“Oh, don't take it so personally” - I cringe when I hear this statement. Many times this is used to invalidate someone's emotional reactions. In a world where we are rarely encouraged to really hold and interact with our emotions, this can be the opposite of what we actually need for our emotional development.
This statement is usually used to encourage more socially acceptable behavior that is deemed more “mature” in a society whose idea of maturity is one of control and perfection. But what if we redefined our idea of maturity...to a definition that is more mature?
Real maturity requires a deeper reflection process when difficult emotions or interpersonal dynamics arise. We must learn to “see through” the immediacy of the situation to what lies beyond, but also remain firmly engaged with what is, how we are feeling about it, and how it is showing up very personally in our lives.
This mature way of being connects to the Truth of the statement “it is not personal”, but still requires us to take the situation very personally – which is actually a gift, our personal “way into” working with the particular issue that has arisen.
We are in an age where we are waking up to the reality that we are a product of generations of inherited thought and behavior patterns that are part of larger collective archetypes in a “collective consciousness” that influences our personal conscious experience. This unitive consciousness is partially held in our natural and social environment and as both become more disturbed in the modern world, we find ourselves experiencing more of the extremes that exist there.
It is my belief that this is why we have so many more “bipolar” diagnoses – we are experiencing the extremes of the psyche in much more profound ways than in the past. The “veils” to the collective and sub- conscious are being tossed aside as our collective ship becomes more rocky.
This is where we can see that things are really not personal. Someone's reaction to us and our reaction to them and our combined reaction to the dynamics that arise – these things are a part of a much deeper programming that has a lot of history and much larger forces behind it – many of which are subconscious.
But if we stay at the level of “oh this is the injured divine feminine showing up,” or “this is our collective mother separation wound” then we miss the cream – our personal experience of this larger injury is actually our window to addressing that much deeper issue not only in our own psyche, but on behalf of the collective consciousness as well. The work that we do is a gift to larger society and future generations – as well as liberates past generations that were mired in these dynamics.
This is Rumi's “untying the knots.” Our generations of patterning and current social conditioning can be considered the “knots” that tie up our True Being. And somehow by seeing how interwoven our personal experience is with the collective experience, when we do the work to really deeply look at the things that personally tie us up, we help facilitate larger collective shifts.
And we see the various wisdom traditions recognizing this process and dynamic. Richard Rohr has re-interpreted the Christian idea of "sin" to be the false thoughts and behaviors that keep us from behaving in a way that is True to our True Self. In this way the "sins of the father" are really born by the son as we bare the burden of generations of false understanding. And the Christian idea that death is a result of sin is actually speaking to the necessary death of the false self that is caught up in these knots.
The work of untying these knots is about naming and witnessing the Truth for ourselves and holding that understanding with compassion for the sticky situation we find ourselves in. We create change by simply being with this situation with compassionate equanimity – radical heart-felt acceptance of what is.
The most powerful shifts are the really subtle ones – a shift that no one notices, but everyone feels. This is an allowance for each to be as they are, but with an awareness that this is all falsely constructed and there is a larger potential. This awareness provides a bit of breathing room. It provides a sacred space for knot untying to take place all on its own. You may have felt this with a trusted friend or healer who provided you with an accepting presence rather than giving you advice. If we say “oh yeah, I'm feeling – you are feeling too – and what we are feeling is huge – but also totally understandable” – in that mutual understanding something else is created without even creating anything tangible.
This is hard for our society to see as change. It doesn't immediately look different on the outside. It doesn't have a particular agenda, action, activity or timeline that can be measured. It might even be viewed as complacency. However, it is much more active than complacency. It is an internal shift – a posture or stance that one can feel on the inside. It usually leads to tangible shifts – like slowing down and localizing your activities and consumption. It allows for shifts in others that may never be associated with you or shifts in you that were gifts from others. It allows for us to take responsibility, but also share that responsibility in an empowering way. It is the real process of creating a new paradigm - something authentic for us to collectively entrain to which is real social change.
All of these words to say “its not personal, but take it really personally and then let it unfold.”
Wild Lotus Living is me, Summer Starr. Here I share my personal musings and resources on my own path of unfolding