In ancient cultures shamans learned that to name that which you feared was a practical way to begin to have power over it.
from –A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils & Promises of Spiritual Life, Jack Kornfield
I get some of my most pithy inspirations while walking the treadmill in the morning. I do my best to get to the gym before 7am, with a book of some kind to read that bridges the inner connection while I tromp along. I’ve grown accustomed to being led to passages and pages, sometimes well away from the bookmark where I left off reading. I trust the flow. Once I read that Steven Spielberg got some of his best ideas in the shower, and studies have shown that we can open to a greater wellspring of knowingness, solutions to problems, answers to deep questions, and higher awareness when we are engaged in some repetitive task or routine that doesn’t require our single-minded attention. The combination of reading and walking is hypnotic and induces an almost trance like state that opens my mind to creative possibilities and options I wouldn’t sense in my everyday rational thought mode. It sets me up to begin the day feeling aligned with the something greater, divine.
Lately I’ve been savoring Making A Life: Working by Hand and Discovering the Life You Are Meant to Live by Melanie Falick. Devoted to telling stories of makers near and far with story headings like , “A Weaver’s Prayer”, Dyeing For A Better World”, “Curiosity As Wayfinder”, “Work in Progress”, each morning I’m drawn into worlds of artists who are living lives of beauty, meaning, and abundance of their own design. As I clomp along, shaking off the cobwebs of the night, I am treated to viewpoints and lifestyles that broaden and enrich my own, that give me courage and fortify my forward momentum. In tandem with this joyful read, is the deep and nourishing; A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils & Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield. In Chapter Seven, Naming the Demons, Kornfield says:
We talked about the general principle of turning difficulties into practice. Recognizing these forces and giving them a name is a specific and precise way to work with them and develop our understanding. We can begin to name and acknowledge many beautiful states that grace our lives: joy, well-being, peace, love, enthusiasm, kindness. This is a way to honor and nurture them. In the same way, naming the difficulties we encounter brings clarity and understanding and can unlock and free the valuable energy bound up in them.
In the psychotherapy approach, Internal Family Systems, multiple sub-personality/ies within a person’s mental system are identified and addressed. Typically these represent the wounded parts and painful emotions that seek to control and keep a person from the pain of the wounded parts. PsychologyToday.com notes: “The sub-personalities are often in conflict with each other and with one’s core and undamaged Self, a concept at the core of every individual, and the essence of who you are.”
Reading the books together raises awareness of the various parts of me waving hands for attention. This year a more focused commitment to developing my education and experience in the fiber art world speaks to the Creatix in me, to the One Who Needs Solitude and Beautiful Space to Create. To follow the at times overpowering urge to make, and most often things I ‘ve never tried before like mixing natural dyes, dyeing yarn and fabric, and stitching and upcycling clothing, messenger bags, home decor, book covers, and accessories. Another possible direction is a movement, Craftivism, “the art of gentle protest”, that may fit in somehow with a course I am co-developing with a friend (more to follow on that). This also plays into what could be a natural fit to offer the combination of making and mindfulness into a class or group experience, so the Teacher/ Maker’s feelers are up.
At the same time, those sub-personalities wiggle to the spotlight for their say, and to do their best to save me from the hurts that they are sure will come from new growth spurts, putting myself out in different ways, and rescue me from the not uncommon frustrations that go along with learning curves. And make no mistake there are deep wounds around learning. I had forgotten the shaming that came with being a student over the years. But up it’s popped lately. The Shamed is front and center and so Name It To Tame It is part one of a powerful healing process. Whether shamanism, Buddhism, psychology or Soul Collage, each draws from the common well of getting to the root of what ails us and naming as a way to identify and clarify. Ultimately, when coupled with various activities such as making Soul Collage cards, art or written journaling, soul retrieval work through shamanism, naming and sitting with the energy and feelings, body sensations with Insight meditation techniques, guided imagery meditation to meet the parts that are in conflict with our next steps, we can work to reclaim lost or bound up energy within, and re-access the Self, the core and wholeness always present. We Name It To Claim It.
I’d love to hear about your learning adventures for the year. What are you setting your sights on? Are you doing your own Naming to Tame & Claim? If so, Brava! May you gain your freedom, joy and ease. See you on the path. xx
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