It might be the most comprehensive method of consciousness development of our times, but why this name “The 3M System”?
In my earlier years as a Seeker of Truth, I worked with my body and I trained my mind because I longed for peace and I truly wanted to escape my many fears. Later on, there was a different quality to my search: I was very driven to find answers to these and similar questions:
“Which part of me stays the same regardless of if I am at my best or at my worst?”
“If I have a God-like essence, a Divine true self, where is that unchangeable, unshakable core in me?”
“If it is the truth that Life chose to manifest through the human being I am now, what does it mean then to live well?”
Throughout my search, I discovered all of my parts.
Before we go deeper into the workings of the mind, the ego and my method, I will share with you the origin of the name “The 3M System”. I confess, I did not consider sharing this at first, but when everyone who read the manuscript of my book “The Crack” asked me what the meaning of the name of my method is, I realized it might be important to tell you.
The answer can be amazingly simple: the initials of Melinda’s Mindful Movement are 3 M’s. However, there is a much deeper level to the meaning of 3M, because throughout my search into self-understanding, I discovered that the human being I am in this life comprises of 3 different Melinda’s. Further complicating the matter came the realization, that in truth, none of the 3 Melinda’s truly represents my true self, hence, the choice for the word “system” when naming my method. According to the dictionary, a system is “an interconnecting network; a complex whole” and that is what I understand my human self to be: an interconnected network of 3 M-parts, plus a true self that is behind and within each of these three parts. Together these form a complex whole: the human being I am now.
Sharing this with you feels like stripping naked but, instead of revealing my physical body, I am revealing my mental and emotional inner self and the ego is of course included in each reveal. Ultimately, I could never explain this part of “The 3M System” better than through my own experience. I have learned that modelling is the best way of teaching as it offers the most clarity. Please remember this when you might get annoyed by the large amount of personal information that comes next.
May my sharing inspire you with the intensity I feel as I dissect the human being that I am and reveal all of my naked parts for you to see. May this enable and encourage you to venture into your own dissection and may you thoroughly enjoy it, knowing that the point of this analysis is actually a synthesis. I take myself apart, so I can put myself back together again, in a more honest, accepting and loving way. By encouraging and guiding this process, “The 3M System” supports authentic living — a crucial condition for the awakening of humankind.
The 3 Melinda’s (from here on written as 3 M’s) are all female, although my “scientist self” often gets mistaken as a manifestation of male energy.
The “scientist self” is the first M part and I call it the Amelia Earhart in me. Amelia Earhart is likely the world’s most celebrated aviator and the first woman who flew solo over the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Her international fame improved public acceptance of aviation and she was an enormous inspiration to women, encouraging them to both expand their horizons and to pursue their passions, especially in flying. In me, she represents the fearless explorer, the progressive thinker, the revolutionary who has the courage to set up scientific experiments based on rigorous research in order to prove the validity of her dreams. Amelia’s fearlessness was her gateway to her wisdom: “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace”. She surrendered to her life purpose by doing the one thing in which she could experience the flow of being. To her, peace equated to, “no borders, just horizons — only freedom” and that is what she experienced while she was flying.
I do not identify myself with Amelia Earhart. She is the symbol of a part of me which I recognized, I accepted and thus I learned to love. This first M makes me a private person, socially selective and often seen as odd because crowd-mentality does not even slightly attract me. I don’t believe that something is right just because it has been in a certain way for an exceedingly long time, or because it is done like that by most people. This part of me lives by the adage “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”. This part of me feels empowered and wants to empower others to dare to be themselves. It aims to reach for the highest potential that one can manifest. It is an exciting and admirable part, but one that does not have tolerance for weakness, passivity, or despair. In all honesty, this part is terrified of not being any different from everyone else and of not bearing significance. That is the ego’s weakness underneath the more obvious traits of determination and purposefulness.
Thanks to this first M, I believe that the human life is a privilege and an opportunity for spiritual growth. I know it is a challenge as well, but I see it more as an opportunity. The choice of what to do with the life we have belongs to the individual. Therefore, each person decides whether s/he is part of the problem, or part of the solution. Inhibiting uniqueness and fearing or disrespecting individuality are ways to create problems for the self and for others. The solution to this is gathering the courage to learn how to honor the responsibility that comes with the power to be one’s own person.
This M is the part of me that confers tenacity and perseverance to the human being who I am. If I deny it or ignore it, it demands my attention by pressuring me to succeed. Its weakness — the fear of not being any different and not bearing significance — was hidden at first. I recognized it only when the pressure it placed upon me became intolerable. Then I thanked this part of me for the fortitude it provided to my being and I challenged it to surrender to its fear of insignificance. I gave permission to my Amelia Earhart M-part to fail and assured it that I would love it anyways. Thus, I became free from the stress to achieve and to demonstrate my worth, because this part of me was acknowledged by its most important critic: itself (that part of the human I am). Because I am grateful for the fortitude of this part of me and I approach the weakness of this part of me with loving acceptance, I — the human being — get to derive maximum advantage from the beautiful qualities of this part of me.
Before moving on to the second M, let me remind you that I consider myself to be a human being made of 3 M-parts plus other parts, including an Observer-self and a true self that is behind and within each of these three parts. The human being I am gives thanks for the strengths of my different parts and accepts their weaknesses. The true self is something else, actually not really a part, but something to function by. I function through my true self when I discover, understand and accept my parts, when I create space between them.
When doing your own dissection, try to identify your different parts with their respective strengths and weaknesses, and try to address them from the position of the human being who you are. This is already a stretch in thinking for the mind, so what I’m saying next will likely revolt: you are clear consciousness in human form and your true self is revealed when you detach from your parts. Naturally, in order to detach, you need to know the parts first.
The second M is the “lover self” and I call it the Veronica Franco in me. Veronica Franco was the most famous “honored courtesan” in Renaissance Venice, who did much more than provide men with intellectual, cultural and physical pleasures. She played music, she wrote poetry and other literary pieces in different genres, and she was a respected thinker of her times who collaborated with prominent intellectuals. Through her social and literary interactions, Veronica Franco gained access to influential literary salons and published her works which brought her fame in a time when women were not allowed a public education. Her poems and letters were explicitly erotic and persuasively pro-woman. Her proto-feminism found the charitable institution “Casa del Soccorso”, which protected young Venetian women from the dangers of prostitution. Thus, Veronica Franco was an independent-minded courtesan, an accomplished intellectual, an influential writer, a philanthropist and a compassionate woman. Her legacy continues to appeal to modern readers in the 21st century as much as she did to women and men of the Renaissance nearly five centuries ago. She accomplished the mission she set out on: “I resolved to make a virtue of my need”.
Veronica Franco represents the passionate lover in me, who loves and honors love in all its forms: the physical — sexual love, the emotional — compassionate love, the spiritual — unconditional love. This part of me makes it possible for the human being I am now to be completely attuned to the body in which I live. This second M enables me to feel my heart and to enjoy my body; moreover, to teach others how to love and how to enjoy carnal pleasures. Although nowadays I don’t risk the Inquisition coming after me for encouraging people (especially women) to enjoy sex, pleasure is still a delicate subject, tainted by shame, guilt and other mental pollutants. And what a pity that is, considering that sex is the gateway to transcendental love, through which clear consciousness can be accessed and experienced.
Lao Tzu said: “Love is the source, and love is the end also. So, one who misses love, misses all. But do not misunderstand love as an emotion; it is not. Love is not an emotion, is not a feeling. Love is the subtlest energy, subtler than electricity. The very substratum of all energies is love”. After defining love this way, Lao Tzu explained that when Love expresses itself through us, it first takes the form of sex — this is manifestation through the body. At the next level, in my interpretation when the mind is aligned with the body, Love is higher, deeper and subtler. A next level is reached when there is alignment between the body, mind and soul. Here Love expresses itself as prayer. Lao Tzu mentions a fourth level as well, which belongs to the unmanifest and cannot be named.
To me, this is when the human being is connected to the Universal Truth and the limitations of being human dissolve. Then Love is transcendental, and sex evolves from 1° natural and flowing, through 2° very deep, “forget yourself completely in it” deep, when there is a temporary freedom from all ego-identifications and conditionings, all the way up to 3° a total orgasmic experience, when there is just being, just freedom, without any adding. There is just being and just freedom instead of “being something” and having “freedom from something”.
It must be emphasized that I am talking about consensual sex here. All participants need to choose it freely and mutual respect is an absolute must. Violations of any kind are not a matter of true sex; instead they relate to power and are expressions of perverse energy, which is the opposite of the love energy that expresses itself through conscious humans when they have sex.
I believe that making this distinction is especially important. Should Socrates have made this distinction, his wisdom would have been even more enlightened. Instead, he promoted a harsh judgement of the body: “our body creates thousands of annoying pursuits with the need for food. Moreover, if some sickness finds us, it raises barriers in our pursuit of being. We are flooded with romances, desires, fears, illusions of all sorts and foolish babbling. And because of it, not a single right thought comes to us”. Socrates only saw the limitations of the body, whereas through the Veronica Franco in me, I see the body’s amazing possibilities and gifts, which warrant celebration and gratitude.
The body is the gateway toward knowing ourselves and it offers us wonderful possibilities to enjoy this life. There is nothing wrong with enjoying our favorite food or delighting in a beverage. Watching or listening to something beautiful are uplifting experiences that inspire creativity, kindness and decency. The same goes for sex. The retributions which were (and often still are) attributed to those who are capable of genuinely enjoying carnal pleasures, create obstacles for the development of consciousness. Instead of distracting people with punishment and preaching restraint, it is much more sensible and beneficial to teach people how to enjoy the right way. When we feel joy, our ability to think, say and do the right thing, increases.
I believe that no one is vicious because they are happy and people who do despicable things are deprived of feeling true joy. Wrongdoers feel miserable themselves. After all, we cannot give what we do not have, so a person who is filled with bitterness and apprehension will spread bitterness and apprehension. Differently, people who are taught to enjoy the pleasures that the body allows, are filled with joy and gratitude, and that is what they spread into the world.
There is nothing wrong with pleasure, quite the opposite: we got free will so we can choose to experience pleasure and to channel its wonderful energies for thinking, saying and doing good. Problems arise from excesses, not from the pleasure we derive from sensory, bodily, or carnal satisfaction. But excesses are a matter of the mind, not of the body. The motivation behind excesses is hunger for power. Underneath that hunger is ignorance.
I believe that all confusion about sex and the association of pleasure with filthiness is failure to understand that the true nature of sex is Love. Hence, sex may be kinky, as long as it is an expression of love energy. But in order to truly enjoy sex, we must give the body its rightful place in our structure as human beings. The body is the closest home of our true self and all our parts. It has its own intelligence and we ought to learn how to listen to it and how best to take care of it. The teachings and techniques of “The 3M System” are a good start. Learning to take care of the body the way it needs to be taken care of, means that the body will help us figure out our minds and make sense of our lives. Ignoring the body means reinforcing the lack of wisdom which is the cause of all suffering. Keeping people in ignorance was desired by those who coveted power and wanted fearful submissive followers; hence, the witch-hunts and the prosecution of courtesans. They were dangerous because they understood that sex done the right way has enormous potential for freeing humans.
The second M, the Veronica Franco part of the human being I am now, is the most spiritual part of me, which understands and loves Love. This M longs for togetherness in the deepest sense and surrenders to belonging. The weakness of this part of me comes forth in Veronica’s own words mentioned earlier: “I resolved to make a virtue of my need”. The need for togetherness is the weakness. The capacity for melting together consciously is the strength.
Before moving on to the third M, let me remind you again that I see myself as a human being made of 3 M-parts plus an Observer-self, and detachment from these parts translates into space within my being which allows me to function through my true self. The human being I am in this life gives thanks for the strengths of the different parts and accepts their weaknesses. I don’t deny my unappealing traits and I do not favor what is alluring.
Honesty is the key that opens the door toward enlightenment.
“The 3M System” encourages you to discover your different parts with their respective strengths and weaknesses, and invites you to embrace the idea that your true self manifests through the human being who you are when there is space between your different parts.
The third M is the “child-woman self” and I call it the Norma Jeane Mortenson/Baker in me. It is the most vulnerable, but also the most playful and innocent part. Deliberately I did not name this part of me the Marylin Monroe, because I believe that Marylin was only a part of Norma Jeane. Furthermore, I believe that Marylin’s enormous success came from the innate childlike innocence and open vulnerability which were authentic Norma Jeane traits. Marylin became the object of unprecedented popular adulation thanks to the warmth and wistfulness exuded by the human being who was Norma Jeane. The determinations to overcome failure and to perpetually learn were remarkable strengths of Norma Jeane, which made the creation of the icon Marylin possible. However, Norma Jeane carried deep wounds, which needed acceptance. Her agonizing fear of abandonment was fueled by Marylin’s overwhelming popularity. And in-between Norma Jeane never experienced the acceptance she craved: the unconditional love that she is enough, good enough and still adored even when she is without Marilyn’s luminosity.
Marylin’s idealized image was wanted by the entire world, but no one cared to love Norma-Jeane’s fallen-apart and broken pieces. They were buried and the woman suffered of terrible loneliness as the human being she was could not be genuine. Although Marilyn remains the ideal of femininity forever, Norma Jeane was never granted an authentic life.
The “child-woman self” is the part of me that needs care and protection, it is innocent and naïve, easily frightened and carefree. This part of me can make the human being I am laugh with her whole being. It is the cheerful player who delights in the game and never ruins it with competitiveness; it is the dreamer who dares to always hope for a happy ending. But it is also the part where a deep fear resides: the fear of not being good enough and of not being loved when weak, imperfect or broken.
“Stop crying; no one loves you when you are weak” — such a cliché expression, used carelessly by so many parents in the 20th century, mine included, a very powerful cliché that destroys a sensitive child’s self-esteem. For the sake of clarity, let me put forward that I grew up in abundance and had a strong family base for which I am grateful to my parents. I was encouraged and supported to develop both physically and intellectually. I was raised to grow strong, but weakness, emotionality and fear were not tolerated. I had to suck it up and fake being strong. In order to obtain my parents’ approval, I had to pretend that the Norma Jeane in me had not existed. The result: paralyzing fear that my secret will get revealed, most prominent in my nightmares which took the form of entire series with connected episodes. It was not the ideal way to be, but I grew up accomplishing success as a top student and a winning athlete. As a matter of fact, I had no experience with failure; my parents had eliminated that option as failure could not happen to their daughter. Imagine the gamble this attitude took and the catastrophe I faced when I did eventually fail. We will get to that crucial turning point in a bit.
After I broke free from my parents and achieved some level of independence, the conditioning they planted in me lived on through my relationships. I was desperate to please and I was determined to be whoever my men wanted me to be. In each relationship I sensed what he wanted and I played the role until the inner tension became unbearable and heralded the end of the relationship. Then, almost instantly I began another round of the same cycle.
After 3 decades of leaving one husband and a number of decent boyfriends behind, I got really good at running away from everything, especially from myself, and I acquired substantial first-hand knowledge in panic. Fear was a constant in my life, whenever my “child-woman self” surfaced. Observing this gave me the brilliant idea to eliminate the “child-woman self”. Thus, I focused on my other two parts, the “scientist self” and the “lover self” which were strong and polished. In doing so I seemed to have it all under control and I was even called irresistible. My efforts were rather quickly rewarded and for the first time in this life, I felt that I truly belonged. It was wonderful and I tasted joy I did not imagine was possible. Along came peace, as I was freed from fear. Or so I thought. I was adored; I thought I had it all figured out, but in truth, Life just granted me a breather before the more profound lessons began.
It dawned on me some years later when I found myself abandoned, literally. It was not the imaginary fear of abandonment for not being good enough or thinking that I am not good enough. It was not the struggle to show only my approved parts. This was the glaring reality that indeed I was not good enough, that I had failed playing the role I took upon myself, which I believed I liked. The crash was massive, but I survived it and installed a crucial change. My feline soul mate was indispensable for shifting my focus. I finally asked the right questions:
“How can somebody else deem me be worthy of love? Isn’t it me who does that?”
“How can I live authentically if the strengths of my parts are loved but their respective weaknesses are rejected?”
“How can I be freed from fear if I rely on external validation?”
Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different outcome. Finally, I did a different thing; curious of the possible outcomes, I addressed the little girl within. I recalled specific events from childhood when the “child-woman self” was unwanted, ridiculed, or even shamed. I visualized my complex adult self in those events and I gave the little girl the protection, understanding and love she was denied.
It was a great breakthrough and I thus discovered another street, one on which the Norma Jeane in me was allowed to be. Portia Nelson, the American singer, songwriter, actress and author summarized her life in these 5 chapters:
Chapter I: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter II: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter III: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open; I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter IV: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter V: I walk down another street.
The liberation that followed from this new understanding was riveting. The human being I am was more contented than ever and now comfortably aware of the strengths and the weaknesses of the 3 parts. My worth was no longer depending on external validation and I saw Life manifesting through me.
The need to suppress weakness subsided as I gave myself permission to be.