Have You Ever Felt a Strange Instant Connection With Someone You Just Met, Leaving You Utterly Confused?
A pulling, a gravitational force, is drawing you toward a person you have never met before. It is not sexual or physical attraction, something deeper, more profound. A strange feeling of magnetism leaves you wondering what the hell is going on with you, are you going crazy? You can't put it into words. You become hyper aware of their presence, and are utterly confused by the sudden sensations in your body, mind and soul whenever your paths cross. Does that sound familiar? Has it ever happened to you?
It happened to me. For nearly five years this strange occurrence has been keeping me second guessing myself and everything I knew about life. Pages of my journal are filled with impatient scribbles while trying to figure out what is going on. I even dreamed about my confuse, without finding resolution. And today, I finally figured out what was going on and what was behind it. I thought I'd share my story.
It all starts 5 years ago, when my path crosses the path of a person I had never met before. The moment I become aware of him, I feel odd, foreign, electric sensations in my body. They are strong and powerful, leaving me with a solid incongruence in my body, mind and soul. Time is standing still. The verbal part of my being looses control, and something deep within me stirs, impatiently, violently, unapologetically. I feel ambivalent and confused. Embarrassed I cannot not control myself. Frustrated I can neither make sense of what I feel, nor limit it. I feel a fluttering in my body, something wants out, yet I hold the reins steady and keep it back. It doesn't like being held back and a complete loss of coherence in my mind follows.
After the chance encounter, chaos reigns in my head. As days go by, the agitation with myself grows as tall as a mountain. Disturbed by the sensations in my body and mind, I attempt to make sense of my body going haywire. Since it is a person of the opposite sex I wonder if I am in love? Yet my body reverberates with a loud ‘No’. The thought of physical intimacy feels off somehow, like how you would feel about kissing your brother. I am deeply in love with my beloved Mark, and profoundly love my son Finn. I am connected to them, intensely, completely, gratefully. What I feel for them, with them, through them, because of them, is incredible and does not match what I feel when I meet this other person. It's neither more, nor less. It's neither better or worse. It's different. The magnetic force I experience transcends sexuality, yet the words soulmate and twin flame don't seem to fit either. Confusing. If it is neither love, nor lust, then what?
A year goes by before paths cross again. My body knows he is there before my eyes confirm. The familiar sensations return. Time stands still. The rest of the world falls to the side. And something deep within me stirs. And stirs. And stirs.. Another year goes by and then my eyes lock with the eyes of this man. Somehow I had anticipated a cathartic moment, but this wasn’t it. My tongue ties up in my bodily felt sensations. My verbal, rational, analytical self, who reins my witty tongue and my quick mind, runs away to hide in the shadows. A deeper, more intuitive part shows up, yet due to me never giving this part of me a stage, it has no clue how to communicate, and consequently I am at a loss for words. My confuse grows. I feel out of touch with myself and completely out of character I suddenly have no idea how to act, do, talk, speak, be. Life feels odd, strange, unusual and downright uncomfortable. Our communication goes nowhere. I go home, with more questions unanswered and a deep sense of discomfort.
I decide it is time to confide in my beloved partner and tell him about the weird sensations I am experiencing when I am around this person. Mark laughs and jokes about it, and as time goes by, he continues to tease me lightheartedly about it, which I am grateful for. It takes a rare and wise man to not be triggered by jealousy when your loved one says she is stirred by another man.
I decide to confide in more people and see if they have an idea about what is going on with me. A good friend asks me what my younger self is recognizing in this man. This question brings some relief; the logical part of my mind notices he is brilliantly gifted in communicating with crowds, with inspiring authenticity, original deep thinking, and the use of humor to get profound points across. The analytical part of my mind admires his leadership qualities and survival instinct. The man is loved by his community, stays true to his core values, and has a plethora of talents. But these attributes do not provide an explanation behind the deep stirring I feel whenever I am in his vicinity. Admiration is one thing, but a loss of self is a different level of chaos. Frustrated I open my laptop and go once more down the rabbit hole of twinflames and soulmates. I find hundreds of similar accounts of confuse as well as explanations of vague gurus, but none of the explanations offered seem to fit. I wonder I just have to live with an inability to understand this quirky part of myself.
Sinking Deep Into Consciousness
Enter today. I am about halfway through a 13 week masterclass on somatics, intuition and hypnosis with one of my all time favorite teachers and mentors; the wicked smart Dr. Greyerbiehl PhD. This week we are going over the last chapter of a thought provoking book about bodily felt sensations, focusing and how felt sensations are the body’s gate to the mind and soul. We are done early with the course work, and she asks me if there is anything else I want to go over in the hour that is left.
Well, I reply, there is this man..
And here we go. I have used these exercises both on myself and on clients, and love the results. But what happened today went beyond anything I have ever experienced. Dr. Greyerbiehl modified one of the exercises to better fit her own best practices. She suggested we try it out to get to the bottom of ‘this man’. I didn’t think it was going to be much good; I had often done this work on my own and with clients, and knew where it was going. I thought I had exhausted the empathic inquiry regarding this particular dilemma. Well. Turns out I was a bit off with my predictions, which is an entire life lesson in itself.
The Journey Inward
Dr. Greyerbiehl invites me to rest my eyes, and visualize my encounters with this man in images and stories. Then she asks me to drop the story line and stay with a grounded, awareness, present (GAP) state of mind, that helps me cut away the layers of self defence and guarding, and bring on a state of relaxing. I feel myself letting go, sinking deeper into myself, my hands gently resting on my lap, my fingers unfolding. She prompts me to build a safe place of my choosing, which I am familiar with. The ones I have built in my mind are always a bit different; they seem to adjust to the need at hand. This time my mind creates a beautiful white fluffy cloud in a clear blue sky, from where I could see the earth below, laying on my cloud, with right above me a black raven watching over me. From there she asks me to bring this visualization and sensation into my heart and describe the bodily felt sensation.
The moment I move the cloud into my heart, it becomes a golden orb, with me sitting in the middle. She asks me to extend this feeling to my head brain and my gut brain, and I notice how the orb gently rolls down from my heart to my gut and back up to my head. Wherever it rolls, beautiful pastures with wildflowers emerge, spreading, becoming wider, deeper and more abundant, reaching all the particles in my whole body, filling it with something rich, deep and healing. I notice my fingers doing a dance of their own in my lap as I sink even deeper into the hypnosis while sensations sink into me.
Then it is time. From afar she asks me to describe the felt sensations connected with the story that I had dropped earlier. At first nothing comes to mind and I feel a slight panic. Then the floodgates open, the lock is turned and it begins. As I convey to Dr. Greyerbiehl the words that bubble up to the surface, my body is doing its own thing. It is moving my left hand far away from the couch I am sitting on, and directing my right hand the opposite way. It is the oddest sensation. It is not my brain leading my body; it is completely and utterly the other way around. It is intensely freeing. I feel like shackles are being removed, cast off. I feel like I am releasing. She asks me to describe what I feel and this is what I answer:
I am noticing the feeling in both my wrists. The movement in my fingers. I am seeing myself in front of a wide open space. And the man is standing in front of me, to the side. I am noticing that I am standing very tall, with the wind in my hair. I am noticing the clarity of my gaze, as I take in the beauty and awe of this vast, wide open place. I am noticing the steadfastness of my gaze, the long, open view, the eyes wide open, fully of compassion, empathy, grace and clarity, strength, authenticity for the whole world and everything and everyone in it.
I am noticing the man gently opening my arms, unfolding them, removing the rigidity in them, moving them as far apart as they can, in softness and flexibility. His eyes convey concern and inquiry if this is OK, and encourage me to open my arms up wider, farther, giving way to the wild woman, wild spirit within, setting her free, liberating the parts that are still deeply hidden within, hiding in the shadows out of fear of disapproval, from the world, from a dead father.
I sense this part of me wants me to let the need for judgement, for labeling, for preconceived ideas fall away. Regardless what my father thought of people that were ‘lacking’ in certain areas and judged them for their lack, I don’t want to live that way. Even if he disapproves from his grave; I want to see people, especially those who are different, with eyes wide open, accepting people just the way they are, treating people with both indifference for their difference, and kindness for who they are, giving what I have in me, regardless where they are in their own journey of life.
Then The Twirling Starts
Onward we go, and I sink deeper and deeper into the realm of wisdom buried deep inside my body, with a chest that reverberates, that stimulates, that lets me know I am on the right track. I hunt for deeper answers and my body tells me to continue to opening up, looking farther, thinking deeper, letting go of more and more, keeping an open mind, breaking free, removing shackles, releasing, all the way. Dropping the story line, removing the uniform. Letting myself be. To be who I am. To not just show the world a version of me, to validate myself, but to show the world the true me. To be who I am, regardless how that impacts me or my business.
And then the twirling starts. I feel a twirling. I sense I am being twirled. The man twirls me. And it tells me it wants me to dance. Dr. Greyerbiehl asks me from a distance far away if I want to dance right now? But the part answers, not now, later. It wants me to give myself the permission to dance when I want that. Dance literally? Or metaphorically? Or both? It tells me the time will come and I will know it. You’ll see it says. And it twirls me.
“It” is this man, and yet it isn’t. I know that now. The man possesses qualities I now recognize I have too, yet where he had the valor to allow them to grow wild and free, I have held mine back by preconceived ideas about who I should be. The courageous way he has embraced his own authenticity, and through it, inspires others to do the same, had been picked up by this deeper part of me all along. Every time our paths crossed with, this deeper part of me heard its name being called. It wanted out. But it couldn’t. It was howling in anger about being caged, blocked by fear. Shackled by rational.
Breath, Shine, Dance
Until now. I understand that now. It wasn’t the man that created those odd sensations.
It was me. It was me all along.
It was me who stirred me. It was a part of me that I have pushed away for as long as I can remember. A part that wasn’t allowed to see the light, wasn't allowed to communicate. A part that wasn’t admired, that wasn’t appropriate, that wasn’t desirable. That wasn’t wanted. And that desperately wanted to come to the surface, to breath, to shine, to dance.
And it was another me who went past the verbal, past the known, past the logic and the rational that I know so well, the logic that has built layers around my personality to help me get accepted by my peers, by my clients, by my environment. And it was me who pushed me beyond the confuse, into the scary, unknown territories of the felt sense and all its wonders. It was me all along.
From afar Dr. Greyerbiehl asks me what I want to do with this new insight. And I reply I want to keep it alive by invoking this image of me standing with my arms wide open, for the whole world, for whoever lives in it in whichever way they want, and honor that image every single day. I open my eyes and feel reborn. I feel like awakened to an old me. A restoration of who I once was, but who got lost along the way.
I thank Dr. Greyerbiehl and as I drive home I am lost once more, but this time lost as I travel into the new chambers of myself that have been opened. I tell my beloved about my journey and show him the picture I drew that represents the image that was connected to my wrists opening wide. He likes it and turns around to get some rice for his curry. I sigh and set myself down.
As I write this story, I wonder if I should tell the man this beautiful tale, that he inspired with his persistent courage to be authentic, to be pure, to be true to himself not matter what, to just be, just the way his is? I search deep within for an answer and my body replies with a heartfelt 'yes'. :
Tim, this is you.
Thanks for being you.
Focusing through the Felt Sense: Embodied Situated Cognition:
Focusing is a psychotherapeutic process developed by psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin. It can be used in any kind of therapeutic situation, through self-help or with a therapist, coach or horse. It involves holding a kind of open, non-judging attention to an internal knowing which is directly experienced but is not yet in words. Focusing can, among other things, be used to become clear on what one feels or wants, to obtain new insights about one's situation, and to stimulate change or healing of the situation.
Focusing is set apart from other methods of inner awareness by three qualities: something called the "felt sense", a quality of engaged accepting attention, and a researched-based technique that facilitates change. I highly recommend the book " Your Body Knows The Answer" by David I. Rome that offers easy to use adaptations of Gendlin's original six-step Focusing process. Having some unresolved questions of your own and need more than a book? You know where to find me.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end of the article. I hope you enjoyed what you read. ❤