“When we protect ourselves so we won’t feel pain, that protection becomes like armor, like armor that imprisons the softness of the heart.” ~ Pema Chödrön
The last two weeks have been a trying time as the country processes the reality of this election cycle and its result. I don’t want to talk about the politics of the election but rather the aftermath of confusing feelings and big reactions. This election has been anything but normal. There are hurt feelings on all sides. I have experienced tensions within my own family. I have heard about marriages in trouble and friendships that have ended. Our divide feels deep and the honest reactions of both sides have produced large ripples. I have experienced anger, hurt, grief, fear, righteousness, and exhaustion. When I felt myself slipping into the armored shell of righteous indignation, I had a memory that brought me back and allowed a rebirth to a softer, more open, and more compassionate me.
I learned many things from my divorce, perhaps the biggest lesson for me was learning to step back from my own experience and attempt to understand someone else’s. All those feelings I mentioned above applied to the dissolution of my marriage as well. I was stuck for such a long time trying to make my ex-husband understand my feelings, my side of the story. I wasn’t fully listening to his side of things, and he wasn’t able to articulate the things he was feeling or experiencing in a way that was constructive to us building common ground. Instead, we were at war, to the death of the marriage.
The valuable lesson I learned then, that I was able to apply to now, was to stop assuming I understood his words and actions when they hurt me and instead ask him what he meant by them. This was not an easy thing to implement, my ego fought me every step of the way but when the alternative was losing something and someone I loved I tried harder to fight my ego. In the end, being curious and open-hearted didn’t save my marriage, but it did let me feel some relief, some grace, and some compassion about our ending. Letting down my armor and being vulnerable and open, gave me the opportunity to heal my broken heart rather than hardening it and depriving myself of true connection in my life. A sense of connection leads to more opportunities to find ways to bridge our differences. This is the rebirth I want to achieve.
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Laura Rowe is an intuitive energy healer. Living in Portland, Oregon, Laura founded The Vital Spirit, an entity that seeks to be an instrument in the ongoing shift in human consciousness. Laura works with adults who identify as highly sensitive persons or empaths and are committed to learning about who they are and how they want to express themselves in this world. She helps these individuals clear energetic blocks, release limiting beliefs, thrive in their business/careers and navigate interpersonal relationships so they can live life to the fullest.