Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Rocking the Boat

Been talking with some folks in my life about healthy detachment, that idea of letting other people live their lives and not getting sucked into their vortex but still caring. Having good boundaries without building walls. In one essay I read, it stated this:

" The healthier we get, the more emotional healing we do, the less extreme
our emotional reaction / response spectrum grows. The growth process
works kind of like a pendulum swinging. The less we buy into the toxic
shame and judgment, the less extreme the swings of the pendulum become.
The arc of our emotional pendulum becomes gentler, and we can return to
emotional balance much quicker and easier. But we don't get to stay in
the balance position. Life is always rocking our boat - setting our
emotional pendulum to swinging. By not taking life events and other
peoples behavior so seriously and personally, by observing our process
with some degree of detachment instead of getting so hooked into the
trauma drama soap opera victimology that is a reaction to our childhood
wounds, we learn to not give so much power over our emotions to outside
influences and events. "
-Robert Burney

It made me think of something that happened once while canoeing. Can't say that I'm really good at canoeing but I like being on the water and I like that the canoe FEELS so tippy yet if you know a little of what you're doing it's very unlikely to capsize. The first time I was in a canoe I hung onto the sides for dear life and was so nervous about tipping that I couldn't relax and enjoy the ride. Once I got used to it, it wasn't so bad. Later, I took someone for a canoe ride down a river and she was the nervous one. We were going along at a fairly good clip down the river when she panicked and grabbed onto a nearby branch, instantly pulling herself right out of the canoe and dumping everything including me right into the river. All the rest of her life experiences had taught her to do that. Grab the first thing that looks stable when you feel out of control. But in this case it was the opposite of that was the safest thing to do.

When I'm feeling out of control, or see someone else getting out of control my first instinct is to grab them or if it's me I want to latch onto the first thing that sticks itself out in front of me and says "hold on here". It sometimes takes everything in me to keep my hands feet and head inside my own ride but when I remember finally to breathe and to pray and to stop grabbing, It's so much more peaceful. The pendulum swing for me looks like a drowning, terrified Captain Hook on the one end and the meditative smiling Dalai Lama at the other. I'm hanging out somewhere in the middle more these days and that's a good thing.


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