Inviting Recapitulation

Often we are dragged into recapitulation, a shamanic term for revisiting memories, by the usher, the moment of collapse of one reality as we enter another. The usher shows us something of cataclysmic proportions, jolting us out of our complacent and compliant life, and asks us to do inner work. We can also do recapitulation volitionally, by choosing to mindfully investigate something about ourselves that constantly needles us, that just won’t go away yet does not interrupt the flow of our lives. Such needles are often the first awakenings that we have deeper issues to resolve.

Not all recapitulation involves memories. It may also involve habits and behaviors that we do automatically, without thinking, though they may in fact be keeping us from evolving and growing. The following quote, from Full Catastrophe Living by John Kabat-Zinn, offers a gentle approach to mindful recapitulation, a nice description of a process that will, as we persist in its practice, aid us on our journey of change. Here is what he says:

Like the cat, be mindful and alert

“The way of mindfulness is to accept ourselves right now, as we are, symptoms or no symptoms, pain or no pain, fear or no fear. Instead of rejecting our experiences as undesirable, we ask, “What is this symptom saying, what is it telling me about my body and my mind right now?” We allow ourselves, for a moment at least, to go right into the full-blown feeling of the symptom. This takes a certain amount of courage, especially if the symptom involves pain or a chronic illness, or fear of death. But you can at least “dip your toe in” by trying it just a little, say for ten seconds, just to move in a little closer for a clearer look.”

Be courageous. Change your world. Change the entire world

2 thoughts on “Inviting Recapitulation”

  1. Jan-
    I’m headed for a yoga weekend at Kripalu,to participate in a yoga practice entitled “perfect as you are”, all about accepting yourself in the moment, with as little self-judgment as possible. This also includes “being with” the physical pain or stress I am experiencing. So, as usual, your latest piece has perfect timing for me. Thanks!

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