16th July 2020
As the collective experience of lockdown lifts, we find ourselves moving into a phase where much is now down to individual responsibility. I’ve been wondering about the weight of this responsibility and how we will all experience it differently based largely upon our own personal circumstances.
But I’ve also been reflecting on the fact that many of us are likely to have many different responses happening at various times. There may be a sense of relief that exists alongside an increased fear of what might happen as we mix with more people. There may be a sense of loss felt for how things were alongside a happiness that we can now see loved ones. Of course, it is not uncommon to experience an inner conflict, dilemma or opposing feelings about a situation and the easing of lockdown will likely provoke this in some of us.
I have long believed in the idea of parts and I talk a lot about this in my counselling practice. That we do not experience ourselves as a homogenous whole but rather we have many different emotions, thoughts, sensations that exist within us at any given time. Sometimes these will clash and that’s where we may feel a sense of unease or even distress, sometimes…occasionally they may exist harmoniously together. However these different aspects show up, I very much subscribe to the idea that all parts of us are welcome, even those that feel negative and critical. You know – that critical voice that can feel so loud and overburdening at times.
There are many different counselling theories that work with this idea with some believing that each part has its own role to play within us. They would talk about the value in exploring parts with curiosity and compassion in order to get to know them better and the role they play for us. This idea may or may not work for you and either is ok. But for me, there is something about acknowledging the multiplicity of our inner experience particularly at a time like this and knowing that each part, thought, emotion, sensation is welcome.
I’ve included a video of the poem ‘The Guest House’ by Rumi, a 13th Century poet, as I think it captures this idea beautifully. Please take a look if you wish.
Thank you for reading.