This is a continuation of Louise’s story of doing Feelingwork, in her words, with my commentary in italics.
The next feeling I mapped was an emotion I called “Isolated Outside”. I have always felt on the outside of things. Like a shadow observing but never invited to enter. I saw the whole world of social interactions as something I could never really be a part of. I felt comfortable interacting with one other person, but I always kept my distance emotionally and kept a very solid invisible wall around myself. In groups, I felt isolated as though everyone involved was a part of something I didn’t have the ability to understand. “You’re so quiet” is a comment I heard many times. I would smile sweetly and say something elusive and somehow people got the idea I was intelligent. I was happy to allow that perception when in reality felt lost and wary and lonely, and lacking in whatever it was everyone else seemed to have. I discovered that “Isolated Outside” is a part of self I developed in response to being so sensitive to people. A simple phrase that may or may not have been intended as a criticism or ridicule would just about destroy me. I kept an uninterested cool exterior image as a front to hide how fragile I felt.
I shifted “Isolated Outside” and I discovered a space around me that felt safe and that I influenced. It pulsed. It felt like a warm yellow light all around me. I saw it as a space where people could exist in my life. It was a space I held and it was a part of me but it was removed enough that what happened there could not destroy me. This was a huge relief. I look back at my self in this state and feel a deep sense of compassion, as though my self in that state were an undeveloped me, too young to understand but still kind of cute in its fumbling way.
Moving this part changed my interactions immediately. I began making friends quickly. People I had known on an acquaintance base for months or years got closer. The only thing that changed was me and all I did was shift my awareness of, and reaction to, other people. I created a space to let them in. I realize now that many people also feel shy or insecure or self-conscious at times. I am not the only one. This realization has transformed my interactions with people. I always felt judged by others because I was so harshly judging myself. Other people’s reactions to me shifted. As I became more at ease in my self, people around me became more at ease in my presence. It has led to a wonderful unfolding in my social, professional, and personal relationships. .
I’m standing back from the feeling. It’s out in front, spherical, four feet in diameter; like a dense, foggy cloud, charcoal dark gray, wispy on the edges, dense in the middle, but you can run your hand through it, not solid. Kind of cold and damp. Just floating, pretty still. Total silence. Dense feeling at my heart, very dense but moisturey and gray and very cold. It’s like the cloud is coming out from my center, cold, and then it forms this cloud and gets cool and damp and less intense and bigger, like moisture particles.
I can see what’s coming from here. So I’m safer back here. I can see what might come at me, so that I’m ready. It’s safer here.
Body temp; lighter, pure energy; gold, shimmering, translucent; moving with a lot of energy, constant movement, little particles vibrating, humming; radiating out from my core in all directions; pulses in and out, very gently; there’s a pulse but there’s no real end; it’s continuously radiating out of my core. Going out and coming back, like breathing, rate of comfortable breath. Sound is like a breath.
You carry all the protection you need inside of you. It creates a space that other people can move into; there’s this gentle pulse, allowing things in, including other people in the pulse of the interaction.
Louise’s description of her experience before and after shifting Isolated Outside is typical of many people doing the work. Not all states will yield a shift this significant. Isolated Outside, shifting to Inclusive, was one of nine distinct feeling parts that comprised Louise’s total experience of this aspect of her, but Isolated Outside was oriented in such a way as to hold the set together. I call these more central states pivots.
Shifting a pivot can sometimes result in the entire set letting go of its reactive configuration and becoming free to find a new way of being. When I work with people who have limited time, we generally reach to identify and shift a pivot state. It’s preferable, though, to do more thorough work, identifying the eight other feeling parts in their reactive states, and moving each one to its ideal, then supporting the ideal states in integrating. Louise and I did a somewhat thorough job of that, contributing to the significance of her overall shift.
Several days after shifting this state, Louise had this to say at the end of our session:
I can start to feel it coming into place. Last week I felt really disoriented. As more things get shifted and mapped, there’s this real feeling of peace and acceptance. I was just sitting here watching the seagulls and clouds, and I was in this feeling of timelessness.
To be continued tomorrow…