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With the Best Will in the World, Change can be Challenging

What helps you get stuff done?

In psychosynthesis terms, the Will is as important an energy as Love.

Where Love energy is very accepting, nurturing and holding, Will energy is more, ‘Right. Let’s DO this.’

We need both energies but typically, feel more affinity to one or the other.

Without Will, too much Love energy can become wishy washy, too tolerant and accepting.

Without Love, well… there’s horrifying talk in the UK at the moment about an Australian style approach to human beings, desperate to reach safe shore (ie murdering them by pushing them back out to sea).

There are too many examples of people acting without that Love energy.

Fortunately, there are many many more examples of that powerful, archetypal Love energy working its magic, slowly but surely birthing a more sustainable, compassionate and just world for all.

Assagioli and Parvati

Roberto Assagioli, the creator of psychosynthesis, was as influenced by ancient Eastern philosophies as he was by Freud, who he’d worked with.

When he suggests standing on a chair (The Act of Will, 1974), just for the sake of it, every day, as a way to develop the Will (so important for resilience), he may have been thinking of the Hindu goddess, Parvati.

She stood on one leg in a cold river for months or even years (according to legend) and attained enlightenment.

Parvati image from internet search (11/8/20) but the link didn’t work. If you know the source, please let me know so I can credit them. Thanks.

Parvati represents commitment to practice.

Whether we’re practicing a musical instrument or a new language, dance, yoga and meditation, learning anything new or simply taking vitamins on a more regular basis, we can contemplate Parvati’s steady, unwavering energy.

It can help us stay steady and strong when we want to do anything at all.

Which of your self care practices are so engrained you no longer think of them as daily practices?

Which ones serve you?

Which (perhaps not so much self care but definitely ingrained) practices might you release?

Everything we do repeatedly is a practice, we simply tend to give more attention to what we wish we were doing than what we might call bad habits

What practice/s would you LIKE to make daily?

As well as creating new neural pathways as we practice the new thing until we embody it, we potentially transform our lives.

The Call of the Wild ~ Take Better Care of Yourself online membership is Very Nearly Ready (huge tech breakthrough yesterday) so I’ll share more about this soon. It’s designed to help support you with various self care practices from the comfort of your own home.

Assagioli divided the Will into four types:

Strong Will

Strong will is when we bulldoze our way through life. We might get things done but at what cost?

We might drive ourselves too hard and burnout.

We might, as with the politicians mixing up refugees and immigrants (although, as an immigrant myself and daughter of immigrants, I’m very pro immigration, too) above, forget our humanity and harm others.

We might blugeon others with our opinions rather than listening and attempting to understand.

It’s not all bad, of course, Parvati’s strong will worked for her. Assagioli’s stood him in good stead when he was a political prisoner under Italy’s fascist regime in 1940.

We use strong will to give us whatever push we might need. It gets things done and, when balanced with Love and the other kinds of will, Strong WIll is a wonderful thing.

I’ve just created a narrow garden path through the field at the back of the house. I’ve been planting trees and rewilding but this is a delightful addition. I could have attempted Strong Will and dug it up myself .

It would have taken ages and even if I’d managed, I may well have then spent the next decade or so nursing various new and old injuries.

Thankfully, I found someone with a digger to do it. At one point, the smaller machine (which carries the top soil and other stuff that’s dug), toppled over!

I had no idea what would happen next but they simply and seemingly effortlessly used the big digger to upturn the little (but still huge) machine.

Strong Will can be a benevolent power which helps us stand firm, protective, get things done with ease.

Can you think of a time in your life where you’ve use Strong Will well?

Maybe when you’ve overdone it?

I have to watch myself, sometimes (a lot) online where I disagree with SO MANY PEOPLE. Thankfully, I mostly catch myself, pause, take a deeper, calming breath and, if responding, attempt to do so from a more loving energy instead of simply arguing.

When you think of your life right now, something you’re facing or working towards – how might Strong Will help you?

Skillful Will

Skillful Will is when we adapt to our surroundings, change our approach and use skill to make the change.

It’s possible that Parvati used Skillful Will to go off to her cold river and stand on one leg to attract Shiva knowing that it would take something very radical to stand out!

I used Skillful Will in recognising my limitations and hiring people who knew what they were doing!

The UK Government might choose to use Skillful Will (in my opinion) to pause and stop becoming more and more extreme in an effort to look ‘tough on immigration’. They might speak to people affected and ponder ways in which resources can be used to support our fellow human beings wherever they are.

This would minimise the desperation felt by people who’ve been forced by circumstances beyond what we can even imagine to risk everything for the chance at a better life. It would also help make the world a better place for everyone.

Sometimes, Skillful Will (like anything) can be used in an unbalanced way and it can be manipulative.

Can you think of a time where you used Skillful Will effectively?

When perhaps you wish you hadn’t?

How you might use Skillful Will to support the change/s you’re working towards right now?

Good Will

Good Will is similar to Love energy. Like Metta and Ho’oponopono

We harness Good Will by connecting with that empowered, resourceful part of ourselves that knows that even if we’re fearful about whatever it might be, we can BE KIND.

We can consider others’ needs and wants.

We can be generous.

Can you think of a time where you used Good Will and it was the right thing to do, putting the greater good ahead of your own priorities?

Can you think of a time when it WASN’T (Skillful Will can help us discern, too)?

How might you bring more Good Will into whatever you’re working with at the moment?

Transpersonal Will

This is my favourite. It felt like madness to me at first but the more I’ve learned to trust in Nature / Divine Love / God/dess / the Universe and to ask that I be used for my and others’ highest good each morning, life has become far less stressful

It’s still stressful – I’m alive. It’s 2020 – but I feel a sense of peace (even when enraged and wanting to do much much more to somehow make things better for the people facing so much injustice and hardship) that’s pretty new to me (the last decade or so).

Typing this, even though I happily tell people who ask, ‘Psychosynthesis is a transpersonal psychology’ there’s a part of me that’s thinking, ‘But we don’t KNOW that there’s anything beyond the personal (ie transpersonal)’.

And then, I look up from my laptop and see the sticks from the pear tree that was snapped in high winds. Against all the odds, sprouting to the degree that I think I’ll have 5 pear trees where I’d planted one.

And I know that nature is miraculous.

There’s a part of ALL of us (we are part of nature, after all), that knows exactly what we need and how to heal. How to flourish.

None of us are broken beyond repair

We often get distracted by life’s woes but when it feels safe enough and we get still enough to connect with the Transpersonal Will energy, well, transformation not only occurs but it happens as gently and painlessly as possible.

When have you been aware of Transpersonal Will in your life?

How might you connect with it more now?

All of them are important

Which type/s of Will resonated with you most?

Do you feel you’re accessing your capacity to work with all of them?

What might help you bring more balance into the way you get things done?

What one thing will you commit to doing daily from today?

It doesn’t really matter what it is, just that you continue, even when you don’t really want to.

Obviously, am suggesting something that supports you and others rather than anything harmful but what teeny tiny change are you ready to begin strengthening your Will muscles with today?

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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