outside presence

This presence is not about being outdoors. My outside presence is the presence who can watch me living, responding, feeling, and acting as if I were watching me on a movie screen. Unlike the movies, though, I am still connected while observing how I am being in the world. There is no disconnect involved . . . only distance.

I learned how to do this many years ago as a guided meditation to help resolve old childhood traumas. It is an excellent method because it keeps me from reliving the drama and recreating the same old emotions. And, because I am a compassionate observer (compassion totally rules this process), it is a safe place to give my child now what she could not get back then.

Lately, I have been working to bring this process into my adulthood on a more regular basis. I am acutely aware of how my thinking process contributes so much to my emotional way of being . . . many times the thought seems instantaneous with the emotional outbreak and I miss it. All emotions are okay to experience, but I ask myself this question: is my emotional response appropriate to the circumstances given everything I know? I especially take note of my reactions when another person has done something that causes me distress.

Since I am on a quest to feel good as often as possible and other people sometimes seem to be on a quest to thwart those efforts, I have to look at the distress signals carefully. They are appropriate to times when I might be in danger, when someone might cause me harm, and when someone is not being honest with me or trying to get me to be someone for them that is not good for me. These also include times when I might be expecting others to be who I think they should be. Signals of distress are anxiety, fear, anger, impatience, resentment, and any other emotion that makes me uncomfortable and gets that hot fire burning at the top of my skull.

With the exception of immediate physical harm, when I am in distress, I have to look at how I have constructed the thoughts in my head and examine whether or not I have talked myself into being distressed. We have all been taught in our childhood to feel a certain way when certain things happen. For example, my parents taught me that I should feel unworthy and stupid when I brought home anything less than an “A” on my report card. As I experience grade anxiety in my classes at Loyola, I have to sit down with myself and give me compassion, understanding, love, and acceptance should I choose to make a “B” in a class. I am allowing myself to enjoy the experience, knowing full well that I can make an “A” should I choose to do so.

I can’t hold onto the resentment towards my parents. That is nonproductive and simply reproduces the helplessness I felt when I was a child. I am experimenting with Laurie Buchanan’s recommendation of Emotional Freedom Techniques to help free myself.

While I know I exist eternally, I believe I am here to finish with many issues including the emotional issues that block me from living as my true presence. This human existence is far too short to waste time reliving the past and carrying this emotional baggage around weighs me down. When I leave this body, I want to leave as lightly as possible.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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7 Responses to “outside presence”

  1. holessence Says:

    Barbara, when you said, “This human existence is far too short to waste time reliving the past and carrying this emotional baggage around weighs me down. When I leave this body, I want to leave as lightly as possible” — it reminded me of what my mom always said, “Travel light, travel fast.”

    Have a great day!

  2. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Laurie — happy 4th of July to you! Our spirits are speeding through the universe faster than the speed of light, and our bodies contain them to a much slower pace. I have to think that it is for a purpose: to slow down and savor the dance.

  3. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Thanks for shring this morning! I rlive a lot of you sentiments as well and sometimes do not know how to expree them in words that make sense. Your insite and actions to help are very welcome.

    – am struggling being codependent and not able to help today.
    Friday, my brother, who has had serious mental and addiction issues was mugged by three people on his birthday right around the same time I was having a panic attack and crying,karma? ,ow I am unable to reach my mom by phone oe e-mail…not sure if she is depressed,_pset about something,hurt,out of town, or just palin does not want to talk to family which she shuts down on quite a bit.

    Makes me angry as – am the one to always make things as smooth as possible.


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Kim — I am sorry to hear about your brother, karma or no karma. The only way to stop violence is to not pass it along. And, as you note, while you might want to be codependent thinking if you take on his issues you can resolve them, know that you cannot and only he can work to resolve them. I will keep both of you close in my thoughts.

  4. ntexas99 Says:

    this entire post was delicious — I especially loved the ending where you said, “when I leave this body, I want to leave as lightly as possible”. It reminded me of the movie 21 Grams (have you seen it?). The movie is a bit helter skelter and disjointed for my tastes, but I was mesmerized by the basic premise of the movie, which is that our spirit leaving our body at the time of death weighs exactly 21 grams. I had never given any thought to the “weight of the spirit within us” before this movie, and yet I find that after having seen the movie, it actually gave me some sort of comfort. Hard to explain.

    Maybe because it gives me comfort to know that the weight of all my baggage can be left behind on that final journey, and like you mentioned in your post, part of this life journey is to figure out how to minimize the baggage, and maximize the life experience.

    Are you getting smarter and smarter? Or have I justed started listening and opening up my heart again? Or maybe a bit of both? (smile)

  5. Barbara Kass Says:

    Ha-ha! Nancy, I love your last paragraph! Yes, I have seen 21 Grams and even know the folklore surrounding the idea. The best description of what happens to us after death, though, I find in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I believe you have been listening and opening up for quite a while, and when you are not used to that or have had a bad experience, reopening fully is a scary deal. I still to this day tell my ex-husband absolutely nothing truthful about my life because my experience with him is that he will use that information for his own gain. So, wisdom comes with the experience, too. At the same time, I would not mind it if I were becoming smarter and smarter 😀

  6. Tapping Into Our Potential « Staying Alive – One Word at a Time Says:

    […] too long ago, I was reading Barbara’s blog in which she was discussing an outside presence.  “My outside presence is the presence who can watch me living, responding, feeling, and acting […]

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