Dying is easy
It’s living that scares me to death…
–From “Cold,” by Annie Lennox
Get out your Inner Map. Can’t dig it up? Here it is (plus a link to download your own home-version):
It’s probably tough to see on your phone. There are the areas Above the Line (Neutrality, Acceptance, Appreciation, Love, Joy, Peace) and Below the Line (Shame, Guilt, Despair, Sadness, Fear, Anger, Pride).
Your job? Think “presidential election.” Now, find yourself on the Inner Map. What state of consciousness are you anchored into? Now take it further: What story are you telling yourself that is anchoring you into this state of consciousness?
I’ve been up and down the Map. Overnight I was stuck in Frozen Fear. I couldn’t get warm. My story was something like: “Half of our country wants a lizard-man to be president. He will ruin my/our lives.” Then this morning Sadness broke through, with the relief and pain of tears. My story was all about what I’d lost, things like the dream of a woman president, my hope for the future, my open-hearted celebration of possibility.
I had a few waves of Guilt–“why didn’t I do more! I could’ve kept this tragedy from happening.” Which brought more Fear–“I’m out of control of all of this. I’m helpless.” Then Anger rolled through: “I DID NOT WANT THIS!” It had some toxic blaming dips (“It was the 3rd party voters! Those Trump people are [X, Y, Z].”
What a ride.
At this point, I’m familiar enough with the Inner Map to know I just have to ride the waves of being Below the Line until the dense energy of those emotions have passed out of my body. I’m not exactly comfortable with that process–those energies actually feel painful and hard to tolerate–but I trust it more, know that staying with it will allow density to keep on moving through my body. And that the pay-off is tremendous: I will once again return to the clarity and creativity of being Above the Line.
So let’s pause so you can reassess. Where are you right now? What story is anchoring you to a certain level of consciousness? If you find yourself Below the Line, are you interested in finding your way Above the Line? If so, here’s the process:
- Notice your current level. (Check)
- Articulate the story that is anchoring you there. (Check)
- Decide on the level you’d like to inhabit. (How about Neutrality? Acceptance? Even Appreciation?)
- What is a story that will anchor you to this level?
- Starting with your current level (and that story), put your attention on your body sensations that go with that story. For example, if you’re scared, you might feel tension in your stomach or chest. Anger might be located in your jaw, neck, or shoulders. Sadness could be a lump in your throat or pain/emptiness in your heart area.
- Breathe into those sensations. With your in-breath, invite them to fully inhabit your body. Then as you exhale, invite them to move out. Keep going, welcoming the density in and then inviting it to leave.
- Once you experience some new openness in your body, start to tell yourself the new story from the level of consciousness you chose. Let that story expand through your cells.
- (Bonus round): Now go even further up the Inner Map and choose a new story, repeating the process.
Here’s my example from today. I tried Neutrality for awhile, some version of “It is what it is.” That wasn’t too satisfying, but it was a start. Then I anchored up to Acceptance, trying the words “Hillary lost. Trump will be president.” (I’m still only about 50% on that one.) It was at Appreciation that things started to really improve in my body. I very much appreciate all that Hillary has done, the decades of hard, hard work she’s been committed to. I appreciate being part of this vast movement of women and men dedicated to creating change. And then this one: I appreciate that Hillary won’t have to spend 4 years with Republicans making mincemeat out of her every utterance.
I noticed that, as I became more expanded, I was more open to new information. I’m beginning to see the backlash of racism within this vote that hadn’t been apparent to me before. I’m accepting that, as a group, Trump’s supporters have been (apparently) marinading in Anger, Fear and Despair for the past 8 years, creating and living in their own versions of hell so that their own Reactive Brains could not open to new ideas. I see and accept how we’re all the same (oh! Up to Love, maybe even Joy or Peace) and that there’s a path through all of this. I’m grasping that this experience is reminding me that no one–not Hillary, not Barack nor Michele or all the other great politicians–holds my power. That I am the source of my shifting to what is my real power, all of those zones Above the Line. And as I tune into my body and my stories, I am the source of the possible.
This election has opened up the maw of creation. It can swallow us into our own darkness (those aspects Below the Line) or into our light (the expansion that lives, right now! Above the Line). As you let yourself plunge into the jaws of your own story-telling–which do you choose?