Feeling The Weight Of The World

How do people change, and how does one move through the ripples that flow from change itself? Do you welcome change with curiosity and openness in your body, or is it something you'd prefer to avoid all together and your body contracts at the very thought of change? Stepping into new schedules can be quite an adjustment for most, and for many others it can require an enormous step of faith, courage, and inner growth. 

When my son, Rylan, was going to begin Junior High he was going to be participating in classes that would open up new opportunities for him; expand his learning, develop inner confidence, and create new friendships in community. 

The last month of summer we deliberately focused on preparing for these changes by gradually shifting our schedules, so that everyone experienced as much ease and flow as possible. One of the ways we prepared was by joining a gym, meeting with a personal trainer, (for Physical Ed) and then going to the gym. 

Waking Rylan up in the morning, to be at the gym by ten, was not a piece of cake. Let me share a story with you. I would speak in a quiet tone attempting to wake him gently. ”Rylan…it’s time to wake up!”

He pulled the covers up over his head, and I heard a deep groan, "Go away. I'm tired."

"C'mon buddy," I’d coaxed, "remember we planned to go to Oz Fitness today!"

"Stop yelling at me, I'm not going!" he said vehemently as he further burrowed into his blankets. "Leave me alone!"

I felt my tummy clench, while images of a grumpy Rylan sprang to my mind's eye in living color. I rocked back on my heels and released a deep belly breath to sooth myself. Quickly, I imagined a big beautiful orange flower (his favorite color) opening up to embrace and enfold the grumpy image. I hurled it energetically out of my personal territory and watched it dissipate. 

Then, I turned to gaze upon the mound in the bed that was my son, I pulled back the covers, and said in a cheerful tone, "Okay, getting up is what we are doing! Sean is going to wonder where you are at! We've got things to be about - time to get a move on!" 

"Sean's coming?" he asked as he sat up.

"Of course he is!" I smiled, "You guys get to work out together, remember?" 

"Yeah, okay, I'll get ready." 

Ten minutes later Rylan hollered. "I can't do it! I can't go! Just leave without me!" He came out of the bathroom with wet hair, and stressed, "I'm trying to get ready and nothing is working for me!" As he grabbed his hair and messed it up. 

As I opened my mouth about to speak, he said urgently, "Don't say anything! Just leave! Go! Wait in the car! Now!!!"

My solar plexus and face tighten and tingled, it was as if hot coals were preparing to hit my body with intensity. I shut my eyes slowly and dropped into my body. As I sensed the sensations of anger, a tensing of my back, arms and fists, (as if preparing to hit) I acknowledged the underlying impulses of healthy aggression alerting me of the need for protection and to set clear limits around taking action to obtain the things we need. After the sizzling sensations subsided, I released my breath and took a few deliberate steps back to defuse the energy in my body and in the room. 

When I noticed the time, I felt so torn. On one hand I was worried about being late, and on the other hand I wanted Rylan to have all the space he needed to transition and experience success. In an attempt to reduce his sensory input, I turned my body sideways as I replied, "Rylan, I will be in the car waiting for you, son. The car leaves in five minutes.” 

His eyes widened in fear, and he shouted, "Don't pressure me! Just leave!" 

My scalp instantly tingled and I felt my Essential Self beckon me, saying, “I’m here with you Gloria. Rather than feeling his emotions in this moment, he has become swallowed up by them and needs some spaciousness, and for you to trust and believe he will find himself again." She smiled and gently wrapped her arm about my shoulders, "come on out to the car with me and we will wait together." 

As I settled into the car, I noticed my shoulders droop, as if I was carrying the weight of the world on them, and I noticed how quickly my mind came up with an image of never ever being able to make it to the gym on time - ever. "Thinking," I quietly named my inner experience to myself as I gently returned my attention to my underlying physical sensations. 

This time I noticed the heaviness had moved to reside in my chest, as a flavor of great sadness emerged into my consciousness. "Sadness." I again acknowledged my inner experience. As the sensation-thought-emotion complex uncoupled, my experience moved toward subtler, freer contours of feelings, and I sank into the beauty of the needs underlying them all; the need for Acceptance, Love, and Compassionate Understanding! 

I reached out and called my husband, Richard, and he completely understood with loving acceptance. As we were talking, I noticed a movement, and saw Rylan as he walked around the side of the house. I was so moved by what I saw, I told Richard, "It's Rylan! And he looks completely calm, well-dressed and smiling! I'll call you back later!" 

Rylan climbed into the car and sat beside me, he turned with the smile still in place, and cheerfully said, "Hello, Mother, I'm ready to go!"

"Hello, Rylan," I smiled back with relief and joy, "it's so good to see you again!" And we left for the gym.

As I reflect on this experience, I recognize that when I personally focused on noticing my felt-sense, the somatic markers of my emotions and physical sensations, they inform me of my readiness to take action based on my past experiences. This is a very powerful way to stay present in the moment, precisely because it is involuntary; not evoked by my will. 

Through awareness of these interoceptive sensations, I become able to access and modify my emotional responses and remain open to the possibility that just because I feel a strong emotion, I don't have to act upon it. Instead, I can balance between expression and restraint, sensing within until I touch upon the beauty of the need alive in the moment. 


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