Written by Ari Bouse
From a spiritual and mental health perspective, learning how to self-regulate so that we can harmonize with our environment is a universally good strategy to develop. Moreover, the ability to sooth ourselves allows us to build our capacity to co-exist peacefully together, which is a practical practice within all of our control. We might not be able to control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond to what comes our way. When we do this, we change our world from the inside out. The idea is that we do this without relying on habituated props that look like different forms of pacifiers. Think of it as developing your psychic abilities, as in telekinetically levitating over your own moods and emotions.
More importantly, self-regulation facilitates co-regulation with others- building more empathy, kindness and compassion for ourselves and everyone else. Our world needs more of that. Simply put, if only one of us can relax, the likelihood that another will relax increases significantly. The more the merrier. Or is it the other way around? Either way, we all win from harmonizing with our environments. We’re not talking about sitting around a fire and singing kumbaya with each other. But if we were, would that be such a bad thing?
Additionally, Love and Truth working together are the key pillars of the Universe. So it stands to reason that it would be quite natural to be in harmony with Love and Truth. Love alone is like looking at the world through rose colored glasses, or looking at a person of color and telling them you don’t see color. Truth alone can be stone cold without any sacred connection, like calling someone a racist because they say that they don’t see color and then lecturing them about microaggressions. Truly, we need to be real with each other, and we need both.
Many of us from the old world are familiar with the old school of hard knocks that paternalistically postures that the truth has to hurt. Really? Is that so?
More importantly, truth can be more sustainable if expressed with a cheerful and gentle approach. Meditation on Chickadee will help awaken this possibility if you need it. But then again, from a position of judgment and polarity consciousness, it would be seductive to pick one over the other. We’ve all done it. Some of us don’t even know the difference and simply hide behind our justifications and positions without any more than a cursory glance. How many of us have minded our heads but forgotten to follow our hearts? Or followed our hearts but forgotten to mind our heads? Humanity is at its best when we are aligned with both.
For example, an old friend used to go by the mantra truth over harmony. He reportedly learned this mantra from a therapeutic school that specializes in educating adolescent students with difficult behaviors, as well as by engaging their family systems in the psycho-educational treatment process. But if we took the opposite side of the same coin, harmony over truth wouldn’t bring balance to the Force either, to use a Star Wars metaphor. The yin and the yang are always working together, seeking balance. Sometimes, situations call for one form more than the other. It can be a delicate process.
Let’s take polyamory for example. If a married or exclusively committed couple agrees to bring a third party (or more) into their relationship, it has to be consensual for there to be any prayer of the new relationship constellation to work. And even if everyone follows the rules, you’ll never be able to legislate feelings. What I mean by that, is that desire and attachments are an inevitable part of being human. You can’t control who you love, nor how you will feel when sharing your beloved with another- or whatever feelings they might develop about someone else. From that perspective, it’s understandable that most people avoid or skirt around these kinds of conversations with their partners. And those who don’t go there either have secretive affairs, stick to their fantasies or act out other forms of risky business. Fire is a natural element. And we humans have learned how to play with fire. But if you play with fire, it is a natural consequence that you can get burned. Ah, can’t spirits get out of control in the summertime, especially?
I remember when the aforementioned friend spoke his truth toward me. Moreover, it would be an understatement to say that he didn’t sugar coat it or pull any punches. In fact, the delivery was dramatic and abusive. However, I understand where he was coming from because he had overdone it on harmony in his own life by suppressing and repressing a lot of pent up emotions vis a vis pretending and conflict avoidance. And then after resentments built up, the bone crushing bite of truth lashed out. If you’ve ever seen a blowfish, that’s how he would come across when keyed up emotionally. Similarly, I’ve experienced much guilt and shame by doing the same along the way as well. In this way, we made good mirrors for each other.
Looking back, in my social work school days in Miami, I had an internship field instructor that specialized in communication. I remember her telling me to “pay attention to the message, not the delivery”, when I was in the hot seat for a different situation regarding a course procrastination issue at the time. What is more, that old friend gave me valuable information for my own personal growth process. Yes, the delivery of his truth was indeed hurtful and hard to hear. At that time in my life, I was in a vulnerable position and going through some growing pains. However, I was ready to hear the message, and already taking stock in its application before I had the privilege of receiving his courtroom-like grandstanding.
Finally, meditation on the sacred truth of the message, coupled with a radical acceptance and of self-love, has revealed that it was time for me to make a change in some of my behavior and social peer groups. I don’t like to cut ties that bind. But sometimes, the life transitions that we go through give us the opportunity to rework and recalibrate our lives. There comes a time in our journey, whether in this lifetime or another, where old contracts need to be released or broken or old relationships need to shift or end. It isn’t easy to go through these dark night of the soul experiences because the death of the old self is a grieving process. The caterpillar doesn’t want to turn into a butterfly. Sometimes, we need to shed our old skins, flip the script and write a new narrative, if you’ll pardon the pun. And even in the rebirth of the new self, those old patterns can come back to show us where we have been and where we need to go to move forward. Even if it makes sense to clear the air and process past unresolved issues with an old relationship, it doesn’t mean that an old relationship should be reborn into something new. Like the Beatles sang, sometimes, you just “let it be.”
Text © Ari Bouse
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