I want to talk about childhood. About cocoons.
There are things that happened to all of us in childhood, in one form or another, big or small. Trauma, abandonment, abuse. As children we were especially vulnerable to every negative emotion and action under the sun. Many people consider the marks that these things leave on us to be scars.
But I propose a different perspective.
In the energetic worldview, things are either still, or they move. They stay the same, or they change. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as stillness. A rock has protons and electrons whizzing around inside of it. A rock vibrates. Stillness is an illusion.
What then if troubling childhood experiences weren’t equivalent to damage taken, but instead were equivalent to energy given. Like a gift. Good gifts we open right away, we enjoy them, and maybe we move beyond them. That’s energy that moves.
Bad gifts are still gifts, they aren’t thrown away. But maybe we put them in a closet. We leave them there, until we’re capable of opening them, and accepting them. That’s energy that’s stuck.
I propose that our past experiences, the good and the bad, are gifts. And the bad ones are locked in a closet, or buried in the ground, like seeds. We make cocoons for these things because we can’t accept them as they are, and we don’t want to be staring at them in the meantime.
We wrap up all the “bad” we experienced as children in order to protect ourselves.
Deep empathy isn’t just about connecting deeply with others, it’s about connecting deeply with ourselves. Start with your past. That’s probably where you began to acquire different reflections of yourself, different experiences that you decided would make up your identities.
Our pasts seeded this present moment. Examine your childhood. Examine your “scars.” What have you put away into a cocoon?
Is it ready to transform?
If the answer is yes, all you have to do is take those gifts out of the closet, and see what time and darkness have wrought. What you experienced then is not the same as what you’re experiencing now, looking at it.
Build a bridge to it. Light a fire under it. Or just watch. And feel.
Your heart is only capable of healing. If you let it feel, if you engage your empathy, then the energy can move and everything changes. Then the cocoon splits open.
(This article is an excerpt from "Deep Empathy," issue no. 3 of the Sacred Space Journal. Want more articles and insights into empathy?)