“He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.” Marcus Aurelius
How many times have you said, “A part of me thinks I should ____, but another part doesn’t really think that’s a good idea.” We all have different aspects of our being that see things from different perspectives. This is a good thing as long as we aren’t always war torn within. (This obviously has implications about how we affect peace in the outer world by creating peace within.)
Look at what happened to Rianna. She took her first step to a new healthy lifestyle – a huge one. She changed her diet. Then she decided she wanted to tone up since she was loosing weight and started an exercises program.
In order to stay motivated she began reading some things about motivation and decided that her entire approach to health was what needed to be changed.
As her coach who had been applauding her action, I felt the crash coming. Some aspect, or part of her drove her beyond her abilities, another made her ashamed of not doing more, yet another wanted her to simply rest. There were constant conversations and arguments going on in her mind.
Soon she felt like she needed a complete make-over and just didn’t have the time or energy. She said, “Really taking care of myself requires too many changes and it’s overwhelming.” How’s a girl supposed to focus, or have any clear thoughts that make any sense with this crazy push pull going on in her head?
“Pessimism does not come from the world but from one’s relationship with oneself.” Herman Hesse
Here’s what I did for myself, in a different situation, yet one that required more than one change. I had to get to that place where my mind was quiet (well, sort of quiet) and I knew I was getting into the flow. Then I softened around my heart and began asking who was there and what they needed from me.
Sound crazy? What’s crazy is having Ms Perfect, Wild Woman, Crazy Lady, Task Master, and Little Miss Prissy inside me trying to take me in different directions!
At one time all the various aspects of myself felt like they were each in a different dingy trying to get out of the harbor and running into each other, and being less than cooperative. After a lot of focused time and energy I got them all on the same boat and we went sailing!
“It’s easier to become a saint than it is to become a whole human being.” Carl Jung
Here’s one way to get all your parts on board the same boat: begin by spending a few minutes in quiet time with yourself as often as possible on a regular basis. Going for a quiet walk, getting out into nature or journaling, whatever gets you out of your normal constant chatter will work. Not that the chatter will stop, you just step out of the stream for a while and let it float on by. With practice it will get easier to focus your thoughts and feelings and identify (or reconnect) the various aspects of your personality.
Experiment and let yourself feel a little crazy while you have conversations with different voices in your head. Don’t take yourself too seriously! You don’t have to make glove puppets of all your parts like I did. It is perfectly normal to have aspects, or sides of yourself getting out front at different times. Maybe you only find one part to talk with. That’s ok too. Just imagine that part sitting in front of you and talk to him/her. Then change seats and let him/her talk to you, etc. This method can do wonders for your inner peace.
As you gain clarity you will be able to notice who needs to be satisfied in a given situation to make it work, i.e. a plan for change.
No matter what change you attempt to make it will not stick unless you have all of the different parts/aspects of yourself on board. Most of us learned a long time ago that goals, affirmations, resolutions or sheer will power was not enough. You need to know why you want the change and what benefits that change will bring you. There is likely an aspect of you that does not believe the change is going to be a good one at all. And you must be prepared to roll with the unexpected peripheral changes that come along. This is an ongoing process, especially with your inner child.
In essence you must get quiet enough for long enough often enough to really drop down where you get to know all aspects of yourself, including those hiding in the dark. To paraphrase Carl Jung, there is pure gold to be found in your shadow. Given the desire for inner peace, and the effort, most of your disparaging parts will become integrated.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates
If you do not make the effort to gain an understanding of your deep yearnings and the place/parts from which they arise, you will always be wanting something just out of reach. You will never be enough, never be satisfied. Get to know the source of your deep yearning and you will one day find you actually do feel satisfied. I promise it is pure freedom.
Someone said to me, “Oh I’ve done that kind of stuff and I learned a lot. Now I just want to love myself deeply enough to always make the right decisions.” I tried not to laugh.
Who ALWAYS makes the right decisions? What is right today may not be right tomorrow, or may look right one day and wrong the next. This is a practice of getting present and noticing what (or who) is calling for attention. Where is your energy drawn and what does that aspect of yourself want or need to feel okay? Can you dialogue with it in your mind or in your journal?
I invite you to dive in and begin noticing what’s there. Be gentle with yourself
Peace from all of me,