I went to a friends going away party recently where I was invited. We had food, intellectual conversation and a fire circle.
Everything was going smoothly until we were invited to sing. What started out as a low volume affair, I found to be a bit repressive. So I decided to ‘breakthrough’ what felt like a collective limitation to me. I decided to be more full in my expression. Singing more freely. To bring awareness to the collective fear and encourage a collective effort towards breaking through into greater courage and freedom.
So while still be attentive to the field, I let myself sing .. at a higher volume. Sometimes it seems that my expression within just wants to be free from limitation. And fear is the great limiter. And the greatest of irrational fears is social rejection. Especially when it limits one from being their true self. Finding that balance between tuning into the collective and acting from my own inner desire to express, and share in a more free form of expression has felt like a battle.
The challenge of breaking through fear has been amplified by the fact that when I am more free in my expression, whether in volume or in silliness, it has often felt like it creates a ‘child / parent’ dynamic where someone feels called to be the parent and silence me.
This silencing has felt like unwanted control. This control causes a deep trigger in me. Not wanting to be silenced I often rebel against the control and allow my expression to be more free, but from a place of hurt. So the expression after that point isn’t exactly graceful. But to express becomes more important than to be accepted. Often this whole dynamic creates a scene.
Some people take my side and see the value in my freedom of expression, sometimes an entire group joins me in a more liberated form of expression. I love when this happens! And sometimes the results are polarizing and some people don’t like me or my expression so much. I feel hurt when this happens! No matter what, anytime I break through a new group, it’s an experiment, and experiments have inherent risks.
So I allowed myself this opportunity the other night, received what felt like a gentle nudge to stop being so loud, but it felt like a kind of covert control. Which drove me a little crazy and then I proceeded to act out the energy I was feeling with mixed reactions from the group present. It felt like a not so successful attempt at liberating the group energy. After which I fell into silence to restore my center.
Discernment of when it’s appropriate to express so freely has been trying on my heart and soul. I have decided that rather than take risks in groups where I may not have permission, it’s time for me to create events and stages where people are informed in advance and come with full knowing what they are getting into.
Additionally I gained some additional clarity around this word CONTROL and how it’s slightly different from DOMINATION. To dominate is to command great influence, or exercise control. But to dominate does not necessarily mean you are in control.
To control is actually within, like the control you have over your body. Or over your will. To dominate is having great influence, but that still leaves everyone free agency to behave however they wish.
This is an important distinction
It might appear like I was controlling the space in my freedom of expression. Or it might appear like I was being controlled by the person that wanted to quiet my expression and have me conform to the group energy. But in reality there was a sense of domination. Yes on my part, with good intention to raise the energy of the group. And yes on the side of the person who had the rest of the group in mind when they sought to silence my expression.
The trigger for me apparently was when these two dominant forces clashing. One seeking to go higher and one seeking to go lower. No one better than the other, except if conformity to existing field energy was the goal, it might seem like calming the energy was the more righteous path. But if having an excited and liberated fire circle was the goal, then raising energy might seem like the more righteous path.
Nevertheless these two energies clashed and it made my heart feel hurt to feel silenced. Even frustrated when the ‘calming’ energy thinks it’s in the right and I am in the wrong. I would like to remain more open minded and question whether the context warrants such restriction and desire for conformity, or if having energy shake things up even if it bears the risk or projections of the group is the more noble path.
Regardless of which side is most ‘right’ , perhaps there is no right there simply IS an experience being had. And the flow of the night was what it was.
Perhaps you are a quieter type and enjoy peace. Or you are a more expressed type and really appreciate spaces where you can be your full self at full volume or full silliness or whatever is your flavor of expression. If expression (especially musical or theatrical expression) is seen as an art, there really isn’t a right way to do it, there is just a right time and right space. With people prepared for that form of expression.
For example if someone wanted to turn a funeral into a musical, that would be a high risk move. Or turn a bar into a theater, they might get punched.
But a musical or cinema in a space where people have gone to experience that kind of show, are more ready for the unpredictable.
Whereas the ‘norm’ expects a certain level of conformity to be maintained. And to break the expectations of that norm, comes with greater risks and backlash.
I’m curious what your thoughts are on this subject and if you have ever experienced being silenced what comes up for you? Or if you have felt someone was expressing ‘too much’ for the setting, how did you handle it and how did it go?
This topic of expression brings up a lot for me and so I am really just curiously exploring it with your feedback as an important part of the dialogue.
James Sunheart is a student of personal development and spiritual growth. He is passionate about optimizing people, systems and life. He’s written 7 books. Interviewed hundreds of experts. Given a TED Talk in France. Lives in Costa Rica while developing a sustainable eco-village. For opportunities email: James AT FullPotential.com