Untethered Soul, Chapter 7

It’s back! I can hardly believe it myself. But not to worry, I hadn’t actually forgotten about our chapter summaries of The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I just got distracted by some other things in life.

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And speaking of distractions, Chapter 7 of the book is called Transcending the Tendency To Close and it also has a little do with distraction as well. It’s the last chapter of section 2 which has introduced us to the idea of energy…energies inside of us, our reactions to them, and our natural tendency to create Samskaras or blocked energies.

This chapter wraps up Singer’s introduction to energy and your ability to cling or release by giving us practical advice for how to NOT develop Samskaras. Here, Singer talks about “falling behind” the energies as they come up, meaning allowing your consciousness to not follow thoughts that enter our mind, but allowing them to pass. These might be immediate thoughts like, “I can’t believe I did that! What would it be like if I hadn’t done that? What should I do next time? I need to figure it out now!” The alternative to following all those thoughts and getting yourself worked up into a state of elevated blood pressure would just be to fall behind those thoughts. Notice them, accept them, then stay centered as they pass.

Falling behind a thought could also be something related to an event that happened a long time ago. Singer gives the example of someone taking your favorite pencil at work. It might seem like every time you have to use a different pencil, you replay their indiscretion and get agitated all over again. He says deciding to fall behind those thoughts and energies is “simply a matter of taking the risk that you are better off letting go than going with the energy.”

Personally, I’ve felt this risk very acutely in practicing this falling behind tactic. When someone hurts my feelings (or maybe I should say, “When I let myself believe that someone has hurt my feelings,”) I want to be mad and I can feel myself shutting down towards them. In some of these moments I have really asked myself if I will be better off if I let it go in the moment and not follow the tide of anger. Sometimes it’s not an answer that comes easily! My established habit of closing down and getting defensive is a strong one. Trusting that I will be better–even that I will at least be okay–if I let it go and stay centered is a challenge to me. But I keep practicing and more and more I am beginning to see that yes, it is better. It is more free.

And this freedom is what we’re talking about. Freedom from being tossed to and fro with every passing emotional reaction. If we spend our lives consciously or subconsciously trying to protect ourselves via anger or resentment or isolation, we’re not really free, we’re not really protected.

But let’s talk specifics then. How do we not follow energy? How do we fall behind it?

“The moment you feel a change, relax your shoulders and relax the area around your heart. The moment the energy moves you simply relax and release. Play with letting go and falling behind the sense of being bothered. “

Singer says this is how you make “freedom a game.”

“You don’t fight the mind. In fact you don’t even try to change it. You just make a game out of relaxing in the face of its melodrama.”

Moments where you can practice this are simply moments to grow. There will be many, many times when energy captures your attention and you flow along with the current of negative thinking. But the more you practice the easier it will become.

“Your center of consciousness is always stronger than the energy that is pulling on it. …There is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear, jealousy, or attraction. It’s not your fault that such energies exist. All the attractions, repulsions, thoughts, and feelings don’t make any difference. They don’t make you pure or impure. They are not you. You are the one who’s watching, and that one is pure consciousness. “

On a  personal note, I have found a particular metaphor that best helps me be able to fall behind the passing thoughts and feelings. At my mother’s house in Illinois there is a porch that looks out over her front yard with the pink-blossomed trees and large ancient oak, past a two-lane country highway, and across the expanding fields and forest on the other side. It is one of the most peaceful places I can think of. There are birds and clouds to watch and maybe a cat sleeping in the sun by your feet. It’s really the perfect place for a cup of coffee or iced tea. Everything around is green and alive.

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Even the whir of passing cars and farm trucks adds to the total comforting experience. Now, this porch has become my metaphor for falling behind. I sit in my inner seat of witness just as I sit on the porch. I acknowledge the passing traffic of thoughts and feelings just as I acknowledge the traffic on the highway. I chase not after each thought and feeling that presents itself just as I move not a muscle in response to the passing cars.

What is your metaphor? Think of your “happy place” where calm and comfort surround you as you are observant and at peace. Got it? Now what is something that passes through your line of sight as you sit in that place? Maybe they are seagulls, maybe they are bees, maybe they are airplanes or pedestrians. The next time you feel the challenging energy rising in you, imagine yourself in that happy place. That thought, reaction, emotion is nothing more than one of those seagulls or pedestrians. You are not following them, not grabbing them. You are noticing them and letting them pass.

Go get your freedom and let’s transcend the tendency to close!

~~~Simone~~~

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The Untethered Soul, Chapter 6

The highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were. If you don’t close…This can go on all the time–unending inspiration, unending love, and unending openness. That is the natural state of a healthy heart.

-Michael A. Singer

Something challenging happened to my friend this weekend. “It just brought up so much old stuff,” he told me. Had I remembered what I read in The Untethered Soul’s Chapter 6 called The Secrets of the Spiritual Heart, I would have said, “Sounds like it triggered your Samskara.” If you recall, Chapter 5 began our examination of energy flow. I challenged us all to begin considering those moments in our day when we become closed to the natural energy flow. Have you noticed your moments? HOW ENERGY GETS BLOCKED In Chapter 6, Singer goes into a little more depth about what it means to say that energy gets “blocked,” a nice little buzz term that gets used a lot but isn’t necessarily defined carefully. Singer offers clarification on this with relatable everyday illustrations, as usual. Let me try to summarize… The ideal state would be to have your chakra system, especially your heart chakra, completely open. Openness is when input comes in from your senses based on what you are experiencing and you neither reject nor cling to the subsequent energy created by that experience. The energy of anger might come, but then it goes. The energy of fear might come, but then it goes. The energy of joy might come, but then it goes. Imagine your spiritual heart is a valve for all of these various energies and all is moving through smoothly, without a hitch. Unless you are Jesus or the Buddha, good luck alwaysremaining this open. You probably do have many open moments thoughespecially if you practice mindfulness in one form or another. But for most of us, our perceptions, judgements, and interpretations chime in during many of our experiences. Then, instead of sensations simply passing through the valve of our spiritual heart, something else happens:

…inevitably something comes in that doesn’t make it through. There was this one car, a light blue Ford Mustang, that looked like your girlfriend’s car. But as it passed by, you noticed two people hugging in the front seat. At least it looked like they were hugging, and it sure looked like your girlfriend’s car. But it was a car just like all the other cars, wasn’t’ it? No. It wasn’t just like all the other cars to you.

Our mind begins to go on a scavenger hunt through all the possible meanings of something we’ve just witnessed. And after we fixate on something like this, which most of us do here and there throughout the day, we are no longer experiencing every car and tree that is passing after that light blue Ford. Sure you have to notice the next stop light, but doesn’t your mind just chug chug chug away with thought after thought about that car, your girlfriend, and what could have been going on? You’re not just trying to calmly consider…you’re letting anxiety and fear and suspicion get a hold of you. Ta-da!… That energy gets stuck. And when enough energy gets stuck, think about what happens to that valve of your spiritual heart. It begins to get crusty. Okay, Singer didn’t say “crusty,” he said that these accumulations of stuck energies “encrust the valve of the spiritual heart.” Thus, energy flow is restricted and we get the idea of the energy center (i.e., chakra being “blocked.” SAMSKARAS Singer now introduces the term Samskara and includes these various descriptions of what a Samskara is: a blockage, an impression from the past, an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life, a cycle of stored past energy patterns in a state of relative equilibrium, a little packet of cycling energy literally stored in your energetic heart center. Samskara means an energy that won’t stop cycling and cycling because you won’t let it. You keep it there and affirm it. In fact, you have a bunch of these little orbiting energy packets–your Samskaras. These blockages can stay with you a long long time. This should come as no surprise since sometimes difficult experiences from decades ago can still “come up” with a look or a word from a stranger. You probably know exactly what I mean. My friend has some Samskaras that he has not released and so they became easily aggravated by the situation in which he found himself this weekend.

A Busy Mind by Ghostgirl-Shanika

A Busy Mind by Ghostgirl-Shanika

Singer says that this pattern of energy blocking is where depression, darkness, negativity can begin. There is too little energy coming in or out in relation to that Samskara. It doesn’t mean that you are not open at other times and related to other experiences.  A light blue Ford might set you off for years to come because of the fear of infidelity that it arouses; but perhaps in most other situations you are able to be open and in the moment. By the way, there are also Samskaras that develop from clinging too tightly to certain expereinces. These would be impressions that you have retained because of the great sense of joy associated with them. Sometimes we don’t want that good feeling to ever end. But just like fear and anger, we can allow joy and exuberance to pass through as well. Learning to Stay Open You can probably imagine that in order to stop this process of blocking and clinging there is going to be an intentional change required. And what is it? Singer recommends that when your light blue Ford drives by, notice the pain, smile, relax, step back into your seat of witness and observe the pain as it just flows through you. Maybe all you’ve tried so far is clinging or pushing. Maybe all you’ve done so far is allowing your heart to get blocked. Time to try something new, isn’t it?

It only hurts for a minute and then it’s over. …Learn to be centered enough to just watch this stuff come up. Once you sit deeply enough inside to stop fighting the stored energy patterns, they’ll come up constantly and pass right through you. Just like the physical body purges bacteria and other foreign matter, the natural flow of your energy will purge the stored patterns from your heart.

So here is the question for the week. And this time I don’t have to make it up for us…it is right there at the bottom of page 57:

Do you want to try to change the world so it doesn’t disturb your Samskaras, or are you willing to go through this process of purification?

So begin. Anticipate the freedom and ease that will come into your life as you release this energy. And stay tuned for our summary of Chapter 7 which gives us even more direction on how to transform our tendencies to close. Here’s to your open heart, ~~~S Wave~~~

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HEALING LIFE INSIGHTS…You’re invited!

Hello friends!

On this day of love I am so excited to share with you my latest life adventure which is described on a new Life As a Wave page here. The adventure is the official announcement of my energy- and consciousness-based support services, Healing Life Insights.

This has all been in the works for a while now. As hard-core followers will know, I have felt called to this specific work for a long time. HLI is the result of many years–two decades now– of fascination of, devotion to, and exploration of all things freeing, empowering, and happifying (yes, that’s a word). This has been one of my greatest joys and a way that I find the assurance of love in life. Find out more on the page!

Life As a Wave has been a big part of that journey, a place where I could apply and share the things I have learned or just ruminate on them with you. It has been a place where I have learned from all of YOU as well. And so, because this blog has been such a place of healing for ME, I want to extend that healing back to each of you: When you sign up for a HLI session, just mention that you are a Life As a Wave reader and get a 20% discount in all sessions you ever have with me. Hmm…this may be a good Valentine’s Day present for someone. *wink* Visit the page to find out how to start the process.

I look forward to sharing this experience with you. May we all keep walking toward our deepest callings and loves.

In gratitude,

~~~S Wave~~~

A Valentine’s Exercise from Loving What Is

You either believe what you think or you question it. There’s no other choice.

-Byron Katie

Staying on our theme of love for this week, I want to share something I’ve been practicing that I learned form Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I’ve only just begun the book, but this one thing is something I’ve already found to be helpful in my daily efforts to remain the free, happy me that I am. We all want to be more free right? Free from the the ways (e.g., habits, ego, past fears) that we lose the beauty of individual moments as we get lost in regrets about the past and worries about the future.

One of the first exercises that Katie walks the reader through involves, in part, the question: What if you didn’t have that thought? It doesn’t matter that I give you the exact example from the book….honestly I don’t remember it and I’m listening to the book on Audible, so it would take me forever to find it. So let me just explain what I got from it.

Consider one of your habitual thoughts that always keeps you worrying about how someone else is going to judge or wrong you. Maybe the thought is something like, “He never listens to me,” or, “I wonder what she thinks of my new job,” or, “I’m so nervous about my presentation…what if everyone laughs at me.” We all have them. Pick one of yours. Got it? Okay.

Now, close your eyes, imagine yourself in exact same situation that led you to have that thought and imagine you didn’t have that thought. How does it feel to not have that thought, to not have all the worries and stress that follows it? If it seems impossible to even consider, try this: Imagine a fictitious person (we’ll call him/her Sam) in the same situation. Sam never has had that thought you just had. How does Sam feel? Sam probably feels much happier and much more free to just be Sam.

Katie isn’t saying that we can stop having certain thoughts.  On the contrary, she says that,

Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing, and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass not to stay. There’s no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true.

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Her point is that we don’t have to attach to thoughts.

So I’ve been trying this out. During regular days I’ve been trying it out, while at work, at yoga, walking down the street, meeting new people, etc. Here’s what I’ll do. I will notice a thought that is one of my worry thoughts or fearful thoughts. (It’s worth noting also that this act of noticing thoughts ties in so nicely with what we’ve been practicing through the study of Singer’s The Untethered Soul.) I will then imagine that I just didn’t have that thought…that it is a thought that has never crossed my mind in just the same way that an alien language would never cross my mind…it’s just not a potential thought for me to even have. Or, if it’s easier, maybe I’ll imagine I’m Sam and I simply never think like that.

I have to say, the effect is instantaneous! When I don’t attach to it, the thought just drifts away like so many clouds in the sky. The worries and fears tag along and they just aren’t there. I have to work to find the worries and fears again, like trying to grasp for a balloon string as it drifts upward. When I just let it all drift away, I actually feel a bouyancy too, a greater lightness.

I’m going to keep up this practice and see what else I discover. How about you? Why not try to be Sam now and then. Try to imagine you didn’t have those thoughts of yours either. Feel it all drift away. Feel it. ….

With love,

~~~S Wave~~~

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Untethered Soul, Chapter 2

Welcome back to our summary series of The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer! So far we have used the introduction and first chapter to inspire simple noticing. We are noticing the voice inside our head and are growing more and more curious about the fact that we can separate ourselves from that voice. If we can separate from it, then we can consider ourselves the listeners, yes?

Well so what?

Enter Chapter 2. It is called The Inner Roommate and it’s a great metaphor for realizing the power that the inner voice has over our decision-making and our perspective on our lives. It also introduces us to our own power to disentangle ourselves from that voice. The metaphor goes like this…

You have a roommate. This roommate is with you ALL THE TIME. And the worst part about the roommate is that they jump immediately to worry, fear, and doubt with news about almost anything. fd98525722a532d71ebb65851cd0ad0d.wix_mpIf you want a quiet time by yourself. Too bad. There’s that roommate popping in and interrupting with a barrage of thoughts, questions, judgements and worries. You want to watch a movie? Too bad. The roommate is there to tell you everything else you should be doing. Want to enjoy your new romance? Too bad. The roommate is jabbering at your ear to freak out about everything that might go wrong, or right, or wrong, or right….

Imagine how crazy you would become if that were a person in the flesh! I would be looking for a studio apartment quick!

Now that you’ve been noticing your inner voice, isn’t it kind of like that though? The inner voice sees almost everything as a problem to be solved. But if we could step back, disentangle, and be curious about why that part is feeling fear or worry or doubt, then we would experience a new kind of freedom. After all, it can be a GOOD thing that there are protective parts inside of wanting to shield us from hurt and loss. But that benefit ceases to exist when we they begin to reign. As we grow spiritually and personally, we need those defenses less and less; we become able to allow potential painful situations to happen.

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And so, just as we would never tolerate an actual roommate like that in our life, Singer suggests that part of spiritual growth is not tolerating our complete identification with that inner roommate.

This is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person. Worldly doesn’t mean that you have money or stature. Worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problems is in the world outside. You think that if you change things outside, you’ll be okay. But nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside. There’s always the next problem. The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference. … The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.

One of the most common thread between spiritual practices is the goal of releasing ourselves from this predicament of ego versus self. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” has been one of my favorite Bible scriptures for a long time.

Spiritual practice isn’t about being better than other people or being right. It’s not even about vanquishing all fear. It’s about being able to recognize those fears, those anxieties, those worries and be in the seat of consciousness in the midst of them. Prayer, yoga, meditation, chanting. All of these things are means for us to be more centered in our Self throughout our daily life.

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Your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice. There’s nothing you can’t do. Your will is supreme over all of this. … Stand firm in the seat of the witness and release the hold that the habitual mind has on you. This is your life – reclaim it.

How do we find that will? How do we “stand firm in the seat of the witness?”

Next week, chapter three will take us a step closer to answering that question. Until next Wednesday, let’s agree that we believe there is more freedom than we allow ourselves to experience when we hear only our psyche, our inner voice. Let’s entertain the possibility that we have the ability to not be at the mercy of its every changing thought and that our inner roommate need not rule the roost.

As I am becoming more and more familiar with that “seat of consciousness” from which I sit back and observe my inner roommate going about her up’s and down’s, I will be using affirmations to till the soil for the garden of growth I seek! Join me in letting these words permeate your own life this week. Say them a few times a day. Write them and put them around your home, in your car, at work.

There is more to me than my inner voice.

I have just as much potential as anyone else to be free from my fears and worries and anxieties.

My life is evolving, always, towards this freedom.

I find myself at peace in my seat of consciousness and am more and more embodying my true Self.

 

Thank you for reading, waves. Be well and here’s to our growing together.

~~~S Wave~~~

Freedom On the Mat

 

Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.
― Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

 

I’ve been practicing yoga on my own now for a while but just this past year I have been practicing with others at a yoga studio. The presence of others can certainly challenge the practice, especially initially! Judgement, embarrassment, distraction, all kinds of energies swirling around the room…it can be difficult to focus with all these things contending for attention. Our mind wants to react to it all!

What a joy it has been to face these exterior and inner workings with curiosity. By no means have I overcome the temptations of the mind during my practice, but that’s not really the point anyway is it? Instead of overcoming (a bit too violent a term for me these days) the mind and its wanderings, what is better sought perhaps is a steady awareness in the midst of the wanderings. Or, as others have talked about it, remaining in the Seat of the Witness as distractions come and go, generating reactionary thoughts and emotions in our psyche.

Now, on a great day, I am eager for the challenge of going with the “flow,” riding the waves, and letting my yoga practice be one of mindfulness as well. Even on a not-so-great day I find that I can at the least be comfortable with the surroundings and the resulting mind chatter, knowing that each practice is unique and has something to teach. I have also come to terms with my yoga practice being JUST. WHAT. IT. IS. …no more and no less. I begin with fewer expectations, judge myself less, enjoy my breath more, and notice unfamiliar nuances of my body electric with great gratitude. The practice guides me more and more and there is actually a great sense of freedom in that.

Last evening, as I meditated and prayed in my room, sitting on my yoga mat, I was struck with the similarity of the challenges one faces in these activities as well. Challenges and benefits. Outer distraction, the wandering mind, physical discomfort, self-judgment…there they are, ready to greet you during your “quiet time” (an ironic label actually.) They require the same detached allowing as they do in yoga. And, just as the yoga mat can teach us to remain open to what our body calls us to do during our yoga practice, so too the mat of spiritual practice beckons us to heed what our hearts call us to do in spiritual practice. When we let go of rules and scripts before going inside to meet with god and our Self in prayer and meditation, we find that same freedom that we find in yoga. We flow in the trusting of our Selves, our body, and our connection to god.

May you find freedom on your mat!

Blessings,

~~~S Wave~~~

 

IFS: YOU in the Pilot Seat

 For me as an individual to be free, I have to confront myself with questions about who I really am, and this is done in large part by examining the layers of false identity that I mistakenly call me.    -Deepak Chopra

On and off, over the past nine years, I have connected with a very special woman. Her name is Sherry and instead of a therapist, I like to think of her as a teacher. Yes, I began seeing her to get “therapy” for “depression” and “anxiety.” Or, that’s what I thought I needed. Sherry however doesn’t work like that. Sherry introduced me to a way of caring for myself that had nothing to do with meds, with diagnoses, or with criminalizing my own thoughts or feelings. The approach she used to get me to that level of self-care is called Internal Family Systems.

Internal Family Systems Therapy is based on an integrative model and believes that each sub-personality of the mind possesses its own characteristics and perceptions. This therapy technique sees each level of consciousness as having these sub-personalities, or “parts,” and each plays a distinct role in achieving self-preservation for the client as a whole. Every part within a person is responsible for warding off any behaviors, actions, or reactions that can result in dysfunction or disharmony within. In this type of treatment, each part is validated and recognized as significant because of its primary function. Parts can be identified as having either healthy, productive roles or extreme roles. The latter category is made up of parts that require transformation or alteration through the therapeutic process.  – Mona R. Barbera

In my own words IFS allows different sub-“parts” of a person to express themselves and receive the care and compassion that they need from the higher Self. These parts are like little personalities that we all have and ultimately they are all good. There is no “bad” part of you. Sometimes our parts just get a little extreme because they need some help.

There are three distinct types of parts in this model:

  • Managers: These parts are responsible for maintaining a functioning level of consciousness by warding off any unwanted or counterproductive interactions, emotions, or experiences resulting from external stimuli.
  • Exiles: These parts are most often in a state of pain or trauma, frequently resulting from childhood experiences. Managers and firefighters exile these parts and prevent them from reaching the conscious level so that preservation is preserved.
  • Firefighters: These parts serve as a distraction to the mind when exiles break free from their suppression. In order to protect the consciousness from feeling the pain of the exiles, firefighters prompt a person to act on impulse and to engage in behaviors that are indulgent, addictive, and often times abusive. In addition, firefighters redirect attention to other areas such as sex, work, or food.

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To understand “parts,” consider this hypothetical scenario. One day you wake up feeling so excited to do a particular thing but then you get a little nervous and don’t do it then you get mad at yourself for not doing it then you begin to fear that you’ll never be good at doing anything and you’ll always procrastinate then you start resenting someone else for how they used to procrastinate then you hate yourself for resenting them then you begin to listen to music that makes you feel more angry because in a weird way you kind of like it then you tell yourself to regroup and to stop beating yourself up and you make a list of reasons to not beat yourself up then you find yourself getting all excited about something again and on and on…..

Ugh! It’s like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” except the dark adult version where an ending of self-destruction instead of happily ever after is a very real possibility. But consider for a moment all the instances of the word “you” in that scenario. There are at least a dozen, right? Can all those “you”s really be YOU?  Could it be possible that there is another way of looking at it besides calling all of that “you?” Try to consider that you are perhaps a multiplicity of fears, needs, dreams and comping mechanisms. It would make sense then that these fears, needs, dreams and coping mechanisms might be in an ongoing struggle to be heard. Once we take out the word “you” and give these other parts some identity, then the scenario isn’t quite so muddled. For the fun of it, let’s do just that. In the scenario above, let’s exchange “you” with a cast of parts. Introducing,

Adventurer

Insecure Child

Fatalist

Judge

Bodyguard

Mechanic

Let’s say these are the inner parts of the person experiencing the scenario. Now, the story goes something like this:

Your Adventurer feels so excited to do a particular thing but then your Insecure Child gets a little nervous and refuses to do it then your Inner Judge  gets mad at your Insecure Child for not doing the first thing then your Fatalist begins to fear that she’ll never be good at doing anything and she’ll always procrastinate then your Bodyguard tries to protect Inner Child by resenting someone else for how they used to procrastinate then the Inner Judge hates yourself for resenting them then your Fatalist begins to listen to music that makes you feel more angry because it wants to keep being fatalistic then the Judge tells you to regroup and to stop beating yourself up and your Mechanic who wants to fix, fix,fix makes a list of reasons to not beat yourself up then your Adventurer gets all excited about something again and on and on…

Once you see that “you” isn’t specific enough and that what is really going on is a complex dance between competing fears, needs, and dreams, not to mention managers each trying to step in and choreograph the dance in their own style…well once you see that, the situation is easier to manage! Then the healing can really begin. How does that happen?

First, believe that you have a higher Self. Remember that YOU are not ANY of these parts. YOU are something higher and wiser. You have a Self with a capital S that can approach these parts with genuine calm and confidence. Your higher Self has the ability to lovingly and confidently take care of these parts like you might imagine a good parent extending unconditional love to their child, or god extending unconditional love to us if that comparison suits you.

Second, get as connected with and embodied in your higher Self as you can. If you’re not sure how to do that, maybe this will give you some ideas: 6 Soulful Steps to Get Reconnected With Your Higher Self. For me, I like to take steps like these:

1. Sit still on the floor.

2. Take a series of deep, slow breaths.

3. Imagine all my cares and worries on shelves behind me. I can get to them later. They’re not going anywhere.

4. Turn my attention to god without making it into a conversation. I just sit with god and recognize my connection to it/him/her.

5. Imagine that I feel completely at ease, completely strong, completely confident, and completely peaceful with myself and others. It doesn’t matter if you really feel that way. Remember, how you “feel” is a reflection of your parts. The NATURE of Self is to be at peace. So you ARE at peace.

Once you have found yourself resting in your higher Self that is the time for the next part of the process.

Third, turn your attention to your parts and have a conversation with them! One at a time, invite them to sit with you and tell you their needs and their motivations. Don’t judge them, don’t hurry them, and don’t put words in their mouths, just let them tell you about themselves. This is where you DO have a conversation. When I am doing this, I get an image in my mind of what this part looks like…maybe it’s a person (man, woman, child,) maybe it’s an animal (like my dove,) or sometimes it’s an object. Let it show you what it is. Don’t force it.

Fourth, if you feel like to have been able to hear and understand what a part of you needs, invite that part to trust you to love and protect it. Ultimately, the idea is that all the love that they need—or whatever it is they need, only they can tell you—will come from your higher Self where there is no shortage of love and compassion. Invite a part to rest. Promise it that you will listen to it with love from now on.

This is as good a place as any to emphasize that I am NOT a trained IFS therapist. Obviously there are theoretical depths behind IFS and steps in the therapeutic process with which I am not familiar. But, IFS is known as being a “user-friendly”approach so go for it and start exploring yourself! If you really wanted to go deeper with this kind of exploration you could start by reading Jay Earley’s book or by searching for an IFS therapist.

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As for me, little by little I  began to operate in life from my higher Self. Now, my parts are more at ease as they continue to trust that their needs will be met. I can quickly recognize when one of my parts is spiraling into an extreme again and I can help restore it back to harmony. There are no meds. There is no more weekly therapy (though I would happily go if I needed to!) There is no sense of being destined to be defective. No, it is not a perfect process every time, but it has become so much easier for Me to take care of the me’s. 🙂

So why did I write this very long post? Because I want all of us to be free! I want all of us to be happy. Together. And recently I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who can’t seem to untangle themselves from all the thoughts and feelings swirling around inside them in a battle for attention. Hell, I am that person too from time to time and I am so grateful for the person who comes around and reminds me of my true identity so I can sit myself down and let the inner work take place.

If you are at the whim of every thought and extreme action of your parts you are like a plane being flown by the passengers. They don’t know how to fly that plane! Where is the pilot for this thing?? Your Self is the pilot. YOU have a license to fly that plane and it was given to you from the day you arrived. Only YOU have the ability to help each part find its seat, sit back and enjoy the flight. YOU. I don’t know about you, but I want to take my plane to wonderful places. I want to love my passengers so much that they can’t even believe how lucky they were to get a ticket on MY flight. Maybe we can all caravan in the sky….you get your higher Self in the pilot’s seat and come join me. We’ll see where we can all go together.

Be well. Always, with great gratitude for each of you,

~~~S Wave~~~