It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will. Understanding, wit, judgment and the like, whatever such talents of mind may be called, or courage, resolution, and perseverance in one's plans, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable for many purposes, but they can also be extremely evil and harmful if the will which is to make use of these gifts of nature, and whose distinctive constitution is there called character, is not good.
--Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals (Chapter 1)
So much has happened!
This is a time of great changes! I look forward to working with you!
"I have foreign energy in my space?! Yuck! Get it out!"
We do not enjoy the idea of having other people's energies mixed with our own. The thought of it brings back childhood concerns of getting cooties from schoolmates. And yet, most of us carry at least a smidgeon of someone else's energy in our space. Why?
As infants, an energetic attachment to our parents is crucial to survival; that cord is literally our lifeline until our teens. Through it, we gain information on how to care for our bodies and succeed in current environmental conditions. Energetically, we bring our parents' survival information into our bodies, and thus invite foreign energies into our space from the beginning.
When we eventually rebel against our parents, we attempt to rid ourselves of their outside influences. However, our own survival skills are developing, and we tend to launch into the world in fits and starts. Energetically, this can look like releasing the parental cord and calling it back only to release it again. Parents often describe their children as vacillating between acting like an adult and a toddler. This push-pull relationship with parents throughout the teens (and sometimes into the twenties) is called "growing up." It is the process we undertake as we learn to trust our own information to guide the unfolding of our lives.
It can be scary to be accountable to ourselves for our decisions. The world is surprising- in ways that both delight and terrify us. To embody our true selves- including our talents, passions, and methods- requires trusting ourselves. Growing up only occurs when we embrace the undertaking of parenting ourselves instead of looking to others to parent us.
But growing up is not an all-or-nothing proposition. We may be able to act entirely from our own information in some areas of our lives, but become helpless and not know how to proceed in others. When the world responds differently than we anticipate, and we encounter turbulence, we have a couple of options.
One way to handle uncomfortable situations is to run foreign energy, like we did as a child (which can occur less than consciously). We may receive clues that we are not being fully ourselves from the statements of others. "Whenever we discuss money, you sound like your father." "You behave so differently at social gatherings that I barely recognize you." "As we crafted our wills, I was surprised by your end-of-life wishes." If we can hear these sorts of comments, we can recognize where we are not being fully ourselves.
Another approach is to handle life's speed bumps by acknowledging that we are facing a challenging situation and to seek help consciously regarding how to traverse it. This approach mirrors what a loving parent would do for a child who is learning a new skill. By asking for help, we parent ourselves lovingly- and we allow ourselves the space to remain fully present during the process. In this way, we increase our awareness, release the fears that lead us to bring in foreign energy, and try a different approach to addressing the situations in which we feel insecure.
Ironically, many of us fear that asking for help will make us seem incompetent. Instead, we may check out and rely on others to make decisions for us (by running foreign energy). This approach, though, highlights our immaturity. Perhaps you have heard statements like: "My uncle is a child in a man's body," or "I don't even know who my aunt is; she behaves differently every time I see her." Operating from foreign energy can be expedient, and is understandable, but is inauthentic (and, ultimately, ineffective).
Leaving home need not mark the end of growing up. Slowing down and asking for help- which allows for the release of foreign energies from one's space- is the process of growing up. Maturity involves facing our lives honestly, courageously, and consciously.
Grow up to be you!
Heidi Szycher, PhD
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