Monday, March 5, 2012

Frightened Infant at Lenten Retreat

What does he see?
On Sunday, March 4, 2012, I wrote the following to long-time friend Joseph Dillard, a psychotherapist in private practice in Berlin. Dillard is the creator of the Integral Deep Listening (IDL) interview. 
Dear Joseph,  
You may be interested to know what happened yesterday. See here. This was a 4-hour workshop held at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the church whose choir sang with me the Orthodox Chant "God is with us" early last month. 
 I experienced a rather astonishing insight into my recent "Frightened Infant" dream during the retreat. If you click on the whiteboard photo and look at the very top, you will see my late-line addition to the rest of the participants' CREEI scoring. At the beginning of the scoring process, one of the counselors volunteered to be scribe as I asked the CREEI questions. Before beginning he came up to me and gently whispered "Your fly is open." 
 It could have been a disaster!   
Instead everybody laughed in relief as I confessed my shock and with red face, zipped up. "That is when you won their trust!" said the retreat organizer afterwards. (We agreed later that in subsequent workshops that would not be part of a script!) 
 Before getting into the content of dreams after the break, I added my "Frightened Infant" CREEI score and offered to share my dream. Up to this time none of the 20+ attendees had expressed their dream content--we only had scored them, although the titles revealed they were willing to risk self-disclosure. 
 So, after disclosing my dream, I confessed that I was puzzled and distressed that something in me was frightening my infant self-aspect and what was it? 
I then disclosed the part of my personal history about being a blue baby, my babysitter aunt obeying my father's orders not to hold me when I cried, and that I could not remember much of my childhood or early adolescence. 
Suddenly I had a realization of "new birth in Bethlehem"! Could it be that this community would embrace and hold this inner self-aspect infant and help me comfort and protect him? As I stood there facing them, I became somewhat incoherent, my body began to shake uncontrollably and I was forced to sit down before I fell down. Their compassion flowed over me like a river as I was unable to control my helplessness. 
What a transformative moment! 
As I regained strength and composure, they began to share their own dreams--especially repeating nightmares. And we moved into IDL interview mode with several scary, non-human self-aspects. At its beginning, I had opened the session by reading aloud your recent email about getting familiar with emerging potentials. Later we were able to discuss the PCE (potential creative energy) made obvious by the "no's" and "?'s" in the group scoring results on the whiteboard. 
 As the workshop ended and people turned to go, several (including the attending pastors and counselors) expressed a desire to follow up and extend this experience. 
 It looks promising. 
 Love, ENK

Joseph replied the next day (3/5):
Dear Eugene,
What healing you attracted through your openness and vulnerability! Congratulations! They are so lucky to have you!
Two days later (3/7) Joseph wrote again:
Dear Eugene,  
I am back from my very successful seminar and am curious about how you are doing after your adventure at your seminar. Sounds to me like it was the kind of breakthrough that is still probably rippling through your life.  
On 3/8 and before posting the above, I wrote to the leaders of the retreat about wanting to publish this experience, but concerned they might consider it was over the edge of our pledge to confidentiality. The retreat organizer replied later in the day and I was greatly relieved: 
Eugene - This is very moving.  I do not see any violation of confidentiality in what you have written. 


Aty said...

I am holding your inner self-aspect infant and help you comfort and protect him from here.

Eugene said...

Thank you, dear friend. I know that will make a difference!