“Remember this when you encounter a harsh, cynical critic (whether inside yourself or outside). If you remember that the cynicism comes from a wound, you might be able to respond in a way that addresses that wound. I can’t tell you in advance exactly how to respond. That wisdom comes directly from hearing with compassionate ears and being present to the hurting. Perhaps there is some act of forgiveness or generosity that calls to you that might allow healing. When that happens, the intellectual beliefs, which are really just expressions of a state of being, often change spontaneously. Beliefs that were once appealing are no longer so”
This quote from Eisenstein’s inspiring book really touched me. It made me understand more that any form of rejection or defensiveness has a deeper meaning, meaning which connects us all.
For us who are choosing a path of sustainability sometimes it is hard to stay positive and motivated when people around you consider your hopes and actions as naive or idealistic. But where is this judgment coming from? What hides behind it?
Realising that the root of such reactions might be coming from a wound created through the cultural, social or individual constraints, makes it easier to look at them from a space of love and compassion, and even change the first experienced feelings of demotivation into motivation.
This wound can have many expressions – fear, worries, disbelief. Me and Nicco see it so many times in ourselves, our families and especially in our parents. We remember when we were first telling them about our plans it was quite uncomfortable to receive their reactions, which usually were full of worrying “what if” questions. Even though we know that they were coming from a place of good intention, it was sometimes hard to not react with impatience and closeness.
But what if we react with something completely opposite? What happens if instead of impatience and closeness, we start to listen with an open heart?
When we did so, we could see that new possibilities were opening up. A new insight into how and why these hidden wounds were manifesting themselves in all of us.
As Polly Higgins beautifully expressed:
“(…) embrace the shadow and give it name so that the healing can begin”.
So what does it mean to embrace our shadows?
For me it’s about changing how I perceive those shadows. The shadows are there to bring the light and if we start to talk about them openly, they will slowly start to lose their strength. Only then the new can come, bringing healing and answers to what is possible. Only then ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible’ can start unfolding itself with all its wonders and inspirations.
But we need to support each other in embracing those shadows and in manifesting our ‘idealistic’ dreams, trusting that our vulnerability is our ally and not our enemy. As Eisenstein says: ‘When things fall apart, the hopelessly radical becomes common sense’.