Skills for Emotional Integrity

Emancipating SexualityThe following is an in-progress list of skills for Emotional Integrity.  I am able to practice all of these things, but not all of the time or all at once.  I set my intention upon this list as a document of guiding principles as I navigate how to be the best human I can.

I am teaching a class tonight on Emotional Responsibility: 7 p.m. in San Francisco.  

Click here to Register! 

I would love to see you, and this material is the basis for what we will be doing.  

Please please please comment at the end of things I have missed or forgotten… I am so curious about your feedback!

Emotional Integrity Skill Set

  • Acknowledge all of my needs and desires (even if they will not be met at that moment, they still exist.)
  • Acknowledge my unmet needs.
  • Acknowledge the needs of all involved, and hold as equally valid to mine.
  • Share my true inner feelings and thoughts, a.k.a. “Transparency.”
  • Check in when unsure of someone’s feelings, needs, motivations, actions.
  • Work on translating blame mentality into personal accountability.
  • Develop awareness of and compassion for my projections onto others.
  • Feel the pain I cause someone, even if unintentional.
  • Recognize the difference between my intention, and the impact my actions have on someone.  The hurt doesn’t go away just because I didn’t mean to hurt them.
  • Internally trust that others experiences are true for them.
  • Allow others experiences to exist without fixing, minimizing, or assuming.
  • Know clearly the pain or core wound filters through which I view my world.
  • Ask for and receive support appropriately.
  • Acknowledge my own contribution to any conflict.
  • Recognize my blaming behaviors, and gently redirect to personal accountability.
  • Acknowledge all of my complicated and multiple intentions, be they helpful or hurtful.
  • Know my own triggers.
  • Take care of myself when triggered.
  • Know how to get myself ‘back online’ after triggered.
  • Honor biology: fight or flight is real, and to make thinking choices of response, sometimes I need a break to sort it out.
  • Give myself all the time I need to get clear.
  • Not engage from a triggered place.
  • Practice responding, and not reacting.
  • Keep the house between me and someone else ‘clean,’ not hold onto resentments.
  • Communicate forthrightly, and not wait to be asked.
  • Communicate more rather than less about my choices and feelings
  • HALT aware: Communicate when I am not Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
  • Seek council when necessary.
  • Communicate directly to the person (not behind their back.)
  • Notice when I am critical, accusatory, punishing or desire to humiliate.  Send love and compassion to myself, knowing that these are arising from my own hurt places. Choose carefully how I proceed.
  • Commit to understanding, rather than being right.
  • Work my emotional boundaries: know what is mine and what is not.
  • Be mindful about how my energy (not just words and actions) impacts those around me.
  • Stay connected through conflict.  Reassure my loved ones, comfort each other. Reach out.
  • Be present and in my body.
  • Listen to someone, and notice my own judgments internally.
  • Acknowledge and share my mixed emotions.
  • Welcome feedback about my actions.
  • Share generously my heart.
  • Give and receive love.
  • Know that big emotions don’t justify throwing all relationship principles away: I act according to my values even when I am angry, hurt, frustrated, grieving, or jealous.
  • Don’t assign motivations based on the impact of someone’s actions.
  • Hold that the ‘meta’ of a relationship is more important than being right in that moment.
  • Let go of small grievances.
  • Respect the boundaries others set, both verbally and with body language.
  • Be mindful of hearing only what I want to hear.
  • Notice when my criticisms and judgments are active: Ask self, “Am I feeling vulnerable?”
  • Seek win/win solutions.
  • Speak truthfully, without obfuscation, lies, or omissions.
  • Choose truth over social ease most times, but also check to see if my feedback will help or hurt, and choose to the best of my ability in that moment.
  • Acknowledge everyone’s needs as equally valid, even when what someone needs conflicts with what I want.
  • Ask, “How can I make their life more wonderful?” and “How can I sweeten this situation?”
  • Seek professional help to renegotiate trauma and psychological wounding
  • Look at my own behavior, acknowledge the negative impact it has had on someone, and actively work to rectify both the situation and the behavior.
  • Assume others are acting honorably.
  • Align words and body language/cues.
  • Say yes only when almost all of me agrees. (What is my percentage for determining yes?) Acknowledge the small part that always resists, and see if it needs anything.
  • Acknowledge that I, and everyone else, are doing the best we can with all that we have at that particular moment, and if we could make a more useful choice, we would.
  • Repeatedly and over time choose Kindness towards others.

Click here to Register for Emotional Responsibility class tonight.

Choose kindness right now and please drop me a comment below.  

I am hungry for your input! 

Journey to the Inner Lands

Emergence from trauma
Return to Radiance

A teacher told me once that we get to make three major descents into the Underworld of our lives.  Perhaps, at the outer edge of age in this body, I will delineate in that way.  But for now, every visit to Persephone’s Land counts.  And it feels important to say it publicly that this is where I have been.

It’s the time of year for it; that spiraling, labyrinthine walk into the depths of the heart and mind.  Our mythology calls for it, as the days grow shorter here in the Northern Hemisphere.  We get a little freaked about that still, and fill our time with lights and shopping to stave off what lurks in that darkness.  We celebrate the return of the Sun/Son.

Another teacher said to trust the re-emergence.  This feels true; I give myself permission for the journey, because I know I can come back.  And come back with treasure.  Today I want to share with you a little of those jewels… tis the season, right?

Descent can look like this for me; a quieting and slowing of external engagements.  Moving away from my connections and contacts in the outer world, to focus my gaze on my inner landscape.  To do the bare minimum of work, housework, connecting with others.  I spend time in bed, cocooned in warmth.  I take a lot of baths. I don’t return phone calls or emails.  I miss commitments or bail on them. I don’t reach out for support, or let anybody know what’s going on. This year, because of all the somatic awareness I’ve been working so hard to develop, I was also blessed with the guidance of my body.  My body was all about releasing trauma.

While trauma held in the body may seem like a mysterious, looming and unbeatable foe, it is my experience that once accessed, it can quickly move through the body towards release.  The more you’ve got, the longer the release process will take, but it’s do-able.  The thing about it is that even if you’ve dealt with the issue that caused it in the first place in talk therapy, and it’s no longer a trigger, the trauma can still be there stored in the tissues of the body.  It’s gotta come out.  In my studies of Somatic Experiencing, one of the best ways to help it release is to shake the body vigorously.

My body guided me through the process, and it was indeed a bit messy, but end result is emergence, so stay tuned for that.  Not only emergence, but coming back with a new level of embodiment and understanding.  This time, part of my process included a sleep disorder.  Night after night, I awoke ten to fifteen times.  I would wake with a start, be fully alert, and in my body feel something like urgency.  After trying all the usual stuff people try for sleeping, and nothing working, and with exhaustion and sleep deprivation impacting my life, I started shaking.  It was more like feeling compelled to it; I would wake, stand, and shake my entire body for several minutes, and then feel the discharge and be able to quickly return to sleep.  Wash, rinse, and repeat.  Night after night, for six weeks or so.   It was pretty brutal.

The other component that was happening was a lot of moral inventory taking.  Looking deeply within to determine the accountability I have in one of the relationships that created much of the trauma.  And here’s where the treasures come in.  Although I didn’t feel like a victim, I was pretty in love with my blame story.  And I learned that blame is a hook, that it always attaches to a victim story at the other end.  Blaming and victiming are always about power.

I learned that I get to choose my hooks, and I can learn to release them. (It’s a lot of work!)  Family of origin is full of hooks. Relationships are full of hooks. To be free and untethered, I have to remove those hooks.

Removing the hooks is about forgiveness.  Forgiveness is a verb, not a noun.  It’s an active process of sending good or neutral thoughts and energy to the person you are working with forgiving.  Every time the story replays, noticing it and gently removing the hook.  Finding compassion for the hooks, and the way they keep us connected, albeit dysfunctionally.  Loving the body and the Self enough to risk unhooking.  Seeing what the relationship is beyond the hooks.

I think there are other hooks besides blame as well.  A working definition of a “hook” would be any situation that blocks our highest consciousness, and keeps us trapped in stories of hurt, anger or fear.

(I realize this is long and rambly, and I’m not going to edit it very much for the realness factor.)

The shift for me into re-emergence came in the hot water of Sierra Hot Springs, where I’ve had several life-altering revelations over the years.  You might want to go there if you haven’t.  It’s this: I could choose to forgive.  Just let it go.  Be like “Yeah, okay, that was hard, and I lived through it.” I could choose to recognize that we are all hanging on by a thread, and doing our very best, and no one is EVER going to be able to get it right.  We are all fucked up, human, imperfect and yet it’s okay.  That that person is just another struggling human, not the Dark Lord.  There was this moment in my body where I GOT it on a somatic level, what just letting go would feel like.  I haven’t done it yet, but I’m much closer than I was before.

And that was kind of it.  I released a bunch of trauma.  I did a shitload of moral inventory. I got on a body level the connection between blaming and victiming.  I had a revelation about forgiveness.  And now I’m back online.

I re-emerge to find: There are shifts in that particular relationship already. I have more space in my body for new things. My dreams are powerful again. I’m having more pleasure in my body. Magick is happening all around me. My friends are annoyed with me. I feel excited about the end of the world, and the birthing of the new one.

I pray my explanation of my process serves you in some small way.  Blessings on the return of the Light, and Safe Home on your own inner journeying.