Three Portals to Self Awareness
Some people are very clear and declarative about who they are, what they are up to, what decisions they are making. At times I admire them for it and wish I had that certainty. Other times I wonder, what else might they be missing? I like to stay open to the possibilities – except when I don’t! I find it helpful to gain perspective on who and how I am by using tools of self awareness.
Assessments of our personal sorting styles are widely used to help people learn how to get along with others whose patterns differ. For instance, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator distinguishes the Perceivers, open ended, more-possibilities, don’t-need-closure preferences from the Judgers, the ones who want it settled now, want a decision, tend to clear off their desks at the end of the day. Many other systems provide additional insights into where you are as compared to the population at large, opening new angles of self-understanding as well as improved communication.
Then there are the portals that come from interacting with others and receiving feedback, either by what they say or how they respond to you. Some folks learn well by paying attention to the process and noticing internal and external signals. Free-range observations may be triggered by unpleasant feelings or other experiences that draw attention. Systematic observation using a framework for human behavior can open new doors by naming perceptions and relating them to short- or long-term effects. Skilled observers can help us bring our blind spots to light.
Just sitting is one of the proven methods for self-understanding. This can be very hard for people to do. American Zen teacher Cheri Huber provides the suggestion that, whatever is going on, if you just sit for a while, it will shift. The image of having a monkey mind helps explain why this is so hard. Sometimes it takes practice to get the monkey to sit still. Right when we feel the most pressure to hurry is probably when we need to carve out five minutes to focus on breathing.
In a time when many changes are unfolding, some of them up to us and some of them happening around us, all these elements are helpful in combination. Applying systematic approaches, getting feedback from others, taking time to sit, and attending to our process, will all enhance the passage itself as well as the level of satisfaction with the outcomes.
We gather in communities of practice for this purpose. I have found that being included in a series of conversations in a group setting is both comforting and challenging. Being in a group that feels safe and that honors my space as well as my participation helps me sort. I like the gems that come from solitude, and for me the impact is enhanced by the gems that come from sharing.
So what are you doing to take advantage of this time of the year, be it the rise of the Night Force in the Northern Hemisphere or the rise of the Day Force in the Southern? For us in the North, deepening and going inward are in sync with the seasons, for those in the South, what are you bringing forth this Spring?
Join a small group of fellow travelers if this sounds right for you now
This autumn I am convening an online gathering for a small group of people over eight weeks, with some of the approaches described above, with space for self-expression, listening, contemplating, and committing where it feels right. The group is forming with caring, experienced, curious and growing people. Early registration is open until October 27. Perhaps this is something for you to consider as a treat to give yourself. You would be a treat for us as well. It will begin in early November.