The dark light of shyness

It’s been a long time since last  I wrote a blog. Not because I’ve run out of topics. Rather Facebook has taken it’s toll as I enjoy the short conversational style very much, and there have been quite a few interesting topics to go on about there. Yet, sitting here and focusing  on one theme and writing about it is something I really missed. So here we go again.

Last night, actually in the middle of it, I woke up. And as I  was opening up to the dark, for unknown reasons I remembered  how often I’m shy and contemplated its blessings.

picture by matt caplin

Let me elucidate a little. When I  was still doing lots of seminars  all over Europe I often did an exercise in which I asked people to  face each other  and simply look into each others eyes. And then I  would speak about the shyness they might now feel and that it was quite alright to feel this. Usually I went on and on until I saw that most of the participants where really feeling shy.

When I contemplated this last night I  asked myself why we so often avoid this feeling, almost at all cost. Do we avoid the dark light of shyness because  it shows us that obviously we’re not in control of the situation? And since we’re keenly aware of where our hands are, really not knowing where to put them, doesn’t that show how aware we are of not knowing what to do and how to act?  We’re so utterly self-aware. And most likely also feeling absolutely visible to the person (s) with us. We feel naked. And we’re shy. Remember?

So what’s so bad of being naked in the eyes of the other? Why are we so afraid of that? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? We do not trust each other. We do not trust our own feelings. Maybe they’re not appropriate. Maybe we think things, that we don’t want the other to know. Not that we’re thinking these things, really, it’s just that we’re afraid, maybe the other(s) think that that is what we’re thinking. Now you remember?

Usually, we don’t want to be shy, and when we are, we’ll deny it, even to ourselves.

The world is out of control. And often we are out of control. At least our feelings are. And also our thoughts are, when we look closely.  Gazing into a stranger’s eyes calls that to our attention.  We become self-conscious. Very self-conscious. Which seems synonymous  with shyness.

But what happens if you allow yourself to just be shy? What, if you stand in this self-conscious fire without trying to escape? What, if with this embarrassing emotion you connect? What, if you allow it to show?

picture by matt caplin

Everything changes. You start to notice the tiniest facial expressions of the persona(s) you’re with. You find, you’re utterly in the moment. Feelingly. Whole bodily. You may also, once you get the knack, of simply being shy or exposed with all you are, employ this way of being with people or situations more often.

This, my waking up in the middle of the night reminded me of,has been my discipline to get emotionally and whole bodily connected to whatever is happening right now. It has helped me to get unstuck in many ways. Waking up in the middle of the night has reminded me of a step I was blessed enough to discover. May it be a boon 2 U 2…

Enlightening the Passions – Experiment: Day 8

Even though this morning I sat with “a sense of insecurity” it was next to impossible to get to the core of it.
Insecurity’s cousin, Shyness, is well known to me and I’ve long ago come to know it’s presencing qualities and its connective character, so I meandered a bit around shyness, giving myself an easy time.
I also was wondering if after 7 days I shouldn’t go back over all the things I’ve written so far to see from the traces of the posts of this blog if a pattern that I haven’t been aware of is emerging. But somehow doing that didn’t appeal to me much. And I fear that my bright mind would spin a story that doesn’t come from the material itself but is much more made-up than I would want it to be. And also I fear that it would make me more prone again to go with the stories instead of with the feelings. And that is what is really required, because being unconditionally present with my feeling is at the core of this experiment, not the stories I come up with or even the blog posts I write. So instead of going over the last 7 days I took a look at what wants to emerge, and also kept an eye on my sense of insecurity as a kind of focus for my awareness that has the tendency to wander far and wide…

And there is also the consideration that now I have been sensitize to my feeling-sensing so very much that my 20 minutes in the morning dedicated for some day to bring up “the feeling of the day” can now be general to just be with raw feeling in itself and let me be taken by that.
Which is, of course the ideal, and it’s not really true. It seems to be true for all feelings except for jealousy: It is an immense challenge at times to just be with it; the stories connected with it, the imaginings which I now find are so deeply ingrained in the partner-relationship are now in doubt very much, in particular the feeling of having a real future together that is light and free and unencumbered by “hard feelings.” I guess I simply have to decide if I want to keep to what this experiment is about, even under the present circumstances that cause so much havoc in my throat-heart-solar plexus area so often.

Well, when I wasn’t caught up in the kinds of thoughts that accompany my greatest challenge at the moment, and when I felt calm and open and free I saw that overall the first 7 days were really very much dedicated to myself and my feelings, and that now maybe I can also focus a bit more on the feelings of those I live with. And strangely enough today more than ever I heard comments on the way I looked at them and what my expression told them about my feeling-state.
So far you’ve read – if you’ve read through all of these “reports” so far – quite a few times that some person triggered this or that feeling. And this is very true indeed. I think my experience this first week has taught me with quite some force and clarity that I can and do own all these ‘negative’ feelings. This also means that I can more easily “catch” a reaction before it jumps out into the “wilds” (out of everybody’s control, really, and self-determined by everybody involved and all they are and are connected with; I mean it’s really in nobody’s hands: wild) of ordinary life and becomes the trigger of more and more reactions. But it’s also quite clear that whatever I do, if I blindly react, if I respond with my eyes half open, or if in clarity I am with what goes on, it always also influences the people close to me. So going through all the feelings I’m going through, and going through them in the way I do – openly, owning them, feeling the connectedness, “yessing” them – doing this experiment with all that it means most likely is not only a blessing but also a stressor to those around me.

In general feeling the other is, for me, outside actually giving these feelings a name – it is most definitely different from being triggered by what they say or don’t say but implicate or do. The feeling-field has a different quality to it that seems to be beyond that. Looking closely I notice that it is as if people’s movement happen as if inside my body, I experience their moving as if the visual impression gets translated into… if my body would consist of entirely water it would be as if I would feel the water inside me move in synchrony with people’s movements outside. And these very movements are at the same time feelings in a language that has, right now, just a very few syllables.

I guess in this second week of my experiment I want to look more into this aspect of “presencing with feeling”. Now that I have somewhat honed my instrument of feeling a bit, this might be a next step in this education that happens upon me and that I co-create; trusting my senses, feelings and experiences to reveal what needs revelation, be with what needs good company, and learn what needs to be learnt – making the mistakes I need to make in this unknown process emerging as I enter into it.

One remark that touched me today was hearing, “There is so much love in your eyes.” From my perspective I was merely being with that person unconditionally, feeling the field, somewhat (but not invasively) curious about her feeling and being.


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)


Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)