Whenever we point a finger outward in judgment, we are really pointing at the parts of ourselves we’re not willing to own. We can only recognize what we are. Everyone who triggers us is a mirror and a teacher.
And yet, not everyone is open to this truth. The ego part of ourselves really doesn’t want to see and acknowledge our shadows, the traits we prefer to keep hidden or simply ignore because it doesn’t feel good to sit with them. It’s so much easier and more comfortable to find faults with others.
For those on the path of self-development and growth, these can be access points to discovering the old wounds that are ready to heal. One of my favorite questions to ask both myself and my clients is: “What kinds of people or situations trigger you?” The answers reveal a treasure trove of painful thoughts to dissolve.
Earlier this month, I attended David Elliott’s level 4 breathwork meditation healing training in Joshua Tree, California. Whatever we’re working through personally will manifest itself in naturally sitting opposite of whoever is working through a similar life lesson. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times and the magic about this is too statistically relevant to be coincidence. Because of this, David partners those who sit opposite of each other in a circle.
My partner on the first day irritated me. I judged her as overly critical, incessantly complaining, lacking in boundaries and equal exchange with loved ones (my interpretation of what she shared), and a know-it-all who was very stuck in her masculine energy and left-brain logic. I was annoyed that I had to work with someone who was clearly not on the same page and had nothing in common with.
Or did I?
Feeling into my body’s tension response, I asked myself, “What is she showing me that I don’t want to see in myself?”
Let’s see…The fact that I was judging someone within the first thirty minutes of meeting them and complaining to myself that I had to work with her for the day was a good start at recognizing myself.
I then reflected on the phone call I had during my drive out to Joshua Tree. I had discussed and investigated into the root of my digestive issues with a coach peer who focuses on Mind-Body Connection tools. What we deduced was a deeper layer of ongoing work on my boundaries and communicating about, as well as enforcing, equal exchange with friends and family. (Karmically speaking, I’ve been “working” on this for seven lifetimes. Not surprisingly, it has quite a few sticky layers.)
Although I may train in tools like Breathwork to utilize with clients, the trainings themselves always results in my own healing. It’s a beautiful bonus and probably why I’ll be a perpetual student of the healing arts.
Therefore, the two intentions I set out to heal through Breathwork that weekend were to: (1) Release my blocks to identifying, communicating and maintaining boundaries with loved ones and replace that with equal exchange, and (2) Continue healing my relationship with the masculine (a theme that arose over the past year).
Yes, she would be my mirror. Thank you, Spirit, for this teacher.
Coming at the interaction and engagement from this perspective allowed me to own my stuff. Was it comfortable? Of course not. Could I accept and lean into that? Yes, because I’ve done enough work on myself to know that the end result is so much more freeing than the alternative.
Byron Katie says, “Would you rather be right or free? Do you want to be right more than you want to know the truth?...Do The Work for the love of freedom, for the love of truth.”
I invite you, dear reader, to take a look at the people and situations that annoy, irritate or anger you. What in that is shining a light on the uncomfortable, dark places within you? It’s in these spaces we can give ourselves some freedom.