Warning: If you don’t practice Internal Family Systems (IFS), this article may not make any sense to you! 😂😎
For seconds, minutes, or maybe hours after first noticing it, I was pretty confused. Is this another part of me? I thought it was me? Is it not?
What does that say about me, if that’s not me? Then who is “me”? Does that mean that I will be unhappy, sad, and miserable?
Does that mean that I can more easily stay with other people’s pain and sadness if I unburden it? Does that mean that I can more easily stay with other part’s pain and sadness?
So much unblending by just noticing this part. I feel like a gigantic ice glacier just got taken out. Ooh that was huge! Just the acknowledgement of this part was like someone coming to take away a piece of my heart.
But I thought that was just the way I am. Positive, happy, wanting (but not needing) to create the best in the world. Wanting (but not needing) to show others that they too can be positive and joyful and get their life wishes met.
“Wanting but not needing” — hm… Then what does this part need?
I hear: “I need to be positive, joyful, and happy, otherwise sadness and fear will take over you.”
Now I’m thanking “the thinking part” for being with me and ask it to give us some space, so we can get to know this part better.
I can feel a part of me that is very sad. It feels like this part has been prisoned by the “positivity part” for a long time, and is just having someone hear it out for the first time.
The part is begging me for help, like a prisoner who was trapped in a hole deep under the ground and has just found someone for a very very very long time!
He is trembling. He is desperate. He is begging for help.
I am letting it know that I see it now, I hear it. He won’t be imprisoned anymore. I will save him.
I bring him out of the hole, give him a hug. I cannot recognize this person, but he feels family, he feels blood.
I let him catch his breath, give him some water and a blanket. He seems exiled by the “benevolent queen.”
I let him know that he won’t be down that hole anymore. I see him now, and I can listen to him. He seems like a distant relative, like an ancestral relative, maybe in his 20s, being exiled by his family for having pain and misery.
I am being with him.
Other parts of me are getting scared, what if the benevolent queen finds out that you’ve saved him!
I acknowledge them and their fear, thank them for showing up. And let them know that I hear them and will tend to their feelings.
I ask the exiled prince if he’s ok to be on his own for a little bit while I speak with Queen to better understand where she is coming from.
He warns me of the power of the queen, and her “benevolent animosity” towards unwanted feelings.
I thank him for expressing his concerns, and that I can understand them. I ask him to have faith in me: “I just want to know the part better, and will not let any part prison any other part. I am the king of this kingdom.”
He feels more assured and allows me to go see the benevolent queen.
I see her. I see her smile. Her presence is happy but her joy is not deep. She notices me. I sense fear in her, as if she’s trying to hide something
I notice a part of me that is trying to prescribe justice to her, a part of me that is angry with her for mistreating and exiling the young relative, the name “young prince” comes to mind.
I can feel this part’s anger and range towards the queen. This is my knight. He is ready to serve justice.
Towards my knight:
- “I see you. I notice your anger and pain. I feel the injustice that you feel. I feel your rage. I can see it.”
I hold him with care, let him be seen and felt.
I tell him that I empathize with the young prince and what happened to him. I let him know that the queen is also family. And I would love to get to know her better, and understand where she is coming from.
He calms down. I ask him if he can give space, and stand outside the window and watch if he wants. He’s hesitant but ok with that.
I see that the queen is less scared of me.
I noticed there are other parts of me that are also confused with why she exiled the young prince to the bottom of a hole where no one could find him.
I ask them to kindly give me some space so that I can explore her point of view and be able to help us understand each other better.
They hesitate but say OK.
The queen watched all of these negative reactions from her followers, who used to love her absolutely and unconditionally, and are now completely shocked by what the found out. She seems scared and worried.
I notice she’s blended: I notice there’s a part of her that wants to hide and lie. It seems to me that this part is like her most loyal servant. Her doer of deeds.
I notice that part.
“Hi there. I see you and acknowledge you. What is your role?”
- “to protect the queen”
“And why do you do your role?”
- “If the queen falls, the kingdom falls. The kingdom is held by the queen.”
[an analyzing part of me is coming and is worried if this whole revelation of this “positivity part” will drastically change me and provide more instability and unhappiness in my life. I see it and acknowledge it, and thank it for caring about the system. I let it know that revelations although might create some instability in the beginning, in the long-term they are the reasons for lasting peace and joy. He feels better and goes to watch from behind the window, with many other parts.
I acknowledge all of those parts watching from behind the window. I let them know that I see them and I send them my love.]
I ask the loyal servant: “What would happen if the kingdom falls.”
- “We will be ruled by constantly changing moods and emotions.”
I ask him if that has ever happened before?
- “Maybe long, long time ago. I haven’t seen it myself. But I’ve heard that it could happen and that’s why I’m protecting the queen and the kingdom from it.”
I tell him
“so you’re working very hard to protect the whole kingdom from instability and chaos. Thank you for letting me know about that. I truly appreciate your intentions and your hard work towards this goal. Your loyalty is exemplary and I celebrate your existence”
- “It’s really nice to hear some appreciation. I’ve always felt like I had to work undercover, in deceit, in lies, but my goal has always been to protect the kingdom. I was willing to suffer myself, but save the kingdom.”
“Wow, I am amazed by your degree of commitment and love for this king-dome. And I’m honored to be able to have this see-through conversation with you”
- “Thank you”
“What would happen if you didn’t have to work so hard anymore, and the kingdom could be in peace.”
- “I would be relieved, I would like to go mix and mingle with all the citizens. I would like to meet them and party with them. Or just be present in their sadness and pain. I want to be one of the citizens.”
“Do you know who I am?”
- “No. who are you?”
“I am Sasha. The Self, the leader of this community. The one who gives unconditional love to all its members. I care about all of them and every and each one of them. I am 32 years old and I live in the 21st century. It’s actually year 2020.”
- “Oh wow!! I thought we were in the 1500s. I’ve been working for so long without even noticing the time change.”
“I appreciate you. And everything you’ve intended to do for this kingdom. And I would like to let you know that we are safe now. And there is a leader who cares for all of the members, including you, yourself. You don’t need to worry about the kingdom anymore. You are free!”
I can see the tears of the servant. The unbelievable joy. Like the chains coming off. He’s on the ground crying. He’s free now. He doesn’t need to do his role anymore.
- “Does that mean I get to be one of the citizens now? What about everything I’ve done in the past? Will I get punished?”
“Everything you have done in the past was with the best of intentions. You were a loyal servant and soldier of this kingdom trying to protect them. Not only you won’t get punished, but I would like to celebrate your loyalty and ask you if you would like to choose a new role?”
- “oh man! [tears] thank you for noticing all of my intention and loyalty for this kingdom. I’ve never been appreciated before. I felt so lonely. So lonely!”
“My pleasure. I see you now. And you are part of our family and community. What role would you like to have in our community?”
- “I would like to be present with all of the people, all of the community members. I would like to listen to their sadness and pain and celebrate with their joy and happiness. I have been away for too long. I want to be with them all.”
“What would you like to name yourself?”
- “The listener. I want to be able to listen to all the of community members and just be a soothing presence to them.”
“That is great! I believe in you! And we can make that happen. Is there any burdens or beliefs you would like to get rid of?”
- “Yes, my uniform. It symbolizes the belief that the ends justify the means. It no longer serves me. Harmony is created with presence and love. Harmony goes slow, but slowly and slowly we can go very fast!
- “I would like to have a ceremony to give my uniform away in the fire. I would like to invite all of the community members to watch.”
“ok Let’s make that happen.”
There’s a gigantic ceremony. all of the parts have gathered. all parts of all ages. All around a big fire. They can all see the servant.
The servant (the listener):
- “I give up this uniform and my role, because it no longer represents what I believe. Harmony is created with love. Love between all of us. With presence, with attention to all of each other’s needs. With compassion.
- I feel honored to be a part of this community, and extremely joyful to be free of my previous beliefs. I was a lonely man. But now, I have the biggest family I could’ve ever imagined. I love you all and want to be with you all.”
[throws the uniform in fire, and watches it burn]
He’s in tears.
The young prince goes up to him and gives him a hug, and he says “you are one of us. You are family. And we love you.”
All the other parts come and group hug him as he’s in tears.
I look around and try to find the queen.
The queen is just a kid, maybe 3–4 years old. She’s dancing and singing around the fire. She is also being loved by all the members of the community which she loves them back too.
I extend my love to all of them. I let them know that I see them and recognize them. We are one community, one family, one team, one kingdom. We are one, we are many, we are both.
I check to see how the listener is integrated in the community some time later.
I can see that the listener has turned into an old wise man, who cares for all members of the community, plays with the young kids, tells them stories, and holds space for the sick and unfortunate.
He loves everyone and everyone loves him.