By Padma Borrego, February, 2016
As I have transitioned from massage to Structural Integration, I have been studying anatomy and movement intently for several years. It has strengthened my mind in a new way. I feel the difference in my meditations and my focus is more grounded than it has been in years. I’m also able to watch my emotions more clearly. I’m not sure it’s from a stronger connection to my mind, but it makes sense to me.
My heart has been cracked open. It is said that is where the light comes in. It feels intense, this light, drawing awareness to all that has been hiding. I had been feeling like I had been asleep at the wheel, going through the motions, surviving. Not depressed, not asleep, but not awake. It’s been a while since I have felt awake. I am being pried open, asked to wake up. I feel vulnerable. As one friend said, “maybe its just normal after being so guarded.” Vulnerable is normal? It’s definitely softer.
My awareness has been sharpened. I have dreams that wake me up in the middle of the night, as if I’m being pushed into looking at my role in my life. It reminds me of “Defending Your Life” with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. I’m being shown how I have participated in my life and how it’s gotten me to where I am now. It is painful and extremely helpful at the same time.
I am seeing the levels and layers of untruths that I have believed about my family, my relationships, and myself. My story is being opened up for me and highlighted in a different way. I have sorted through the story of my life many times, as we all do when we hit different levels of maturity or pain. The experience of having a child inside of my body and then embracing, caring, and nurturing that child has been an incredible experience. It is healing a deep wound in me. When my son was a baby, I felt a deep profound love I knew I had never felt before. It was like being in love, not romantic love but LOVE. I have heard that we come from Love. Pure and whole and complete, and I felt it.
My wounds are still here. And may always be here. They have shaped me. But my maturity feels different, I feel more able to hold my own hand, feel deep love for myself, and ask for the willingness to stay in this place of opening my heart. Maybe the experience of bonding and loving that I have had with my son allows me to give that to myself. It feels BIG. I have always been a passenger on the storm of my emotions – I have felt thrown around with not much awareness. Now, I am aware of the emotions, the thoughts and beliefs behind the feelings. I am aware of how I have pushed people away, and pushed myself away. In this dance with others, in my fear, I have created distance, distrust, and separation. I have created the very thing I was afraid of. This fear of loving, and deeper fear of losing – It’s a pattern I have repeated many times and I finally see it. FINALLY. It’s painful, but freeing. I’m not on the inside of the storm right now, I’m on the outside looking in.
Tara Brach is a Buddhist teacher that speaks of walking into self- awareness with kindness and forgiveness. I hear her say, “It is not your fault.” I understand her words to say that our early experiences shape our unconscious reactions, they are survival, primal and set in place. And until we are aware of our reactions, we cannot help it. She invites us to investigate our reactions with an eye of love, offer forgiveness, come back to a loving presence, and then choose presence in our breath and body. It is so gentle that it allows me to look at more of myself. It allows me to offer love to myself and receive it graciously. I can see the fear of opening my heart to another. And in the softness, I can sit with my fear and find peace. Fear is a natural form of protection. As I bring awareness to my fear and continue to rest in love, I can find presence in myself. And that is my greatest protection and my greatest gift. Fear is the place where I can find access to my innate goodness and a connection to the whole of life, a greater source.
This heart that’s broken open, I will nurture it to stay open. With awareness and willingness to grow and to reach out to others. And bringing attention to my protectors: judgment, blame, isolation, and fear. I have been finding such grace inside. I had forgotten it was there. I know there is deep love inside of me. I feel it. I can see my heart in my son, how nourished and loving he is. I see the kindness and care that comes back to me. I know we all have this experience – the human experience of fear, separation, and distrust. It is not my own. I carry it as we all carry it. It connects us and allows us to find compassion for each other. We all have the desire to grow, to connect, and share. That is our shared human experience. And I can love this messy humanness. Or at least be present to the innate love inside of me as I bear witness to it.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.