I Receive Freely and Openly: Compassionately addressing the Black Hole of Enoughness
The YHC program is right up my alley. It asks us to examine parts of ourselves that may have lain untouched for quite some time. And if we’re doing it right, and allowing ourselves to be all in, we’ll regularly experience tapas – the heat that comes from burning away our old patterns and conditioning, clearing the way for what’s to come. I’m good at playing with tapas. Too good, sometimes. The pitta in me loves to feel the burn, and I’m driven to go after it – to uncover layers and shed them. I’m always seeking, always wanting to get over the next ledge.
As you know, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. My challenge is to slow down the doer in me, and create openness to receiving. If I’m constantly outputting content and effort and energy, there’s no space for receiving. This is a tough one, since my default response has often been “Okay, what do I have to do so that I can do less?” See the irony? This challenge isn’t unique to me – it’s a cultural issue, and the specific pattern is very common in women – especially in the United States, where pride in busyness and overwork is so pervasive, we might as well be ingesting it through the water.
In these early days of the US’s CoronaVirus pandemic, I count myself blessed. My basic needs and more are met, and I feel connected and supported. Funny, though – I’ve found that having enough can lead to an unhelpful sense of guilt. The tapes of “do more, there are people suffering” that have been coming up aren’t new to me. I was drawn to the field of social work in response to the world’s suffering (and my own experiences of suffering and self-healing). I am accustomed to navigating a sense of pressure around empathy for suffering. The tapes accompanying this pressure would have me fling myself wantonly at our systemic issues (e.g. poverty, institutional racism and sexism, xenophobia, etc.) and end up burnt out and useless. I’ve flirted with this edge enough times to know that being clear on my own helping boundaries is essential to my being able to help in the first place.
The thing about the pressure to help, though, is that it can be a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m a compassionate, empathic person – this is hardwired into me, and I come by it honestly – if you met my mom, this would become clear immediately (her heart is enormous, and she will deliver food to you). But I’ve discovered that, like so many of us, I’m dealing with a Black Hole of Enoughness. When I feel the pressure to help, the pressure to do, the pressure to expand, and I’m not moving in alignment (i.e. consciously welcoming the divine to guide my thoughts and actions), I find myself time and again being unconsciously driven by a strong, lingering sense of not being enough. So the wolf is that gnawing core belief (talk about something that takes time and patience to heal!) and the sheep’s clothing is what on the surface looks like altruism.
The Black Hole of Enoughness is the inverse of expansive receptivity. I can’t hold the sensations of receiving in gratitude and a fear-based pit in my stomach at the same time. In the last day or so, I’ve been getting down to business on this one. In the past two weeks, I’ve had two people who paid deposits back out of my annual pass program – a significant income loss for me, coupled with grief around not being able to help them with my program. Let me tell ya – if you’re looking for an opportunity to feel the tapas of releasing old programming, look no further than an experience like this one. Overall, I’m a confident person – I’m generally confident in my abilities and what I have to offer as a leader and a healer. But I have wheelbarrows full of karma, and like any leader who’s not a sociopath, I experience dark nights of the soul. Feelings of lack, fear, self doubt…you get the picture – are up right now. Not just for me, but for the Yogahealer community, as well as the world at large. In the same way that one might make hay while the sun shines, I’ve come, through a number of conversations with those who love and support me, to realize that right now is a tremendous opportunity.
For the last week, I was doing, doing, doing. Spending a ton of time on social media to get a lay of the land, creating content, connecting with people to let them know about the programming I’ve got going on in response to the pandemic. I knew I was overdoing, but sometimes it’s easier to do the proverbial parent move of saying, “Fine. Eat Lucky Charms and popsicles for dinner. I can’t have one more fight about this.” So I watched, and let myself tucker myself out, and here I am with the realization that I was acting out of fear and lack and all that, even with the reasonable mission of providing grounding and connection for my community.
The thing is, if I’d been more conscious of the Divine, I’m pretty sure I would have been able to make my offerings without stressing my adrenals and spending so much time on the computer. But if I hadn’t gone through this process, I also wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now, which is realizing that there’s never been a better time for me to sit back and do some serious healing work around my own ability to receive. I’ve been inspired by Tosha Silver and her book It’s Not Your Money. That’s on the docket. I’m also poking at The Jewel of Abundance by Ellen Grace O’Brien. I’ve been hearing about these books in the Yogahealer community for a while now, and had a general sense that I’d get around to them eventually.
Well, now’s the time. Because there’s simply not been enough space for abundance to move in during current circumstances, and I know I have the ability to shift that. It will simply require choosing a new path – one that I’m not used to – and a willingness to trust that my intuition never leads me astray, even if I’m headed into the unknown. So for the next week, month, or couple of months, I’m committed to taking my foot off the gas pedal and letting the divine take the wheel. What I do externally might look very similar to what I’ve been doing, and it may not. But that’s not really up to me; I’m here to listen, and move from a grounded, sustainable center.