Independence, resistance, and the ‘shield’s’ response to conflict

Joy talks to a woman who is finding work and relating difficult after a Secret Garden retreat

Your armour of independence, wanting to do things your way, have your own way, is absolutely fine. Except that in this profound work of dismantling what isn’t truth and love, it has no place it can survive.

The edge of resistance to so called work (work is just life happening where there is an exchange, a service given in exchange often for money-all just life), the edge of resistance to not being fully in control, the edge of resistance to serving a bigger picture of communal intent.

I wish for you the experience of being in flow, in love, when doing your tasks whether at home or on bwati retreat. Then the truth is revealed, there is no difference between work, play and life!

Of course overload and overwhelm sometimes happens. And then you can just communicate your needs and stop, or find a responsible way to hand over. As you did at home by lying in bed. Energy moves, then it stops. This is natural. And it isn’t by conscious choice! The mind –anyone’s mind -always will seek stimulation and achievement and security and plans. But the mind knows nothing.

I am most interested when you describe beautifully the shield’s defence mechanism here in your interaction with your partner If you long for depth of intimacy and connection with him –which your exchanges in circles suggest you do -again independence, wanting to do things your way, and specifically wanting to shield yourself from hurt, harm, the impact of an-other especially the one who is ‘supposed’ to unconditionally accept all that you are- is absolutely fine.

Except that in the potentially profound union between man and woman, which is by nature designed to dismantle what isn’t truth and love, can bring the beauty of intimacy, trust and innocence, it again has no place.

Without the recovery of one of you from this clash you describe, in this instance your partner’, the impasse could have gone on for longer. That is why relating gets better the more one or both partners is willing to look inside and recover their own love and truth.

And I invite you to look into –what would have happened if….what might I have done differently? Because sword and shield –which can be interchangeable pain roles couples put on whenever they don’t want to surrender, are just habitual reactions.

You say ”My habit is to withdraw, deny him of me, and protect myself. I can feel content on my own, without anybody making me feel bad. My partner gets furious when I say ‘you made me feel…’ etc. Well as far as I can say now, he did make me feel that way – bad, empty, rejected, sad. My way of dealing with that is to walk away, be on my own and feel content, which mostly I can do. Interesting to observe.”

What if you moved closer? Feeling pain and hurt? What if you didn’t say ‘you make me feel’ but instead got deeper and said I am feeling hurt and I want to blame you and I would instead like to come closer to you to let me see me this vulnerable? And I am frightened to lose your love if I do so.

This comment you make” I guess I need to be myself, and think before I blurt out possible hurtful stuff.” People get so trapped ‘trying not to….blame, judge etc. Never attempt to control the impetus to attack or judge. Rather, love it, give it light and space to move. Yes of course it feels ugly and uncomfortable. That is an alchemical opportunity for deep transformation. Nothing transforms without tenderness. Committed relating invites you to love what can feel unloveable in yourself or another. Nothing can transform without the courage to hold in the raw exposing light of day what can feel unloveable in yourself or another. Nothing transforms without trust. the trust to say ”Here I am this is how it is. Are you still with me? Can you help me move through this to something different that I know is my birthright?”

I see and feel you so willing to be this real, this vulnerable. How to do that with all the distractions and responsibilities of ordinary life?

Just practice. Move towards.

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