It’s been a while since I shared any of my contemplations, apart from the poems that continue trickling on. Sometimes the content pours, sometimes it drips and at times the facet goes dry. I suppose it’s all part of an organic flow, without my pusher self trying to interfere or force myself to write for the sake of writing more and more. Either way – neither is good nor bad – it’s just different and so is the outcome. My unique dance depends on how well I am tuned in and willing to express myself as I journey on. And above all – a part of me knows very well when I have something valuable to share and when it’s time to note things down.
Here is the question that gave birth to my Diamond Face Quest:
‘What have I come to understand over the past year?’
I’m a linguist by heart and I love discovering clues through different expressions. For example, how often have you been asked a question: “Are you enjoying yourself?” Yes, exactly! The question itself alludes to the fact that it’s natural to have different parts of our selves and to be in a relationship with each one of them – each one of me.
We all have multiple personality traits, just like a diamond with multiple facets, each reflecting light and casting shadow from its each and every unique angle. Every reflection is a part of the same exquisite diamond.
This thought came to me as I was listening to Sidra and Hal Stone and their wisdom, distilled into a technique called Voice Dialogue. And although I have thought about personality traits many times, it never quite landed the way it did when I connected the dots with their strain of thoughts.
Thanks to this connection I was able to synthesize the knowledge that afforded me much-needed clarity and answered many of my questions.
Much of what I have written over the past year was part of my ‘trying to understand’ quest. I delved into my past events that represent certain obstructions or blockages as they manifest in daily life. I noticed them when I feel stuck and get stuck. This usually manifests in a multitude of ways – not being able to make a decision, struggling to follow through with a certain decision, backing off, hesitation, limitations in my way of thinking, rising of fear, shyness, and difficulties with expression.
I also noticed certain patterns that manifest through various situations and don’t want to go away. They keep on inviting me to face the situation, to pause and properly look into it the ‘troubling matter of sticky affairs’. I find pausing to be an important part of the process while trying to regain clarity of the situation I find myself in. It helps me return to my composed state of being – therein lies much wisdom I gain access through.
Instead of resisting or forcefully trying to overcome the obstruction by repeating the experience over and over again, I learned to slow down, pause, soften up and contemplate. For me, this happens to be the space and the place where all the knowledge I have ever acquired and all the experience I went through integrate. It’s how I get an insight.
Extending the pause, I gradually began understanding the aspects and roles of various parts of personality traits we each have – that I have. Personality traits we are driven by in life, the parts of us we like to put on display. For example, the part of me that helps me get things done and those few I would rather hide away – like the lazy, grumbling, or procrastinating me. It’s important to recognize all parts – those obvious and dominant and those few we have disowned because we were ‘programmed’ to “steer away from that”. It could have been a part of a behavior that was considered ‘unacceptable’ by the standards of society and family that was rearing us into becoming a certain human being (i.e., human doing) – consciously or unconsciously.
Deep conditioning can be ingrained and can form parts of our disowned personality in early childhood. Can you still remember your aunties or teachers telling you how you should not behave, what you should not do or say, what you should be ashamed of? I certainly do.
Certain schools of thoughts call these disowned parts of personality ‘our shadows’, ‘ghosts from the past’, or even bhutas*.
However we choose to address these parts of our selves and whatever connotation that brings up in our mind, all of the parts are beloved children of our ubiquitous I. All of them are asking of us to be accepted, acknowledged, and loved. The so called ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ – they all carry a potential to support us on this journey. Hence, the importance of being aware while honing our self management skills.
It’s an important realization and a founding stone of responsible parenthood. First and foremost, I am here to be a parent of each aspect of the one who wakes up every day and faces every single situation I find myself in. I continue learning about all of me – all the time – with patience, perseverance, and a lot of love and acceptance. Especially when facing the parts of me I am prone to hide or shy away from and would most gladly keep them in the dark. Little did I know that hiding and disowning is not the most conducive approach that leads toward the integration of one self.
Instead, it continues adding to confusion and fragmentation. And although I accept that my current ability of understanding is continuously evolving, I’m ok sharing my current stream of thoughts – because this is where I am on my journey and the journey goes on. Just like a river, I continue to flow. I don’t have to know it all. In fact, I can’t, and that’s ok. I journey on. I share what I have learned and keep my heart and mind open and soft – just like water with all the qualities she imbibes.
Awareness of one self includes knowing about different nuances of our personality. For example, there is a part of me I call a dreamer – Alice in Wonderland who grew up dwelling in a fairytale and fantasy world and wasn’t quite able to connect the two worlds and build a bridge between them. This gave birth to a disappointed part of the self. The world of a dreamer can be a great source of inspiration, creativity, excitement and it can also easily distort reality, lead one into a trap and cause disappointments that can result in sadness or even depression. Like this multiple selves are born.
“The spiraling dynamic of personalities is fascinating” – echoes my relentlessly curious self with a smile.
So, my job is not to disown my dreamer – my job is to help my dreamer distinguish between the dream world and different realities I interact with in life as a non dreamer. This way I can equip my dreamer with the required wisdom and give her a safe outlet to continue exploring the world of imagination without getting burned – and without burning all her brothers and sisters. There’s no need for a war – parenting is a skill well worth mastering.
I like the Voice Dialogue exercise and the questions that nudge us to discover different facets of the diamond we each are. At the same time I need to remain cautious not to get lost in digging – because it can easily become a never-ending quest. Instead of doing endless numbers of exercises, I try to get the gist of it – I’m not quite sure how to explain this in words. Let me try…
It’s a bit like trying to catch a wave and surf. Once you caught one wave, you just get it – you understand the nature of the flow, the importance of patience, of pausing, being aware of when is the right moment to lift up your body, stand on your board and ride the wave until you step off gracefully in the shallow waters of the shore. There’s no need to catch them all. You probably couldn’t – even if you tried. Unless of course you are Alice in Wonderland.
This is as far as my understanding goes – for now.
*Bhutas – A bhoota or bhuta (Sanskrit: भूत ,bhūta) is a supernatural creature, usually the ghost of a deceased person, in the popular culture, literature and some ancient texts of the Indian subcontinent.