Getting At the Root of It
To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. ~ Simone Weil
Very little of what Rhonda said to me came as a surprise. I had been there, caught in this spiral myself - and it is oh so frustrating. I heard her use the same language I had used when in the depths of it. "Why do I keep doing this? I just keep repeating the pattern over and over. Same guy, same story, on repeat." For some of us the pattern, like Rhonda's, plays out most obviously in our intimate relationships. But if we look deeply enough we begin to discover that this pattern - this particular way we respond to the world around us - shows up everywhere that we do. Or rather, where we don't.
I have spent most of my adult life trying to understand my own particular way of being in the world and how I am received by others. And really, how that is perceived has been the rub. I probably never would have bothered to pay attention, let alone actually care about how I am in the world, if it didn't have such practically unhelpful ramifications. I would find myself constantly wondering how I could be so misunderstood. I wasn't being bossy, I was simply being honest. I wouldn't have to "take over" the project if the one leading it actually led. People need to grow a thicker skin - after all I wasn't angry, just frustrated (you people have never seen me mad!). We're not having an argument- I simply want to look at this from all sides. And by the way, I totally understand the importance of the bottom line. I just refuse to accept that it must come on the backs of others.
After much searching I began to realize that my way of being in the world, while habitual, was not really a full representation of me. I do want to lead but not in a way that makes others feel trampled on. It is important for me to stand up for the underdog but I don't want to keep doing so in ways that others perceive as judgmental. I want to be strong and independent in my intimate relationships and I want to be soft, receptive and loving. I know I am capable of both so why is one way of being so much harder than the other? Why does one come like breathing and the other like labor?
I could spend the rest of my life on a therapist's couch delving into how I became the way I am. I suppose there may even be some consolation in that discovery. But what most interests me is knowing how to show up in the world most authentically in this moment. If all of these characteristics are part of me - if I am both powerful and protective, challenging and receptive, confrontational and loving - what determines which "side" of me surfaces? How do I more intentionally choose how I respond to my world and participate in my relationships instead of just acting without thinking?
The road home to our true selves is most simply a journey of self-awareness and discovery. It is about learning what is "underneath" our behaviors, motivations, ways of thinking and being. Choosing this road means digging a bit in our own dirt to discover what lies at the root of how we currently move in the world. It's goal is to re-introduce us to our most authentic, true version of ourselves.
In the next installation of Rooted, I will introduce you to one of my favorite tools for this work. It is amazing, powerful, and eye-opening. I'm guessing you're going to love it!