The Three Amigos
The Mindful Self, The Intuitive Self and The Creative Self
This blog is the first in a series of blogs exploring three powerful allies the mindful self, the intuitive self and the creative self. These allies can support all aspects of your life. We have many inner voices, all part of our whole self. All valid voices that need to be listened to and understood to create a well-balanced and meaningful life.
So why are the three amigos so important?
These three selves can aid you in every area of your life, from identifying your purpose, navigating your path, providing guidance and clarity along the way. Helping you to create a life you love.
The rest of our ‘selves’ tend to serve us (with a few exceptions) within more specific environments, relationships or projects/tasks. For example, my caretaker self often emerges with my dogs, as does my parent self, especially the mother self. Mindfulness, intuition and creativity can very much support these roles. My mindful self will recognise that they’ve been sat or lying calmly and quietly, without my attention, for some time and to take a break from my work and engage with them. My intuitive self will let me know if one of them isn’t feeling well or perhaps now is not the best time to let them off the lead. Finally, my creative self helps me problem solve challenges I may have with them and enjoy playing with them.
The three amigos can always be there to support these other ‘selves’ that we have. They can make a great team for you to work with on a daily basis.
I’m going to start with the Mindful Self.
I sometimes call this self the Aware Self. Most of us have a certain level of self-awareness, but quite often when we need it most is when it lets us down, or we let it down. Many people come to see me for therapy because they have an area of their life, where they don’t feel in control, or able to manage the situation in some way. In these challenging moments, they make choices and or behave in specific ways that seem to lack the self-awareness they’d like to have. The result is often beating themselves up or belittling themselves in some way because they didn’t do what their mindful self would have chosen to do.
I’m not going to go on about the endless benefits of mindfulness, you’ll have read about that before. However, there is one benefit that doesn’t often come up that I recognised during one of my crisis moments. The choice point and this is special because in a crisis moment or even minor moments we always have a choice. So, what stops us making the best decisions in moments, where in hindsight, we would have chosen differently.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your best choices more often?
Through practised meditation and mindfulness and by building a healthy relationship with the mindful self you can. It wouldn’t be appropriate to share the details of my crisis here. I can explain how it lead me to realise the importance of mindfulness in relationship to our choices. When we experience emotion, depending on the level of emotion, we can become hijacked. Our reasoning mind no longer functions at its best, the more emotional we are, the more we are hijacked. It doesn’t even matter if we consider emotions as positive and negative, the higher we are on any emotion, the less we function cognitively. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether we are fuming with anger or desperately in love, it is unlikely we’ll make our best choices in those moments.
I often suggest to my Reiki students to use their mindfulness meditation to help take the power out of unwanted or excessive emotional states. This action on its own would be a significant step to placing yourself in a better position to make your best choices. Of course, that means practising meditation and mindfulness when you least feel like it, instead of only doing so when you already feel great… hint.
However, that’s not the exciting part, the exciting part is what happens when you begin to practice mindfulness regularly, whether that’s a sit-down meditation, or mindfulness while you wash dishes or cook dinner or walking mindfulness meditations. After a while, your mindful self will become more present in your everyday moments. You could find yourself having an extra pair of mindful eyes in any situation.
It’s a bit like the Actor’s Third Eye
No, I’m not talking about the chakra. The concept of the actor’s third eye is a good analogy for what happens when your mindful self becomes a regular part of your life. As an actor, we learn to have a third eye on stage always. While immersed in the role we are playing, a part of ourselves is watching from the wings. Is there a piece of scenery about to fall on my head? Has someone left something on stage that’s not meant to be there? We always have both the perspective of the character and our own happening simultaneously. So it is with the mindful self, a calm objective observer of your life.
The Choice Point
Many, many years ago I was in a situation that was causing me a great deal of distress. When I hit a choice point I froze, I had choices, but I froze, and I made the wrong decision. I regretted that choice for the longest time. This was over 20 years ago. 3 years ago, I found myself in a similar sort of situation, although there were differences, it was a highly charged moment and in the first moments, I froze just like I did before. But then, my mindful self kicked in and suddenly I was aware of the significance of the moment, the importance of the choice I was about to make. I could feel all the emotion that my bag of selves were experiencing and yet my mindful aware self was watching, calmly and with all the clarity I needed to make a better choice.
It was my own therapist that said… ‘wouldn’t it be great if in those moments when we have that ability to step outside of the problem and choose something different to what our habitual mind would normally choose, we could know how we did that?’ ‘Yes, I said’ and then suddenly realised, what allowed that moment of clarity and choice was mindfulness. My mindful self being strong enough to step in when the rest of my selves were falling apart at the seams. Suddenly I found a calmness in the storm and my mindful self was able to show me a better choice, a better way forward.
What steps can you take to develop your mindful self?
- Start building up a regular practice of mindfulness meditation. If you are new to mindfulness then start small, 1 – 3 minutes at most each day. Once you are experiencing the benefits, you can increase the amount of time.
- Introduce active mindfulness to simple tasks and activities, such as eating, cleaning your teeth and washing up.
- When you experience a charged emotional state, go and do a sitting meditation for a few minutes until the emotion has lessened.
- Set up an anchor for your mindful self by pressing a knuckle on your hand at any point you experience a moment of stillness and calm. Press that same knuckle when you want to call on that moment of calm stillness in the future. Anchors build over time so do this regularly for the best impact.
- Create a visual metaphor of your mindful self. Imagine that self as separate from you and observing your internal and external life. Doing this will help you build a relationship with your mindful self. It is also an excellent visual aid to observing your moments, rather than getting stuck in them.