Riding the Roller Coaster, Part 1
Updated: May 5, 2021
Principle: Being fully present in the moment allows the Beloveds unobstructed access to us, bringing new possibilities.
Practice: When you notice yourself attached to an old belief, say the “suspension prayer.”
Written 4/25/21 Sunday evening
This week-end, I was in a seminar offered by my order. As it turned out, the most profound learning for me came not out of the content but out of being intensely triggered in an interaction with the presenter. Anytime I’m triggered, I have a powerful opportunity to look deeply at the story I’m telling myself and the underlying beliefs. So here's what unfolded.
The presenter was talking on the “Nine Aspects of Non-Dual Consciousness.” Around aspect #7, I felt my eyes starting to glaze over and my attention waning; the material was so dense that I just couldn’t absorb anymore without a breather. So I said that, and asked if we could take a minute to breathe and re-ground. In the past, this presenter has been really responsive to this kind of request from the group, so I had every expectation that he would say, “sure.” But he acknowledged that it was a lot of material, and kept right on talking.
Then another presenter said, “Nancy, it might help if you’d relax and stop trying so hard to get every point. Just trust that your heart is getting what you need.” I had enough presence to recognize the value in the suggestion, and emotionally, I received it as shaming for doing it wrong. So I didn’t receive what I had asked for – the minute of silence - and it felt like a 1-2 punch from two of my most important and admired mentors. The first presenter completed his presentation, and about 20 minutes later, we broke for lunch.
I knew I was triggered big time, and this was an opportunity to practice the “suspension prayer,” to suspend what I’m sure is true and open my mind and heart to a new experience. My old way of responding to this “incident” (in my head) would have been to blame the two presenters for being insensitive and disrespectful, or to pretend I hadn’t been affected, to brush my feelings off. Neither of those was acceptable to me anymore. So I chose to try a new approach.
I picked up the phone and called a friend to share my feelings and get support. The first person didn’t pick up, so I tried another new behavior: I found the courage to try another call. No luck, so yet another person, who answered but wasn’t especially helpful. So I persisted to a fourth person, and she listened, validated my feelings in response, and asked several great questions that helped me clarify that I was feeling both really hurt and angry, and that both were ok.
I saw through her questions that I felt unsafe because I hadn’t gotten what I asked for… that I have had an old belief operating unconsciously that I need to get what I want in order to be safe. Seeing that opened the space to question whether that belief is really still true in my life – and of course, I saw that it’s not.
When I finished this conversation, I went to sit at my altar. As soon as I approached it, I started sobbing intensely, and the next old belief to surface was “finding the courage to ask for what I need doesn't mean I'll get it.” My LO was devastated to see that; it felt like one of the foundations of her sense of reality was shattering. I cried for quite awhile at my altar, holding her while she grieved, and then moved to lying down with her on my bed. I asked the Mamas to hold us both, and felt their presence viscerally, spooning us.
I ended up sleeping a bit, and did not return to the seminar at the designated time. I was still feeling too fragile, too raw to put myself back in the group. But by taking an additional hour, I reconnected with the Beloveds and my adult self, and my sense of safety was restored.
So while this experience was excruciating, I managed to stay present with my feelings overall, and that proved to be the key to opening to a new experience. By remaining present, I gave the Mamas unobstructed access to me so They could support me through suspending my old beliefs and opening to a new experience. I rode the roller coaster of my emotions with my hands over my head, not holding on tight, not trying to steer or brake. I know there will be more processing to do – and this was a triumph!