This is the stuff that hardens hearts, promotes wars and fuels hostilities among families, neighborhoods, communities, cultures and finally between countries. We do not realize that it is ultimately our individualized obscured parts that must be addressed. The challenge is engaging the process of uncovering, incorporating and owning our own camouflaged parts.
As experienced psychotherapists who have collectively led hundreds of workshops over the past 25 years, we can assure you, based on our personal and professional experience coupled with extensive observation of client participation, that 1). We ultimately heal in the eyes of an other, which is to say, within the context of our shared experience as human beings. 2).Without exception, remarkable compassion is extended when a vulnerable aspect (part or role) is presented within the context of his/her story.
When Jeanette and I first saw the Storyteller Gourd while attending a conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico we knew it was the perfect image to depict the vast internal family or parts that make up each and every human being. The following Blog Series will incorporate excerpts from our unpublished book entitled THE STORY TELLERWITHIN: with FASTFEET and LITTLE FINGERS .
In the last decade there is confirmation of a movement toward understanding and appreciating cultural and epistemological diversity. This movement and appreciation for diversity is increasing in our educational, health, and religious institutions. Ecologically we are becoming aware of the necessity to understand and protect bio/ecological diversity. Have we researchers, however, spent enough time reflecting on the diversity of the human being itself, psychically, intrapsychically and interpersonally? This diversity lends itself not only to a multiplicity of being and of relating, but also is a fertile source of creativity and insight.
Many years have passed since Grandmother left us. I now have my own prayer table. The Mary statue graces the center of my own “altar.” Her original, beautiful colors have faded, and she has been broken and reglued more times than I can count. She is discolored, disfigured, and just plain old. But she has not lost any of the power my grandmother’s nightly prayers instilled in her to perform miracles, hear prayers, and empower a believer with holy energy. Every time I look at her I feel the bountiful endowment of God’s grace, the myriad of unending prayers. Some of sorrow and others of comfort, peace and gratitude, poured out before her presence by my grandmother. One day, when I pass on, perhaps this humble and rather pitiful-appearing treasure will end up in a heap in some obscure place, but the comfort that her presence has bestowed on the young and old can never be diminished.
Watching my children tend to their “father wounds” reminded me of a similar process with my father.
Howard died alone in the dilapidated trailer shortly after his wife, Vi, died from alcoholism. When they found him beneath the sagging tin roof, which was draped with a filthy black tarp to keep out the rain, dozens of empty booze bottles lay scattered at his feet.
Howard and my mom had been divorced for many years at the time of his death, but she saw to it that he had a military burial. I remain in awe of the generosity of spirit that she alone extended to Howard by arranging his funeral.
In 1978, Mike and I moved into a home on a little canal in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was there that I met Judith, the next woman to have a life-changing impact on my life. Judith lived across the street from me, and as our friendship blossomed we began to meet several mornings each week at 5:30 a.m. With coffee in hand, we drove to the beach just in time to watch the sunrise, jog, and discuss various spiritual literatures.
If it was EST that cracked opened my armor-plated heart, it was Judith’s influence that replaced the confused and punitive worldview I held with one of infinite spirituality. When I learned that she was studying to be a minister, I was deeply intrigued. Spiritually, I felt like a babe just awakening and ravenously hungry.
While jogging on one of those glorious, sun-filled mornings, I was suddenly struck with a profound knowledge: that the God of my childhood understanding was not the God I was awakening to. That long-held image of a jealous, judgmental, controlling God who lived in a far-away sky could never again be the God of my understanding. On that hallmark morning, I came to believe that God, as Mystery, lived within each of us, inviting our participation in a direct relationship. The beauty of that moment was stunning.
“Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?” NSR: 4 James 4:1
James “war within” can be referred to as multiplicity of mind in the IFS model meaning that we each carry different memories, diverse values and beliefs which are expressed through unique wants and needs. Oftentimes these internal aspects are in conflict with each other. For example, we may despise our boss but also crave his/her approval. Bank and forth, back and forth our mind go’s between feelings of scorn and the need for recognition evoking sleepless nights and frustration with our thoughts and our needs.
Consistent with my blog, The Faces we Live, the stories that I write are about the myriad of roles/parts/sub-personalities or shadow sides that constitute the makeup of beings. Values, beliefs, feelings, behaviors, roles all contribute to the overall makeup of an individual.
As she stitched together my latest rescued doll, she began to tell me the story I had heard so many times before. From the soft look in her hazel-colored eyes, I understood that the recitation itself imparted a sense of peace to her. Our tiny bedroom held such a serene feeling of calm when she was about to retell this story. Sitting cross-legged on my bed, holding one of my many repaired dolls, I gently rocked us. Barely restraining my anticipation, I urged my grandmother to begin.
Perhaps by now my book will be published. Actually, it was published and on the market for five days, when it was brought to my attention that there were grammatical and punctuation errors in the book (so like me) that far exceeded any acceptable mistakes, I took it off the market for additional editing. But before that happened, my plan was to write blogs that paralleled the stories, events, and people in my book.