Don’t Shut Down
Our past pain is an important illuminator to how our separation from self shows up in our lives in the present moment. Disconnect is usually associated with some form of pain, trauma or abuse from our past. But dwelling only on the things that occurred in the past does not necessarily shift our emotional pain in the present. What is needed is guidance and support to catch how we may shut down, disconnect or cut off in the present moment and how to be present to our feelings with kindness, patience and compassion.
Why We Disconnect from Ourselves
Shutting down, disconnecting or numbing out may have started out in our personal history as a response to abuse, trauma, pain, confusion or overwhelm. In order to get on with life, to cope or even to survive, numbing out or disconnecting is our brain’s way of dealing with threat through a primordial response of flight, fight or freeze.
Whilst disconnecting had a role in our past, to continue shutting down in the present, is ultimately painful and lonely and blocks the opportunity for healing and deepening our connection to our true self. How can we be intimately present with another if we are unable to be present to ourselves? Life will also always present us with experiences that trigger our pain spots and learning to respond to these positively and with compassion is empowering and transformative. It is the turning point to changing our wounds to wisdom.
The practice of being FIERCELY and INTIMATELY present with ourselves, to feel the truth of our inner experience without watering it down or pushing it away can be incredibly relieving and liberating. My role as a therapist is to bring in my deep presence in my work with my clients to help them reconnect with themselves. This may require a slowing down and allowing space for feelings, sensations or emotions to arise moment by moment. To be witness and guide to the discomfort of our feelings and to our humanness. This is a phenomenological approach that is working with what is present, moment by moment. Connecting to ourselves and grounding ourselves is foundational for creating true SAFETY and AUTHENTICITY.
Three Practices For Not Shutting Down – Compassionate Presence
Here are three practical and immediate ways you can respond to yourself with compassionate presence and activate your own intuitive response to soothing your pain and shifting your consciousness in the moment.
1. Respond Earlier
When you are in pain – whether it’s physical or emotional – try to respond EARLIER. Don’t wait too long, hoping it will go away or minimising it. Emotional pain like physical pain if unattended doesn’t necessarily go away it can actually intensify. Think of how you might respond to, care for and soothe a child in pain or distress. Responding earlier is an act of compassion, empowerment and self love. It opens up greater choice in how we respond to our life circumstances at any given moment – our highs as well as our lows. When we practice being present with ourselves we are more tuned into our intuitive knowing.
2. Reach Out for Help
There is an old and false belief that we should tough it out alone and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. This limiting belief can sabotage us from moving forward from old patterns. Reaching out for help is an act of HOPE and COURAGE, to learn to love what has been wounded from our past. We were never meant to carry our burdens alone, our unity and interdependence is what strengthens us in the co-creation of healing on this planet. Our vulnerability and connection to each other is the doorway to our true power.
Oxytocin, the feel good hormone is released in our body when we feel safe and connected. It tells the brain, “Everything is all right.” Our brain naturally produces oxytocin during hugs, holding an honest and open conversation where your feel you are being heard, massage, bodywork, and prayer.
3. Love Your Experience
When you are struggling with something whether it’s physical or emotional. Try NOT to resist it, deny it, dismiss it, avoid it, run from it, medicate it – try instead, in that moment, to LOVE it and to BE WITH it. Here’s a little exercise in compassionate presence that you can try straight away:
Compassionate Presence Exercise
Sit quietly for a moment, closing your eyes and turn into yourself. Perhaps gently place a hand on your chest or belly and bring the focus of your attention directly into whatever it is you’re experiencing in your body.
Imagine sending bubbles of love and kindness to parts of your body where you may be experiencing stress, pain or discomfort. Try gently speaking to your inner experience with kindness. Some suggestions might be: “I see you my pain/fear/sadness/anger/grief….” “I love you my aching heart,” “I love you my sore back”,”It’s okay, I’m with you”. ” I will take care of you.”
You might find emotions start to well up in you as you speak these words. If there is pain that you haven’t really looked at it may surface when you give it your gentle attention. For some, this may be the first time you’ve spoken to yourself with such direct kindness. Your practice is to bring your compassionate presence to whatever arises throughout your day. To allow its presence to be, without minimising, dismissing, judging or criticising.
Please leave me a note if you enjoyed my article or have any reflections you’d like to share.
Click Here if you’d like to schedule an appointment to learn more on incorporating compassionate presence as a daily practice into your life.
Love Shushann xx
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy my audio 5 Ways To Heal from Betrayal