Last week I wrote that one way of dealing with what we term our flaws is to face them honestly. This may lead to sharing of a secret, whether it’s an old embarrassment, an unfulfilled desire, or something we never told anyone about. Based on one reader’s response, let me clarify. We need not share with anyone but ourselves, or a few trusted confidantes, like a therapist, spouse, partner, or friend. We may want to express our flaws, which can feel like deep disappointments or fears, in the privacy of our journals. The key is to express, as in lift up and out of ourselves. Think of a flaw as an opportunity to rid ourselves of something that no longer serves, like an unflattering high school yearbook photo we don’t really look like anymore. Here’s a contemplative approach to flaw recovery and transformation:
1. You may use this with a complementary approach, such as Focusing, Tapping (for tapping steps, google or go to http://www.suerasmussen.com), or EFT (emotional freedom technique). Find a half hour or so of quiet time.
2.Sit comfortably, with paper and pen by your side. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Connect to an inner stillness before calling up the particular flaw or issue you want to address. Recover any memory that might be associated with it. Examples might be going back to a moment on stage when you experienced stage fright and forgot your lines, or when you admitted having a crush on someone and were rejected; what were the consequences or decisions of these events?
3.Get a sense or picture of this flaw and its impact, for instance, never going back on stage or applying for a job you don’t think you’ll get. It’s fine even if your memory is vague or fuzzy. Stay with it a few minutes. Write down words that come if you wish, like “I’ll never do that again.” Sometimes writing will bring greater clarity.
4.Be with the flaw in an open, gentle and non-judgmental way. Ask: “How can I be with you today?” Wait for a shift or an answer, then ask “Can I release or transform (name it) now?” Then, play it forward in a potential scene. For instance, all your fear of public speaking may not vanish, but you will give one speech. You don’t have to be effusive, but you can tell one person how you feel about something important. If no scene comes to mind, take a walk or a break and try this another time.
5.Take a few deep breaths to ease any feelings of stress and relax. If you like, repeat a word or mantra, such as “Peace,” “All is well,” “I lovingly accept myself right now,” “I am courageous (free, content, etc.)” Enter the rest of your day with a fresh outlook and open heart.