Did you know that there are some insights about yourself you just can’t acquire through the mind? I know this from personal experience, and the first time I gained an insight through my body, it blew my mind – in a great way!
Allow me to lay a little groundwork.
First, science affirms that unconscious forces make up 95% of who we are – how we think and make decisions, emotional reactions, personality quirks, and even to whom we’re attracted.
Second, you can think about your ego as consciousness, the part of you that knows what it knows and thinks it knows all there is to know. Your ego is what stands between what you know and the realm of the unconscious, but it plays lots of roles as it helps you manage the tension between staying safe in the known and the risks inherent in exploring the unknown. A healthy ego knows when to loosen the reins and allow you to explore your inner world (which means surrendering to the unknown) and then to partner with you to make meaning out of your experience.
Third, to explore your inner world, you need to learn the language of the unconscious, which communicates through images, which I like to clarify as impressions. Images in this conversation are not only visual, rather they are experiences that are trying to get your attention, prompting you to pay attention to something that’s not on your radar.
Fourth, the root of psychology is soul, to which I dedicate several paragraphs in my book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening? Soul is that part of us that is also bigger than us and prompts us to find meaning in our experience as a human being. The Soul speaks through the unconscious. Depth psychology is the study of the unconscious.
Finally, real knowing is incomplete if it’s only of the mind. The root of knowing is relating, which implies that knowing requires relationship with what is known. When one has truly understood or come to know a concept, it is an embodied experience, the result of a partnership between the mind and the body/soul.
Are You Brave Enough to Write a Poem?
Many of my blog posts have explored and communicated in a way that calls on your mind to understand something. The Try This section is my attempt to encourage you to get out of your mind to receive messages from your unconscious and then to journal about them, which again prioritizes the mind.
In this post, I’m going to challenge you to get out of your mind. I know you’ll be uncomfortable, which if you think about it, means you’re entering the unknown, which is the whole point. Here’s a reflection question to prime the pump as they say.
Are you one of those people who says, "I don't get poetry," so therefore you don't like it? It’s a sure sign you're in your head too much and allowing your ego and mind to dominate. Of course, it's safer that way, but you're missing out on so much. Of course, you don't know what you don't know until you're willing to explore your inner world. Poetry is the result of an agreement to be a vessel in which creative intelligence mixes with your unique experience of being human. This act requires surrendering to something bigger than you - but also part of you - that is seeking expression through you. But that's not all. You then must be receptive to the mixing of mysterious forces within, and that's when your mind comes in - to help bring form how the creation wishes to be expressed. If you can get over yourself, you will find a new kind of courage in being vulnerable enough to try your hand at a poem. I'm partial to the Tanka form of poetry because it gives me a little more than a Haiku and at the same time doesn't require too much of me. Writing poetry still makes me sweat! Tanka = 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. It would be amazing if you'd try it out in the privacy of your own space and then have the courage to put it out there. Follow me on Instagram to get a steady diet of reflection questions and my musings.
It's Not About Being an Artist
It’s difficult enough for me to get my clients to journal, but getting them to draw in an image journal . . . or getting them to close their eyes and drop back into a dream and allow their imagination to guide them . . . But when they get up the courage to try it out, those are our best sessions, because the insights, clarity, and meaning just had not been available to them through their minds.
Stories are a great way to help people relate to something new, so allow me to tell a story.
It was fall of 2016, about six months after my divorce was finalized, and after a short and intense burst of online dating. I had found myself swept up in a romance with a younger man – seventeen years younger – and had felt intense desire I hadn’t felt before. I felt as if I was in a movie.
About eight weeks into the relationship, I had this dream the night before my new lover, and I were to go hiking in a state park.
I was in a restroom at a state park,
it was cold, dark, and empty.
I had finished going to the bathroom and walked out of the steel stall.
It was completely dark,
and I could not see my way out of the bathroom.
I walked slowly, my hands out in front of me,
dragging my feet across the cement floor,
until I felt the door.
Suddenly, I was standing in the doorway with my back facing outside.
I fell backwards and tumbled down the hill.
No matter how wide I opened my eyes I could see only blackness.
I noticed that I felt trusting, and my fall was slow and soft.
After a few backwards somersaults, I slowed down,
and then continued falling.
This time I noticed the soft warm breeze
and swirling freshly fallen leaves
that enveloped me on the way down the hill.
I felt more safe and secure than I had ever felt in my life.
When I awoke, the feeling stayed with me. It was striking that I had never felt that way before. It felt so comforting that for weeks I attempted to drop back into the dream and the feeling . . . until I couldn’t anymore.
I didn’t want to let it go, so I drew the image (shown here). I was nervous. I didn’t know how to draw a person falling down the hill, so I searched online for how to do that. I felt so nervous about drawing this image.
Then . . . something made me continue the drawing, adding a pair of hands at the bottom page, as if they were there to catch me. Suddenly, I came to know something I hadn’t known in a complete way – that I was loved by something other than literal human beings, something that offered love unconditionally. It is one thing to know this intellectually, but as most people that have difficult relationships with parents, letting something go intellectually isn’t enough.
And there was more . . .
It was as if the dream was telling me my near future would feel as if I was in the dark, tumbling through a new relationship experience. That I would be okay.
All that from a dream, my body, drawing, and allowing my imagination/Self/
unconscious to guide me? Yes!
You’re missing out if you don’t try this. Oh, and for you men who are dismissing this, you should know that this is the kind of stuff very wealthy and successful CEO’s do, you just don’t know it. Successful people have been using meditation, mindfulness, visualization, and other methods of extraordinary knowing.
Consider a message you’ve received from your unconscious recently, a dream, synchronicity, emotional outburst, bodily aches and pains or illness, unexpected reaction to a film or Netflix series.
Instead of journaling, where your mind is likely to take the lead, try drawing the image. You will feel foolish as you sit there and stare at the blank page but take a breath and sigh it out and find the space between thoughts. Linger there as you welcome what comes up from your unconscious. Draw whatever it is without judgement. It could be words, shapes, colors, people, landscape, it doesn’t matter at all what you draw. Surrender to what wants to come out. Seriously, you may end up just drawing the same circle repeatedly. It has meaning.
When you’re done (you’ll know), stand back and pay attention to how your body feels and your emotions. Don’t resist what comes up, don’t judge, linger in it, even if it means having a big old cry (which is awesome by the way).
Now, go move around, take a walk, go have a glass of wine or eat some yummy food.
Journal about your experience and see what insights might come up.
I’m on a mission to get more people to self-reflect and explore their inner world, which is the only way to change our outer world. Need more resources:
Buy my new book, Your Soul is Talking. Are You Listening? 5 Steps to Uncovering Your Hidden Purpose. I will teach you the language of the unconscious and I expand on this framework for exploring your inner world. You can now purchase my paperback online at Barnes & Noble if you're looking for an alternative to Amazon. I'm still working out kinks so you can purchase it on bookshop.org to support independent and local bookstores.
Enjoy my new podcast, Dose of Depth, where I invite people to explore the deeper meaning of ordinary life experiences, through conversation, stories, and education. Be entertained and inspired by my blog posts, which are inspired by my midlife journey. Join my Soul Talk Members Only subscription program. A small monthly contribution of $10 supports my mission to get my framework for self-reflection to more people, and gets you access to monthly live zoom calls. The first one is this Thursday, May 5, 6pm EST. Or you can make a one-time $100 donation to support my work and get a 30 min. FREE depth psychology chat. Thank you for supporting my mission to get more people to self-reflect. Follow me on Instagram @dlukovich to get Reflection Questions and other inspiring posts and updates on what I’m up to.
As always, thank you for your support and for having the courage to explore your inner world.