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Mini Me is Dead!

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

A Client Tale About When Liberation Overcomes Anxiety

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Onto this post:

When Do We Really Know We’ve Changed?

My clients teach me so much, and they help me become conscious of my own talent for being their witness and guide as they come into deeper relationship with Self.

Something new had been coming to the surface for me for a while, an awareness of the subtle nature of changing who we are. When do we really step into this new version of ourselves? How do we know we can trust ourselves not to slip backwards? Where does the courage come from to disrupt entrenched patterns that cause our suffering? When does the truth really set us free?

Recently, one of my clients had this realization on her own. We’ll call her Mary. I had been seeing her for about ten months. During our first session, she was still grieving the end of her marriage, and feeling angry at herself for staying in a relationship that had required her to sacrifice her feisty self. She was mad that she didn’t stand up for herself, that she went along with things that disempowered her.

During a recent session, Mary showed me this picture of a broken doll. “I hate those old-fashioned dolls. They’re creepy,” she said. Her sister had given the doll with the porcelain head to her when she was going through the toughest part of ending her marriage. Mary had put it up on a shelf. For some odd reason, her sister made an eye patch for the ugly old-fashioned looking doll.

The day before our session, the doll had mysteriously fallen off the shelf, and its porcelain head shattered. Mary just looked at it, and said, “Mini me is dead!” We talked about how liberated she felt in that moment.

The doll had represented a part of her she didn’t like, and after all her work, she finally got to the peak of the mountain, where she could look back and clearly see what she had shed, what she had left behind, what died to make room for something new.

“I like myself,” Mary said again. “I really like myself.”

This was also after she had recently broken up with her first post-divorce romance.

I often tell my clients that I’m a slow learner, but I’m learning. Whatever life lesson you need to learn seems like you’ll be learning it for the rest of your life. But you learn faster, you catch yourself doing the same thing sooner. You can course correct.

Mary had decided to end this romance because she realized she was falling into the same trap of acquiescing, of over-adapting, of losing herself again.

The broken ugly doll was a reminder that that part of her was dead now.

We both became animated as we dug even deeper. That heavy but delicate porcelain head symbolized the ego, the mind, which had been in the way of Mary’s relationship with her body and her own inner wisdom about herself. Her sister’s intuitive knowing that this doll represented her suffering added the touch of the eye patch, which could be seen to prompt her to shake up her senses. They say that when one of our senses has been compromised, another sense gains in strength. In the past, Mary had not been able to see the truth with her own eyes.

The depth of the moment during our session was striking. Seeing the broken doll on the floor brought a sense of liberation for Mary. There was no anxiety left. She had crossed a major threshold.

Mini Mary was dead!

The Dance Between Liberation and Anxiety

If you have been following me for a while, you’ve gotten a feel for what it looks and feels like to unravel. Unraveling is full of drama, sadness, guilt, shame, and even terror.

I suspect that those who are uncomfortable calling this phase of life a crisis, haven’t been faced with the moment when everything you thought was true isn’t anymore. Perhaps they’ve been successful in keeping it at bay. But it is the feeling of being in crisis that acts as the prompt or invitation to embark on the journey to coming into deeper relationship with Self. CG Jung named this process individuation.

Coming into deeper relationship with Self facilitates a deeper relationship with the external world too, and with the Divine, creative intelligence, God, whatever you want to call it.

Those who are uncomfortable with that word crisis might be clinging to the idea that there is nothing deeper to who they are, nothing that is desperately seeking to be unleashed from their unconscious. But that’s okay. Everyone’s journey is different, and the role we play in the collective is also different.

Either way, once you surrender to the falling apart phase, there’s a moment of liberation, a feeling of freedom that is felt deep in the body, usually in the very Chakra or energy field where the battle is being fought. For me, for many, it is the Sacral Chakra, the belly, the place of emotion, chaos, creativity, sexuality, relationship.

Way back in the beginning phase of my unraveling, the dream I had about my teeth falling out wasn’t a reminder of the obviousness of my actual falling apart. The dream was asking me to surrender to falling apart, to stop fighting it, to stop trying to figure out how to fall apart in the right way. The dream was also affirming and prophetic, because upon waking, I did let it all go, including the fantasy of falling apart right. Well, not totally, new fantasies of my future post-divorce situation included holidays with a new kind of extended family that included my husband’s future new wife. We could all still be friends, right?

Without surrender, the letting go of my mind’s need to know how I was going to figure everything out, a space opened to receive knowledge, hints, little breadcrumbs, or guidance from another source of knowing beyond the mind.

In that first moment of surrender, there’s a little twinge of liberation. It’s so fleeting that it’s often not recognized, because liberation is quickly countered by another stronger twinge that you have done something wrong, even immoral. And then you have an argument in your mind about whether in fact that little disruption in how you had been living your life was indeed right or wrong.

The liberation feels so good, and it gives you the courage to give in, give up, let go of controlling and fixing. Liberation is felt in the body, but so is the counter anxiety that follows and often overtakes liberation. The anxiety though comes from the mind’s uncertainty about how the hell you’re going to get through what is ahead of you. Liberation and anxiety have a little war with each other. Anxiety wants to keep you safe, and liberation wants to set you free. They must now become partners.

But you get through the next day, and then the next week, and then the next year. And there are new moments of liberation followed by anxiety about whether that new way of responding to your partner is morally right. That’s how deep the pattern can be; that choosing you feels morally wrong.

If you’re not ready to find truth for yourself, you may deflect from the inevitable by distracting yourself with sex, alcohol, gambling, or other surface level activities that will eventually lose their allure.

Then there’s this moment when you don’t give a shit anymore, and you’re open to the mysteries of life. You might get swept up in an irrational and ironic romance, you might quit your six-figure job without having a new job to take its place, you might pick up and move to a beach town without knowing how you’re going to earn a living. You might sign up for a writing course, and then start a podcast, and then publish a book in 90 days, and then move again for irrational reasons.

You just keep moving forward, following breadcrumbs, embracing the awkwardness and vulnerability of expressing new parts of yourself.

Often, my clients don’t really notice that they’ve become someone new. It happens so subtly over months, and unless they stop and reflect about their starting point, they just don’t notice. All they know is they feel better.

“I like myself,” or “I know choosing me was the right thing,” are common sentiments shared by my clients who get to this powerful moment.

I can see it coming before they can, and sometimes, a client will say or do something that is so striking to me, something they would never have said or done six months earlier. It stops me in my tracks, and I force them to slow down the moment so they can linger in their success. It's so beautiful!

Try This:

Take an inventory of a specific timeframe of your life. You could journal about what has happened in your life since the beginning of the year or start your journaling from the time of a traumatic event, like a death in the family, divorce, or major health crisis. You could journal about your teenage years, college experience, first career, or being pregnant with your first child. We often lose track of our own development when we fail to consider it within a larger context. Pick a starting point and see what memories come up.

Identify a defining moment in your life, a moment when you realized you had become someone different. What is it that changed? How had your perspective or outlook changed? What pattern of thinking or behaving had you let go of, and what replaced them? One spiritual law states that nature hates a vacuum, which is why permanent change is so difficult. You might intentionally stop doing one thing, but without replacing it with at least a temporary better alternative, you are likely to be pulled back to that old way of responding to similar situations. The more you can go back and identify the nuance of the moment you let go of an old pattern, and how you navigated the transition to the one that took its place, the stronger the momentum for even more growth.

More Resources:

I’m on a mission to grow a movement of self-reflecting humans. I take to heart CG Jung’s warning that the fate of humanity depends upon the self-reflecting individual. When we grow our capacity to see the dysfunction of the world as an invitation to turn inward, we are rewarded with new insights and ideas that represent increased personal consciousness. Our expanded consciousness manifests in new ways of engaging with the world around us, and this is how the individual contributes to the expansion of collective consciousness.

It is my commitment to this mission that inspires all my content, and so much of it is FREE. Ready to come into deeper relationship with what is seeking expression inside you?

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Thank you!

Dr. Deborah

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