Arrows of Feeling
Turns out I’ve been holding myself in pretty tight, like this:
This came to my attention on a Zoom call with a new friend recently. We planned to do something like energy work for one another, or "reading the field." First we sat in silence for a few minutes, to really drop in.
While sitting silently together, I felt our energies connect. I intuitively started to get an energetic sense for her and for our connection, where and how we resonated. I have a lot of practice with this form of listening, honing it through energy work and bodywork. This is approximately how the silent interaction felt to me (across Zoom-space):
But then, as our silent period closed, she described her perspective on it.
She said she'd tried to take a peek at my energy, to get a sense for me, and had basically gotten an energetic "no" back -- a wall. "Totally fine, makes sense," she'd thought.
My rendition of the interaction from her perspective:
This was arresting. Apparently the way I normally held myself and my energy, which to me felt like ‘flow,’ felt closed off to her.
Sitting with this for a few days, I started wondering if I was holding my energy and presence in:
in such a default way that I wasn’t aware of it. And I wondered if I could do something more like this:
I started holding this intention and playing with it all the time. Connecting with this felt sense of the arrows… a tight holding in as the red arrows glare at me threateningly, versus the calm blue breath of the out-flowing arrows… unlocked something big for me.
Examples of clues that I’m in red/inward mode:
I’m thinking about my feelings, rather than being with them directly
I’m assigning values to my feelings like ‘correct,’ ‘incorrect,’ ‘pathetic,’ ‘inconvenient,’ etc
I’m planning my way out of my feelings
I’m perceiving my feelings, physical appearance, or life from an outsider’s perspective
I’ve hit an input limit — I can’t take in anyone’s energy, words, media etc or it feels like I’ll explode
Often in this mode, I’m aware of what I’m feeling but it’s stuck to me; it’s not moving.
How I’ve been moving from red/inward to blue/outward mode:
Sense into the space a few inches beyond the (apparent) boundaries of my body
Invite and allow sensations that feel very ‘inside’ my body (closer to my center line), to flow into that ‘external’ space (without forcing)
And if it wants, my body can find its own movement or position to assist the flow.
When I do that full-body reframe, there’s so much relief in the remembered capacity to ‘breathe.’ To offgas. To exist.
As I continued to practice and integrate, I noticed a connection with a lot of other ideas and sayings out there:
What’s it like to let the blue arrows flow while moving around the house?
Walking down the beach in a bathing suit?
Lying still in bed at night?
While I’m furious? While I’m mildly annoyed?
It doesn’t always have to be a full-bodied thing. The localized version is handy:
Know what’s a real trip? How good you can get at receiving others, and picking up on subtle energetic phenomena, while still unconsciously operating in the mostly-red-arrow mode. (In retrospect, this feels obvious.)
A former meditation and movement teacher of mine had a really beautiful way of teaching receptivity. One of his cues was to let the room come to you instead of always diving out with your attention. That simple transmission was hugely powerful for me; my internal process deepened, my bodywork suddenly improved. Really letting yourself be touched by the room, by the person across from you, by the world — is a rare and important gift.
But things also have to be able to flow out of us. Sensations, feelings, emotions, energies — they need room to breathe. Those of us already deep into receptivity training, by choice or by life circumstance, could do with focusing more on the blue arrows. I want to be touched by the world, but the world wants to be touched by me, too.