In Defense of Scaffolding

September 12, 2023

I love walking around Manhattan. The energy is infused with the collective experiences of daily living. All of the senses get to the chance to have their own smorgasbord. My eyes had the most amazing feast. Among the variety of shapes and colors, one constant view was scaffolding. It interrupted almost every line of sight. Wooden planks or metal poles supporting and protecting new construction and old buildings while whatever work needing to be done gets accomplished.

I started thinking how we create our own scaffolding as we go through life. Our poles and planks are our protective mechanisms that prevent us from falling apart and keep us safe.  Sometimes they are put into place before we even know what they are or why they are there. Our bodies just know they are necessary. Our hearts know they are fragile and need protection. Our minds put the nuts and bolts in all of the right places although sometimes it feels more like bubble gum and glue. 

When we are wounded or afraid  these barriers shore us up. How do we get wounded? It happens when our parents aren’t able to recognize or meet our emotional and our physical needs. It happens when there is an incident or a set of circumstances that overwhelms our ability to live the life we would like with our best selves leading the way. The work for healing needs to be done but our defenses protect us until we are ready to do the work that allows us to let them go. 

We generally begin this exploration when that which has protected us begins to constrict in some way. Anxiety shows up or increases. Panic dips its toe into your life flow or plunders your emotions. Your controlled life is no longer so controlled. Your relationship patterns become glaringly obvious and you are tired of it. 

There are many ways to strengthen and gain clarity so that you can begin to discard what is no longer needed. You may find healing in communion with nature. You can discover it in a group or on a yoga mat or meditation pillow. There is a myriad of workbooks out there that might be the perfect thing for you.  You might wish to work with a therapist.

Whatever helps you along the way, try to remember to have compassion for yourself. Maybe for the first time. If that thought brings up resistance or has you befuddled, it may be the perfect place to start.