Something truly invaluable I’ve learned through life experience:
The more I can be present with myself – my own mental gymnastics – my own uncomfortable bodily sensations and feelings, impulses and urges, desires and longings – the more I can be present with another, sit with them in true friendship, give them the freedom to be all they can be too.
The more love and understanding I can bring to my own sorrow, the more I can love the sorrow and grief and heartbreak in another, make room for it, let it move, let it express, stay, or pass.
The more I can befriend my own joy, my own happiness, my own strength, my own power, my own potential, the more I can celebrate another’s power without jealousy, without comparison, without making myself “less than” or “more than”.
The more I can bathe my own fear, anger and doubts in compassion, the more I am able to sit with a friend in the midst of their sacred visitors, and not try to save them or change them.
And not make my happiness dependent on theirs.
And not make my self-worth dependent on theirs.
And not shame or guilt-trip them for their thoughts or feelings.
And just be with them.
The way I am with myself.
In stillness. In humility. In the Silence of the Heart.
As I learn to stop fixing and fighting myself,
I learn to stop fixing and fighting the experience of others.
As I learn to listen more deeply to myself, stay with my own intimate experience, breathe into my discomfort and pain, take responsibility for my anger, my shame, my guilt, and even my sense of ‘victimhood’, the less I project these ‘disowned’ aspects of self onto others.
The more clearly I can SEE without the filter of history.
Oh yes, the greatest lesson of all:
To stay close to myself in the presence of another!
Even when their hearts are broken and raw.
Even when I see them struggling.
To listen deeply, without trying to save or fix them, or be the ‘teacher’ or the ‘therapist’ or the ‘healer’.
Without giving them unwanted advice and disempowering them by force-feeding them second-hand, regurgitated “answers” from second-hand gods and gurus.
To make room for another while tending fiercely to myself!
To bring empathy HERE while offering empathy THERE, and not getting the two mixed up.
To no longer abandon myself for another in codependency.
Yet to no longer abandon another for myself in narcissism.
But to find a very loving middle place.
Where deep listening can happen.
Where painful truths can be told.
Where true connection can grow.
Where trauma can emerge into a holding field.
Where healing can happen and love can blossom without “trying to heal” or “trying to love”.
Connection through deep relaxation.
Healing through unconditional receiving.
Meeting myself and others in a vast field of Presence.
This has been my life’s journey.
This has been my soul’s adventure.
This has been my calling.
– Jeff Foster