Thursday, October 15, 2015

Do You Enjoy Drama?

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
-William Penn

Just like most everyone I know I enjoy a good dramatic series. I like watching the characters and what motivates them. As I watch them I am exercising my abilities to see how people affect and influence us, even over generations. Yet if I am honest with myself, I am watching and am in my head, and not really feeling how it affects me. I don’t often take the time to look at myself and my family and use what I am seeing to feel and see similar things and dynamics in myself and my family. We also do this in life, not just in watching a dramatic show. We see and sometimes invite drama into our lives and we don’t see what we are doing or feel what we are doing.

One of the things I do in my work with my patients is to blend physical/Chiropractic work with emotional/spiritual work. There are many ways I do this. One way is to listen to their words as I am working with them. I listen to the language of their body and also their language and use of language as well as to watch their facial expressions. I see my work often as helping others to know their own soul through their expression of it in their bodies. Then when I speak to them, I speak through the interventions of massage, acupressure, cranial/sacral work, manipulations of the spine and extremities as well as through words and visualizations. Sometimes I also use physical footsteps and figurines to help them and us see an image of something they are experiencing.

As I was working with a patient recently, she had expressed to me that she was stretching her leg out on a table and as she was finishing and went to lift her leg off the table, her foot got caught and she fell backward onto a bookcase. Needless to say, she felt awful a couple of days later with back pain and a headache. I asked her if she knew what, if anything, symbolically affected to her getting caught and swept off her feet and conked on the head. She told me of one sad thing that happened to a friend of hers, and then something else came up regarding a relationship of hers. She said she had agreed to go to another city for a weekend with a friend where there might be an opportunity to make their relationship more intimate. This other person is currently married and is also her boss. She doesn’t want to take the chance of losing this job, but she is very interested in this person. I asked her why she needed to go on this trip and she said it would be an opportunity to know this person better. I asked her why she had to do this to know him/her better; that all she needs to know is in front of her. She laughed and then, I asked her if she likes drama. She said, in effect, “Who doesn’t?”

This exchange stuck with me. How many of us bring in drama when we don’t have to? How many of us unconsciously and even sometimes consciously look for drama? For some reasons, drama fulfills something for us. It gives us some temporary excitement, although often this excitement is short lived and transforms into a negative experience. We want to feel. Sometimes we live in a state of numbness which can help us to continue in life with protection around us. Numbness is a protection or defense. Inviting in a situation which can give us excitement and make us feel something can be enticing. Sometimes we are unconsciously recreating an environment similar to one in which we grew up. If our family thrives on difficulties and trials, we can be driven to re-create that experience.

What we don’t often do is to look at what our experience was really like in our family and to feel how it affected us and still does to varying degrees. This recreation of dynamics in our families often is repeated for generations which also gives this compulsion more energy and weight and makes it more difficult for us to break the pattern. Do we really need unnecessary drama in our lives? Life itself can be messy enough, so do we need to invite more mess in order to feel? Sometimes we do, and it can feel like we need it. What we really need is to finally be able to see and to feel our pain and to see and feel how certain actions and events in our lives affected us. There is plenty of drama in that. Can we learn from our experiences and welcome in change? Yes, it is possible. First, though, can we see ourselves and our actions and compulsions with a fuller and compassionate perspective? I believe this woman has that drive and capacity to see and to feel. I think it is possible for all of us.


Shift Your Story/Shift Your Life

Let’s look at where you consciously and unconsciously welcome drama into your life. Take a piece of paper and a writing utensil. Breathe deeply 2 or 3 times. Ask for guidance intuitively to help you to see the drama in your life. Let’s start small. Where today, if anywhere, did you experience a dramatic situation with another person, with yourself, with seeing someone else being triggered and maybe you wanting to put in your two cents, with you being triggered, and with you calling a friend and gossiping about someone? There are just a few examples of how we invite drama in. You could think of a different situation entirely. Write it down. How did you feel afterward? Did you feel empowered, energized, drained, or what?


Now, take a minute and ask yourself what you could have done differently. Maybe you could have kept your nose out of someone’s business, maybe you could have walked away from a situation, maybe you could have stopped yourself from gossiping about someone, and so on. Write down any ideas that come to you. Do this exercise for a week and at the end of the week, go back through the week and read these entries so it becomes much clearer how you might intentionally and unintentionally bring drama into your life.