I’m currently rereading Anodea Judith’s excellent book Eastern Body, Western Mind. This morning, I completed an exercise on the Inner Family that I’m going to share with you.
Anodea Judith suggests making a list of the various parts of yourself. You might include the inner child, the clown, the achiever, the lover, the critic, and so on. In my case, I listed the lost child, the inner child, the lover, the romantic, the fearful one, and the warrior.
Next to each name on the list, write a few words describing how you perceive this part of yourself.
For example, I could describe the inner child as playful, curious or innocent. The lost child might be scared and alone. The lover is open, present and sensual. The romantic believes in love. The fearful one anticipates that bad things will happen. And the warrior is stunning, strong and skilled.
Now, write down what you think each part wants. My inner child wants to experience. The lost child wants to be loved. The lover wants to make love. The romantic wants to connect. The fearful one wants peace. And the warrior wants to live.
Ask yourself how often these parts succeed in getting what they want. How realistic are their desires? And what can be done to bring them into wholeness?
In order to bring the various parts of myself into wholeness, I can connect with people, including myself. I can be open to relationship and to love. I can meditate, rest and be still. I can be in nature, surround myself with beauty, and go on adventures. Using all of my senses, I can make love with life every single day. I can be present, really live, relax, allow and enjoy.
The final part of this exercise is to look at who relates to whom. For instance, does the critic inhibit the artist? Or does the clown entertain the sad inner child?
I realise that the parts of myself that I listed seem to go in pairs. The loving, playful inner child is the lost child’s reassuring companion. The confident lover and the dreamy romantic are in perfect partnership. And the warrior protects the fearful one and makes her feel safe.
This is an interesting exercise. Try it and let me know how you get on.
Posted in Personal development, Random
Tagged achiever, adventure, anodea judith, anticipation, artist, badness, beauty, beliefs, body, books, bravery, centre, chakras, clown, companionship, confidence, connection, courage, critic, curiosity, desires, dreams, eastern body western mind, enjoyment, experience, fear, giving, good, heart, hope, human, inner child, inner family, innocence, life, live, loneliness, lost child, love, lover, meditate, mind, nature, needs, now, openness, people, perception, play, pleasure, presence, protection, reading, receiving, relationship, relaxation, rest, romance, romantic, sadness, safety, security, self-acceptance, self-discovery, self-help, sensuality, sex, sexuality, skill, soul, spirit, stillness, strength, success, touch, wants, warrior, wholeness
These past few days, I’ve been questioning whether I’m holding the belief that good things don’t last. It’s like I dare not presume that it’ll all work out. I’ve been almost expecting things to go wrong.
I certainly don’t want to think this way and I’m afraid that this type of thinking will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But how do I shake such a belief? On the one hand, I’ve managed to become much more positive in many areas of my life. I often go back to the mantra: If one can, everyone can. But I haven’t yet integrated this optimism into all aspects of my life.
As I drive to work today, I tell myself that I’m going to have to shift this. And soon. But how? Do I need to do more tapping and thinking? Should I book in with an energy therapist or a Life Coach?
And then it dawns on me. I don’t have to do anything at all. I just have to stay present. It’s so simple that I might actually have to stop struggling.
What would I do with all the time and energy if I’m not worrying, resisting and analysing? I might have nothing left to write about.
Earlier today, I was speaking to someone about setting up a mindfulness evening. I remarked: “Some people might find the idea of a mindfulness evening boring. We’re so addicted to drama.”
And we are. We get caught up in the highs and lows of life. We love to complain and gossip, fantasise and catastrophise, daydream and reminisce. The thought of sitting in meditation and being present, without constantly narrating or being entertained by our loquacious imaginations, isn’t all that appealing.
My friend told me how beneficial he finds practising mindfulness. He pointed out that the more we sit in meditation, the more automatic mindfulness becomes in our day-to-day lives. It’s no longer such an effort to stay present. It just is. And we just are. He adds:
“And one day, a cup of tea is enough to bring you into total presence.”
I thank him for this beautiful reminder, then go right back to trying to decide what to do tonight. Should I stay in or go to that party? If I go out, will I enjoy it? Will I be too tired at class tomorrow?
I listen to this internal dialogue and bring myself back to the present. I don’t have to decide anything right now. I can see what I feel like doing when it’s time to do it. And I can enjoy this moment because I’m in it.
It really is that easy. No fuss. Just presence.
Well, that was an anti-climax.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development, Positive Thinking
Tagged acceptance, addiction, analysing, anticipation, assumptions, beliefs, boredom, complaining, concentration, drama, energy, enjoyment, excitement, expectations, future, gossiping, imagination, internal dialogue, life, life coaching, living, meditation, mindfulness, negativity, optimism, past, positivity, presence, resistance, self-fulfilling prophecy, simplicity, struggle, suffering, tapping, thinking, thoughts, worry, writing
It’s after midnight so it is now the first of September. My self-determined challenges for this month are to stop biting my lip and fingers (something I’ve been doing since I was a child) and to be present (and whenever I discover that I’m not being present, I’ll gently bring myself back).
Tonight, I lie in bed, wide awake. I cry for my friend Michelle, who died suddenly. Since receiving the shocking and upsetting news, my emotions have become heightened.
I went for a long walk today and photographed the sun in the trees. I gazed delightedly at the yellow crescent moon perched low in the dusky sky. Music pulses through my body like blood.
I feel for Michelle and her parents. I remember the times we had together. I wonder how I’ll be at her funeral.
My mind flits from Michelle to a guy I’m interested in to an upcoming holiday to work and back to Michelle. I bite my lip.
I glance at the time. It’s twenty-five minutes past midnight. It’s September, I realise with a jolt and snatch my hand away from my mouth. I’m supposed to be present now.
I groan as I recognise that sometimes I actually enjoy being entertained by the drama of my mind. I quite like fantasising and reminiscing and anticipating. Mindfulness can be boring, right? Twenty-five minutes in and I’m already resisting the challenge.
The clock creeps past one am. I know that my mind is keeping me awake, like an enthusiastic relative back from their travels, telling me stories and bombarding me with pictures.
It’s late and I’m still wired. Not so entertaining now, is it? Maybe being present would be a good idea, I decide.
My breath deepens. I sink into my body and snuggle into the bed. My mind escapes again. And again. I patiently allow it to shuffle back. My shoulders drop. I stop holding on so tight. And I fall asleep.
Perhaps living in the past and potential future is just another bad habit like biting my lip and fingers. Apparently it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Thirty days hath September. So let’s see if this month bestows me with boredom or liberation and peace…
How will you challenge yourself this month?
Safe journey, Michelle. Rest in peace xxx
Image: Author’s Own.
Posted in Personal development, Spirituality
Tagged 21 days, acceptance, allowing, anticipation, bereavement, body, boredom, breath, breathing, challenges, crush, death, ego, emotions, enjoyment, entertainment, excitement, family, fantasy, feelings, freedom, friendship, future, grief, habits, holiday, insomnia, journey, liberation, memories, mind, mindfulness, music, nature, nervousness, now, past, patience, peace, photography, present, relationships, relaxation, resistance, sadness, september, shock, sleep, soul, work