Presence in the midst of pain.

Sometimes when others speak into our blind spot (or you could say we are ‘triggered’ by something someone says or does), it hurts. 

A small comment, a big accusation, the way someone says something that’s not attuned to the way you’re feeling, how someone behaves on public transport that you disagree with. 

It will happen to all of us for all of our lives. These events can be a reason to complain (maybe we connect with others through our complaints too – so the drama serves us well?), reasons to keep our stories going. Or they can shine the light on where our healing lies. 

In integral coaching we find a way of talking about how we are part of how things keep turning out the way they do – for example where we feel in sacrifice, we attract those who want to fight with us, we hold up systems that allow us to be trodden down. And all of the other deeper stories of our suffering that feel so out of our control. 

But it turns out we can act, we can shift, we can look at our patterns and practice differently to bring about a different world. 

And one of the things that brings awareness when these triggers happen (so we can begin the journey of acting differently to make a different world for ourselves) in our families, on the bus, at work, in the street – is our presence with Self. As I’m angered, as I’m poked, as I’m in a repeat pattern, there’s also a way to be present to what’s happening on the inside. Taking the focus off the situation and placing my gentle attention on me. 

We can ask: What does this feel like, what’s this really about for me, what’s underneath, how is there suffering in this situation? 

Sometimes it might be useful to draw a line in us, on one side we are rageful, frustrated, resentful, annoyed. And on the other side what can we feel, see, sense about what’s happening with us. What attention can we bring to our deeper nature, our deeper feelings; and be with this rather than be purely and only the reaction we are in that moment? 

It turns out that it takes practice to do this. To, again and again, bring gentle presence and attending to our pain. 

And that’s how things shift. Because in the opening, there’s more space for choice and intelligent action available. More forgiveness on offer and more breath available to allow us to suffer while holding ourselves, and not adding our own layer of aggression to our already suffering bodies and hearts. 

Here’s to holding the space for each other when we are feeling pain and wounds, and here’s to practicing this for ourselves in those moments where it’s just us with ourselves too. 

One thought on “Presence in the midst of pain.

  1. Hi Lizzie – really love how vividley and lovelingly you describe things and this one is just perfect to help me today. thx so much for your help. Heidi


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