Engaging Ourselves Differently

Apr 8th, 2014 | By | Category: Insights

Last week I had the honour of holding the space for two men willing to consider another way of BEING for themselves.

Ed and Chris have been in this dance together for two years; engaging in the conversations I have with and for men. Last summer they stepped into Decloaking and Living Authentically and last week they immersed themselves in Engaging and Awakening Others; the densest conversation we will ever be in. The focus; the illusion of the intact family system. It was an incredible journey for me to bear witness and be a part of.

My discoveries will come in a later blog. For now, I want to share what Ed has written.

“The words competition, conformity and shame keep coming up as waves of family history roll through me. In 1972 long hair was a social and political time bomb in my family. Like today, parents were unsure how to view conformity. Taming the non – conformist was often considered good parenting, and still is today. 

For my parents, success was considered the objective over living true to who we really are. In order to successfully compete in the world we must conform to an external reality that may, or may not support our true Self.  Before age 12 I mostly rejected both, but slowly I came to embrace what was happening “out there.” I now know my desire to compete is the same as my desire to conform, they’re both about feeling accepted.

Ed Hanrahan

Today I ask; do I need to compete and conform? What am I scared of? Loneliness? In a world driven by profit I can find externally referenced people mistrusting other people. In a world driven by tribalism I can find externally referenced people blaming other people. I am realizing that my obsession with competition and conformity is to my detriment and can only exist if I allow it.

I am learning that my adhearance to external references of feeling accepted is often based on shame, on what’s right or what’s wrong, on making judgements. I know from practice that the happiest I’ve ever been is when I stop judging myself, but I know I can not stop judging myself, if I can not stop judging others. In this breath I get to choose to show up as my true Self without judgements.

Thanks to Lisa J. Weiss and The Wel-Systems® Institute I have learned to breath first, and then choose, the first 53 years of childhood are over, I can choose for myself to be my Self, or not.

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  1. Ed Thank you for sharing this profoundly impactful snapshot of yourself in your journey. Last week in your willingness to reveal yourself in process was a ver sacred moment for me. It created a massive shift in who I believe myself to be.
    Thank you Lisa for holding space and inviting the men into this community, this conversation, and ultimately back to themselves. It only adds to my depth of experience and reclamation to engage the filters of gender through which my reality was created.

  2. I went into the week-long retreat mentally and physically exhausted, not knowing if I could bring my whole self into the room. Ed and I have a wonderful relationship that often triggers large responses from me and so it was last week. The insights regarding how I interact with family members was profound and I am blown away by the fundamental awareness I developed about myself. I have shifted away from loneliness being a major self-descriptor towards recognizing that I isolate myself due to my need to feel safe.

    As Ed described his relationship with his father, I realized that Ed was so very similar to my elder son and that to all intents and purposes, I was Ed’s father in my parenting responses. This insight alone was worth the week as I have always struggled to understand Shay much to my shame.

    The pivotal moment was when I moved away from telling my sacred story, and everyone just waited, knowing what I myself didn’t know, that I wasn’t finished and sure enough 30 minutes later I was back in that chair moving, shifting massive amounts of information blowing away 40 year old cobwebs.

    Having Stephanie and Nancy available at different times during the week only added to the experience as they brought themselves into the room and poked away at me, being curious about my words and my responses.

    Thank you Lisa so much for this opportunity and thank you Ed for just being there.

  3. Thank you Chris for your willingness to share your experience out loud! It takes commitment to choose to stay with ourSelves, engaged in the toughest conversation we will ever have; that of our family system. This conversation is all about peeling back the layers to ‘see’ the brilliant strategies we employ to, as you say, ‘stay safe.’

    I love the phrase “blowing away 40 year old cobwebs.” As time passes the cobwebs become dense. What an incredible gift you gave yourself to be willing to see the deeply rooted habituated behaviours that we engage; to know you now stand in a different place; allowing you the opportunity to choose differently!


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