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
Last night, a Facebook friend shared Doreen Virtue’s post about how the full moon and lunar eclipse is the perfect time to release anything toxic or completed from our lives.
I’m ready to release everything that is no longer serving me well. I release:
- Anxiety about an imagined future.
- Fear of rejection. Fear of not being accepted, wanted, liked or loved.
- Old patterns, fear-based and limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, judgements and attachments, and any stagnation and resistance that have been blocking or damaging me.
- Harmful habits, behaviours and relationships.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
- Trauma, hurt, grief, sadness, shock, disappointment and anger.
I’m willing to release:
- Any barriers that I’ve constructed. Now that I’ve dismantled these barriers, peace, happiness and love are flowing freely.
- Shame. I am enough. I am loveable. I am worthy.
- Fear of failure and fear of success.
- Unhealthy needs and desires. I am now present to my wholeness and perfection.
I happily release:
- Worry that I’m lacking in anything and I accept abundance into my life.
- Codependency, control and guilt from my interactions with others.
- Preconceived assumptions or historical perceptions about people, places and things. I am present, open and loving to them as they are, now.
Finally, I release myself from the grip of my ego. I observe it with interest and humour as it plays out. I learn from it and so I evolve.
What are you willing to release? As Doreen Virtue says: “Trust that when you close one door, a better one opens.”
Posted in Health, Personal development, Positive Thinking
Tagged abundance, acceptance, allowing, anger, anxiety, assumptions, attitude, barriers, behaviour, beliefs, blockages, blocks, change, codependency, control, desire, disappointment, divinity, doreen virtue, ego, energy, evolution, facebook, failure, fear, fear-based beliefs, flow, freedom, friendship, full moon, future, god, grief, growth, guilt, habits, happiness, history, humour, hurt, interest, lack, learning, letting go, life, limiting beliefs, living, love, lunar eclipse, need, negative thinking, negative thoughts, negativity, new, now, old, openness, pain, patterns, peace, people, perception, perfection, positivity, preconceptions, present, rejection, relationships, release, resistance, sadness, self-worth, shame, shock, success, suffering, toxic relationships, trauma, universe, whole, worry, worth
I enter my friend’s bedroom in search of a particular book. I know what the book looks like and it isn’t here. My friend comes in and finds it instantly.
It has been lying, face down, on her bedside locker. I had been looking for the green front cover that was so familiar to me so I hadn’t recognised its white back cover.
We muse over this. When I’m searching for something, I presume to know how it should look. So I’m not open to seeing it when it appears in a different form.
A while later, I want to read up on something else. My friend informs me that the book I need should be in the bookcase in the hall. I methodically scan the books on the shelves. My internal dialogue revs up.
The book is probably right here but you can’t even see it. You’re so unobservant. In your line of work, you should be more astute. And you’re a writer. Come on, Sharon. Find the book!
I give up. My friend suggests that the book could be on her bedside locker. I open the door, turn to the left and bend towards the locker. I am so focused on my task that I don’t notice what’s right in front of me. An entire human being!
My friend’s 18-year-old son stands facing me, with a small towel wrapped around his waist. I straighten immediately, tell him how sorry I am, and flee the room. My friend and I collapse with laughter when I describe what’s just happened.
I have been berating myself for not seeing what’s right in front of me. So it takes something big (a scantily clad human being) to show me the humour in it all. I can enjoy the moment and laugh at myself.
Last week, I started a course. On the first night, I was surprised at how quickly everybody opened up to one another. My fellow classmates were great speakers and excellent storytellers. I remained silent and listened with interest.
We broke for tea. Everyone continued chatting. I still hadn’t spoken. I noticed people looking at me curiously.
And I was okay with that. I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me. I understood that sometimes it takes me a little longer to feel comfortable around strangers.
Towards the end of the evening, I spoke up. I hadn’t rushed myself. This was the right time for me.
It may have taken me thirty-four years but I now accept myself for all of my strengths, struggles and idiosyncrasies. I accept my introverted tendencies. I accept the ditzy part of myself. I accept my inner critic.
And I accept that sometimes I’m so lost in thought that I don’t notice what’s right in front of me. Even if it is a half-naked man.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged acceptance, appearances, awareness, blindness, books, development, form, friendship, giving up, growth, gullible, humour, idiosyncrasies, illusion, inner critic, introvert, laughter, naive, negative thinking, openness, perception, presence, reading, searching, seeing, self-acceptance, self-analysis, self-awareness, self-love, strengths, struggle, teasing, thinking, thoughts, vision, work, writer
As I climb into bed, various opinions and pieces of advice that people have given me over the years flash into my mind. I recall their musings on my life and on what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
After bulldozing in with their tuppence worth, these supposed do-gooders continued on with their lives without a second thought. Meanwhile, I attached more value to their throwaway comments than to my own lifetime experience of being me.
I’ve spent long enough caring about how others perceive me. I’ve winced at their judgements, flinched at their criticism, basked in their compliments, and hoped for their approval.
Before taking action, I presumed how other people would react. This ineffective technique of mind-reading actually influenced how I was feeling and the choices I made.
Now in my thirty-fifth year on this planet, I’m finally getting sense. I understand that anything anyone says is coming from their perspective. People dish out suggestions that are based on a minuscule snapshot of my life. And even that tiny glimpse is filtered through the lens of their own history and beliefs.
Last night, as I walked alongside my sister, I was tempted to ask for her thoughts on something I’d spoken about earlier. But I realised that I would be doing it out of habit. It didn’t really matter what she thought about this subject. Getting her to advise me would be a waste of her energy because I knew that I would go with my gut anyway. And I mightn’t even want to hear what she had to say.
Not many people enjoy being told what to do. Nobody likes feeling judged either. And how can anyone know with absolute certainty what’s right for another person? By doling out our opinions and “friendly” advice, we run the risk of blocking the flow of communication.
All we have to do is be there for one another. We don’t have to stress about giving the right guidance. What a relief not to have to be responsible for coming up with the answers or fixing everyone else’s problems.
Instead of handing out answers, start asking questions. This will facilitate lateral thinking, which will enable the other person to open up to previously unexplored options.
Support your friends/family/partners/clients in whatever course of action they decide to take. Listen to them. And more importantly, really hear what they’re expressing.
All we really want is for someone to just be with us and really hear what it is we’re saying. Because when we are heard, we feel understood. And when we feel understood by another human being, that is the beauty of true connection.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged acceptance, action, active listening, advice, approval, awareness, beauty, beliefs, blocks, choice, clients, co-dependecy, communication, connection, ease, empathic listening, energy, family, fears, flow, friendship, guidance, habit, history, insight, judgement, life, life coaching, listening, living, love, now, open, opinions, past, perception, presence, problems, questions, reactions, realisations, relationships, responsibility, self, self-esteem, sense, stephen covey, stress, trust, unconditional love, understanding
Remember those noisy neighbours? Well tonight, I pop in a pair of earplugs and will myself to sleep. My body is tense from the anticipation of the noise that I wish would disappear from my life completely.
This time however, instead of trying desperately to block out the noise, I decide to really go into the feeling that it brings up in me. It feels like the noise gets right into me. I want to withdraw from it but I can’t. I believe that this shouldn’t be happening and that is what fills me with rage. I wish I could wrap myself in a safe little bubble where nothing can get in but I just can’t seem to protect myself from it.
Once I’ve felt all there is to feel, I access a memory of childhood summers snorkelling in Greece. I’d spend hours submerged in this underwater haven where all I could hear was the sound of my own breathing. There was another world down there, full of peace and colour and surprises. I long for that peace right now.
Suddenly, I have an awareness. I am insisting on shutting out a part of life. I’m not allowing certain things in. And if I’m closing myself off to the noise, what else am I resisting?
I lie in bed and tentatively begin to let it all in. I am open. I am open to the good and bad, the noise and silence, the love and despair, the fear and joy. I am open to the anger and happiness, sadness and inspiration, the beauty and simplicity, the light and the darkness. Life in all its forms. Once I start allowing the noise in, who knows what other wonderful things will appear?
I also realise that the noise isn’t an outside invader, robbing me of my calm. The struggle is within me. I am reacting to this perceived injustice. I can choose how this affects me.
Rather than viewing these things as outside of me, I accept that all aspects of life are a part of me. In my withdrawal from the noise, what noise of my own am I suppressing? I am the noise but I am also the peace. And I am the love that once seemed so external and conditional.
So tonight, I let it all in. Because it’s already there. And on that conundrum, I promptly fall asleep.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged acceptance, allowing, anger, awareness, bad, beauty, breathing, calm, choice, darkness, despair, emotion, fear, feelings, good, greece, happiness, injustice, inspiration, joy, life, light, nature, neighbours, noise, now, open, peace, perception, present, protection, rage, resistance, sadness, safety, simplicity, snorkelling, stillness, struggle, surrender, thinking, thoughts, wonder