integral psychotherapist, clinical hypnotherapist,
relationship coach, and international radio show host. She works with
her clients to move them towards greater personal, professional, and
relationship success with her integral approach to life based on
conscious self-development and choosing responsibility for the self.
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Your Inner Garden
by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D.
have often told me that they fear being by themselves. That they fear
their own company. That they will do anything to avoid an evening on
their own. Other clients tell me that while they may not fear being
alone, they find it a most boring proposition, and can’t quite imagine
how to fill the time, other than with TV or a novel. Others refer to
being uncomfortable in their own company, and hence, avoid it. (See
also: Making Choices: Taking Responsibility For Our Lives).
three alternatives lead us to the same conclusion: if this is how you
feel about being alone with yourself, somehow you are not connected to
yourself – and - more importantly, you have no real relationship with
yourself, and therefore, probably don’t know yourself.
Why is this important?
Someone You Fear
marrying someone whom you fear being alone with, someone whom you avoid
spending an evening with on your own. Imagine marrying someone you find
so boring, that you would not want to spend time alone with them. Or
imagine marrying someone in whose company you feel uncomfortable,
and therefore, you avoid this person.
Sounds like a bad joke, doesn’t it? You’d run ten miles before marrying
such a person. You’d do anything
not to have to spend time with such a person. Nevertheless, that’s the
situation we have with ourselves when we don’t recognize the value and
importance of establishing a relationship with ourselves that makes us enjoy
our own company, find ourselves interesting companions about whom we
can always learn something new, and who can always lead us to deeper
and deeper levels of understanding, and who is fun and exciting to be
with…on our own.
You Interested in Yourself?
Really? Is such a relationship with the self really possible? It
basically comes down to what Jung termed the conjunctio,
in other words the meeting of two separate parts of the self (generally
unconscious) in the process of becoming a whole, or of uniting, and in
so doing, of transforming.
But that actually sounds like a lot
of psycho-babble. Who can contemplate overcoming what sounds like such
a difficult hurdle? Anyway, who has the time and money to go into
therapy in order to learn about all these things, and explore the deep
dark past of one’s childhood? In actual fact, it is not so hard, and it
whether or not you go into therapy. It has a lot to do with becoming
conscious and aware of the self, with a desire for knowledge of the
self, and with the acceptance of responsibility for the self. So
basically it has a lot to do with how
interested you are in yourself.
and Becoming What You Can Truly Be
who brought us the idea of the integral, or holistic human being, said
that becoming what we can truly be, growing into that which is
inherently in us when we are born, is what the process of individuation
is all about.
Maslow, who brought us the hierarchy
of needs said that in order to self-actualize, we need to
become everything that we are capable of becoming.
Joseph Campbell said we should follow our bliss.
Bored with the Self
All of these concepts refer in some way to self-knowledge, but also to meaning.
(See Finding a Meaning in Your Life).One can only be bored in one’s own
company, if there is no meaning in the life; if the individual has not
yet bothered to think about what meaning he or she could give to his or
her life. I won’t delve more deeply into that subject, as it has been
dealt with in some detail in the afore-mentioned article, but I do
encourage you to explore it in order to begin to understand how to find
the meaning in your life.
of Being Alone with the Self
you fear being alone with yourself, perhaps you feel there is so much
in you that you hate, or despise, or judge, or criticize, that it is
simply a very dangerous proposition to spend time there…together with
yourself. In other words, it is scary to be with someone towards whom
you have these very negative feelings. So doesn’t it make sense to get
to know this person that you are inside and out, and to clean out, if
necessary, all those parts that are reprehensible, or, even better, to
come to realize that there are actually no really truly reprehensible
parts, and that you are, in fact, a rather enjoyable person to be with?
But this is only possible if you take the journey inside in order to
begin to get to know yourself…more importantly, in order to begin to love yourself.
of the difficult feelings you may have about yourself can be addressed
by using the “energy barometer” I refer to in the article Your Energy
Barometer: Make Your Mind Body Connection Work for You. Shifting your
energetic vibration, in other words deliberately making yourself
will automatically take you to other levels where your thoughts and
feeling about yourself will change. On those other, higher levels, it
is so much harder for negative or low energy thoughts to find a
breeding ground. When you are feeling good, how often do you dwell on
downward-spiralling thoughts? When you are feeling good, you don’t want
to cry. So shifting your energetic vibration to a higher level, is
something I encourage you to start practicing every single day, each and every
time you recognize that you are spiraling downward.
Uncomfortable with the Self
you are uncomfortable with yourself, it may have much to do with the
fact that you have simply not much knowledge of yourself, and so
feeling uncomfortable is similar to how you feel with a comparative
stranger, about whom you know little, and who therefore does not create
the sensation of ease and comfort a good friend does. Doesn’t it make
sense to try to become your
own best friend?
Again, in so doing, you will begin to not only appreciate yourself, but
also like and love yourself. Even admire yourself. Imagine spending all
your time with a friend about whom you feel this way…and this friend is
the Inner Garden
wrote earlier that this process need not be difficult, tedious, and
certainly does not require the services of a therapist. It does,
however, entail something akin to gardening. When you plant a seed in
the garden of your house, or in a pot on your terrace, you know very
well, that in order for it to grow into a strong oak tree, an elegant
palm that sways in the wind, a rose, a geranium, sweet-smelling
rosemary, or a flowering perfumed hibiscus, it first needs soil
(preferably rich), water, sunlight, care, and constancy. The inner garden is no different.
the soil in which you are beginning your process of growth is not
particularly fertile at this time. You know that out there, in the
external world, you can create a compost heap in order to enrich the
soil you use for your plants. In the internal world you can begin to
feed your soil (your mind, heart, and soul), with reading and viewing
material that will convert into great compost, rather than trashing
your garden with leftover junk food and plastic waste (which on the
inner level might be likened to the mass media shows and books or
magazines that many people like to read and view as a steady diet, and
which has no hope of ever converting into rich soil). Tend your garden
well and watch the lush process of your own inner growth that will take
place. Only you can do this for yourself, and only you can make the
decision to begin it now…