Yesterday I woke up with a strong sense of generalized anxiety. I was worried about a specific situation, but the anxiety spread out and attached to many areas of my life. I knew immediately that I was in a self who feels overwhelmed and incapable of meeting the challenges and demands of life.
I’ve worked with this self before and she is very young. She has a sense of needing to be able to figure things out that are well beyond her intellectual and emotional capacity.
I got up and went outside to the circle of stones my partner set up in our backyard. There I simply sat with the energy of this part of me. As I witnessed her fear and insecurity, she began to cry. I felt a deep compassion for her sense of isolation and for the intense pressure she felt to get things right.
As I witnessed this energy from a different place, I found myself wondering what other kinds of energies might be available. I thought of the part of me that believes in a supportive and interactive universe. That part values trusting that life is unfolding and that all I need to do is go with the flow instead of pushing against it.
I also connected with the part of me who engages challenges with vigor and enthusiasm, who thrives when she has an obstacle to push against and work through.
These other energies were present, but they were much quieter than the young, anxious part. Still, my wondering helped strengthen my separation from the child self and helped move me forward in developing an Aware Ego Process with respect to that self.
I’ve been listening to a wonderful series by Voice Dialogue founders Hal and Sidra Stone on the Aware Ego Process (AEP). In it they offer a series of metaphors for the AEP to help listeners get a better sense of what it is. They mention the orchestra conductor, the captain of a ship, and the juggler to name a few.
One metaphor, however, jumped out at me: the Aware Ego as Energy Master. Hal speaks at length about the possibility of dancing with the energies of different selves. In this image, the Aware Ego Process “can essentially be related to all energies that come in, either from inside or outside.” He compares it to martial arts and specifically aikido, where “we are trained to accept the attack of our opponent as an energy gift that is given to us and then we learn to dance with that gift.”
When I first heard this description, I experienced a great longing to be able to engage the selves within and without in this way. Just imagine being able to dance with whatever selves you encounter in yourself, your partner, your co-workers, your family, etc without getting hooked, without shutting down, without attacking from a place of fear.
I tried to call in this Energy Master yesterday with my fearful child part. Her anxiety didn’t go away after my meditation. It stayed with me throughout the day. And I got to practice this dance. Staying connected without collapsing into to the fear and without pushing off from the fear. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a Master, but I find myself increasingly grateful for the many opportunities I have to practice.
If you’d also like to practice and grow your Aware Ego Process so that you too can dance with the energies, I”ll be offering a class, Dancing with the Selves, in Eugene beginning in early October. You can find more information about the class here.
Hal and Sidra’s Aware Ego series can be purchased here.