Coming Out of the Tunnel
That feeling when you can only focus on what, or who, is pissing you off. I call this the tunnel: focused and flooded.
On the one hand, it's incredibly helpful for our awareness to funnel right where we need it. So I do think we can tread gently and with compassionate understanding as we probe this response. We never need to intentionally shut the door on our body's innate capacity to react. We very much need access to those parts of us. And, we are humans in pursuit of growth so let's consider...when I get tunnel vision during conflict with loved ones:
What happens when I pull my head out of the tunnel?
What am I afraid will happen if I look elsewhere (literally or metaphorically)?
Do I feel capable of creating distance from the tunnel, at least for a moment?
Coming out of the tunnel sometimes means we find ourselves in an in-between. No longer within the clutch of our reflexive reaction, and yet not quite to a point of choice or clarity, we land in a liminal space.
This in-between is not something oppressive systems like very much, and our bodies have been conditioned to fear. In the in-between, there's more space for curiosity than there is certainty. There's more space for "what if" than "because xyz". And while I think our bodies do thrive when there is consistency and predictability, we also thrive on wonder and reasonable challenge.
When overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to change in the world, I remember how important embodied change is. And that change truly happens at the relationship level. We can change all the systems in the world, but if it doesn't sink in to the subtle ways we treat ourSelves and each other than the transformation will remain incomplete. Our relationships are one place where we can explore different ways of being and relating safely. At the risk of sounding love-and-lighty, I also think positive experiences transforming relational conflict/distress/pain can bolster our sense of hope and capability in enacting broader transformation.
Coming out of the tunnel and into the in-between requires a capacity to
1) Notice when we're in the tunnel
2) Come out of the tunnel
3) Tolerate, feel safe, or even enjoy the in-between
There's so much to this but the first thing I often invite people to do during session once we notice they are in the tunnel is literally look around. Sure, you know the room you've been in before, but let your body really register where you are, that you're (ideally) safe, and that you (also very ideally) have options to exit just in case.
Usually that's enough time to re-orient or expand our awareness beyond the tunnel.
In my upcoming workshop - Balancing Needs for Space & Connection during Relational Conflict - we'll be exploring what other resources our bodies possess that can help us dance in the in-between. Are you curious to learn more?
Register today and explore with me. Link below