So an interesting thing happened to me today and I want to share it (even tough it’s extremely personal) just in case an eagle might be reading this. Hold on, it will soon make sense.
I am participating in a course at my son’s school on how to work with and manage anxiety because a huge number of children on the Autism spectrum also have anxiety.
Today in class we were talking about the nervous system and how when anxiety builds there are certain specific steps that we can use to regulate the nervous system so that we don’t find ourselves in a full blown anxiety loop.
Let me just say that the information is very valuable. I have noticed however that it actually is most helpful when looking at my daughters anxiety (more perfectionist driven and mind driven) more so than it is for Griffin and myself per se.
Anyway today in class I mentioned how to the other women (it’s a small group, just 4 other people today) how helpful I’ve found mindfulness and meditation and connecting back to the body and noticing it’s sensations as guide posts to when my nervous system is getting triggered and needs some regulation.
And all 3 of then looked at me and said, yeah that doesn’t work for me. They then compared the apps and games they play on their phones to regulate and get out of the anxiety loop. Then the instructor mentioned to me, Yeah it’s important to remember that what works for you won’t necessarily work for other people.
And it was funny because immediately I felt my stomach tighten and I felt a little light headed. I felt bad but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
“yes that’s very important to remember” I said and tried to act very cool and like I FELT just like everyone else was feeling… But here’s the thing… I wasn’t.
I felt shame. I felt embarrassment and I felt very misunderstood and worse, that because my experience is different than “most” that it wasn’t even valuable enough to share and be learned from. If everyone can share their tools then why are my tools less valuable when I share?
The class ended and we all left and I noticed the other moms all holding back to talk and I felt exactly how I felt during the class which is outside of everyone, different, not excluded but not naturally part of the group.
Thank Gosh I have a process and I want to share it for others who may find it helpful because it’s been life saver for me.
As I drove away I just noticed the energy and the feeling of fear in my body. That is step one. Notice it.
Step two for me is to talk to it. Its ok Angela you are feeling fear. It’s ok, I’m here too, the part of you that always has your back. Tell me whats coming up. And then I let my mind and body tell me exactly what is coming up. “I always felt this way in school, different from everyone and I felt like something has always been very wrong with me. I need to change what is different about me so that I can be like others and then others will accept me. I feel scared because it literally feels like I won’t survive if I can’t learn how to fit in. How to fix what’s broken in me”
Now I have a clue. This is childhood pain. All those years feeling completely overwhelmed and different from the other kids in my class and not understanding why they couldn’t see things from my point of view because I can always FEEL what others feel. I can feel their point of view. So how come they cant see or at least be partially interested in mine?
So this is pain from my childhood getting triggered which is actually a blessing because now have an opportunity to work with it and release it. Old pain takes a situation that is small and makes it feel life threatening in a way because there is a layered effect. Anything with this vibration in your body will get triggered and feel much much bigger than is warranted by the actual event.
That is another clue. If your reaction to one statement of “that doesn’t work for me” puts you in flight or fight there is much more under the surface.
So instead of distracting myself from this feeling or trying to shove it down with food, or a game, music, exercise, facebook etc etc, I let it be. I get curious.
As the energy builds I can see memories, snippets of them flash by, and I can feel a part of myself, my child self, get very scared. But I’m here with myself, my full grown, full of tools Angela can meet this very scared self. I talk to her. Wow yes that’s scary and it’s hurtful to feel so different from everyone. You have felt that difference your whole life and it’s created a belief that something is deeply wrong with you. Your child self created that belief but we don’t really need that belief to be safe anymore, we don’t have to turn on ourself with that self hate feeling hoping that it will change whatever is different about us to be loved.
Name all the people that love you.
And I do this and I come a little more back into my body. (nervous system regulation)
And remember you just happened to be wired in a way that isn’t as numerous in the world. You are an eagle in a world full of seagulls. When you were little you looked up and saw all the seagulls and how much seagulls like to be with seagulls and they see things the same way and it seems like the world moves easier for the seagulls. Angela you deeply internalized that as something is wrong with you. But it’s just not true.
And I can feel a little more space in my body. That feeling of something always being wrong with me is simply from the fact that my empathy and intuitive abilities have wired me differently than the majority of population.
But that feels lonely I think and I can feel the emotion build, there are tears in my eyes. It’s ok, I tell myself, you can cry some of that pain out if you need to.
So now there is loneliness in the body and I let it be. I let myself feel lonely. Because I know that a lot of this loneliness is my childhood loneliness. So why would I shove that back down into my body? My body doesn’t want to hold all of this anymore.
When a certain period of time passes I ask myself. Can you name your eagles. You might have to fly to meet each other sometimes but they are there. And then I laugh because just this week I had an amazing conversation with another Martha Beck coach, another eagle and one thing she literally said to me is that if I have to fly to be with my people, to meet up, then I needed to honour that and give myself what I need.
So here is the universe literally giving me the answer to a sadness before it even gets triggered. I need to reach out to people who understand me. Where it’s easy, where I just belong and feel belonging. For me that might not be in most casual interactions with people. I might need to stretch my eagle wings and fly the distance to meet but I do know this, it’s not sitting in my room trying to cast a turn me into an seagull spell fuelled by feelings of whats wrong with me. Those days are over. And more so I’m not giving any seagull that much power over my self worth and happiness any more.
I have taken the Myers-briggs personality type and I actually have a less common type. And maybe you do too. So just as a numbers game me walking into a room, it’s going to be less probable that someone with my type is also in the room. But for the people with the most common type, it’s going to feel like there is always someone who “gets them” in most places.
Its interesting to learn all this and then apply the nervous system to it. Because if you are an eagle and grew up in a community of seagulls, just being alive is going to feel like a trauma. If you don’t know your an eagle just being and functioning in a seagull world will feel heavy. All that energy to conform and match the seagulls will be very painful. I know and understand that. Someone reading this will burst into tears because they will see themselves in this pain and it will give the feeling words for the first time.
If any of this sounds like you, it’s vital you find your tribe. And its vital you understand that there is nothing wrong with you. There is no part of your personality that was created by mistake. Your people are out there. It’s time to heal the pain of the past that didn’t teach you any of this and it’s time to forgive and move on. And its time to love yourself fully and completely and tap into those rare gifts in a way that lights you up.
For me, its coaching. For every experience like this there are 10 eagles that see themselves in this story and immediately they get mirrored back they are not alone, they are not a mistake. They are not too much. They are just as they should be. And sometimes is a parent of an eagle. The kid that doesn’t respond to the typical parenting. The kid that just seems like a handful and difficult. That always seems to be having trouble doing a…b…c.. Remember what I said above. It’s traumatic just being in the world for this child.
Please remember, it gets easier. Self love first, clearing the pain, stepping into personal power, and then fucking soaring.
And no one needs to understand this or give you permission. Only you do.
Big hugs to my eagles.