By KRS Edstrom
You mentioned in other responses something about a “subself” that needs rewards or attention. This is exactly what I try to tell my husband is going on with me. It is like this rebel inside that has to have the cookie and won’t be happy until it gets the cookie (or doesn’t feel like exercising, wants to sleep that extra 15 minutes, etc.) What else can you share about this “subself” and how to deal with its strength and ability to sabotage the best intentions?
Curious About Subselves
Each of us has many sub-personalities or “subselves” which comprise that one person sitting there reading this. I often call these subselves “the committee” and they are formed by genetics, experience and environment. You can identify your subselves and label them if you wish or bypass labels and talk to them directly. How skillfully we communicate with each of them measures how balanced the committee is as a whole and consequently how successful we are in our jobs, our relationships, endeavors and — life.
Imagine, for example, one of your unacknowledged subselves is a rebellious teenager who holds a lot of anger and dislikes discipline. How does any teen act if unacknowledged or ignored? It’s not a pretty picture. The repercussion is that when your “wiser subself” decides to cut back on fats, start an exercise program, practice the piano or even pay the rent on time, your rebellious teen will eventually (if not immediately) make his or her voice heard through behavior that is self-sabotaging.
And one day you discover that your worthy goal has dissolved into the void and you can’t remember how or why it happened. After licking your self-esteem wounds, you try once again only to “fail” again. Most people continue this pattern an entire lifetime, never learning on a deeper level how to stop the cycle. Instead, they try new programs with new promises, failing to address the root cause.
Instead, if the rebellious teen is invited to the “round table” discussion with the rest of your committee of subselves and has the opportunity to be heard and respected, she becomes a valuable contributor versus a liability. This discussion is done through self-dialoguing where each subself inside you gets the opportunity to talk out loud, expressing her hurts, her needs and, ultimately, her compromise toward the attainment of the goals for the good of the committee.
For example, let’s imagine your wiser subself says, “I’d like to make
some goals. What do you (the committee) think about eating NO more
cookies?” The teen subself likely responds, “I think you’re DREAMING —
that’s what I think.” Wiser subself, “What about being allowed one
cookie a day or every other day?” Teen, “Well, now you’re talking!
That sounds workable and if you continue to treat me fairly like this I
will have no reason to sabotage your efforts.” This self-dialoguing
works like magic. Give it a try and you will attain more than your
weight goals. You will also attain insight into your true nature and
self-respect in the process.
I recently attended one of your meditation retreats. It was my first retreat and I think it was very productive. I hoped you could perhaps comment on what I think was a positive development in my meditation.
During the sitting, an interesting thing happened. At the end of the
I had plenty of uncomfortable physical sensations to work with. While
applying awareness to one such sensation, it happened that I no longer
felt any pain, as such. I could still feel the sensation but it was no
longer painful. I found this so interesting that I continued to
during the break and indeed found that I could get to this point with
other uncomfortable sensations. Am I on the right track or would it be
better for me to go in another direction? Thanks again. The retreat was
far and away the best meditation experience I have had.
Working With Pain
Dear Working With Pain,
You did excellent work for your first (or any) retreat. Most people spend their whole life running from unpleasantness and pain, never learning how to change their experience of it, how to transform it. They divert themselves from pain with food, relationships, shopping, talking on the phone and everything else but being with the pain in a skillful way. Imagine life without the central theme of constantly seeking pleasure and avoiding any form of unpleasantness, whether physical or emotional. Imagine being fully equipped to handle any form of unpleasantness or pain. It makes you realize how much needless time and energy is spent trying to shove unpleasantness under the carpet.
The mindfulness technique you were applying — vipassana — is about
present with body sensations. By “diving right into the middle of your
pain“ with awareness and allowingness, you broke up your knot of
aversion rooted in the middle of the pain, thus transforming not only
your physical pain but purifying consciousness as well. Good work.
My new job requires me to drive most of the day therefore I am SITTING. I lost pounds over the last year but I had a more active job than I do now. What can I do to lose 10 pounds when I sit all day? I work out but feel like I have less energy to do the things at the gym than I did before.
Sitting All Day
Many, if not most, jobs are rather sedentary in the modern era so you are not alone. The first thing to consider is that, because you are burning less daily calories with your new job, you need to reduce your caloric intake. In other words, because you are exerting less calories you need to ingest fewer calories. Simple math. The same applies when you get sick or injured and can’t exert as many calories. Besides reducing your food intake (if you haven’t already), try increasing your exercise frequency and duration a bit.
Many make the mistake of thinking they have to work out HARDER
(intensity) to “make up” for their sedentary state and consequently
out and stop exercising entirely. By increasing your exercise in the
I outlined, you should drop the desired poundage and notice an increase
in your energy level.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at www. AskKRS. com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
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