Ok, you are probably wondering what I even mean by that title, right?
What's Wholeness, and why is it hidden?
Well, Wholeness is our original state. It's how we entered the world, how we started. It's what's right with us. Contrary to what a lot of us were taught, and our culture has based itself on this belief too, we did not start out sinful. I know....that's a sacred cow I'm tipping. It's been said that that's why other cultures don't have such a problem with self esteem...they don't believe there is something fundamentally wrong with themselves and we do. We're sinful and left to our own devices we'll destroy everything. Well, I'm here to tell you that there is something fundamentally RIGHT with you and that perhaps you have just lost sight of it, or never even knew it existed so your brokenness is all you know of yourself. What we see in the world today is people who have lost sight of their original Wholeness and no longer know how to access it or what it even looks like.
Bill Plotkin says, "We must reclaim and embody our original Wholeness, our indigenous human nature granted to us by nature itself. "
Let's get to it then!
But first, if we started out Whole, what happened to it? Did I misplace it? Is it under that last pile of laundry? Did my parents lose it for me?
At the risk of simplifying it, recovering and embodying our innate Wholeness is actually what it takes to become a fully, human, being. Tapping into these untapped resources in ourselves is essential to realizing our greatest potential, to embodying the life of our very souls and discovering the gift we bring to the world. When we do this work in ourselves, we are essentially birthing ourselves into being.
Alright, so where'd it go again. Well, when we are young, these aspects of our wholeness exist as possibilities and we may or may not learn to access, actualize or embody them. In an ideal situation, our parents and culture model them for us so that when pain and trauma happen, our adults can reflect us back to ourselves. Unfortunately, most adults don't have access to theirs so how can they model it for their children? So, without adequately developed resources in ourselves or the world around us, our fragmented sub-personalities step up to take over. Their job is to keep us safe, to help us survive but only until such a time as we are ready to do the work of resourcing ourselves from our Wholeness. What ends up happening is that we are still using the survival strategies of our sub-personalities, formed in childhood, to help us navigate our adult world. Most often, this produces less than desirable results.
Since I mentioned sub-personalities, I'm going to tell you how Bill Plotkin describes them, "The subpersonalities are the wounded and sometimes hidden fragments of our human psyches - such as our "inner" Victim, Rebel, Critic, Tyrant, or Addict - each of which attempts to protect us from further injury." The problem, therefore, isn't that we have these subpersonalities and that we used them to survive, thank god we did, but that we mistake them for who we are, we think of them as, me. Then, we begin the work of trying to get rid of some of them, like our addicts, instead of really finding out how they are operating in us, and, most importantly, thanking them for the job they have done. That's right, I said thanking them. Your subpersonalities have saved your life....for some people they helped you stuff feelings so you didn't get in trouble, for some, they helped you get up and out when you needed to, for others, they are the part of you that shut down, everything, so you could survive. Yup, it's with gratitude that we work with these parts of ourselves.
Now, since I can't effectively blog about every aspect of our Wholeness, at least not at once, I'm going to pick just one for today, what Bill Plotkin has named your Nurturing Generative Adult, your NGA. If you take away nothing else from today, I want you to get this...
There is, already within you, the ability to abundantly love, nurture and resource yourself. There is this part of you that totally gets what you had to do to survive, loves you unconditionally, is "empathic, compassionate, courageous, competent, knowledgeable, productive and able to provide genuine loving care and service to both ourselves and others", Bill P again. It's your best parenting self. It's reflected by those people in whom you felt loved and seen, just as you are, or archetypes such as the benevolent king or queen, Mother, Father, or Mature, Spiritual Warrior, Elder, Teacher, Healer, Mentor. Just think of movies you've seen where there is a witch or wise woman with secret knowledge, or Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. The amazing thing is, this exists in you and you can learn to access it. It definitely does not sound like, "You idiot! I can't believe you did this again!" or "No one really loves you or gets you." That would be the sound of your subpersonalities and it's definitely more familiar for most of us. Our NGA might say, "Oh, Sweetheart (that's what mine calls me), I know that this has been hard for you, but look at how you're showing up." In fact, mine will also tell me when I've done something that needs correcting, or tending to, but never by attacking me or anyone else. It's definitely not co-dependent or enabling, but wants me to live the biggest possible story I am capable of living...it will also hold my feet to the fire. It has intelligence, foresight, endurance, strength and competence. It helps me love and love well. This part helps me love myself well.
Now, this may seem foreign to you. We are generally more identified with our subpersonalities than with our Whole Selves, in fact, when I have taught people about this, I usually have to start with the parts that we can recognize in ourselves....our fragmented subs...everyone gets that but wholeness is a like a foreign language.
And how do we learn a foreign language? Perhaps we get help from someone already embodying that which we seek in ourselves, but most importantly, we call on it inside ourselves. Sometimes imagery is great for this. Bring to mind a time when you felt seen a loved by someone...a grandma, aunt, animal...let that image surface. What does it feel like when you remember that? That loving presence is already inside you. Maybe you could write a letter to yourself, addressing your current struggles, from the perspective of this loving presence. Perhaps you remind yourself of this part of you, every morning when you get dressed. You call on it to make itself known to you. I think what helps us grow, is to realize that the parts of us that are struggling with various things, are not all we are. We, in fact, have other aspects to ourselves that are not struggling, not afraid or overwhelmed. I assure you, this gets easier over time. it gets easier to call on, to embody, to access.
This aspect of your wholeness is capable of embracing and healing your subpersonalities....that's the amazing news. You have, within yourself, this loving presence, just waiting to hold you, all of you. And really, until we access this part in ourselves, it's really hard for us to love others, to care about the planet, to find our Soul. I hate to leave you hanging but I'll have to elaborate on how it heals us in another post.
Well, that'a wrap for today's blog. I'm really passionate about this stuff because I see it as the missing piece for people. Learning to separate our Whole Self from our subpersonalities/fragments, can be the work of a life time but without it, we are most likely living from our fragments and calling it our personalities.
If you want more information on how to work with yourself in this way, you an always message me. For a detailed description of your Whole Self and Fragments/subs, read Bill Plotkin's book, Wild Mind.
Together with Dr. Ieleen Taylor, I'm offering a course, starting in March, in Sylvan Lake, on Self Compassion, developing your NGA. This course will run on Tuesday nights and will be free. If you are interested in that, please send me a message so I can put you on the list, spaces are limited.
Thanks for reading.