I’ve been doing the ecstatic Five Rhythms dance practice since 2007. While the kids were young, I took a break, but for the past two years, I’ve hardly missed a single class. It’s my spiritual practice. I turn up every week no matter what. It’s non-negotiable. The practice itself is fun and therapeutic, because you move however you want to and there’s a powerful emotional discharge from moving the energy through the dance.

When I resumed the practice, there was this guy in my class who really irritated me. Every time I walked in and saw him dancing, my energy dropped. I tried to avoid him by dancing on the far side of the room. I willed myself to ignore his existence by blanking him out. Still, my attention was drawn to the way he danced: self-centred, he was mostly performing for others, hungry for attention and approval.

Time and again, I withdrew into a corner and processed my irritation with him.
Why does he bother me so much? I kept asking myself.

I didn’t like the answer that came through, so I blanked it out for a long time. It was only when I was finally willing to name it, the guy stopped irritating me.

You see, I too love to perform. I don’t let myself do it, so seeing someone else doing it so blatantly and unapologetically triggered me. I too, love-love-love attention. There certainly hasn’t been enough of it over the years, so I crave it with every fibre of my soul, even though I don’t let myself seek it or even acknowledge it (who wants to hang out with an attention-seeker, right? Except it seeps out anyway, not in a particularly healthy way either).
People can be powerful mirrors, if you are willing to see what they show you. And if you notice something intensely irritating in someone else, pause for a second and check in – is that something you seek or deny yourself?

It can be a powerful investigation, and believe me, the moment you acknowledge your wounded parts, irritation with others evaporates.

This guy is not my best pal, but I have a lot of compassion and fondness for him since I saw my own reflection in the mirror of him.

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