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We are not here to change the world

I intended this blog to document the events of the residency. Another (more subjective) story emerged.

Wednesday – pathological demand avoidance

Tonight the first 10 minutes of dinner are silent.

I am boiling. I want to talk. Or to scream, maybe. I have been wanting to scream for a while. I am tired of following people’s stupid and arbitrary rules. I feel so constrained. Humiliated almost.

I don’t want to be told when to speak, when to dance or cuddle, laugh or cry.

I don’t like being told when to be silent either.

Why am I doing that to myself ? The question pops up in my head every moment of the day.

After the 10 minutes of silence, I don’t feel like talking anymore [esprit de contradition, some people call it]. I leave the dinner table to go out in the cold.

I need to walk. And I need to cry.

I need to cry my anger out again.

Uta has read something about this. It’s called Pathological Demand Avoidance, she tells me. It’s not pathological, she explains, until the person resists their own negative emotions (and responses to demands), as a result of trauma. She’d like to have a chat with Paddy and I, to know what it feels like from the inside.

We have a heart meeting tonight. Part of me would like to speak. To express the distress. Nothing is okay. I hate to have to live like that. Why would anyone want to live like that ??

And this time, I do have to speak. I have to take that pine cone, and to say some words. But I have no words. Nothing comes out of my mouth. Nothing that I can articulate coherently. Nothing that I feel ready to share with this group. Ironically, I can’t speak on demand either.

So I take the pine cone, just to explain I don’t have anything to say. Pathological Demand Avoidance…

Thursday – bla bla bla ! Argh

Mercury is retrograde this month – until the end of our time here. This is one way to analyse it, maybe. More simply though, the words are not ready yet – as Uta explains for me, once again.

Uta has provided me with many words this week. And I heard that trauma makes you silent…

Friday – lost in translation

This experience triggers a lot of anger and frustration. This is one way of seeing it, and if I was stuck at that level of understanding I would probably ask for everything to change.

I would ask for less order and more chaos. Less rules. Less plans. More freedom. More spontaneity. More life. More time and space to let life flow through us.

Could we not just try and get out of the way (for once) ?

Just let life do the job, please. Life usually does the job so well…

Or maybe I would leave. After all, I wasn’t forced to come here, and I don’t have to stay. But that would be missing the whole point of this experience. This experience which – at another level – is exactly the one I need (at the right moment), to heal the anger and frustration within ?

Saturday – nine mirrors (exposure therapy)

It’s like in family constellations, I’ve been thinking. Everyone plays their role. Everyone plays the exact role they are meant to play. Nine people acting exactly as they should, for the parts that need it to be triggered and faced, embraced and healed.

Nine mirrors, as I keep saying – some of whom look like magnifying mirrors. Nine parts of me that I need to incorporate within my conscious system.

I try and explain what’s going on to Paddy. That sounds like exposure therapy, he tells me. Yes, this is true. This is what life does, in my experience, when you let it flow through you. Life takes you (back?) to the places where trauma happened, so you can heal the parts. Life does the healing – you just need to get out of the way.

The parts can’t be healed if they are burried. The triggers are necessary (and precious). This is what my nine mirrors are doing here for me, every minute of the day.

I suspect I am doing the same for them. We are healing together. That’s the whole point of this community. And I am so very grateful for that. This is why my body asks me to stay.

Sunday – rules of avoidance

The rules (and « etiquettes ») are in the way. They keep us safe, and they prevent too much trigger. They prevent our dark sides from coming to the surface, being revealed and seen – and from healing. They prevent life from doing the job it inevitably does so well.

We create all those rules because we are control freaks. Control is a response to fear. The fear of the unknown. The fear of life. Of the messiness (and the beauty) of life. The fear of healing, too ? Too much control takes too much energy, and it leads to burnout.

It’s easy to spot the patterns in other people. But again, they are my very precious mirrors. Control is one of my big problems too, and burnout a topic I know too well.

Monday –

I’m in my own way, of course.

I’m in my own way when I refuse to surrender to the experience.

I’m in my own way when I resist my resistence.

I’m in my own way when I refuse to admit that part of me, too, finds safety in some of the rules I spend so much energy fighting against and complaining about.

Tuesday – letting go

I am on the couch, in the fire room. Paddy next to me. Petra next to us. Uta and Phill are doing an exercice in hugging and boundaries.

Uta walks towards Phill, checking within herself before every step whether it feels safe to move forward.

It’s hard to know, she realises. She walks slowly, stops, and starts walking again, hesitantly.

It’s really hard to know.

And suddenly something drops. « But it’s Phill ! » – she exclaims. « This is Phill, so it’s safe ».

She opens her arms and gives Phill a big hug.

Boundaries – like parts – need acceptance and recognition. When they are seen they lose their purpose, and they fade away.

I won’t talk until it feels safe to do so. I won’t write that blog post until I feel I have something to say.

As I am letting go of the pressure to force the words through me, they come naturally. As I accept my resistance it loosens.

Wednesday – what was I supposed to write, again ?

We are not here to change the world. We are here to accept whatever arises within us – our own world, as it is. Beautiful. Perfect. We are here to practice getting out of the way… to let the world change as it is meant to – and already is.

Thanks to Paddy Stott for providing the inspiration, editing, and container for my words (and my silence).

However much you disagree with the final text, it would not have existed without you.