I explore this Inside/Outside split with people I work with inviting them to explore something with me instead of staying with it alone inside.
I ask them, “Can you tolerate me visiting you in the deepest reaches of your pain?” “Can you tolerate seeing and knowing and feeling how life has shaped you?”
“Can you send a tentacle into that horrid mass and know it as a part of you, an experience you’ve had, without being defined by it.”
“What is it like for you to not just tell me about how bad it is, or not to close your eyes and explore that experience inside yourself, by yourself but rather to stay with me and let me in there with you?”
If it feels comfortable to you, take a moment and sit with the question, “How do you close down or shut yourself off? How do you escape the present moment and retreat into the past or project yourself into the future of how it will be when….. .”
The intimacy of connecting with another in this realm is spectacularly tender.
In one session a client and I met in a profound quiet. Its intimacy may have scared my client. The next two scheduled appointments were “forgotten.” When we met three weeks later we wondered, without knowing, what happened such that the appointments were forgotten.
It is only in this sacred space between people that healing the Inner/Outer Split can occur. As much work as we have done on ourselves we live with others and ultimately have to integrate our inner world with the outer world around us.
To be fully human, to live the life we want to live we will eventually come face to face with these questions:
Can I trust that you will care for me as I say this joyful/scary/tender/humiliating experience?
Can my nervous system return more quickly to calm when disruption occurs?
How can I use my language to share not just my experience but my hope and wish for connection with you?
I wish for you to have the experience of being with someone who willingly enters this space with you.
I want for you to have the experience of calm abiding while in the presence of another.
I wish for you the experience of being seen and known and loved.