Art by the wondrous Kallen Mikel
“There is you and you. This is a relationship.
This is the most important relationship."
I used to have a note on my fridge that said "notice who's noticing." The idea is that instead of looking at the situation at hand, and all the reactions we have to it, we can instead turn our gaze back towards ourself, and go in search of the person who is noticing all of these things. Given that it's a Buddhist teaching, the idea is that when we look back towards ourself, we can't actually find a self. Or at least a solid, permanent self. And conceptually I know it is true. But experientially, damn, I'm here and there's a whole lot of experience that tells me this.
When I'm at my best, present, slow, embodied, I am so connected to myself I get goose bumps. I get shivers. I am home. And when the ups and downs of life rock me, I'm prone to falling overboard. I am the storm, the waves, the thunder and lightning, rather than the blue sky ever present above the clouds. I am identifying with the weather rather than the sky.
But with some helpful guidance from a Hakomi practitioner, I recently unpacked this a bit more. Instead of negating myself, and trying to identify with no-self, with emptiness, I have choice, I have agency. Do I indentify with the emotions and storm of my current irritation/upheavel or do I relax back a few steps? Can I instead relate with that best self, the one who lives in me, ever present, ever available. She is ancient. She is strong. Her body is soft and welcoming, her hips are wide, her arms are open. In a word, she is home.
I find her through dance, breath, slowness, time in nature, relaxing. I find her and it doesn't mean my anxiety goes away. It doesn't mean my fear disappears. It doesn't mean all my suffering evaporates. But I can turn my awareness and energy towards her, rather than the story I'm drowning in. And she holds it all with me, because she is me. She speaks in sensations, in chills down my arms, in my spine feeling supported, she speaks in that unameable way we just know we're not alone. We are connected.
As long as we are alive, we will be in relationship with ourselves. That's a long ass long-term relationship. Birth to death. Maybe longer depending on what you believe. So we may as well make freinds. I invite you this week to find the self in you that is home. That doesn't have to drowned in the storms of our changing life circumstances, but can hold the upheavals from a place of home, of connection. Let her/him/them dance you. Let your dance be one of connection, to yourself.