Expressing Appreciation

I am realizing how much I have been habituated to a ‘subculture’ expressive in appreciation, compassion and love, which is far removed from the usual way of relating in this world. It has been a key part of my healing journey to be surrounded by soul kin who embody a more attuned, loving, and verbally expressive appreciation for life. They have modeled a better, or rather a more natural and healthy, way of being and relating and thereby given me an opportunity to experiment with and grow into it. 

With changes to my cosmology, the way I make sense of existence and my experiences, a lot has changed in my perceptions and being on this journey. I have reclaimed generously loving and caring aspects of me which were locked away for protection from a culture which tended to run rough shod over sensitivities and emotional realities of those who did not align with the mythical norm of ‘normal’ that was upheld. Being unable to live from these loving and open-hearted aspects has cut me off from my aliveness – to the point of clinical depression. Which is why I am committed to living and loving from the abundance of my core, even if it incurs pain or conflict.

It lies in the nature of the human state that we adapt to a given circumstance as other skills and abilities adapted to absent circumstances begin to fade. But on the spiritual path another dimension is added to this as the journeyer rebirths new versions of their being by integrating what was split off and changing internal hierarchies of aspects to move from egocentric to Self-led being. As the shifts are usually quite subtle we only realize the nature and form of changes when confronted with novel experiences and observe our capacity to respond and spaciousness in the moment. Old skills will be called upon to manifest in a new form, letting us stretch and strive to find a more fluid and adaptive way of embodying them. We learn to embrace a pause between trigger and response while internally redirecting the reactive response of old, should it come up. In time we taste the sweetness of the void space of the pause, connecting more deeply and joyfully to its innately creative energy. And if we look more deeply into the subtleties of it we can see our spirit revel in the elixir of potentiality every venture into the void offers. But I digress…

This year has led me to interact more consistently with people more aligned to the usual way of relating. It was interesting to observe how ways of behaving, speaking and being, which wouldn’t have fazed a younger version of me, suddenly felt starkly brash, cold, and lacking in empathy for self and other. In a sense it felt as if I had become more raw and fragile to it, when what I was experiencing was aspects, once protected, were now exposed to the behavior and expressive habits of the other. A need to translate these behaviors into a calming reframe for conditioned responses and to attune to a new reality of relating arose. Eventually leading me to teach tender parts to be with this kind of human manifestation in equanimity, while being mindful of the awareness levels they point to. Unlearning reflexive protectivity to give the tender ones repeat experiences of their new capacity to meet the harshness and egocentricities with kindness and compassion in ways that have not been available before, is very challenging as it feels counter-intuitive but the rewards are sweet beyond imagination. The grace of watching what once was wounded and weak remember its true nature is magnificently beyond words… and well worth the pain and struggle on the path.

I choose to make sense of this experience by perceiving it as an opportunity to heal the conditioned mind-body reactivities in areas, where it is prone to feel vulnerable and victimized by the way another shows up and expresses or doesn’t express. After all a sovereign or whole being is not disrupted in its flow of being and self-worth by the way another chooses to express, they take note of it and meet it from grace and compassion. That which is fragile and easily rendered insecure cannot be Self but an expression of the distortions I hold due to earlier incarnational experiences. 

In my case it is the imprinted memory of the little girl who anxiously listened to most nuanced shifts in tones, visual expressions, and behaviors of her parents to preempt and prevent experiencing devastating pains of rejection, abandonment, and neglect. Now I am strong enough to hold space for the gentle recalibration and integration of these memories and parts into the fluidity of my being. That in itself is a miracle given where this journey started.

Nonetheless my preference for relating, especially with close and beloved people, clearly lies in a more verbally expressive, appreciative, and loving way of relating. Especially in the face of German culture, which traditionally leans towards limited emotional expressivity (most defined as too mushy, weak), and operates on the misconception that making expressions of love and praise scarce renders them more precious. Which of course makes for rather cold and austere relating, devoid of most emotional warmth, starving the heart and emotional body. I do not care to perpetuate, nor participate in, this distortion and rather practice being a source of a different frequency set point and relational baseline. Living in this field, though, has a way of affecting and making me regress into these patterns, whenever I fall into unconsciousness. That is the dance I signed up for when choosing to leave behind the culturally conditioned norms and contracts of relating and communicating. I consider this to be one of my juiciest current growth edges.

It is a strangely empowering experience to intentionally show up, in what feels more warm and generous to me, by being verbally expressive of genuine appreciation and words of affirmation, when most people choose to be morose, aloof, or to express their negative biases and discontent. 

An even more tender and overflowing gratitude arises for all the beings who showed up in my path to teach and support me in the unlearning of unlove, and especially for those who journey with and are interconnected with me in a web of love. Thank you for being radiantly loving, kind and compassionate companions, friends, and beloveds in my experience!

What a dance of multiple dimensions and experiences this life can be, when lived with growing awareness, lessening attachments and identifications, and growing trust in the benevolence of life! 

I bow in gratitude to life and its endless teachings and expansive humor in guiding me along the path.

Photography by Unknown
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