By CC Leigh
Keep in mind that the foremost principle guiding mutuality groups, whether in person or online, is that everyone is fundamentally already okay, exactly as they are, no matter what aspect of their total being is arising at any moment. Our work in mutuality is to practice radical acceptance in the moment (greenlighting), bringing compassion and kindness to each other where there used to be pressure to change or be different from how you are. In this climate of safety, deep healing and transformation will occur organically through the wisdom of Being and according to each person’s own right timing.
There must be a sufficient sense of safety before mutuality can take root and grow. Accordingly, these guidelines are about creating a safe-enough space to practice mutuality—which is a precursor to “full” mutuality which can only develop over time with practice and intention, awareness and heart.
Confidentiality is essential for creating safety. Respect the confidentiality of group or forum members in regards to all content, and do not repeat/repost elsewhere without express permission of the speaker or writer.
Things that undermine safety
- The sense that any one person is dominating the space
- Giving advice; “fixing”
- Headiness, abstraction, or conceptual framing that doesn’t honor the unique humanity of the speaker
- Anger that blasts and blames
- Making the other responsible for what you’re feeling
- Giving feedback before safety, connection, and trust is established
- Taking away someone’s experience by trying to change how they feel (for example: “Don’t be sad, everything will work out fine”)
- Be respectful of people’s shares or postings
- If something is welling up, it is useful to share it as appropriate
- Make “I” rather than “you” statements if you get triggered by something (i.e., “I feel” rather than “you did thus and such” or “you made me feel thus and such”)
- Have the intention to come from your deepest place
- Support one another in staying in integrity
- Acknowledge people’s totality as both divine (Presence) and human (individual). This can be an internal attitude you hold as much as it’s anything you directly communicate.
- Help people feel validated, valued, and seen by finding a few words to let them know you got them (see “Notes on Reflecting” below)
- It’s okay to decline feedback—you can specify this in your share/post
- Be willing to vulnerably reveal yourself to the group – as trust deepens and when you feel safe enough to do so
- Avoid labeling other people or referring to them as their personality type (Enneatype, Human Design, etc.) as if this explains why they are as they are (however, you can speak about your own type if this is something useful you are exploring).
- If you are experiencing intense or explosive emotions, see the special cautions (below).
- Do not vent directly at anyone, or use abusive or demeaning language.
- It’s okay to express a difference of opinion, but do it with respect
- Don’t expect this group to be a substitute for one-on-one work with an awakened teacher or, as needed, a therapist (groups function best when all members have regular contact with a teacher).
- If you get really triggered, you may want to speak this to a neutral third party first. Then you’ll be more able to communicate with less reactivity to the other party
- Mutuality takes practice and will inevitably get messy at times. Do call upon your teachers, mentors, or other elders in the process for assistance (or mediation) when needed.
Notes on Reflecting
- Skill in giving reflections will develop with practice
- Don’t feel obligated to give reflections until you’re moved to do so
- You don’t need to impress people with clever insights
- You don’t need to do it the way anyone else does it
- Being will support the space
- Sometimes nothing arises; if that happens, keep your response very simple. Don’t try to make things up just because you think you are expected to
- Read/listen with your inner senses turned on: ears, eyes, body, and heart
- You can reflect what you noticed through any of these portals:
“I heard you say ______”
“I see how small that made you feel”
“I feel how that might have been for you”
“I was touched by hearing about that situation”
- Sometimes you simply repeat back something they said — you can do this to be sure you heard correctly: “Let me see if I “got” you: what I heard was this_______”
- As you’re listening, or reading someone’s post, you might be reminded of similar situations from your life. Reflect the speaker’s experience first, and then, if so moved, you might share your story in your own separate post or sharing time
- name any emotion you pick up from them: “I get how (angry/frustrated/sad/irritated/scared/ etc.) that makes you feel”
- say something about them that you admire or respect (like their courage or willingness to speak what they shared, or how valuable it was for you to hear it)
- (for in-person meetings) you could ask a clarifying question (ask their permission first), or invite them to say more about the situation or feeling
Special cautions for online mutuality/forums: There are real limits to the ability of written words to convey subtleties of thought and feeling. When you’re not face to face with someone, it’s easier to forget that they are sensitive beings who can feel hurt by insensitive comments. On an online forum, please be kind, try to sense to other poster’s point of view, give them the benefit of the doubt, and be supportive. No flaming or name calling! If you’re feeling triggered, think twice before you hit the “enter” button. And use the “edit post” function if you post in haste and later wish to modify your post.
Don’t assume you know what’s going on with others, or why it’s happening (remember that everyone is always a Mystery).
If you get a hunch, insight or “hit”:
- Don’t immediately speak or post it. The most powerful insight comes from within, when that person is ready to discover it for themselves (rather than when told by someone else).
- Or, you can check it out with them, presenting it as a maybe for them to check against their own knowing and resonance.
Mutuality evolves with practice and further study from this basic foundation into more direct encounters between self and other–a sort of living alchemical fire that can bring profound transformation and unfolding of the potential for real intimacy between people. However, presence and greenlighting in themselves are powerful agents of healing, and the most important gifts we offer to one another. As long as you have the intention of bringing those elements to your practice of mutuality, the rest will follow.
© CC Leigh, 2015. All Rights Reserved.