Entering into winter solstice, I often find that the dark,cold and quiet on the outside opens a window into the dark space within. This time of year calls for soul puttering –inner reflection. This year a question popped out of the putter – How am I showing up, in this time, in this place,space? And in the way that can sometimes happen in releasing open questions into the cosmos, I got an answer during a recent Feldenkrais mentorship call. Our skillful instructor, Alice, said, “How I show up is what I give permission to happen.”
Nice. As a coach, I often have a conversation with clients that goes something like, “I can’t say how the other person/people will react, but what we can focus on is what you are bringing to the interaction. I have had enough clients who make a change in themselves and report sometimes extraordinary shifts in the attitudes and behaviors of people around them. You can’t change others, you can only change yourself is an adage that encapsulates this.
I would be shading the truth if I didn’t say I face family events over the holidays with a little trepidation. This year, a couple days of family Christmas get-togethers and a family funeral. Owning my own well practiced leading defensive edge, I feel an internal wince about the prospect of time with family. Life practice opportunity detected – game on! How I show up is what I give permission to happen. So personal practice challenge – how I can show up differently, to by-pass the role I tend to play in my family’s dynamics and bring a different presence.
For this year’s practice, I will focus on an intention to enter into the space of family, food and festive doings – Allow. Appreciate. Ask. For these 3 days, I will focus on letting go all of the ways I argue (inside) with how things and people are and just allow things to be what they are. Even more important is to warmly appreciate what is. And to ask for what I need and want as part of the whole. How I show up is what I give permission to happen. I want to give permission for fledgling family dynamics with space for soft, tender,honesty; for perennial longings to be received without wrestling to resolve them. I want to give permission for belonging to co-exist with personal preferences and all the ways we might feel the need to distinguish, to protect our identity. I want to give permission for love to come in, how it does, in all of its forms. So this is on the top of my Christmas list, how I want to be present.