… It’s not fair!!

I heard it again this week. And whether you’ve been a part of this community and have been intentional about expanding your capacity to be present to challenging situations, or you’ve just come upon this writing recently following a painful experience – or perhaps a series of them – one thing I know is this cry of frustration is familiar and SO understandable.

For eons in our human stories, the idea has existed that if we’re ‘good people’ and nice to others then we should be rewarded with having ‘good things’ happen to us. So when we feel hit, yet again, by another painful life experience, or it feels like the trolls have come out – grabbing at us unexpectedly from under the bridge, it’s in no way surprising that our instinctive protective human fight or flight response arises and this cry surfaces.

Trolls ... by spoken word artist Shane Koyczan
Trolls … by spoken word artist Shane Koyczan

It’s easy to find ourselves acting out in response to these challenges in life, or lashing back at the trolls – those wounded ones who’ve appeared in their latest form.

But, even when we don’t know how, many of us who have seen too often that cycle of violence can feel the impulse toward creating a more life giving response.
So what to do? Well, for a start, especially ahead of time when things aren’t already at a fever pitch, thinking about how we hold these painful experiences is valuable. Just this week I heard my coach, Lissa Boles speak about our relationship with obstacles we meet. In naming them as often being part of our Mastery Path, she said:

“I know obstacles, but that doesn’t mean your path stops being your path … you develop the capacity to stand with inarguable, life given expertise when you meet the obstacles in front of you as if they are your partners in self-cultivation … if instead of things that are insurmountable they became what makes you great, or helps you pull your greatness, draws it out of you, and you live it so people can see it, and smell it, and feel it, and taste it along with you – then a boulder is not a boulder, and death is not death, and challenge is your personal Ph.D. 

… these are the kinds of things that we meet and make our dancing partners, our creative partners. … Holding confidence when it feels like the ground underneath you is shifting sands is a big, freakin’ deal, and more people need that today than anything. So I would really be surprised if this isn’t your path, I think this is your path saying “OK, let’s step up!””

Sometimes, though, in our attempts to be ‘good’ or enlightened people, not wanting to be ‘like them’ (those ‘bad’ or unenlightened ones) we try to ignore, shut, or shout down our instinctive, often emotionally charged responses. But we do this at our peril. ALL our emotions are important! They carry energy and information we need to access, tap in, and pay attention to.

While we don’t want to be held hostage by our feelings we DO want to have them!  
Shane Koyczan's
Shane Koyczan’s “Instructions for a Bad Day” 
When you have a moment, I hope you take the time to watch both of the wonderful short videos above from Canadian spoken word artist Shane Koyczan. His TED Talk is also inspiring! Another great resource I discovered on a friend’s Facebook page this week is Heidi Hanson’s blog The Art of Healing Trauma. These are illustrated self-therapy exercises for healing from trauma, based on artist Heidi Hanson’s personal experiences healing from PTSD. When I wrote her asking permission to use the image below, Heidi said “The 5 step self holding exercise is pretty much my favorite exercise.” You’ll find more detailed written instructions here. Practices like this one which bring our attention back to our bodies and breath, and help us find more solid ground from which to live and make choices are valuable for all of us, especially, though not only when we’re feeling intense emotions.

Whatever form it takes, in addition to our individual practice, a community where we can be supported as we continue our exploration and understanding of the cues and clues these Mastery Path experiences, and our responses to them might be offering us, is enormously valuable.

If you’re feeling curious about exploring being in community, engaging it in your life, and having this kind of support around as you develop your capacity to respond to the challenges you experience in a more life-giving way, I’d love to have you join us. We are here, doing our own work and would love your company on the journey!

Being present to the courage and commitment in each one of you, as together we ride the roller coaster of life, continues to both challenge and inspire me to expand my own capacity for standing, and stepping out.

Nurturing juicy co-creative partnerships
…with ourselves, others & life!