I spent a wonderful day at the river hanging out with a new friend on the weekend. We talked about and shared many thoughts and experiences I haven’t shared with anyone in a long time. It felt a bit surreal in ways, and I could feel my defenses always on the alert. My past pain and heartbreak always defining what might be potentially dangerous.
I woke up the next morning with one thought: what a great day it had been. Then, another part of my mind ran wild with all the reasons and thoughts about how he will never like me when he really gets to know all about me.
I felt layers of shame, guilt, fear, and terror come pouring through my mind and my body. I felt terrible and could sense my defenses rising with incredible speed to the possible threat of any kind of closeness or intimacy.
I could feel the urge to distract myself with activities or anything to avoid this discomfort. I chose to sit with all these feelings even as uncomfortable and painful as they were. I sat until I felt something in my heart begin to soften and change, taking each emotion in turn.
Then I felt the incredible deep sorrow and grief of being so disconnected for so long, and I cried from a very deep place inside. My heart ached with this deep sadness of feeling so alone.
I felt very ungrounded and chaotic inside after this enormous release and flood of feelings. My heart felt incredibly vulnerable and raw. As I checked in, I realized that the only thing that would help me shift from this place would be movement and riding my bike was going to be the ticket. I got on and rode rather desperately at first. It was as though all the chaos within needed a focal point to direct toward.
After the first half hour I felt a level of relief and within an hour was able to stop and eat and reflect a bit more on what had happened and how much better I was feeling. By the time I returned home after more than two hours, I felt profoundly better, stronger and clearer.
I had been able to embrace my pain and fears rather than push them away, and I could feel how much more of my own power and strength I could access. I could also feel how much less protection I have around my heart that had been keeping me from the possibility of intimacy.
As I write, I marvel at what an amazing experience it was to be able to sit with the distress and hold space for myself in order to enable it to transmute into power and possibility. This is a practice that I have been working with for years now, and in the past few months, have found more specific and clear direction on how to be with all of my emotions when they are triggered in a more direct and clear way.
Do you know when you are going into defense?
What awareness do you have when you feel triggered? Can you feel the trigger or do you find you knee jerk into reacting the same way every time?
What do you do with all the uncomfortable emotions that surface?
Is there anything you want to change about the way you currently deal with triggers in your life?