When I go away on retreat, there is often time for meditation. We apply practices to get in touch with the vastness of our inner world and are given opportunity to sink into the layers of intimacy with others. By the last day my heart is soft and wide open, and I always vow it will stay that way. Staying soft, and not going into a shell of protection, is a habit that I want to practice.
Thinking about it, I’ve spent more of my life trying to keep others out than trying to let them in, and it’s interesting to watch me navigate the process of connection at this stage of my life. I naturally like my company and get drained in large crowds; too many people for too long and I’m exhausted. I don’t know if it has to do with being empathic, but there seems to be part of me I hold back so as not to feel all the extra information floating around.
I’ve been closing down in anticipation of pain (empathically) sometimes it’s in anticipation of feeling pain that may never come. As a result, even those who get close to me get pushed away in the forming of our friendships and only the most tenacious or perceptive are able to stick around while I work though my layers. I’m actually learning that I do more damage by choking-out the opportunities for connection then if I would go slowly and allow these relationships room to grow. Instead of working against having people in my life, I am now working at letting them in. I’m having to sit in my shadow side to do so.
There are so many layers to relationships and each one has a nuance that had to be felt out slowly. In the past six years I’ve opened myself up to new ways of being in relationship, I have more people who I love than I know how to keep track of. I’m still working on the receiving of these relationships into my subtle awareness.
The beauty of connection is that each person is on an individual journey, and I am gaining insight through them (and myself) just by being present to our interactions. The goal is to be just as I am …with a soft and open heart recognizing that there is no rush because it’s all about allowing.