I am pondering the word independence today, on a personal level. What exactly does it mean to be independent, and is it something to strive toward?
Last night I participated in a relational practice called T-Group: where the focus is on noticing present-moment experience, owning that experience, and then expressing it in a small group container. It’s a rich, illuminating, often uncomfortable, but frequently nourishing practice. When done well, it celebrates and acknowledges our impact on each other and gives one permission to make explicit the more hidden and unrevealed aspects of our relational field (attraction/frustration/judgment/care/appreciation/etc/etc.)
In both groups I participated in last night, the group’s attention fell on me at different moments – and a collective noticing that 𝐾𝑒𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑏𝑎𝑐𝑘 was expressed. In one group, a friend described how she notices wearing a shell when interacting with me, that in her experience, is her meeting my protectors and walls. Another person expressed 𝑎 𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑖𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝐾𝑒𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑛.
After reflecting on these moments and 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 like them in the past, what arises in me is the reminder of the importance of the subtle, nuanced calibration of dependence/independence in relationship. And the necessity of fine-tuning the needle between being impactable and sovereign. When questioned and prodded last night, I felt several contradictory feelings. First, some shame around a story I have that I overprotect myself, keep my cards close, and don’t reveal for fear of being vulnerable and powerless. Then there is the other side of me that experiences those interactions with anger and frustration, coming from the part that feels annoyed that someone cannot accept that I’m sovereign and independent and doesn’t react to everything said or done in my vicinity.
AND I know the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
It feels really f’ing good when someone deeply sees and notices me and our relational space attunes me to more fundamental aspects of my being. It also feels good not to be expected to be anything other than what I am at any given moment.
Time to get outside and into the creek (with a friend ).
What is your relationship to the polarity of dependence & independence?