What’s Underneath?

Lately I have been feeling an array of emotions that sort of blend together and are undifferentiated. Like a pile of mush. I feel fatigued, for sure. A client said to me, “I just call myself Drag Ass. I drag my ass from my bed to a chair or to wherever I have to go next.” Boy, could I relate!

That isn’t to say that I don’t “show up.” Oh, my Chi (energy) can rise up from the depths through my feet or enter from my crown (thank you Universe!) and help me meet my next task or connection full out and present. This mushed up conglomeration of feelings recede to the background, cooperatively. I can always sense its presence, nonetheless.

So, I have been excavating, of late. Digging down deep into the secret places to see what’s playing hide and seek with me. It takes courage to do this, because we know we might find real pain there, or at least unpreferred feelings. I know I must love myself enough to take my lantern out, bring some resourcing supplies with me, and climb down under. I must remember that in the darkness, underground, there is also gold.

“Actors are detectives. They interpret the evidence from the text to make seen and heard what the playwright or screenwriter has left to the imagination. They get clues from the text to find the subtext, and they ask the right questions to get to what’s hidden. Subtext is the truth that lurks underneath the lines. As human- actors, we too, have subtexts. We don’t always say what we mean. Sometimes we do this on purpose to consciously hide our truth.

Each of us buries our secrets with the belief that doing so will keep us safe. Sometimes we push our truths down so far beneath the surface that we can’t even find them ourselves, like a set of lost keys. The result is that we can only speak honestly to the degree that we are aware of what lies beneath.” Acting Lessons for Living pages 95-97

What have we buried and are hiding from ourselves in our unconscious minds?

One way to shine light onto our shadowy places is to use what Gestalt therapy calls empty chair work. I set a chair opposite myself and talk to the places that are hiding. I ask them to come forward and talk to me. I tell them I am ready to listen. I welcome them. Then I sit in the other chair, close my eyes, scan my body, and see what voices emerge. I let them speak. And they do. It’s amazing what will reveal itself to me, through my body, my voice and with my sincere invitation.

I will often hop back into my first chair and affirm what I am hearing, or ask questions from the other chair like “What do you need from me? How can I support you?” Then I hop back into the other chair, or chairs, depending how many voices are emerging and let them speak fully, giving them as much time as they need. By the end of this open conversation with myself, even if there have been some difficult things shown to me, I feel so much more integrated. I know I have been a good friend to me. I have attended to myself as I would with anyone I cared about.

Try this activity. Not in your head, literally in your body and aloud. It might sound foolish AND you will be surprised how good you feel afterward. And if you stick with it for a good long while, you may find that the truly foolish thing that you have been doing has been playing HIDE, and not SEEK, with yourself.

I also want to remind you that I will be a featured author/host on a Facebook Group called Breathless Bubbles and Books. From Monday April 12th through Sunday April 18th. It’s free to join the group and I am learning so much listening to the authors and their process. Join the group and Join me. Tuesday night I will host a zoom session around Finding your Voice.