But I thought I was being true to myself (Stage 4 or is it?)

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For many people who are on the self-development/ awakening path, the situation I’m about to describe is all too familiar and can be very painful.

Here’s the scenario. We observe a pattern that we don’t like, that has been doing us harm. A common one is to always try and please the people we love by compromising what we actually want and do. And we make a decision. Enough of this, I take my power back, I’m going to do what serves me.

And then we take this new way of being into our life, with the same people we’ve always been giving all our power away to. And we wonder why they get angry and aggressive towards us. Because we’ve been allowing them to walk all over us for such a long time, that when we say no - however gently (and it rarely is gently believe me), they will react.

So there are several things that could be goin on and I’m going to discuss a few of them.

The most common one is that we still have a lot of unresolved patterns going on, beliefs, emotions that we have not yet seen or dealt with. Let me give you an example.

Andrea is a succesful business woman, she owns her own company, is well thought of profressionally yet her in her personal relationship she does everything she can to keep the peace and make her husband feel good. He lacks self-belief and has a habit of putting her down, often subtley but regularly. She starts to realize he is doing this and it’s both knocking her confidence and buidling his up. She has had enough. So next time he tells her that she’s “doing it wrong”, even though her way is working she get’s angry with him and tells him not to speak to her like that. And even though the thing she was “doing wrong” was a small thing, they end up having a huge row because all her resentment from years of being put down, told she is not enough and not given the respect she believes she deserves comes out of her in that moment. Do you recognize this situation?

By the time they have stormed off and cooled down, neither of them really know what the argument was about, they just know they love each other and WTF was this about?

So Andrea has some work to do on herself. The first step to stepping into your power is deciding to do it, but often there is a need following this to go back and revisit the parts of you that still expect to be put down, still feel they should be looking after everyone else even when it’s painful to do so, and the parts of you that don’t have a voice and have little idea how to communicate their needs in a way that don’t sound angry and resentful.

If something like this is happening to you, it’s a great time to revisit stage 2. Find the place on your body that you feel powerful and ready to step forward and put one hand there. Then find the place that is angry/resentful/emotional (there may be more than one so you may need to repeat this a few times) and put your other hand there. Pay attention to each position in turn and say out loud how you feel in each area. See what emotions, thoughts, physical sensations are coming up when you really focus on your body. When you’ve really felt what is happening in both positions, imagine that they are now going to speak to each other and share how each one is feeling. I do this my connection to one position and as I breathe out I imagine all the information going down into my spine and along my spine to the other position, and then back and forth. And there comes a point when there is nothing left to say and a feeling of peace or release or even laughter will be achieved.

It’s always important to remember, if you are triggered, even if the other person has done things wrong and you know it, if you’re reacting the only person you can work on is yours truly, and owning that is the real path to improving your relationship and communication with the other person.

Assuming we have connected to the parts of us that were fueling the argument, it is also very useful to try and look at the bigger picture. When Andrea looked at this, she could see that she’d had the same dynamic with her previous partner. So the common factor was her. She was repeating a pattern over and over with all the men she became intimate with. Just being able to see this is a valuable step, so do step back and see if you can see patterns.

The Stage I would visit at this point would be Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern. The primary emotion is often frustration - frustration that this is happening again and again and again, despite your efforts to change. Where in your body do you feel stuck? Put your hands there, find the stuck feeling and breathe into this area to amplify the connection to it. When you truly feel how stuck you are declare it out loud and really feel it.

To explore the embodied patterns that rule our lives, attend a live SRI workshop, details can be found on the Events Page. Make sure if you have no experience that you attend a Discover workshop first. Alternatively Rachael offers a limited number of private sessions, either in person or over skype. Ask for details.

Stage 1 Exercises - Introduction

Before I even do Stage 1 I want to check in with my body. There are several ways you can do this, and this is one of my favourites.

Stand up, ideally without shoes on. Put your feet about a shoulder width apart, and if you can - close your eyes (if your balance is bad you can either do this with your eyes open, or stand in the corner of a room with the walls behind you, so that if you wobble forwards your feet will automatically step out, and if you go backwards or sidewards the wall catches you)

Pay attention to the relationship between your feet and the floor. Where is your balance. Are you standing on both feet? Are you swaying side to side, or forwards backwards? Is your weight forwards, backwards or to the side of one/both feet. Observe your feet and see if you can get balance in how you stand - somewhere in the middle of your feet.

Then shift your attention to your ankles and just observe them. You are going to slowly work your way up your whole body as follows:

  • ankles

  • shins and calves

  • knees

  • thighs/quads

  • hips/pelvis

  • low back

  • belly

  • up the middle of your torso, front and back

  • chest/upper back

  • shoulders/arms

  • throat/neck

  • head - jaw, face, forehead, skull

And then you are going to trace all the way through these until you are refocused on the soles of your feet. It only takes a few minutes, but I find it an excellent way of observing your body. You can also do this sitting or lying down.

What did you notice? For some people it’s very physical, they become aware of tension, where they hold muscles tight, or pain in the body. Others notice their breathing or how they move or how energy is moving in their body. Some find it very hard (initially) to notice anything. Whatever you notice is right, because when it comes to your own body it’s impossible to be wrong.