop and walk away.
I just wanted to go get a 9-5 job where I could fill just 1, or maybe 2 roles, rather than feeling like I'm juggling all of them with Gero in fear of how many I'm dropping as we continue to inject life force energy into this infant child that is The Art of Relating.
I'm learning, as a Mother, that I chose this child and if I don't feed it, it will die.
While I'm not as afraid to let things die as much these days I'm hearing the message over and over again that this child is one to keep alive. It has a BIG gift for the world which I'm hearing through the mouths and bodies of every person who comes into contact with it.
It is time to change my parenting style however. I am laying each ball down gently and have decided to stop being a clown with the juggling act. It doesn't serve.
Instead I will place each ball on the altar and worship one at a time as I create a new solid river bed within which to allow the river of this lifes' creation to flow along.
And it's time to ask for help, to call the people in who are ready to bring this work - to bring feelings-based communication - back into the world.
As I allow this all in more tears flow, tears of reconnection, joy and relief along with the clarity and direction of Anger, and Fear to attune me to all around, as I to continue to walk this path and Facilitate with Feeling.
Stacia is a co-founder of The Art of Relating. A Writer, Facilitator, Speaker and Wisdom Keeper.