Ok, ok. Technically a vessel is a container. But hear me out.
We live in a culture of taking things on. Of carrying the burden. Of putting ourselves last. Of taking the blame. Of relating. Of compassion.
In many ways, this is a wonderful way to be. It helps us relate to each other. It brings a softness to our relationships. It makes us good employees and bosses and students and parents whatever we else we need to be in the world.
But the downside is that we don’t know how to let it go once we take it on. We take it on, and then it becomes a part of us. Not just in our minds, but it can manifest itself in body pain, weight gain, energy levels, etc.
And most of us do it without even realizing it. As a massage therapist, we are taught how to not take on our client’s pain. It is very common for the therapist to start feeling the same pain pattern as the person they are working on. Isn’t that wild?!
So we have to consciously create some form of barrier (mental, emotional, energetic) to not take it all home with us. While it’s more tangible in the bodywork profession, the same thing can happen in any environment.
Which is where my vessel vs. container point comes into play.
A container is a holder of things, but a vessel is a holder AND mover of things. A vessel carries something to its destination, be it a boat or a pitcher of water, you get the idea.
A vessel holds something special, keeps it safe during transport, and then lets it go.
One of my yoga teachers coined a term called vesselfication, turning yourself into a vessel, in particular for healing. Her point was that as a yoga teacher, you let your knowledge, healing intuition, whatever your students need, pass through you to them. You hold the space and then you let it flow.
I have used this idea a lot in my own work, and it is really powerful. It keeps me humble and actually takes a lot of stress out of trying to “fix” someone or be perfect. I just get to hold the space and let it flow. It’s not always the easiest to do, but it’s gotten easier over the years.
I invite you to also apply this vessel concept to your own life and relationships.
First of all, what are you holding on to? What are you containing instead of transporting? Is it the burdens of your loved ones? It is a major issue at work that is out of your control? Is it the condition of the world at large?
It’s ok to feel it all. Share the load a bit. Do what you can. Hold space for it, but then let it go.
Don’t let it turn into an issue with yourself. Journal it out. Talk it out. Run it out. Do what you gotta do to not let it be a physical or mental issue in your own body.
Second of all, be open to receiving and giving. A conduit, if you will. If you are in a challenging situation, go forth with the intention of being a vessel. Receiving what would serve the situation the best and then giving it out.
This takes out the stress and anxiety of needing to be the solution all on your own. This makes it bigger than yourself, and it opens up so many more amazing solutions.
I know this vessel idea is easier said than done, but try it on. Follow your own intuition of what it looks like for you. And like always, let me know how it goes.