Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Being in the present, the most basic attitude for dissociation recovery is not an easy practice.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Being in the present, the most basic attitude for dissociation recovery is not an easy practice. For being present means not only letting ...
Being in the present, the most basic attitude for dissociation recovery is not an easy practice. For being present means not only letting the bright gladness of summer daisies seep into ourselves; it also means a face-to-face encounter with the fears that haunt our days.Let everything happen to you beauty and terror.Just keep going,No feeling is final.


Being present means being present with all of it — the beauty and the terror. Of course, terror is the hard part — but sometimes, even beauty terrifies us. We cast a suspicious eye on anything too wonderful, too beautiful; it won’t last — it will go away and leave us bereft. The cynical, the fearful, and the calcified parts of us are often blocking our ability to be fully present.

To be fully present, we need to learn how to embrace the whole of life, as did Kazantzakis’ famous character in Zorba the Greek. For example, when asked about his domestic life, Zorba responds, “Am I not a man? Of course I’ve been married. Wife, house, kids, everything . . . the full catastrophe!” Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living, interprets Zorba’s words this way: “‘Catastrophe’ here does not mean disaster. Rather it means the poignant enormity of our life experience.”



But none of these things defeat us. Rather, it was the terror that brought us to a point of recovery crisis. It was the kind of terror born of being a stranger in a foreign land, prey to muggers and scammers and the shadowy side of these unpredictable and exotic lands.

What our child within needs to survive was not so much toughness, but largeness — the ability to be fully present with the “whole" of our strange and often exotic experiences, the beauty and the terror.
And so, We learned the art of being present with the whole of life — the full catastrophe. Sometimes it meant taking a few minutes each day to write down our fears and angers, and then to breathe with them compassionately, like soothing our screaming child within. Only then can we gather enough courage to move on to the beauty of Being Absolutely Present

 We need to be “absolutely present” within our world. It means facing everything — the full catastrophe — with courage and love. It means vowing to love ourselves, our loved ones, and the earth itself "in sickness and in health" — the full catastrophe. Being present with the world means showing up and listening, not only to the good and uplifting news around us, but also to the cosmic groans of an iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg breaking off the Antarctic ice shelf.

When a loved one is sick or dying, what do we do? We sit beside her. We don’t have to say anything. Simply being present is the poetry of love.

I believe our child within is like this: unconditionally present, feeling “the poignant enormity” of the world — the beauty and the terror — because that is what love does.


If you want to mirror our full-picture recovery — wide and deep and unconditional — allow ourself a little time today to sit and breathe with the world as it is. Be present with the fullness of ourself, too, the light and the shadow. Be present with our friends, even when they are not at their best. Be present not only with the enchantment of the earth, but with its sorrows and its anguish and its slow destruction by our recklessness and greed. Inside this gift of presence resides the seeds for transformation and healing.

And when the terror comes, we can sit with it, care for it, and not be overcome.


Perhaps, if enough of us practice being fully present with both the beauty and the terror, we will wake up one day to find ourselves whole, our relationships restored. It all starts with the courage to be fully, stubbornly — absolutely — present.

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