As people, we like to believe that we have an objective perspective of the world and our surroundings. But in actuality, we all hold a subjective perspective based on our past histories, experiences, traumas, etc... The way we see the world is colored by our own individual lenses. However, by considering and including each other's perspectives, we can start to hold a more objective, accurate, all-encompassing perspective.
Much like most people, I am affected by what is going on in the world today. What feels most painful to me is that the world is so divided right now. I feel like the separation, division, disconnection, and hate is killing us. I was reflecting on why it's so painful for me and it hit me that I'm seeing the world through the lens of my childhood. My parents are very opinionated, stubborn, strong-willed people and they can be unwilling to consider other people's perspectives...and they tend to hold very different perspectives from each other. When they felt their perspectives/worldview were threatened by one another, they would experience shame and deflect that shame onto each other (which is commonly how humans react/respond to shame). Growing up, I felt like I was stuck in between two worlds. Needless to say, there wasn't much space for my own perspective and I developed the ability to be able to take different people's perspectives as a coping mechanism (which is also a super useful skill for my career...so while it comes from pain, I recognize it's also a gift).
If it's not painful enough to see the world divided, I'm also seeing my childhood family dynamic being played out - making it doubly painful...it is a re-traumatization (which I imagine is the case for many people). It makes me feel helpless and powerless, like I'm watching everything collapse before my very eyes and there's nothing I can do about it. I return to feeling like the little girl who felt responsible for resolving my parents conflicts, but didn't have the tools and wasn't in the position to do anything about...so I felt frozen.
I decide to take myself through Teal Swan's Completion Process. Rather than resisting what I am feeling, I allow myself to surrender to this freeze state...and it brings up fear, discomfort, and hurt. My heart is pounding out of my chest and I feel it throbbing in my body, and I notice that my hands and feet feel cold. I start to feel dizzy, and I allow myself to sink more deeply into these sensations.
I feel emotionally unsafe. I can feel the shame of the collective, and how they are deflecting it onto each other...trying to shame each other to change...and each doing what they believe is right to make things better. I find myself wanting to hide, make myself smaller, and not be noticed out of fear of being judged or shamed.
I tell myself softly, "I am completely here with you now. I want to feel this," and I ask myself, "when was the very first time I felt this same exact way?" A familiar memory surfaces from age 2 when I felt like I was drowning in a pool during swim class. This memory has emerged several times as I've used this process, so it seems like there are multiple layers of healing involved with it. Everyone seemed so distant in this memory even though they weren't actually that far away, and they couldn't see that I was struggling. I felt so cold and alone. It felt like it lasted forever, but in actually it couldn't have been that long. After allowing myself to fully experience the memory from 1st person-perspective, I use an active visualization to create resolution for this memory within my thoughtscape which results in emotional relief. As part of the resolution, I visualize being surrounded by friends at a beach with caring, attentive adults close by to keep us safe. During this visualization, I allowed myself to fully soak in and relish in this bliss...it feels amazing. Upon coming out of this journeywork, I reflect on my needs that were highlighted in this process...connection and belonging. I want to be a part of the solution, the antidote to the global crisis...and to do that I will share my presence, my authentic voice, and my vulnerability.
So I ask you today...What is the current situation telling you that is unhealed from your past? Can you be brave enough to bring loving attention to these hurt aspects within you? Are we willing to come together and hold each other's pain with compassion during this difficult time, instead of tearing each other apart? What do you want your role to be during this time in history?
Akiho Tanaka, Ph.D.
Dr. Tanaka is a Clinical Psychologist in Orlando, FL. Her curious mind, keen intuition, and compassion for human suffering led her to enter the field of Psychology. She finds nothing more worthwhile than empowering others and facilitating their healing process so they can live more fulfilling lives.