Just as you might be preparing to sit down and eat with the cast of characters you call your family, consider taking the time to periodically sit down with yourself and invite your internal family to weigh-in and have their say.
Whether you prefer to use the Internal Family Systems Model or something more like "Meeting the Committee," doing so offers the opportunity to bring to light subconscious material that might be sabotaging your goals or your sense of fulfillment. It might also reveal the source of stuckness you feel with certain clients. Bringing the body into the process can take it one step further.
Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks teach something called the Persona Interview. It begins with establishing a clear, bodily felt-sense of a feeling, belief, or part of yourself. Sometimes you're encouraged to assume a posture, stance, or physical shape. From this embodied perspective, you respond spontaneously, without censor, to questions from a partner or facilitator like, "What's the most important thing to you? When did you make your first appearance? What are you most afraid of?"
Answering from the bodymind, and bypassing the thinking brain, tends to offer surprising insight as to what unconscious material might be driving things behind the scenes. It's also a great tool to use with your clients. But like most techniques of this nature, it'll be much more effective when you've practiced it with and on yourself.
If you'd like some help or more information, please let me know. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and all the parts of you - known and otherwise.
While it's true that finding things to appreciate and feel grateful for can elevate your mood, (as the guided meditation here might demonstrate), be careful that you're not using it as a way to by-pass, get away from, or resist negative feelings.
Judging yourself for having negative feelings, comparing yourself to others who "are worse off," and forcing yourself to feel grateful, will ultimately make things worse. Like positive thinking, it can simply add to the tension between the judging-you and the part of you who longs to be heard and needs your compassion.
Neither the judging-you or the hurting part of you is who you are. Think of them more like characters in your inner drama or play, who were created in response to stressors in your early environment, and who adopted the coping behaviors of others in your childhood "play." Who you are is the one who observes, who watches the play without judgement. Who you are is the space on which the play unfolds.
This you is big enough and vast enough to hold it all and the more you practice making a compassionate space for all of the parts of you to show up and have their say, the more you will experience and know yourself as the truth of who you are.
is one of the most common statements I hear from my clients. It ranks right up there with, "There are people in the world with real problems. Why can't I just get over it?"
I don't know when or where we got the message that only people with real problems are allowed to feel bad and that we are accurate determiners of what constitutes a real problem. But I can tell you that, despite your egoic mind's tendency to think it knows the answer to these questions, your bodymind is saying that somethin' ain't right and no amount of trying to convince it otherwise is gonna help.
In fact, your judging disapproval of your feelings is what prevents them from releasing. Like the upset child who is dismissed, ignored, or told to shut up, our feelings will retreat or hide for awhile, only to come out again when triggered.
The next time you feel bad, sad, depressed, or "sorry for yourself" consider the possibility that an unknown, unloved part of you wants and needs your attention. You don't have to indulge him or her, you don't have to let them take over, just see if you can breathe and let them be with you as you go through your day. Simply acknowledge their presence. You might just find that you both relax and that gratitude comes, not from trying to be grateful, but as a natural quality of breath-filled, fully-embodied, non-resistant presence.
Related Article: Releasing: What It Is and What It Isn't
Most of us carry, on some level, a sense of not having enough and/or not being enough. It creates a low-grade, chronic feeling of strain or push in the bodymind, which we may sometimes experience or refer to as stress.
Like most feeling states, it can be released. And with practice, its release can bring a greater sense of ease and freedom. But before you can release any unwanted thought, feeling, or belief you must first acknowledge its presence. If you want to release it at its source, you must connect with it at the level of the bodymind, as a felt experience. Here's how . . .
Begin by getting still, grounding yourself, breathing consciously, and quieting your mind. Then ask yourself, "Could I allow myself to welcome any sense of 'It's not enough' or 'I'm not enough?'" Then breathe. Take a moment to allow any sense of the not enoughness to emerge. Gently be with it for a few moments and then ask yourself, "Could I allow myself to be open, at least to the possibility, that 'It's enough' or that 'I'm enough?'" Breathe and notice what happens inside. And again, gently be with whatever arises for a few moments.
Go back and forth with these two sets of questions as many times as you'd like, while breathing and noticing what happens inside as you do. You may have to go back and forth at least ten times to notice a shift and it might be subtle. But take your time and approach this exercise with as much openness and curiosity as you can - as best you can:).
To learn more about releasing, you might want to read the following article and/or watch the helpful video below: