Three Basic Skills for Authentic Expression
In my view, most people’s simple desire is the authentic expression of their experience. There is a lot to be discovered underneath that umbrella. This lens has given me a lot of perspective about how physical, mental, spiritual, relational, emotional, and sexual integration are similar in more ways than one. They are access points to that which wants to be expressed, be it from the depth of grief, the height of ecstasy, or the infinite possibilities between the two.
In his book The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin wrote,
“It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set.”
Though integration can feel like an overwhelming and intertwined task, it is the mastery of a very basic skill set that guides us through the portals of despair into an authentically expressed life.
Here are three skills that support authentic expression. They work for yourself, in holding space for someone else, and in every access point of experience.
Provide orientation to your space and acknowledge safety. Healing doesn’t take place in a rush; although, ironically it happens much more quickly when we take it slow. When we feel secure, we are much more available to receive the information we need for integration. Done extra well, security also provides a cushion or resource from which we can draw when pain arises.
Set up your physical space with items that bring comfort and elicit feelings of support.
Remember celebrations, gratitude, and beauty.
Notice what feels good in your body.
Bring to mind relationships that support you.
Connect to the experience that is present in the moment. Often, the presenting pain is only a representation of an underlying pattern hoping to be integrated into the greater whole. Take time to locate the experience and be with it as you might be with an old friend who you haven’t seen in a while. Without trying to fix or change it, connect.
What is this experience?
From which access points does it feel most alive?
How does it change shape and gain clarity as you notice it?
Before diving into permission, most often it’s important to revisit security, remembering what supports you. Particularly, oppressed populations have not had the privilege of permission to express. We as a whole are missing out on a lot when we silence anyone, including various aspects of ourselves.
The more permission we have to express, the more clarity and insight we receive, giving us the conscious choice to orient to the current experience with new eyes or create a new pattern. While it’s easy to be afraid that permission to express will result in a big reveal of our shadow or stuckness in a certain expression, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Repression is the leader of stagnancy; expression is the leader of freedom. Permission supports us to exist, to show up as we are, and to relish the entire spectrum of human experience, both darkness, and light. (Of course, permission to express does not waive us of our responsibility for how our expression impacts others.)
Tune into what permission feels like to you.
How much of the spectrum do you feel permission to express?
Play with turning up the volume on permission in various aspects of your experience and context.
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