(1 of 2)
My hands are shaking. I’ve just received a notification in my feed: I’m getting clapped back, slapped across the nervous system, for a comment I made online a few hours ago. My sense of ease crumbles, and I swirl into a mental whirlpool of self-recrimination. Tears well up in my eyes.
I messed up. I missed the point. I expressed an idea incompletely. I conflated levels of interaction, confusing my personal experience with the collective optics of an other’s action. I misfocused, misunderstood. I was seeking peace in a war cry. My comment wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t right either. This is instant #karma
, instant correction. The internet is a fast place: if you aren’t careful, it’s sharp. It stings, it bites.
I have to learn, over and over and over, that there is no place for equivocation in another’s safe space. When someone’s in pain, they don’t want to hear what you think. When we are suffering, all we really want is to individuate, express our needs and be heard. We all deserve to share our feelings to the appropriate channel at the appropriate time. Our platforms are ours, just for this reason.
In therapy, this is called #centering
: we stay on target, we stay with the initial concern, and above all else we stay focused on the person who expressed the feeling in the first place - without voicing what our interpretation of events might be, no matter how much it triggers us personally. It’s what makes space holding such challenging, mindfulness-inducing work. Boundaries have to be fluid to be effective. There’s a time and a place for every conversation, but it isn’t always this time or this place.
Becoming stable is about gracefully surfing the waves of experience. When there is #trauma
, when there is shock, when there is any excitation - good or bad - it’s never about shifting the situation, solving the problem, or worse, attempting to prove the problem isn’t a problem at all: it’s always about riding the wave. When we allow other people to have their feelings and say what’s true for them, we are riding the wave of experience with them. We have to name what’s occurring before we can move with it.
TO BE CONTINUED…