Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself
; I am large – I contain multitudes.” ~ Walt Whitman
Who We Are
Parts of the Whole
In addition to Self, there are three categories of parts who have distinct roles, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. By helping them return to their natural state they bring their revitalized energy to your life. We never get rid of parts, as each one is valuable and makes us the person we are. We are more than the sum of all our parts. All parts are welcome.
Is our essence, true Self, or spiritual center. It is who we are. Self is whole underneath all the parts or ego states. It is ever present, even when we are dominated by the extreme emotions, beliefs, or behaviors of our parts – much like the sun always shining behind clouds.
When we are in the seat of consciousness of Self, we feel curiosity, compassion, calm, connectedness, creativity, confidence, courage, and clarity.
Self can be likened to an orchestra conductor creating harmony instead of dissonance by inviting each unburdened part to play a valuable role in our lives with the natural qualities and energies they possess.
They are the parts of us that carry those uncomfortable feelings that most categorize as negative. Exiles hold the memories of trauma and difficult experience. Because the feelings are painful the managers and firefighters try to exile them by pushing them out of our consciousness.
Common painful emotions exiles carry are shame, grief, fear, insecurity, loneliness, anxiety, anger, worthlessness, etc.
Unburdend exiles are tender, spontaneous, open, trusting, sensitive, innocent, and playful.
They are the parts of us that help us handle interacting in the external world by protecting us from being hurt by others. Managers work hard to prevent painful feelings and experiences our exiles hold from flooding our awareness. This is a preemptive means of protecting us.
Common burdened manager activities in include controlling, striving, criticism (of others or self), caretaking, judging, pessimism, etc.
Unburdened managers bring discernment, competence and calm, clear, confident problem solving.
They are the parts of us that try to douse the fires of those painful emotions that the exiles carry when they erupt into consciousness. These are impulsive and reactive to us feeling the pain of our exiles.
Common behaviors we engage in when firefighter driven are overeating, self-harm, dissociation, violence, obsessions, compulsions, and addictions of work, sex/porn, diet, exercise, computer, video games, etc.
Unburdened firefighters are adventurous, sensual, passionate, fun, courageous, and creative.
Concept of Blending:
When we are in the midst of feeling and believing the intense and uncomfortable feelings of our exiles, managers, and firefighters, were are said to be “blended” with them. This means we are in the consciousness of those parts instead of our true Selves. They are often very good at taking us over to get our attention by making us feel and believe their outdated and burdened emotions and thoughts. A good portion of the work is un-blending from each part, asking them to give us enough space, so that we can be with and work with them from Self.
One way to know if (or how much) we are in Self versus a part, we can ask ourselves:
Do I feel open-heartedly curious? Do I feel calm? Do I feel connected? Do I feel compassion? Do I feel courage?
Do I feel confident? Do I feel clear? Do I feel creative?
If the answer is yes to any of these, you are in some degree of Self. Generally speaking, the more of the 8-C’s we feel, the more in Self we are.
We can think of a continuum of parts and Self, one in which we fluctuate back and forth in any given moment: