On zoom, in front of 78 people, I "✋ Raised Hand". I was a stone, an unwavering stoic. Five minutes later, I was a leaking bag of sopping tears.
Joe was offering rapid fire coaching (in which he deconstructs stories that guard us from unwanted feelings). I'm stuck in conversations. I get stuck in my head. Every conversation feels intellectual, and I leave unfilled and feeling ashamed -- how could'I've connected better? There was another way of communicating, and I wanted to find the words I was missing.
I asked, "Can I practice speaking from the heart with you?"
Joe has an exercise introduce yourself from the head, then from the heart, then from the gut. I had done this with a group, and each introduction felt the same to me. The only difference was a change in the subject I talked about: head = a resume; heart = childhood; gut = presently who am I; and 2+2=4. As I spoke from the heart, a heckler in my head criticized me. "You're doing it wrong." "What is something vulnerable that you can say." "Vulnerable means to say something you're guilt of. So do that." "You should try and feel tender." I finished my introduction hating myself for not knowing how.
Joe welcomed me to the zoom stage. After 30 seconds of hellos, he asked to do something with me. He said he's going to call out everything he notices that's going on with me -- not to criticize but to bring awareness to it. I agreed.
"What made you hold back the smile?" he asked.
"What made that giddiness overwhelming?" he asked.
Then he said, "Do you see what's happening? This love is bubbling up in you and you're containing it. What's making you contain it? Do you think I can't handle it?"
"I can handle this too."
My face distorted into folds. I was present with him. He asked me to speak from this place, if I still had anything to say. I did, three words that cycled in me for 30 seconds before I mustered the courage to let them live.
"Just thank you."
For 10 minutes, I rode a wave of tears, smiles at the unbearableness of tears, laughs at the simplicity of the interaction, more tears. All pulled to the surface by the gravity of love.
Since then, I've only had flashes of love. Tiny moments where I smiled pleasurably, I exhaled tenderly, I held eye contact intensely. Only flashes. I have a being within me that is fucking frightened by the gravity of love. He's in a dark corner, all I see are his eyes, all I hear are his shivers, all I feel is his isolation.
That’s enough for now.