I sat in my car, fighting myself, for about 10 minutes before I finally decided to go in and give it my best.
You see, usually when I am scheduled to give a nutrition presentation for a business or organization, I do a little research, so I know who my audience is.
This time I didn’t.
So, upon arriving and talking with the receptionist while they cleared me with security, I learned that this was a company that engineered tools for fracking. Yes—fracking.
Hearing this information, I felt my body solidify into a steel numbness and the bridge to my heart close with judgment.
Have you experienced this closing down sensation before? Possibly with your partner or the new president and his cabinet?
It turns out, we are biologically wired to recoil when we judge (or feel judged by) another person. I felt resistant to giving the gift of nutrition awareness to people who could support the destruction of our Earth. I felt a gap widen inside of me between “me” and ‘”them, “and separation ensued.
At the very moment I was approved to go through security, I excused myself and ran back to my car. I needed to calm down and dissolve the resistance that was swallowing me. As I sat in my car contemplating escape, I witnessed cruel and judgmental thoughts crossing my mind.
Here were the two loudest of those inner monologues:
These employees don’t deserve to hear empowering nutrition information that will help them feel better in their bodies because of what they are doing professionally…
I don’t want them to feel good and live happier lives…
I know, right? So mean! Fracking feels so wrong to me, so I wanted to punish them by withholding my love—all because they’re doing something that I disagree with.
These thoughts and emotions felt really uncomfortable. However, instead of leaving, I chose to sit and breathe with them.
While breathing deeply, tapping, and invoking a relaxation response, I asked Spirit for another way to look at the situation.
I needed help in seeing clearly.
Then a profound “aha” bubbled to the surface of my consciousness. This voice offered me perspective:
What if this was the audience who needed to hear this information most?
What if I focused on each person’s light and chose to see we are more alike than different?
What if people used the information I was presenting to help them feel better and more connected? What if I say something that inspires someone to live a life more connected to love?
What if I really trusted that everyone is doing their best?
I could receive this information only because I was consciously relaxing my body with my deep breaths and tapping. When we are in a stress response, we don’t think clearly, and it is easy to operate from old patterns and behavior.
With time drawing nearer to the presentation, I decided to be a bridge builder.
I exited my car and walked confidently into the auditorium. Although initially the presentation was a bit wobbly, I quickly jumped into my game, and it became one of the best presentations I have ever given.
It appeared that many in the audience weren’t even listening; many were on their phones. No one came up to me after I was finished and shared their gratitude or told me how they were going to use the information I offered.
From this perspective, the presentation could have been considered unsuccessful, but I see it differently.
It felt like a success to me, because I chose to rise to this opportunity and let love lead, rather than my judgments.
I shared my gifts—and therefore, love—and remained unattached to how it was received.
By staying and presenting, I demonstrated a willingness to heal the perceived separation between me and the audience.
Not only was I choosing to build the bridge, but I was walking across it.
It is my observation that we have lived in a model of “you’re wrong, and I’m right” for a long time, and this only perpetuates perceived separation. We are similar to pack animals and are comforted by coming together as a unit. When we feel separate, we ignite our inner stress response, and the bridge to giving our love and gifts to others dissolves. And with the current political climate of the world, our instinctive desire to recoil and defend feels especially evident.
Personally, I am over this divisiveness—it’s outdated. Therefore, I must be the example of something different if I want to experience something different, and I invite you to join me.
When we notice the muscle of judgment clenching, we should understand that it’s communicating to us that we are in a stress response, and that the bridge of connection is shutting down.
Together, let’s practice release by breathing deeply and taking space when needed in order to evoke the relaxation the body needs in order for the mind to think clearly. This release and relaxation is an integral aspect of keeping the bridge to our heart strong, which offers compassion and forgiveness to ourselves and others.
I invite us to share our gifts and love indiscriminately. May they be given freely, especially to those whom we label unworthy and have shut down toward because we have different beliefs.
As we share our fullest offering, may we know the potent contribution we are making to our colorful tapestry of connection—in which we all play a part.
Lastly, though we are living in seemingly separate bodies, we must recognize that we all want the same things for our lives. We have all experienced challenges, and while they may have taken different forms, the emotional landscape of our human experience is very similar.
We are more alike than different.
As we rise through our discomforts, we arrive to a place where our raw humanity and powerful light can be recognized and celebrated by all.
Author: Paris Latka
Editor: Callie Rushton