Wednesday, May 20, 2009



An impression comes to me – maybe it seems to be an inspired thought or wondrous feeling of comprehension. Maybe it is an experience I feel proud or amazed about.

And then what comes next? The urge to express it.

I want to share this energetic state, transfer it to another person. The energy of self-discovery has a somewhat irritating quality to it, like sticking one’s finger in a light socket. It is exhilarating but also uncomfortable and I want to get it out of my system.

There may also be a desire for further processing, for someone to mirror the whole thing back and contribute understanding.

Understanding and - oh yes- appreciation, approbation and approval. An affirmation that my life and what goes on in it is OK. “You had a clever thought, your feelings are so deep, what you did was great!”

And so this impression, feeling or experience gets expressed and the other person is watched closely for responses and reactions.

If the mirror does not reflect the expected image, if the anticipated appreciation and enthusiasm does not return, suffering results.

My feelings are very likely to shift polarity. What was hopeful excitement one minute becomes disappointment the next.

I have watched this pattern over and over. Seen it drain away the inner benefit of those initial impressions, feelings or experiences.

And I have begun to understand there is a better way to work with this process: containment.

“Containment” does not mean to stifle or suppress, but rather to honor and preserve within. It is a boundary-building practice, a means of clarifying which energies belong to me and which belong to other people.

Though it is common to speak of “boundaries” today, the discussion is usually limited to defining accepted physical behaviors. The more important boundaries are energetic, and these are not set by conceptual definitions but rather by conscious awareness.

How many thoughts and feelings are generated from within and not merely picked up from someone else? There is a qualitative difference between one's own focused energies and the passive regurgitation of shared circumstantial energies. And this distinction becomes more noticeable when containment is an active practice.

The containment of inner processes is uncomfortable because it pushes at the boundaries of awareness. It is an expansive discipline that produces more inner spaciousness, more definition of the individual soul as distinct and present.

Gradually, integration occurs regarding those inspirations, feelings and experiences. They become wholly possessed, not requiring external validation or approval.

Then they can be expressed freely and clearly, yet without vulnerability or self-diminishment.


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  2. I really appreciate this post and will continue to digest it. I know at times I think I am containing, but actually withholding and other times I feel I am giving but looking for validation. Containment is an ART. After over ten months I am just now starting to get that whatever vibes or energy I feel, it is not bad, just is, yum yum! When tapped in it's wild how clairvoyent everyone is (kinda scary when I'm way missing the mark) ;)
    Thanks CD!