by Jagruti Gala

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‘I no longer know who I am!’ I said these words on the 11th of January, 2014 as I sat in a circle with people from different countries. It was a closing circle after an intensive week of dipping into the pool of a compassionate consciousness. Each one of us was expressing what the week had meant to us. I remember my voice breaking with the depth of humility and expanse of awareness in my being, as I met my humanity.

vividinnerpaint2LP was a gift from the universe to support me in a year that was a hellish experience on a personal level: in the beginning of 2014 I lost my 22-year-old marriage and my father. The marriage had been ailing and my father’s passing was unexpected. This was also the time when both my boys had just left the nest. It was a sudden, heartbreaking vacuum. The teachings of NVC, the faculty, the environment and the community were like beacons of light throwing a soft glow, so I could see the path, and offering silent love, so I could walk. Gradually I learnt to see and embrace the beauty of my grief and the power of my gifts.  I learnt about my wholeness and the wholeness of LIFE!

There is a huge ocean of work that I constantly do with myself as I heal around my losses. One drop is learning to hold detached love and respect for my husband’s decision to exit from our marriage in his pursuit of happiness – which meant sharing his life with someone else. My love for him was intense, passionate and very protective. From that fiercely protective part of me I had several judgments around his vulnerability (he’s easily swayed, he’s childlike), his decision making capacity (he’s impulsive, he’s reckless) and I was so worried about his well-being. I was able to ‘deal with’ the heart break of me not being the one who met his romantic and companionship needs, but I went to pieces and was terrified to think of him compromising his own and our family’s future. This core fear escalated and permeated through all my other thoughts. I was tied up in several knots about all that was ‘doomed’ because this marriage was ending. It was a terrifying time.

Time passed and I realized that beneath my desperation to ‘save him’ was my desire to be the ‘savior’ and my terror was facing my failure to do that. My need to be responsible and contribute to my own sense of beauty and grace was so strong it was default. I knew this at an intellectual level (Karpmann Triangle etc.) but it was far from my body’s reality. I had a very strong body resistance to my situation. Letting go was like separating skin from flesh. A large part of me was miserable that it had failed to save what was precious, failed to keep the collective together and another part was very unforgiving of myself.

I had the love and support of family and several friends, my spiritual practice as well as my coaching community. And – I had the gift of LP – which had a major impact on my ability and willingness to heal myself.

vividinnerpaint1At the LP I learnt empathy – ah! the sweetness of empathy. Through the year, as I engaged with my classmates and was present to them with deeper and deeper empathy, I unconsciously began to give it to myself. Within me I began to articulate my pain, my suffering, my misery and my unmet needs…ah, so many needs! I could finally hold all those disturbing feelings and unmet needs of mine and just look at them, with silent empathy, profound empathy and before I knew it – I was flowing with compassion! I was no longer a ‘failure’, I was just a human being – strong and frail by turns, full of feelings and needs that arise and dissipate, innocent in my essence and one with all other humans. My separateness was dissolved and a relaxed and quiet joy suffused me. As I held myself with love, I began to experience a dawning respect for my partner’s choice about how to lead his own life. I began to trust the flow of life – no blame, no shame. I am at peace.

On the 9th of November, 2014, I sat once more in a closing circle with almost all of those same people – my LP classmates. It was after a year of dipping deeper into the pool of compassionate consciousness. As we said farewell, this thought floated into my head, ‘I am leaving with a clear idea of who I AM’, and my heart expanded as I met my soul, met the divine being I essentially AM, and saw that the path to meet and be that truth, was to embrace all of the humanity in me.

From a fragmented self that was separate from itself to an integrated SELF that is one with all – that has been my journey of development through the 12 months of LP 2014. While my spiritual practice enables that integration internally and in solitude, NVC is helping me be integrated externally, while I am in connection with other people, in the collective. It completes.

With all that was taking place in my life, I did not manage to read the more than 400 pages of wonderful and inspiring material, I could not attend all the tele-classes and I STILL emerged with a tremendous takeaway, and that is because I learnt about living the consciousness from teachers who walk their talk. From the day Roxy, God bless her, reached out to me suggesting the program to this moment as I sit here writing this in, I have experienced being in the presence of teachers who embody what it means to be in conscious choice every moment while holding people and connections with deep care, what it means to be in compassionate creativity as we attend to different needs and what it means to be part of a living, breathing interdependence.

LP 2014 has helped me move from ‘ideas’ of compassion to ‘being’ in compassion. The words are the same, the experience has transformed.

I am forever grateful as I take the next steps on this journey…

Jagruti lives in Baroda, Gujarat, India and she shares NVC through her work as a transformational coach and her organization AURA (www.auraplace.com). You can email her at empoweringconversations@gmail.com.