During a recent week with Richard Moss in Ojai, CA, we learned a practice that I find especially helpful when a personal relationship or my relationship with life has some complexity to it – helpful, especially, since most of my important relationships are complex in some way.
Take, for example, my relationship to money and power. I fear having a lot of money and, at the same time, I buy lottery tickets. Underneath my longstanding mistrust of power and reluctance to exercise it, I discover in shadow realms a desire for power and control.
Darkness allows us to know light. Only if we're able to say "no" can we really say "yes".
Imbedded in one truth is its opposite. In his most recent book, Inside-Out Healing, Richard says: "Concepts always exist as pairs of opposites: up and down, good and bad, left and right …" (p. 79). If one story within us is true, chances are the opposite is true as well. Richard offers, in his book, an excellent exercise to help us feel our way into these opposing stories, along with some imagery to help us release them.
One night in Ojai, I experimented with an abbreviated version of this exercise, using eight permutations of a "me-you" story about a relationship in my life. Lying in bed, face up, I let each of the eight truths sink into my bones, one pair at a time.
I like Bob. (pseudonym)
I don't like Bob.
Bob likes me.
Bob doesn't like me.
I like me.
I don't like me.
Bob likes Bob.
Bob doesn't like Bob.
I stayed with the first pair, alternating back and forth, until I felt embodied in both truths, with no resistance to either. I fully accepted that both stories were present in me, then moved on to the next pair – and continued in this way with each pair until I'd finished the last one.
Moments later, I noticed a remarkable stillness inside, a quiet peacefulness. With no conscious effort on my part to make them go away, all eight stories had simply dissolved.
Embracing them all released them all.
Note: Check Inside-Out Healing for a more complete description of this practice.