When my spiritual bank account recently ran dry I fell off the rails. The dramatic reaction I played out matched my beliefs about the world and my typical defensive strategy. It always will.
It’s at moments like this that I appreciate my training at The Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Here I learnt the language of my own defences in a way that allows me to live my brilliance through them. I know important and useful things about my own nature. E.g. I know how I ‘blame’, ‘control’, ‘hide’ and ‘leave’ when faced with a challenging situation. These are my personal favourite rescue attempts to protect me from a world I’ve forgotten is constantly loving and kind.
I forgot this Kindess recently as I took on the complexities of a new job. My personal rhythms became very erratic, the organisations rhythms were also erratic as it changed leadership and direction after 11 years. Why did I think for even a moment that it was “supposed” to be a time of smoothness? When two waves meet at different angles, the water becomes choppy, tumultuous and unpredictable. The rhythm of the first wave meets the different rhythm of the second wave in a mixture of presentness and lostness. Given time a new, third wave will emerge to carry forward the impetus with new direction.
When I forgot this Kindness, my default defences kicked in. They attempted to “save” me from the ‘nasty, hostile’ world, from the painfulness of choppy waters. I became increasingly frustrated and blamed my job as the “cause”* of my unhappiness. Then I went into strategizing mode looking how to fix this problem by asserting extreme levels of control, hiding under the duvet for a day and planning to resign.
“If you don’t know your own defensive strategies, you’re living blind. You are running a program deep within your CPU. It is telling you things about the nature of the world that are just not how it is.” (A.N.)
“Perversions of the truth soon become perceptions of the truth which then become indistinguishable from the truth.” – Helen Zille
Before I studied healing I would blame, control, hide and leave. After 8 years studying healing I blame, control, hide and leave. So what’s different? 1. I do it less; 2. I know why I do it; 3. I understand I’m in reaction and I’ve lost my centredness; 4. I know the difference between a reaction, and a centred action (and the consequences) 5. I know how to centre myself; 6. I have choice. Drama or calmness; 7. I hurt myself less; 8. I hurt others less; 9. I apologise faster; 10. I love more; 11. I shine more; 12.I have more fun
This is why it is really important that some* of your personal development work grows your experiential awareness of your own style of defensive behaviour. At healing school we learnt this about ourselves so we could see it in our clients. When I see a client playing out their defensive patterns I see their brilliance in the same moment. Then I know how to bring it forward into their lives.
Speed of recognition, changes choice and then behaviour
As you grow familiar with your defensive behaviour you come closer to catching it ‘in the moment’ or even before it/you emotionally react, exacerbating pain in your relationships. Blow-ups that used to take weeks to resolve are resolved in hours. Often times they avoided altogether.
LINKED ARTICLE – RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAPPINESS