On this journey of life, what often gets overlooked and discarded is pausing to breath and really celebrating how far we have come. Yes our society does believe is celebrating, but often it is explicit, external and material successes. This has validity but when over-emphasised we loose sight of the much deeper and in my opinion powerful inner developments and changes within us that need to be recognised and celebrated.
In therapy or even in life the most challenging thing for people is to recognise their success and allow it to inform them. Often one is so identified with the “traumatised” or “wounded” part of ourself, that when change happens and new behaviours begin to establish themselves these are often dismissed as freak one off occurrences. Or we jump to the next “problem” or “issue “ that needs to be looked at, which often come out as a but statement; “I may have stood up for myself but it was only with my friend, I don't think I can do that with my boss.”
The I am statement
The hardest part is making “I am” statement that invites you to own the change. For example “I am courageous” (if the person has been fearful) or “I am powerful” (if the person has been a victim). “It doesn't feel right”, “its like someone else is saying this” is the feedback I hear.
This is why celebration is so important. Taking the time to embrace this new identity, feeling the discomfort and recognising that it is not uncomfortable, just something different. Looking at what allowed you to get to this place, what supported you to get here, what did you need, who were your allies and was the result something that supported you. Recognising the above allows you to replicate this in your life and move towards more fulfilment. Going one step further you may also wish to have an external celebration, however small or large to symbolically recognise this moment.
It is my hope that this article makes you pause and reflect on recent positive change in your life. How you were with it and if you did take a moment to celebrate it? How do you usually celebrate? It would be great to hear back from you.
The dis-identification exercise was the first psychosynthesis exercise that I was introduced to. It is short, simple and if practiced regularly quite effective in reducing stress, increasing peace and calm and awareness.
Start by sitting in a comfortable posture in a quite space. Now take a moment to become aware of your body. Do a body scan starting from your feet all the way up to your head. As you do so, feel free adjust your body, breath into tense parts and scratch any itches you have. It is not about sitting rigid. It is about becoming aware of your body Recognise that you have a body and are more than you body.
Once you are comfortable with you body become aware of your emotions. See what emotions might be present for you. Allow them to be and allow them to flow. If they disappear and replaced with new and different emotions, then allow this to happen. The objective is to get a sense of your feeling state. Notice that you have emotions but are more than your emotions.
Now move on to your thoughts. Become aware of what thoughts cross you mind. Don't censor them. Allow them to pass by like a film strip without any judgement. See how they raise and then fall away and disappear. Become aware of how you have thoughts and are more thank your thoughts.
At this point I invite you to use an in-breath to ride into the quietest place available to you. To rest in pure consciousness or awareness. To let go and just be present.
After a while become aware of the noises and sounds around you and gently bring yourself back to the place you are in.
Moving through this exercise allows for a number of shifts.
Often what we feel may be in different from the thoughts we have and how we inhabit our body. That may think that we are fine but our body is all tense and cramped. Possibly we have some powerful emotions running through us that have not been acknowledged. Be curious of what mode you prefer. Are you more identified with you mind, body or feelings.
Saying YES to all of you:
This is important. By saying yes to body, feelings and mind all of you is included. There is no judgement that this feeling is “bad” or this thought is “good”. They simply represent information. A feedback loop. You move away from I am sad, angry or inadequate to I am feeling sad, angry and think I am inadequate.
Developing an Observer:
If you are more than your body, feelings and mind then who is doing the exercise? Developing this position of the observer allows us to step back and take stock. It prevents us from getting swept away. And with this comes choice.
For me this exercise represents hitting the “pause” button. I can step back and take stock and ask myself what really needs my attention. You may be surprised by what comes up. Also things may not as charged as you may believe them to be.
The beauty of the psychosynthesis dis-identification exercise is that it's flexible. It can be as long or as short you as you like. Usually it's takes about 10 minutes. I have had people feedback that just saying the sentences; “I am more than my mind, I am more than my feelings and I am more than my body”, allows them to step back and get a better perspective when under stress. Others tell me they have incorporated it into their meditative practice.
So I invite you to try it, amend it in a way that suits you and let me know how it was for you. I look forward to your feedback and comments.