There are three primary coping mechanisms:
1. Avoidance-moving away, stepping back, retreating
2. People Pleasing- moving towards, ignoring my own needs.
3. Reaction-moving against, a form of aggression (you want the other person to feel what you are feeling.)
These may be activated unconsciously. Deep set patterns of behavior are common.
Be curious. Be willing. Find your patterns and grow your investigation/understanding of how you do what you do. Checking in with your internal narrative, inclination, physical sense and emotions can help deepen connection. I am usually inclined to allow my head chatter free reign as it will distract me in that moment. I have often chosen fantasy over reality.
I spent 2.5 days with horses in Paso Robles. They were my teachers. I met the lovely KOELLE (https://koelleinstitute.com) and her band of facilitators to discover me. Wholly. It was nothing short of a miracle. My assumptions are based on past experiences. My feelings of irritability, my judgements and my emotions give me important information. Until now, I was unskilled at reading them, I used them to activate my coping mechanisms. I got lost. My American Culture is hideous at supporting true individuality. Look at our advertising module, compelling us to all be something other than who we are. I have spent many years striving in my effort to BELONG. Most of us do not feel comfortable being ourselves. I have spent most of my life disconnected, out of habit. I have definitely had true expressions along the way-the ones that have colored my life bright. I am now inspired to have my body be HOME.
I have spent many years seeking answers. My questions of HOW and WHY have compelled me to travel far. I am still surprised that all my effort was satisfying to a degree and mostly not. Easy for inspiration to wane or for my new practice to lose momentum once I settled into familiar. I suspect it is primarily due to my disconnect. Yes, it is real. I was looking for answers 'out there' because I had a fundamental belief I WAS WRONG. My teachings to date, pretty sure, all have the same message: Go within, what you seek (answers) reside deep inside. !!!/$#*&(???@#!!!??? Honestly? I have never been able to really grasp this until a few days ago. I had brief encounters of THINKING I believed it, but never able to make that leap with confidence.
I am going to wholeheartedly thank my AGE and my absolute surrender. If nothing else, I have complete conviction and motivation to do me different going forward. All my decades of TRYING, GIVING to others, SELF-HATING, and what I have often referenced as the MISERY BOAT have sailed.
I am in love with a man who will not make time to engage. There is a lesson here. And where I often send "Choose Me" to invite him closer I will now use this phrase on myself. I have long known a 'personal love affair' would be best and I simply could not swallow it whole because I had no real inkling of how to cultivate it. Seriously, since I seem wired to ignore myself, getting connected can feel really weird. My practice (taking time to notice) has lessened my reactivity.
I trip and veer off course often, so I am hardly concerned with my messy. It actually helps me to accept my expressions in all their forms. I am lucky enough to have this concept supported by my best friends, so we are transforming together, in great company.
None of this is easy to put into words and I love trying to get it out there. I am not actually attracted to perfection, I know it and I have aspired to it, but if I am really truthful-what the hell is it? An interpretation? A goal? An endgame? Somebody else's reality? I have been in homes that look like the ones in magazines, and yes, they are beautiful (at first) but what do you do in that space? I am never invited 'visually' to be comfortable or make a mess or be me. I am immediately compelled to stand tall (I can manifest a 'less than' feeling), hold my breath and leave as quickly as possible. That may be too dramatic, however I think it is a clear example. I like order, I like space and when I need neurotic to get it, I am deep in my disconnect of exercising a coping mechanism due to an unmet need. Gentle kindness is my new 'go-to'. Denying myself pleasure is a terrible action. Figuring out what makes me happy, what makes me comfortable and what feeds my soul is a much more intriguing adventure. Nobody else can do it for me.....and yes, I have moments where I wish they would ;-)
Koelle introduced me to connection. Energetic communication. She moved me away from right/wrong thinking and exposed me to the beauty of perspectives. Collaboration. Collective interchange to find solution. It was hard and more importantly IT WAS FUN.
My disconnect has left me disengaged from delight. I have (temporarily) forgotten how to enjoy, relax, and live. I have been too busy doing. I have filled my days with tasks, I am agenda based and it is an exhausting approach for approval. So when I went grocery shopping last night I kept checking in with me, feeling my way around the store. Looking people in the eye is a grounding element, awareness of breath/scent works too, my other favorite is concentrated listening. I can often find myself anticipating what another will say (total disconnect) and can feel my heart rate increase as well. Koelle helped me recognize my body 'tells'.
Everything I need is right here, close and true. If I can stay curious (I remember reading in one of Shirley MaClaine's books that she considered this to be the secret to happiness) all will be well.