I recently described how I use the process of empathy to contribute to mindfulness in my life so I thought I would share a real life example of applied empathy. While this is a longer version this technique can be applied within yourself in seconds.
I can explain empathy and this may lead to an intellectual understanding; an example may contribute to an emotional resonance and hopefully tap into your inner well of compassion.
An experience of my life.
Monday Morning, February 14th, 2011
In the first few moments of consciousness I read an e-mail informing me that my car insurance,would be canceled if not paid in full to cover a car already serviced for engine flooding the previous week, followed by a re-illumination of the check engine light days later and reoccurring symptoms of a failing radiator which I know more intimately having had two installed in the last 6 months. I hear my son cough and am pulled into his reality, I feel the heat of his fever and try and push out my car and financial concerns. Prioritizing my concern for his health and safety I shelf my panic and disheartened hope, until I can revisit it with the space to empathize.
To demonstrate this process of empathy, I am going to document a kinesthetic process that walks you through the process of self-empathy. The first step gives total freedom to get out your jackals. (or our poisoned thinking from our shadow) Jackals are the fear based thoughts that intensify when our needs are not met, while not helpful to direct them at another or to declare as truth, recognizing that they are fueled by emotion and created from our trained mentality, we can actively release them and validate our human right to feel the feelings that accompany them. By honoring and utilizing their power, we are shown what lies beneath their harshness, Values of Life desperate for attention.
The Self-Empathy Dance
Created by Bridget Belgrave and Gina Lawrie.
Welcoming My Judging and Blaming:
Let the jackals fly!! Encoded within this judgmental thinking is heart-connected information. Becoming aware of it will help you connect with yourself.
Here we go:
F*&K you have got to be fucking kidding me, I am not even sure how the hell I am going pay for bills due this week, why does this sh!t always happen to me, I am such a financial f^&k up..what a great mom I am , I can’t even figure out how to support my own son, Damn it!! WHY can’t I just start a day without being reminded of how broke I am?
Stupid car, you have got to be cursed, did the person who owned you before and put on those useless fancy rims that need a stupid special key, curse you, just to terrorize me?? What the hell is wrong with THIS radiator, not good enough for you? Or do you enjoy depriving me of heat…cuz you hate me. My car hates me, I am such an asshole, maybe if I wasn’t such a moron when it came to cars it would appreciate me and treat me better….suck away what I try to scrape together with your bursting tires, and failing parts, what else? Fuck what was that insightful string of thoughts that I was vi-bing with when I emerged from my short sord -of slumber….probably completely integral to the plan and you lost it, you stupid bitch, maybe if you weren’t such a sucky business owner you could actually make a profit and be prepared for car bullshit and then maybe you would have the time and mental energy to actually share something and get around to your purpose. OH I am so sure that blog on peace will be the top priority of your day, damn there goes yet another project loaded down with logistical lead to lengthy to list without my limbs going limp. What a way to start the week, I’ll probably have most of my clients cancel and there goes that weak sense of security I am so accustomed to..Why are insights lost on me? I can’t even manage to stay afloat much less help anyone else….
No time for that now, forget your concerns, you are so selfish, Chase is sick, he has a fever and all you can think about is stupid bills and a broken car. Don’t you start with the crying, you’ll drown, get over it..there is , no one to hold you, no one to tell you it will be alright, no one to share the load with you, not here, not for me, I don’t deserve that, oh no what I have here, is a mother, who agrees that I am a financial f^*k up with a failed business, YAY, Go positivity, you hypocrite! Suck it up! Is the sky falling? Are you carrying the weight of the world??HUH?? Are bombs being dropped on your country, are you starving, being beaten, raped, dying, YOU selfish prick ASSHOLE, what right do you have to f*#king complain, you got a roof, a warm bed, food, just got be bitching about something, huh, wimpy American, can’t ever be satisfied, can you?
Identifying the Trigger
(What actually happened, free of evaluation)
I read an e-mail from Geico right after waking up, informing me that if I don’t pay my car insurance, it will be canceled, which I mistakenly thought had already been paid. I still have a balance on previous car repairs from last week and beyond and 2 days after getting my car, the check engine light came on and since then the heat is not coming on for 5 – 10 minutes and then it stops and the engine stutters a lot when I start it. I am not sure what my checking account balance is and weather what I have scheduled this week will cover this week’s bills much less my new insurance premium which has doubled since my bank realized that my coverage was not in alignment with their loan agreement. My son started with a fever yesterday and began coughing consistently when he awoke.
Fully Sensing My Feeling
Let them move through you!
I feel hopeless, when will I create any security and safety for me and Chase, I am not sure what else to do, I am so scared, how will I figure this mess out? All this anxiety I try to hide, why tell people, so I can be pitied and felt sorry for, or be told how someone thinks I should fix my problems, as if they speak with absolute authority, or they’ll one up me and tell me how their life is so much harder, I’d rather make myself puke. I am terrified one day I’ll just be spent, no more, all that intention, wasted, creativity lost, potential pitched, it’s depressing. I’m tired, so damn tired of this hustle, while I know I contribute to much healing, it hasn’t been enough to get out of this f$#king house, I am embarrassed to admit that I live with my mom… that’s beyond comprehensible, I am petrified of never getting out of here. I am annoyed that in our culture is seen as failure, to stay in your family home, I “hate” all the jokes about “stereotypical” children who “never” leave the nest. I am not one of them, because I am an individual, with an individual story, like everyone else. I survive, surfing on a spatula scraping every single morsel of splattered batter and I am exhausted. And disheartened, I want to have the energy and encouragement to initiate change and inspire people towards peace, and it seems so impossible trying to juggle all this by myself. Going deeper I hear my longing, lingering looming loneliness that has a stranglehold on my heart, as if constricted and bound with chicken wire, it’s too much to even feel fully without becoming nonfunctional.
DespairDevastationDepression, weeping, fetal position.
Fully Present with my Need
Following the feeling to it’s root, the need (met or unmet) that is giving rise to the feeling. Then bringing your attention to how you value each of those needs, how much it matters to you that these needs be met for yourself, and for everyone. Fully honor the quality of each need.
My hopelessness is directly related to needs for security and safety. I knew that, this is not a shocker to me. Security is knowing the world has got your back, your community has got your back, your contributions are valued and reciprocated, you have what you need to survive and live in a safe environment. Wow, who would I be if those needs were met, let me take a moment and meet her….She’s confident, collected, calm, vibrant and vigilant and not bogged down with anxiety, I like her!
Safety, for me, is being protected from harm, physical or verbal, being unconditionally accepted, and having the freedom to express yourself without concern of how another will perceive, judge, or punish you. Damn that will be freaking amazing to experience. What if everyone were secure and safe??Oh my, we would have quite an illumination with those 2 needs in deed.
The anxiousness followed down is for a need for competency, confidence, and courage, to really be sure of what I want and have the full workings of my mind, heart and soul to dedicate to manifesting it. Oh to be liberated from constant analysis of all my conditions and all the mental energy expended in my brain trying to alleviate the internal tension. …I’d be free and focused allowing all my freakishness to flow. How I want this for everyone, even those who probably would prefer I am not even here, maybe if they lived one day free of stress and anxiety, they would be awakened to a new possibility of life.
Petrified, leads back to security and safety. Disheartened……..a need for progress, a need to give reverence and voice to the dedication of my spiritual path, to share what I have surrendered and sacrificed to gain, that would provide a sense of fulfillment, beyond words. I believe we all came here with a specific purpose, a promise to help our world.I wish for all to have the joy of living it out and making noticeable progress along the way, knowing they are on their way towards the fullest expression of their own unique contribution.
Embarrassed, this is a need for validation and acknowledgement. I would like my choice to be seen as a way to give my son a home and have help with child care and to use space that would otherwise be empty. And to be seen for the value of my presence through the care of the house, providing food and meals, assistance with family, especially grandchildren, and as someone who really tries to listen. Not thinking my hostess sees it quite that way, this issue requires it’s own massive healing endeavor.
Exhausted…I would love the ability to just care for myself and really have access to resources to support my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health in an effective way that would increase my quality of life. I desire the drive and the force to carry on in life and I really value health for everyone and the unlimited possibilities I believe are possible when we all can have this fundamental right met in our lives.
And the big kicker…LONELINESS…fcompanionship, honesty, mutual support of purpose, shared seality, ollow on down and what we got underneath that unpleasant pain… Needs for partnership, synergistic energy x-change, expression and the gift of experiencing a unique form of intimate LOVE, which I believe could help my heart realize it’s highest capacity of Unconditional Love. This entire idea is so foreign, I am not really sure I know how to guess what version of Maria could be expressed within such a relationship. I have dedicated so much to my purpose, parenting and my never-ending mysteries to unravel, that even the few times I pushed to try and make someone fit a role that I knew deep down, was not theirs, were only desperate attempts to ease the sting of my loneliness, which didn’t alleviate any of it, it only added more.
I do wish and hope for myself and everyone to be able to have the patience and the perseverance to live out their purpose. I do believe that when you are in alignment with what you came here to do, your perfect partner will eventually emerge, with a sincere surrender to Divine Timing.
Requests: 1. That I might make of myself, 2. I might make of the other, 3. I might make of others.
Before we complete this cathartic exercise, after our feelings are fully sensed and after identifying and really be-ing with the needs we are either mourning, or celebrating, we want to allow what we have uncovered to take root in our reality. This process does not rush to “solve” a problem. Our usual responses to inner turmoil, or conflict are attempts to quickly make the unpleasantness stop, and to try and fix it right away with a solution before we really even know what is missing. Even money, is just a strategy. I know through my own experience of obtaining desired things and experiences through barter, that while money is a very accepted form of payment to obtain goods and services, there are alternatives available when we consider our infinite innovativeness. Non violent communication believes that after we clear away our evaluations, fully feel our feelings, are present with the values/needs underneath, that then we can consider actionable requests or strategies to make in an attempt to meet the unmet needs of ourselves and others.
To Myself, I see that I am trying already to create a life that will support me, I am working on new projects that I hope will reciprocate a larger yield of energy than what I am currently doing. While I do not know when this will be apart of my reality, I know it is my purpose and the best thing for me is to continue to surrender to my Source and follow through on already begun projects.
I can chose to make another attempt at figuring out the mystery of the balanced check book, while it might not put more money in the account, it would meet my needs for responsibility, predictability and reverence for the resources I work so hard to obtain.
I request that I continue to seek out empathy from others and continue to practice self-empathy daily. I uncovered deep neglected needs and resurfaced a lot of palpable pain, I acknowledge that I cannot heal all this on my own and I ask for divine insight to help me uncover productive healing strategies.
I feel a lot more complete and excited to share this, Soon, it will be within a collection of work I want to share on my “Musings on Peace” Blog, that I will eventually start. I am moved by my own documenting of my experience and my dedication to further immerse this consciousness of compassion into my life and maybe, potentially soon begin the process of becoming certified with the Center for Non violent Communication. What I have gained so far is through my own study for the past 4 years, in which I participated in several practice groups, attended several workshops, lead several practice groups, given presentations, and have offered free monthly introductions with my ally of compassion, since September as a way to share this with my Cincinnati Community.
I would not have imagined how much this study would enrich my life and how much hope it would give me. I have spent much time in my lifetime pondering how to improve upon communication and understanding, finding this work was like having a prayer answered and I thank my Attachment Parenting Community for introducing me and welcoming me into their circle.