There is a metaphor we use in our DBT groups, called the island. The island is basically a metaphor for disconnection. It is the physical and emotional act of "not being present", We can put ourselves "on the island" by being in our head, or getting drunk or buzzed, by isolating or by thinking that we have nothing in common with those around us. We can put ourselves "on the island" by thinking that others don't like us or love us. We can put ourselves on the island by judging ourselves for our clothes, our weight, our hair, our shoes, the food we brought. Being "on the island" is a form of self conciousness that prevents us from reaching out to others.
We put ourselves on the island often times as a learned behavior. Through criticism or projection, we have learned to focus on ourselves looking moment to moment to catch ourselves in the act of a mistake. We have learned to train our eyes for the thing that is "wrong" with us or with someone else. This act causes a disconnect with the present moment. It causes us to leave our own brain and begin skimming the brains of those around us...wondering if they are seeing our "wrongness" before we do. We must hurry to find it, before someone else points it out. In the end this is a coal fire of shame burning in the soul. The basic belief that on some level "there is something wrong with me", and I must maintain an appearance that all is well. This is a diconnect from authenticity from being connected and in the present. When we go to our heads with those thoughts about the outfit we have on, or the dish we brought wondering if it meets some magical standard, we are living in our heads, in a fairly land imagined, in a land of judgments and projects, an inaccurate map instead of the moment, the terrain of NOW!
This very map, that we use in our heads, the one that causes us to disconnect from the moment in self conciousness, is also the very same map that causes you to isolate or disconect from someone else. We are projecting that map, looking through that template all times. We are seeing what we think of ourselves on the great silk screen of life looking through our lens at the judgments we have learned through out life.
Most of the time, the folks who surround us at the holidays are not dangerous criminals out to harm us. They do not by fact, need to isolated on an island for the safety of all. Even the worst drunk, will likely do no more than yell, or cuss, or stumble. Maybe the worst drunk will say offensive things, but yet, we are all safe. No harm. No damage but for our own reactions. This is how we put others on the island. We think. We use those same judgments that haunt us to label others. Well, maybe two years ago that relative said something hurtful to me. We hold the resentment as if it is happening now. We forget that time has gone by that we have all changed, each moment of every day. As long as our map of judgments is unrevised, we will project the same old circumstance on that relative. And we will respond to the past instead of the NOW.
How we live the NOW fully present, changes the next moment.
May you find this moment, the moment between your map of the world and what is, may you find true peace and love in that layer of reality today!!
Love you all!