Emilie Hoffman, mind/body guide
I love this time of year.
This is the "very hungry caterpillar" time of year when we partake of abundant harvest and then send our energy inward so we can sustain our spirits and fuel transformation in the deepest places.
(That's just a flowery way of saying I love self-reflection.)
Then, we're ready for spring when we get to pop out of our cocoons and teach ourselves to fly.
Some people think the flying part is the scariest because we are vulnerable out in the elements of our external world and we'll have to get back up and try again and again. It takes a lot of resources and a lot of oomph!
But the time of cocoon has it's own challenges. It's subtle and requires endurance, so we have to have self-discipline and gratitude. It doesn't look like much, so we have to have patience. And possibly the scariest of all: it requires honesty and accountability.
We must face ourselves.
Being in your cocoon can feel very scary if there are some aspects of yourself that you have a painful relationship with.
If this is you, pause here. Read this again: "aspects of yourself that you have a painful relationship with"
What I'm emphasizing is that there is no quality about you that is inherently painful, yucky, bad, or shameful in and of itself. What makes it so yucky is the lens through which you judge it. And guess what - lenses can be easy to change.
I'm bringing all this up because it's coming up for all the people I work with (self included). Here's what they are describing to me:
There is some place or some thing within them they cannot face, navigate, or change alone.
Sometimes it's because the potential they see there looks too chaotic and overwhelming. Sometimes it's because the heartache associated with a certain way of being is too defeating. Sometimes it's because the questions begging to be asked and answered have always been off-limits.
And initially, the help they're asking for is help changing the potential, or the way of being, or the question.
What we eventually find, though, is that the change that was actually needed is in the relationship with those things - not those things themselves.
Potential becomes a vision with structured systems that channel creativity and purpose to their best-feeling ends.
The way of being becomes a gift instead of a liability.
The questions become crucial doorways to important self-knowledge.
This kind of inner-relationship shift is a practice I try to keep up with on the daily with special attention to seasonal cycles.
Something about me that I always wanted to change or tone down was my perceptivity of others' emotional energy and the desire to understand where it came from.
I love knowing how other living things (that, of course, includes people) tick, and understanding how my internal systems are connected to their internal systems.
I've always felt alive when I was engaging perceptivity and curiosity in that kind of way.
But, in peer-level relationships it made me invasive, threatening, too intense, and just weird to lots of my peers.
Most people hate it when you ask a question or make an observation about them that leaves them feeling stripped naked. Oops.
For years, until I learned to change my relationship with that perceptivity and curiosity, I doubted its value even though it felt right to me.
Today, people actually ask me to help them by using these natural tendencies! And that is because I've changed my inner-relationship by cocooning and facing myself.
Embrace the cocoon. What seems like your greatest liability now could end up as one of your greatest gifts.
I'll leave you with one of the most empowered things a client said to me today