Already Messed Up with Your New Year Resolution? Part Two (R12+)

In Part One of this Glob, I outlined a template that I might encourage others to use when I’m doing what I euphemistically call ‘coaching’. It provides a framework for thinking.

I never do an exercise with others that I haven’t first tried out on myself! I walk my talk and talk my walk…

So I literally walked around my template. What comes up from the somatic depths is never uncomplex… There are so many ‘I’s in so many hidden corners of our being.

At every stage, more ‘I’s keep appearing, both obstructive and helpful or simply watching what’s going on. When I’m working with another person, I’ll keep asking questions like, “Which other ‘I’s are getting in the way?” and “Which ‘I’s might help you?” or “What would such and such an ‘I’ have to say about that?” and so on.  I check each answer and write it on a scrap of paper and put it on the floor for the explorer to stand on to see what happens next.

To illustrate something of the process, I worked with my self (another part of me, another ‘I’) on his annual resolution which is to ‘clear the workroom mess’. What makes it an ‘annual resolution’? What makes it an annual resolution—one that never has been sorted (till now!) is there’s an ‘I’ that regularly gets avoided—one that’s quite happy with the way things are, the mess; it seems to thrive on mess or heaps of bits of paper, books, cuttings, all accumulated for some lost purpose or the other. Call it Working-in-what-it-calls-‘creative-chaos’-I.  So there’s a Positive Intention behind keeping things in a mess; it imagines it works better thus. This year Making-resolutions-I brings another ‘I’ on board, viz Making-a-difference-I. Unfamiliar territory here but its workings are familiar in other contexts.

The diagram illustrates what happened when ‘I’ (Being-pedantic-I) took my self round the system. If I were to do this performance again this afternoon, other ‘I’s might put their hands up…


And so on…

4 thoughts on “Already Messed Up with Your New Year Resolution? Part Two (R12+)

  1. Now here’s the thing.

    I have just spent half an hour typing up the results of doing this exercise in this comments box for all to see.

    And then just as I was about to post it my internet connection went down and it ws gobbled up.

    Suffice it to say now, that the exercise works brilliantly.

    Thanks Colin – very illuminating.


  2. from an email exchange with Colin – OK so here it is – I do have one of those as mentioned above – but my “you’re having a laugh I” and I did – have a laugh that is.

    Apologies to those who have no point of reference for some of this, but I hope you get the drift.

    Hi Colin

    Have realised that the I who has an acute aversion to fixedness is actually who is stopping me from completing the book. There had to be a reason for it keep coming up for me recently.

    I discovered just how averse to fixedness I am when I typed the word FIXED in red emboldened capital letters on my chapter plan and chapter summary document, when the “oh for goodness sake get a grip I” got exasperated. It was done in order to stop myself messing around any-more with the contents. And call it a day and get it finished. I felt suddenly horribly trapped by it and had a visceral adverse reaction to seeing the words on the page. I got frozen in my thinking and didn’t know what to do with it.

    Through doing the exercise I have realised why she does this.

    This goes back to when I was 4 years old.

    Suffice it to say that by “helping” me to avoid completion/fixedness she (the I who has an aversion to fixedness) believes she is protecting me from humiliation and injustice.

    Before doing the exercise I had no idea that is why she was there and hadn’t questioned it because I liked her presence. And still do.

    It has to do with what we were talking about the other day about words especially on a page appearing to some as though they are definitive statements, as if that is all a person can think. My problem at 4 was the same – a teacher and a class-full of children had assumed I had given a complete (and incorrect) answer to a question, when I had spoken only one word. In fact I hadn’t intended to speak only one word, it’s just I wasn’t given a chance to complete my answer. This was because she and they had filtered my response through their own conventional filter. Which they had decided was the only way to look at things. (fixedness) It took me years to figure this out, but had no idea the associated fear was still hanging around in the form of this aversion to fixedness. Which I can now chose to have as an entirely sensible way of being.

    Unfortunately I didn’t have available to me the phrase “it depends what you mean by that “at 4 years old. When I consider this it’s no wonder I am so keen to get clarity of meaning all the time – yes all.

    At the time I was considered “wrong” and apparently it was hilarious to everyone else in the room but me. And what is worse, is that I never got the chance to explain either my complete answer or my reasons for giving it.

    Funnily enough I also have an I that has an acute aversion to personal injustice.

    Problem solver I has solved the problem of how to overcome the fear of completion – that is to say the fear of being prematurely perceived as being finished, (completion being another form of fixedness) and thus risking exposing myself to humiliation and injustice; It is just as in the rug weaver poem – so to speak. By leaving a loose end to let my soul out and making the point that everything is open to question and to invite further development and that the book is an open invitation to reconsider any fixed way of approaching therapy and not any definitive statement of shoulds.

    There was another I who is fearful of not having enough time to write everything down that I want to within one book –

    Because she is supported by the I who is scared there will not be enough time left in life and is always anxious to get on with the next thing.

    Through continuing with the exercise I also discovered of course that finishing the book doesn’t actually represent finishing any more than a part of the work I am engaged in – I can simply continue going in the direction of flow, since the flow is infinite. Producing a number of books is just a way of chunking down.

    There are many other examples throughout my school life and beyond of my thinking being considered odd or different; something of which I am quite proud now.

    Thanks for all this –

    By the way

    The question the teacher asked was how many days in the week there are. I was about to say 5 and 2 at the week-end, but was cut off at the word 5.

    It took me years to figure out that I just had a different way of considering the question as my parents, as I can’t remember which one, had told me that there were 5 days in the week (on which my father worked) and 2 days at the week-end (on which he didn’t). My “Incorrect” answer simply reflected my familial lifestyle.

    Even though I can easily summon up the heat of humiliation I felt then – I can now look at the words FIXED on the page and breathe a sigh of relief.

    What a great exercise – thank you.

    Tom – I hope this raw self-disclosure helps with the voyage of discovery of going with the flow you are undertaking.


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