I’ve been thinking about how to shift the energy of a negative situation so that it will help and not hurt. I have noticed that many of the internal beliefs that are inaccurate come from an interpretation that leads to hurt, or to an involution, so that energy is directed inward to cover over the hurt.
This inward direction is like a misdirection and can create a distortion to the overall development of that person’s personality. The result is a person who develops as if they are missing something; there is a truncation to the person’s personality. Reconnecting to ones joy through re-evaluation of the etiology, or roots, of the belief can help to right the interpretation and bring joy.
Anthony Robbins says to ask the question, What’s great about that?, when faced with a difficult circumstance. I think that can be used to re-interpret misbeliefs.
Find a place inside where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain – Joseph Campbell. The best way to do that is to look with a compassionate heart.
Together these ideas can be used to shift negative situations. Sometimes the process can be applied in the present to a present moment situation so that a misbelief can be avoided. Other times it can be applied to an old situation for transformation, like getting rid of the ghosts from the past.
One of the most difficult things I have a had to deal with in my life was a longstanding injury from high school. In junior high school I was an outgoing and adventurous girl. I had strong opinions that I was happy to share through monologue and debate, and didn’t seem to be negatively affected by conflicting opinions. Often I would investigate and find out more information to strengthen my perspective.
My personality changed dramatically in high school not because of hormones but because of a longstanding irrepressible bullying experience I endured. This had such a deep effect that I set aside my original focus in career from adventurous, outgoing, risk-taker to inward focus, observant, ever-helpful-to-others therapist. My self-confidence waned and I became unsure of myself and tentative. My joyous, outgoing, trusting nature turned to hyper-vigilance and timidity.
The way this happened was subtle and occurred over a period of time. And I can see now the separate moments wherein I shifted my energy. Because my tenaciousness and love of learning remained strong it was the focus of the study that shifted rather than a depression that left me unable to focus at all.
I seemed to instinctively shift the focus of that learning.
I turned my attention to existential and psycho-therapeutic models to assuage my pain. In doing so I increased my understanding of how groups and people in groups worked. I increased my understanding of mind and mindful processes. This brought me first to center my focus on therapy and then to search out a way of being in the world that included a focus on compassion. And in the many years that separate me from that time I have evolved again into the joyous person I once was. But the circuit was a long road filled with many diversions, difficult transitions, and unhappy times.
I understand now that I was a target precisely because of my joie de vive; my alive and vibrant personality, my lovely good looks, and strong curvy figure which I lightly moved with ease. These things, all attractive and good qualities, were precisely what this girl-collective was trying to destroy.
This was probably less personal than it felt to me as the girls in the clique barely knew me. I think this targeting behavior is a natural process in social groups and description of how energy moves. From a sociological perspective there is a natural order of things to be in line and homogeneous and my behavior was outside the norm. Simply by existing in that alive form I had irritated their interior power issues and insecurities and so from this sociological perspective I had brought this upon myself. I gave away my power to them through my fear and my deep desire to be liked.
The resultant shift within me occurred due to several factors. There was no source near me to assist me through this process to help me realign or remain aligned to my true inner voice of truth and reason.
I wanted to be liked and accepted and to fit in – and I interpreted that being this alive, joie de vive character set me apart and made me a target. In order to feel accepted or fit in I distorted my personality. My response was to negate these lovely characteristics. They were pushed in and under and an unassuming, intellectual, girl developed into womanhood. This gave me a way to be strong but not be threatening to the girl-group. I took to covering my lovely figure with baggy clothes and keeping my voice quiet, listening and assisting others in their growth with little overt focus on myself. I studied and developed my mind, and body in quiet unassuming ways.
I deflected that earlier strength and adventure to risk-taking on the behalf of others.
These actions on my part were a distortion of my personality in reaction to my internal fear. I covered over my true self in exchange for feeling like I might be safe from attack. Unfortunately, these kinds of exchanges leave marks on a person’s interior sense of self. I made that joie de vive invisible. I found a degree of peace, but lived afraid to be myself, in a truncated self, always feeling a bit outside the group. The resolution to the conflict shifted the exterior but I felt the conflict on the interior plane.
This experience has made me a better therapist, a better writer, a better observer of human behavior and a wiser person. It was a gift.
Applying mindfulness and compassion to the whole of my experience has opened the door to my earlier youthful joy. It has freed me to feel the joy of my core joie de vive as well as the strength of how I turned my struggle into a place to thrive. In linking these two together, I have rediscovered my true full self. I am less afraid to feel beautiful, strong, lithe and powerful. I once again allow my inner joy to be my guide. Through this I have a better understanding of my pain and the pain of my tormentors. It is quite freeing and enlivening.
Sometimes the aging faces of one of those ghosts from my high school years pops up on the pages of Facebook. I can feel that my pain has been released because although I feel sadness at their image I feel it less for myself than for the pain I see marked on their faces. I no longer freeze in fear and confusion.
As described by Joseph Campbell, my pain is burned away by the light of my truth and joy in my true being. It feels like a miracle, a gift, and a happy lesson I pass on to my beloved children.
There is a saying that God gives you the face you are born with but the face of middle age is your creation. I think this relates to the way that our choices play out in how we age. Stress, fear, and struggle show lines on our face and shape our bodies into restricted, sinewy or puffy forms. Joy, contentment and interior peace show up on our faces in soft and enlightened lines and soft, graceful or flexible, strong physical forms.
If you look at the paintings of Jesus and the Buddha these images of love and light show through. It is an unconscious reckoning that the interior can show through in the exterior form. There is a concept in Chinese medicine: Through observation of the exterior you can know what is happening in the interior.
If you observe lines on your face that seem stern and unrelenting look for what may be unresolved within your psychological, and mindful process and apply compassion to shift the energy.
If you feel there is something missing in how you relate to the world go on an internal journey to see if you have left something of yourself in the past or are being troubled by ghosts from your childhood. Remember to connect with joy and compassion as you review these.
If you notice a subtle but ongoing shift in your child’s personality from joyous and alive to more serious and introspective see if you can encourage him to share with you what may be going on with him.
The more that we apply compassion to how we view our and other’s actions the more we can be free to be our true selves.
See you tomorrow.