Photo Credit (‘Danger Mines’ Watch where you step. Taken on the road to Stanley on East Falkland. by Stefan1981 on FLICKR.)
Dear reader, The Minefield. We know the comparison well. Sometimes relationships seem like minefields. It occurred to me in a conversation with one of my clients, and later on, a conversation with my daughter, that we are continuously prompted by the universe to de-fuse our own bombs. Sometimes the role we play varies— we seemingly set the bomb for someone else, or sometimes we are handling a live one ourselves. The fact is we stumble into emotional charge even in perfectly well intention exchanges.
In planning for a retreat with a member of my Mastermind group, one such occasion popped up, in the process of my asking this client what she wanted in her accommodations and if she had any flexibility in that. When she realized that her wishes POTENTIALLY CONFLICTED WITH THE NEEDS OR WISHES OF ANOTHER, it became very hard for her to just let her answer to me stand. It was as if her resolve was tested. And that wasn’t what she was anticipating. It was hard, we had just stepped on a land mine—it came up unexpectedly.
In this situation there existed a ripe opportunity for her to defuse the charge and thereby minimize future internal explosions–or external reactions to events or others when she hadn’t even realized there was an “LIVE one” hidden just beneath the surface. The fact is, to see that the “Danger” we perceive is a perception of ours, and not something out there, located in someone else is a shift. I’ve seen and facilitated this shift over and over in people’s lives– ultimately resulting in their relief from suffering.
Emotional charges and reactions actually don’t discharge themselves, even with time–in fact sometimes we increase in intensity when we ignore them. What we avoid, grows. With this paradigm shifting work, we can safely and easily go in and defuse the charge–that’s why I share here my invites on to her (and her response) about taking time to unpack this one. Wouldn’t you do that if you had discovered the location of a land mine? If you had a sure-fire way to defuse it and you knew how so that it wouldn’t adversely affect you or others in the future? Here is the invitation I wrote to her, and I extend to you as well:
“If you get a chance to do JYN worksheets on the various things you felt toward me or yourself or the situation or the fact that I asked, and send to me or post online, it could really be productive. Don’t steamroll over or shame that part of you. Think of her as really little, and just answering truthfully about what works and doesn’t work for her, and then a fear-driven or critical (of you or others) critical voice in your head sweeps in and attacks her (you) or whoever appears responsible for the reaction, or tells her the wishes and needs were bad and wrong and that she needs to just suck it up (which leaves her resentful and fearful of the future). Support her just where she is at. Be curious what words are being used in your head to make her or someone else wrong.”
And here is what this brave open soul wrote back:
“Ok. I was going to let it be, but this is the best/safest place to air it out. I’ll work on it and have it to you before our call Monday. Thanks for the push.🙂 ”
That is the growing commitment to freedom and to ourselves that starts to grow once we experience the safety in defusing the “loaded” underground charges–where there sometimes needs to be a nudge from a mentor, we start to develop a willingness to stop feeling like a victim of our situation or our own reaction and start to actively work on breaking the connection between the thoughts and our explosive reactions. It’s what we are talking about here in this community, and with each other’s mutual support, it becomes a fun and empowered way of life.
We can’t prevent the thinking that makes us crazy or reactive–it is deep internal programming. So the best our minds can do is become the observer of the thinking, and revisit the situation that appears to light the fuse of a live bomb. It is actually the most important spiritual responsibility we have to our children, the littlest parts of ourselves and others that fall victim to our explosive internal reactions.
We now have a gentle, effective technology to follow the thread back to the underground belief, and disconnect the emotional charge by seeing that the archaic belief (not the other person or situation) it the real source of the damage. We can easily see that this way of thinking no longer applies–or was never true to start with-created by the effort of a child’s mind to make sense of the world.
We can see for ourselves that the hidden bomb does not serve to protect us or others, as was originally intended when we came up with the belief or interpretation. However, unless we go in and defuse it, it is just waiting out there with the potential to be stepped on. That is what creates fear of situations or others’ actions–we are not afraid of the action or situation itself, we are afraid we won’t know how to handle the emotional charge it sets off in us or that we might even bomb others back in ways we regret (pre-emptively or after the fact–ultimately building MORE charge and more to fear).
This is what I call going “beyond mindfulness.” We can easily spot the charges we have buried underground because we feel them when our fuse is triggered. We can spot it because it shows up when we want a person or situation to be different than they are. If only they were different, we say to ourselves, we would be saved the pain of the charge we are now feeling.
We can “walk on by” or be mindful of their persistent presence, therein eliminating the threat at its source–the erroneous conclusions our mind has drawn. We can stop giving the mind power it never had to start with. We can find out for ourselves that it was never the person or situation that caused the pain. Luckily, something they said or did simply serves to reveal where a bomb was already lying in wait.
I love watching life become a safer and safer place—a stroll in the park rather than tip-toeing through a war zone– as more and more of clients’ emotional land mines get defused. Imagine how much more relaxed and fun life would feel to experience when relationships (once an apparent source of upset) become welcome opportunities to diffuse the charge left over from a precious war.