The Loved One lays in their partner’s lap with their head facing towards The Anchor’s face. The Loved One can have their eyes open or closed. But the Anchor needs to have loving eyes the whole time towards their partner, so when they do peak they will find your loving eyes. The Anchor slowly strokes their partner’s hair the whole time. Ask your partner what speed feels best. I find that some people pet their partners too fast and it makes it so their love doesn’t digest as well as it would otherwise.
The Anchor says something like, “How are you?” And they are not really interested in or caring about the content of what The Loved One says. They are focused on emotionally mirroring the limbic and emotional state of their partner. If the Loved One shares a feeling, then this is easy. They simply mirror the feeling back and say, “You are feeling ABC Feeling.” (then pause and stroke their partner’s hair), then say, “And I’m here.” Then they wait and emotionally mirror what comes up next.
If The Loved One is caught in a negative story, then The Anchor needs to choose to not to respond to anything in the story. The Anchor needs to go deep and make their best guess at “what is the dream underneath this complaint?” (I am about to use gendered language just for the sake of an example. People of any gender or sexual orientation can benefit from being the Anchor or the Loved One). In the case of a heterosexual couple with the man holding his woman, he needs to think, “What feeling state and emotional longing is she having that is underneath this complaint about me?”, “Is she hurt?”, “Is she lonely?”, “Is she worried?”, “Is she calm?” The Anchor has to choose to not get hooked by the content of The Loved One (if they are caught up in complaints).
If she says, “I can’t believe you did XYZ, WTF, you can’t do that again!”, the Anchor does NOT say, “I didn’t do XYZ.” He also doesn’t say, “I did XYZ because you did ABC.” He instead goes deep and wonders, “what is happening inside her that is inspiring this complaint about me?” Then he guesses what her feeling might be. “Did you feel put on the spot?” “Are you embarrassed?” “Did you feel like we weren’t on the same team and alone?”
Basically, the Anchor looks for the primary feelings that are underneath the complaint story. The Anchor is committed to authentic and loving touch with loving eyes and caresses her hair.
After she affirms that is the feeling; for example if she says, “I felt guarded.” The Anchor then says, (after a few caresses) “You feel guarded. Of course you do. (with the tone of validation)” and then a couple caresses more, then, “And I’m here.” Then a few more caresses, and validate whatever comes up next. If nothing comes up for a while, they can say, “Take your time. I’m here. If you got anything else, I’m here.” What you are doing is creating spaciousness.
It doesn’t matter if you get the feelings wrong when you are mirroring her because she will correct you. If you say, “you feel annoyed. Of course you did.” And then she says, “not so much annoyed, but more disappointed”. Then you pause and caress her and say, “you felt disappointed.” (even if she seems annoyed!) and you caress more and keep your loving gaze (whether she is looking at you or not) and you say, “and I’m here.”
You keep doing this for about 10 rounds.
You will find that if you don’t get snagged in the content that after 10 rounds the emotional content will shift from negative things to positive things like, “I feel cared for.” “I feel loved”.
But just know that before it gets there, there will likely be a few rounds of “I feel suspicious” (that you are just doing this exercise and don’t really care). If you fail the test and get up and say, “Damn it, I’m trying, just relax!”, it won’t work. If you pass the test and say, “of course you feel suspicious.” And “and I’m here.” (several times), you will heal a nurturance barrier that got created in your relationship at a different time.
Of course she is suspicious, because you normally don’t hold her like this. But after you stay with her 7-10 rounds in a 15-30 minute period, she will melt into your arms because what she wants more than anything in the world is to be able to have empathy and loving eyes from her lover.
The chances are, you had to parking lot 3-5 things a couple times and it was hard. And the chances are that if you did this 10 rounds that she melted and you experienced her melt into you. And your need to be pissed at the 3-5 things you had to parking lot will feel pretty minimal. If anything she said bothers you an hour later, then it is fair game to bring up in a conversation.
But part of the blessing of this exercise is you are avoiding getting caught up in the weeds that don’t even matter. Often times we are only needing to parking lot our reaction to our partner because we happen to be triggered. Your need to be right and above your parter is problematic and toxic if you are triggered. This exercise is designed to bypass that bad habit. But after she melts into your arms because you helped her melt, then it is easier to let almost all of the things you really wanted to correct (instead of stay nurturing her) go.