Behind “I will” and “I won’t”

…inside us there’s a “No” that is contained by a powerful energy. Outside we say, “I will succeed. I will rise above this. I will handle this.”

… the success of the “I will” depends on the “I won’t” never surfacing.

Outside, for instance, we’re trying to get people to love us and so we’re always being nice. We can never let them know how angry we are that our needs are never fulfilled. This anger has to go somewhere and it builds up in the “I won’t” hidden inside the contraction. As the internal pressure from this rises, it begins to feel like releasing it will drive others away. We will be all alone, become hopelessly depressed and even die.

Conversely, if we are always “nice” and never let others, or ourselves for that matter, know the cost and loss involved in our “nice” adaptation, we risk another kind of death – a life at best of quiet desperation and dull, constrained hopelessness:

a life where inevitable irritability and frustration of our underlying needs must be forever masked in increasingly complex and self-destructive ways:

finally, a life where the body itself will most likely “pay” the price of all this with physical problems and chronic illness….

– Robert Hilton

Hi everyone,

It always amazes me how quickly the tension returns into my body after working to help it release its holding.  Why is that?  Is it from sitting too long when my body needed movement? My eyes deadened from staring at a computer screen that energetically does not return my gaze? Pushing too hard, not stopping when rest was needed? And then there are the countless times in order to keep with societal norms my self-expression was blocked:  tears un-shed, curse words squelched, joy tamped down on… Within the culture we live in, it is an ongoing challenge to do what is genuinely needed to stay well.

In addition to not encouraging feeling states, our culture often supports being strong-willed. Despite the messages most commonplace in society, it isn’t within the “I can do it” or “I can take it” that we find authentic living, it is in the ego-defying “I can’t” and “it’s too much” that restores the life force.  Preferring exaggerated capability to realistic limitation will quickly do us in, and yet we need to feel safely connected and supported in order to let down and fully surrender.  It comes from the body’s release, in combination with being in contact with emotionally present and available others.  I have my own struggles with this… yet, I suspect I’m not the only one. :)

The Ubuntu group is this coming Friday evening.  I hope you can make it.

Ubuntu Group
Fri Mar 18, 6:30-9:30p (TRE starts promptly at 6:30p)
Orange County, CA
For more information, visit


Barbara English
Executive Director, Living Ubuntu


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