written for www.myconsciouslifejournal.com

Most of us are pretty familiar with the idea of living our lives holistically. We know that it is essential to pay attention to every level of being including body, emotions, mind and spirit. If we know how we are operating from each of those places we can also sense where we have imbalances. Finding the places that are under-developed help us tune into strategies for strengthening those places, and calming down the parts that are over-developed. Typically, humans are over-developed mentally and under-developed physically, emotionally and spiritually. We tend to walk around with a lot of mental static, as if our head is saying, “I’m in charge, I’m in charge, I’m in charge, while we over-ride our physical needs, For example, when was the last time you got up from your desk to empty your bladder, get a snack or move your limbs? Emotionally, we tend to repress, deny and project our emotions so that either our bodies or our relationships take the brunt.  Spiritually, we forget our connection with our Source, forget that we are here for a bigger purpose, and get caught up in 3-dimensional reality to the exclusion of spiritual reflection and inspiration.

As a budding transpersonal therapist in the 90’s, we called it transpersonal living; we recognized that we were more than our personalities and subpersonalities. When we were able to see the bigger picture of a transcendent reality, all the pieces fell together. When we identify and work with the inside “committee”, the many subpersonalities that make up our psyche, we have a much better idea of who we really are and what each part of us wants. An extreme of this inner state would be dissociative disorder, which used to be called multiple personality disorder. But the truth is that each of us is a multiple, in the sense that we have an inner feminine, masculine, matriarch, patriarch, critic, several inner children, including toddlers, rebellious and compliant versions of teenagers, and those who have been wounded at various stages of our lives. This is just a smattering of our inner selves. The better we know who is inside through dreams, journaling, inner work, and personal reflection, the better we know ourselves. I find it helpful to know who the primary committee of 6-9 of us is that runs the show, their qualities, needs, wounds and strengths. This gives the hostess or host of this inner menagerie (us) a pretty good lay of the land and answers to lots of reasons why we do what they do, and believe what we believe.

In the late 90’s into early the early 2000’s, I brought in the shamanic perspective on wholeness; approaching life as a series of initiations for the soul, including all the dark nights, the soul-loss from past traumas, and the deaths and re-births that inevitably happen with a lifetime. I had already discovered that altered states of consciousness, like breathwork, trance-dance, hypnosis, and focused regression were powerful ways to integrate all parts of the self. Shamanic consciousness teaches us that we live in different realms and dimensions at different times, but that all of these are essential to our wholeness. The whole point is to get to a more expanded perspective on life, which may come from an animal ally, an angel, or a departed ancestor. From these expanded states of consciousness, to which we can return again and again after we inevitably fall off our path, we can find the meaning and purpose for living a life of grace, ease and balance.

Now there is a calling for us to go further, because to co-create the kind of world we all want to live in, we must be whole, healed and integrated. The times we live in are more complex than ever. The old spiritual dictate “know thyself” is of highest priority in these transformational times.

We are all multiple personalities and subpersonalities. Our inner world is made up of many voices, desires, wants and needs that must be tended to or else. It’s  amazing how unique and at odds with each other they can be! When they are not “all together” around our intentions, decisions and actions, we suffer. The suffering can include inner sabotage that results in having to go back and learn lessons over and over again, or it can be as extreme as anxiety, addictions, dysfunctional relationships, depression and illness.

There are lots of tools to help us identify our inner selves. One of my favorite methods is Voice Dialogue, the work of Hal and Sidra Stone. Another is Alchemical Hypnotherapy, the work of David Quigley. Gestalt Therapy, Psychosynthesis, Family Systems Therapy and any kind parts therapy, or work with our inner selves can be a place to start. WAny of these methods will help us understand what all or our “selves” need from us to do their job in our lives, and assist us in coming to conscious, integrated decisions with everyone on board. We can then work with them towards cooperation, collaboration and unity.

There’s a great peace that comes when everyone has been heard. It’s easier to open to the inner guides and Higher Selves who have another agenda to promote, that of the soul. May you be inspired to return to an favorite old way of “self” discovery, or find a new way that serves all of you, even better. May you accept all of your “selves”, with the inner compassion that leads to living with grace, ease and balance.

I am grateful for all the ways we have available to look at ourselves, accept all of ourselves, and live life with integration. May you be reminded or inspired to return to a favorite old way or find a new way that serves you in this moment of your life journey!