Dealing with Family Gatherings

By November 5, 2020Transcripts, Read

Transcript from a meeting with James Eaton on 30 August, 2020

Q: I have a query that relates to the two women that have loved me my whole life—my mother and my godmother—who I also have nothing but love for, and yet my experience when I’m with them is really uncomfortable. When I’m with my mum I seem to dissociate slightly, it’s like I speak from the side of myself, and with my godmother it’s like our minds are merging, and there’s a fear in me about how each of them are experiencing that. I realised today, when you were talking, there’s a part of me that believes I’m a freak and that they believe I’m a freak.

We’ve got my godmother’s 60th and my mum’s 70th birthday next month and I’m spending three days with them and I don’t know how to do it. When they’re speaking to me, my mind is so empty that there’s nothing to add to what they’re saying to me, I haven’t got anything to bring. So they’re talking about their day, they’re telling me they’re making this cake, or they’re speaking to me about this thing they’re organizing, and I’m trying to hold on to something so I can interact with them, and there’s a fear in me saying, “Keep holding on to this thing, so that they think you’re normal,” because if I surrender it, if I really do allow myself to let go of any holding, what if I frighten them?

James: Yeah, there’s lots in that. Let’s start with, “I’m a freak.”

Q: [Q starts to cry]

James: Sense your feet . . . breath. Yeah, “I’m a freak.”

(silent connecting)

That’s it, keep listening . . . stay here, sensing your feet on the floor, sitting bones on the chair, and meet this part of you that feels like a freak . . . the weirdo, that doesn’t fit in . . . [Q crying] That’s it, stay there . . . keep sensing the ground . . . you need to meet her . . .

Q: There’s a part of myself that I’ve called a freak all these years. [Crying intensely]

James: Yes, and now you’re meeting that part, not from the one that judges it, but from this openness, that’s unconditional . . . “I see you. You feel like a freak. I acknowledge what you’re feeling.”

Q: Listening to you working with others has touched me so deeply, because I realise it’s okay, and that you [‘the freak’] are welcome, and you’re loved, and you might not have received what you needed, but it’s here; it’s so touching, it’s so here—within myself and within all of us.

James: Exactly. And when we can speak out what was repressed, and share it with others, then rather than alienating us it unites us.

Q: I’m so grateful for all of you [Q speaking to the group]

James: Yeah, beautiful. Me too, I’m grateful for all of you.

Q: I just want to feel at ease with my mum [Q crying]. I want to feel it’s normal, like I do here.

James: Yeah, we’ll come to that in a moment. Let’s deal with what’s here now first. You need to fully meet this part, ‘the freak’; there’s a lot of your identity still invested there. You need to be here with it, and see that you CAN be here with it, and at the same time feel this loving connection.

Q: There’s such an awkwardness. Like, eurgh [Q shivering]

James: Stay with that, “Eurgh. I’m a freak. I’m awkward.”

Q: “I’m strange, I’m odd.”

James: “I’m strange, I’m odd.” Try and keep speaking it out, so you’re really clarifying it. The more you speak about that part of you the more it emerges, the more it comes out of the shadows.

Q: I don’t belong.

James: Yeah, “I don’t belong. I’m odd. I’m a freak.” Keep going. Keep allowing it to come. Don’t censor it. Let it emerge intuitively, spontaneously . . . whatever is coming.

Q: What is this place? This is so strange. I don’t belong here. I’m weird. This is not right.

James: “I don’t belong here. Something’s wrong.”

Q: I don’t fit here.

James: “I don’t fit.”

Q: I don’t know what to say.

James: Yeah, “I don’t even know what to say.” Why don’t you know what to say? See what comes . . .

Q: What to say? What am I supposed to say!? [Q getting angry] How could I add anything to this crazy, crazy reality?

James: Now go with that . . . see how the energy is shifting now?

Q: What the hell is this place?

James: Yeah, really allow that to come. “What the hell is this place? Who put me here?” There’s a new energy coming through now, so let it come . . . keep riding the energy. It’s like, “How dare you. How dare you put me here; making me feel like a freak.” Not forcing anything . . . just letting it come naturally . . .

[Q breathing deeply]

We find ourselves in that sad place, feeling lonely, isolated, like a freak: “Nobody loves me. Nobody cares,” and then, in being fully acknowledged and included, it can start to morph into that red energy, of, “How dare you!” That wild roar. So we’re allowing that to come too, integrating that too.

(silent connecting)

Q: [Q breaks into laughter] It’s ridiculous!

James: Yeah, ridiculous! Haha! Now let that flow!

Q: Oh fuck!

James: That’s it. Let the energy open whichever way it wants to go, and feel the flow . . . unrestricted, undistorted . . .

(silent connecting)

Q: Why have I got to pretend? Why?

James: So then we come to when you’re in the family situation. My experience of this is that when you’re truly open and receptive, when you have no fixed agenda, the optimal way of responding comes. Sometimes that’s to just play along.

For example, I turn up at Christmas and my dad asks, “How did you get here? Was it the M5?” And I say, “Yeah it was the M5.” Then he might ask me about petrol prices, or how long the journey took, and I say, “Oh, it was about two and a half hours. It was a bit longer than last time because . . .” And off we go, right? Because that’s the optimal response in the situation. My dad doesn’t want to know about exploring the nature of reality and unprocessed trauma—he doesn’t give a shit about any of that! So I’m not going to meet him if I go on about any of that stuff. Similarly, if I look him deep in the eyes, that’s not gonna enable me to connect with him either, that’s gonna just freak him out! If I do that then that’s my shit. I’m trying to be something. I don’t have to play that game.

So the optimal response comes, and sometimes that’s to be very simple, and so that’s how you relate. At other times maybe not. Maybe you get into a conversation with someone and they start to open naturally. Then your facility to navigate the deeper places of the human psyche may step in, and you find a deeper kind of relating emerges.

Q: And otherwise I can just talk about petrol prices?

James: Yeah. Why not?

Q: But when I don’t know, there’s judgment in that. “What are you doing next week?” “I don’t know. I can’t remember.” “So what’s going on tomorrow?” “I don’t know, it’s tomorrow.” It’s like “You don’t know?! Oh, well you should know.”

James: Or you get your phone out and you look at your calendar and say “Oh, yeah, tomorrow I’m free, we can meet if you like.” It’s no big deal, right?

Of course people will have their ideas about how we are, and that’s okay, they’re free to project; but when we’re free we don’t have to adhere to their projection, we don’t have to be anything for anyone—we have nothing to prove. Instead we’re free to respond according to the natural intelligence, optimally in the moment, and we don’t know what that will be.

Q: And so it’s okay for me to not hold eye contact, because of what’s going to probably emerge in that experience?

James: It depends on the natural intelligence of the moment. You might realise that actually it’s not a good thing to do that with this person, because they won’t understand, it will be seen as a threat or an imposition.

Q: Yeah. Thank you. I’ll make sure I continue to listen to that.

James: Yeah. That optimal intelligence isn’t coming out of our fear-based patterning and trauma, it comes straight out of the love that we truly are. You could think of it as the natural intelligence of the universe expressing spontaneously through our individual mind, without distortion. That’s what authentic living is.

So with deep honesty and sensitivity we listen for what’s being triggered in the moment, and our families and intimate partners are often our most powerful mirrors, as they will trigger us like no one else does! They’re reflecting back to us the parts of ourself we have yet to fully meet. If you notice yourself dissociating, and speaking from the side of yourself, then you may be being drawn into a projection there and are presenting yourself in the way you think you need to be for this person. So you just notice that happening.

Birthdays, Christmases, they can be extraordinary learning ground for someone interested in authentic living; and quite painful too I have to say—because you feel all the undercurrents of pain and frustration that remain unacknowledged in the family system.

Q: There are these perfectly formed ego-constructs interacting with me; and they have their own beauty, and they have their own wisdom for what they’re holding on to, which I’m very much aware of, and I have deep love for them; and I want that love that I am, that we all are, to come through in those moments, and yet, with two of the people I love the most, it’s unable to come through in that way, of a full loving embrace, and instead this witnessing and emptiness is present.

James: Yeah, so just listen to that: “I want them to be this way. I want to experience THIS with them.” Just check out that ‘want’.

Q: Yeah.

James: “Why do I want that. Why do I need that?” So there’s an expectation and a want that they should be different.

Q: That’s a really powerful point. It’s especially with the women that this is coming up.

James: Yeah, so you’re not meeting them in freedom, because there’s something you want from them.

You are the love that you’ve been waiting for. You are the love that you’ve been waiting for. Nobody can give it to you. Nobody.

Q: I know it’s so true. I feel like right now I want to embrace them in my womb.

James: Yeah, just as they are. Just as they are.

Q: That’s very powerful. [Q breathing deeply]

James: That’s it. Let that energy open . . . feel it coming . . . here it comes, let it open . . . [Q sighs] . . . Yeah. That’s it. You’re freeing up those relationships.

(silent connecting)

This is very tricky for all of us because when we’re very young we learn that our parents are the source of love. So as innocent children, if we’re not receiving the love we need from our parents, we conclude that we must be faulty. And so we try to become something different, to try to earn their love; or we try to fix them, so that they’ll be able to give us the love we need; or maybe we try and become like them, in the hope that then they’ll love us. It’s such a distorting influence.

Part of the healing of that is to realise your deeper nature—that you are the love that you’ve been waiting for—and then all those distortions, to try and get the love from the parent, can be let go of. And it’s not just for a parent, it can be anyone we want to have a relationship with—the distortion of trying to be the person that you think they will love.

Can you feel the empowerment when you start to realise: no, I don’t need to be any different. I don’t need to try to earn or deserve love. I AM love.