The question this week concerns the “Yeah, but …” regarding any modality that suggests that change is possible. We all have it. The pull back into old habits is a powerful force. Thus, “Yeah, but” is a realistic perspective. So, the first response? Compassion for ourselves.
Compassion is spacious. Anger, shame, frustration – all are contracted feelings. Directed at ourselves, they are deadening. Rising up on behalf of our vision of well-being rather than against our missteps is a different path. Compassion is key to sustained opening.
Next is looking forward, a commitment to direction rather than solely to a specific goal. Direction is spacious, larger than any particular task or moment. Direction can encompass both disappointment and success with generosity. It can softly incorporate our recidivist nature within its continuous one.
Even in Constellations there is an impression that finding the source of our pain is the balm that sets all healing into motion. But even when we do find the event or the connection that seems as though it is at the root of our challenge and therefore a central piece in our puzzle, the wear and tear of everyday life seems to encourage forgetting, to invite a return to confusion, ambivalence, outright destructiveness. The reality is that well-being isn’t bestowed upon us, just as it wasn’t upon those who came before us. Good practice, rooted in self-compassion and a gentle commitment to forward movement, makes room for ongoing healing. Perhaps the difference between us and those behind us is that we have the latitude to see the necessity of reconciliation. Still, we need new scaffolding to support insight, to support the process of burgeoning self-awareness.
And there is engagement. Sometimes I fall asleep midcourse. As I close my eyes, it feels as though the world is withdrawing. I may not realize that it is me who is withdrawing. My internal images from the past take over and feel real, feel present. I fall asleep sometimes, even without realizing it. Self-pity will ensure that I will stay asleep, but self-compassion invites me to awaken again, to set out again, to engage with the larger world, looking toward the horizon ahead. In this engagement, there may be steps I have to take (perhaps I have even fallen asleep to avoid them) in order to keep my commitment to moving forward, warm in my cloak of compassion: Do I have to leave this place? Update this relationship? Go back to school? Find a new job? Take responsibility for an action? Face the consequences? Receive the benefits?
Compassion, direction, engagement – these feel to me at the heart of change and the persistent redress of “Yeah, but.”