Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Eye of Ego

"We must not allow other people's perceptions to define us."
                                                                                                                -Virginia Satir


In the title of this blog, I spell the word, I, as eye. The way we look at the world and perceive the world and everyone and everything around us is dependent upon us and our ego. Our eye of perspective comes from our own unique, independent perspective. It is about us. It is this personification of ourselves which separates us from others. Yes, it makes us different, in a sense, and it also separates us. A bigger truth is that everyone has their own perspective and we all have egos which drive us, and most importantly, what happens or what is said by others is not usually about us, it is about the other. It is our reactions to others and events which are about us; it is our eye.

I was working with a gentleman recently who is a very gentle, generous soul, and who perceives his father as loving, but a person who was all about himself and driven by his own needs; in particular his need to drink. Everything was about him. In this gentleman's life, that was true. It was his eye of perception. His mother was loving and giving and nurturing and he was too close to her, although he did love his father. This gentleman carries a lot of pain in him, and it takes the form of chronic body pains. His father and mother divorced when he was little, and he lived mostly with his mother growing up from around the age of 10 on. He wonders about the physical pain and conditions he carries.

What he didn’t know or perceive, because as a child he couldn’t know, was that his father's parents, his grandparents, lost a child, a boy, before he was born. This boy lived for about 2 days before he died. Soon after his dad was born. He perceived his father as being all about himself, and looking elsewhere, and driven to drink. He was slowly killing himself with alcohol. As we looked at this dynamic through the lens of Family Constellations, he was able to begin to see something else at play. He was able to see beyond his own eye of perspective;  to see his father as a lost young boy, unconsciously feeling as though he shouldn’t live if his brother couldn’t. It is these unconscious loyalties which so deeply affect us without us knowing in a conscious way. 

My client realized that he carries his father's pain in a very physical way, and also realized that his patterns of pain began close to the age his parents were when they divorced. And this dovetailed with a divorce of his own. His father carried his parent's pain and this man carries his father's pain, the pain of the divorce for both his parents, the pain of not having a present father, and his own pain of his parent's divorce, and feels it in bodily issues and pains. As he began to see these dynamics at play in his life, his eye of perception changed. As we can do that shift, we can also begin the process of shifting our own lives in a way where we can live more fully, claim our vitality, claim our health, and live the life we choose instead of the life we unconsciously make. 
Shift Our Story/Shift Our Life

This game is kind of fun. Gather a close friend or family member and each of you tells each other a story of your life. After you share this story, have them say their perception of what happened and the events. Then do the same for your friend and listen to them ad their story, and share your perception of the story or event. Compare with each other how this was for you and what you learned.

And, if you would like to do something more personal, think of a situation in your life that has impacted you. What is your perception of that situation and the people involved? Now, go through each person involved in that situation or conversation and in your mind's eye see what that same situation or event or conversation might have been like for them; see if you can see their perception. Do this with everyone involved, and just take it all in. Give this time for you to feel this experience and for it to find a place within you. Write down how this was for you, and what, if anything, you gained from doing the exercise.