vrijdag 11 maart 2011

TAE pt II: a personal exploration of my fears

This "first try" at TAE has a surprising conclusion. I wrote this report together with this post, in Octobre 2010. I am still uncertain whether it is ready for publishing. But my webstats tell me the previous post had an interesting number of visitors (29), which is a lot compared to the surrounding posts (which have single digit views). That's what's convinced me to throw this on as well. So, here goes.

As a second justification: I have always wanted to write, and have always felt flow when writing. However, until recently, I did not know what I had to say. I did not trust there was anything remotely interesting for anyone there. Until recently. The birth of our second child, a wonderfully zen baby girl, gave me confidence. I decided some private conclusions from my burnout (roughly, 2004-08) just might be worth sharing with the world. I used Eugene Gendlin's Thinking at the Edge to illicit this "private expertise", flexing my hormone ridden brain in the process. So the post has two layers. There's the TAE process, and what I found applying it. What I found out about my fears. In this post I'll detail how that went. It's very rough and chaotic, possibly illegible, but I'd like to share it anyway.

❤ TAE - step 1-5. "Find a word for the knowledge you want to illicit". I come up with: What the world needs now is something like softening (verzachting). I proceed, not knowing if "the world" really means Dutch society, the world at large, my world, or just me? Either way, what's needed is people coming into contact more with how they feel, and standing up for what's important to them. Dropping shame and armors. Letting go instead of observing with judgement and searching for problems, spijkers op laag water (nails at low tide?). Choosing for a future, a realistic scenario, but letting go of obstacles, problems, issues. Seeing through them, finding alternative paths that do not involve them. Choosing a positive scenario and going for it. Taking a leap of faith. Also - especially - in relationships with others. Looking on with a soft, yet strong and clear eye (hard, onverbiddelijk, zonder scrupules en schuldgevoel, assertief, duidelijk). Choosing your own road, while respecting the road another takes. Making room for the other to take their road, but claiming your own room as well. Trusting there's enough room for each and every one of us to pick the exact path we want, and more room to spare if we do. Choosing your own way of cooperating, living together, being together. Dropping, shedding what's unneccessary (guilt) if you can. Checking guilt with the one you feel guilty towards, if that's what you need to let go. Choosing to create from hope instead of holding on, defending from fear. Making room to create by letting go. Hope instead of fear. These are key phrases.

Now, preparing this post, I reflect on what I wrote in October last year. What's interesting about the word "softening", is that is has a special meaning for me. My last name, Doucet, is French. It could be translated, with a little imagination, to mean "softener", or "someone soft". In my family (maybe this goes for all families) there is a tendency to value the intellect, and to behave distant, cold and judgemental. On the other hand, all members of my family have a very sensitive, warm side as well. But the warmness doesn't seem to find its way out because of the intellectual, cold shell that's been built to last for decades.

The report continues. ❤ TAE step 6-9, instance: instead of fearing my partner will be angry with me when he gets home from work because I haven't found a job yet or because I am not looking actively enough, I should trust and believe he has faith. I should trust he has faith in my success and in me doing the right things to achieve it. I find I get a lot of anxiety from fearing what my partner really thinks of me.

Aspects: I have not been able to feel successful at any job (or at life in general, for that matter). I haven't been able to fit in in any workplace. I do not feel I belong and I haven't been able to stay on anywhere for long. I always feel like an outsider. Yet I make myself completely dependent on what I fear someone else thinks of me. This could be my boss, a colleague or client. I do not belong, yet the other person completely determines my happiness, controls me entirely. I do not belong and am completele part of/dependent on the other (employer, partner, friend).

Key phrase: choosing to create from hope instead of holding on to/defending from fear.

Substitute words in the key phrase: choosing for A instead of holding on to/defending from B.

A: hope: wish or expectation that something I really want will happen.
Better: confidence in a good outcome, even if it is not known in detail, or if it is different than I'd expected. Faith in my own ability to find a way and accept different process and outcome. Have faith in relationships and other people's ability and will to find, make, create success.

What's off in the definition of hope? Something I "really want". Better alternative: something positive. Something you're content with. Something will happen and you will want it. You will be at peace and what will happen will be good. You have peace and confidence.

What's off in the word "create"? It suggests something too big. Better would be: moving with, comoving, swaying, living, jumping in the maelstrom and trusting that whatever happens is or will be good. A small thing that sets off a chain reaction may be all it takes.

Better would be: taking risks. Defy fear of arousing someone's shame, rejection or anger. Do things from my own peace and confidence and positive intention, sensitive to others, open, unprejudiced by aforementioned fear of negative emotional reaction from other(s). Daring to stay close to myself without the fear of shame, rejection or anger from someone else.

Fear: scary, anxious feeling. This is something else. Oh no, it is not. Encountering, looking for, engaging in situations that defuse, reprogram unnecessary, obsolete, disfunctional fearful expectations built from past experience.

Knowing with certainty: fear serves only to avoid life-threatening situations. No more, no less.

The report closes with an afterthought. When reading it over a couple of days later, I felt it feels hard, too complicated, too difficult. It seemed a paradox to want to express bodily intelligence in language. Bodily intelligence is a means for direct, situationally prompted action. It seems unnecessarily complex to take the cerebral detour language is. I discussed this with my brother, about a month after my attempt at TAE. His reaction may seem obvious to you, but to me it was surprising - of course, you don't know my brother. "Communication," he said,"is what makes that hard work to find words for that bodily intelligence worthwile. You or I can have an excellently developed individual bodily intelligence system, doing all the right things at the right time. But in order to work as a team, to develop some sort of collective intelligence, we need to verbalize our individual intelligence".

With this surprising conclusion he closes a circle of work on team empowerment I have been doing in 2009. Now, posting this blog in march 2011, it seems important and worthwile. To me, anyways. Please let me know what you think!

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