Infidelity navigation: Summary * fidelity 101 * fidelity 108 * fidelity 2 * fidelity 3 * fidelity 4 * emotional cost * triangles * how to mend * models of mending * how to forgive * the unforgivable * relationship education * exits from intimacy * ending a relationship in peace * defences * emotional intelligence * re-romancing * on vulnerability
Relationship navigation: * page list * page 1 * page 2 * page 3 * page 4 * page 5 * how to build intimacy * how to mend * models of mending * commitment quiz * toxic patterns * mental maps * tough love * boundaries * turning points * how to end * forgiving * survey of marriage * what is success * marriage research * love styles * marriage quotes * family love like the wind
How to mend navigation: 1. How to mend * 2. Models of mending * 3. How to be a grown up * 4. Hold me tight * 5. Becoming vulnerable * 6. Emotional bids * 7. Constructive fights * 8. Exits from intimacy * 9. The answer
Last edit of this page 10/02/2011
An unexamined life?
Rarely do we examine our lives to find out what kinds of answers are evidenced by our actions, hesitations, and indifferences and what ideas and mute beliefs we express about the individual and society, about our own lives, about our own freedom and responsibility. D.A.Hansen 1976
Self-reflection requires that we separate from ourselves and step back from what's happening and reflect on it. The paradox is, that in this separation we must intimately become one with the thoughts, feelings and imaginings that are occuring, even as we step back from them and use them as the data for processing what's going on for us. We split ourselves even as we are at one with ourselves. Michele Toomey
We often delay reflecting on the whole of our life.
Almost always we will come to it as a result of a life threatening experience witnessed or endured.
Here is a six step method of reflecting in the moment called focusing.
Intentionally examining one's life can be as forensic as step 4 from a 12 Step program for example, or as broad and mythic as this list.
It can be as simple and profound as noticing how our fear of falling backwards supports the shape our foot takes as it touches the ground.
That meeting of sole and ground reciprocates in the angle our sacrum, pelvis, ribs, shoulders and head greet the spine.
All together they shape our breath.
How we breath calms and excites parts of the brain to varying degrees.
Thus our posture effects (even is) how and what we sense, think, feel, say and do.
This affects how and what we eat, drink and everything that we love and fear. We are how we breathe? We are dependent on breath.
Our feet and breath hold personal, family and our culture's story unexaminded.
The quality of support behind our backs may come into consciousness with the simplest personal development tasks such as trust falls and blind walks.
It can be found in a restlessness of the fascial sheaths (fascia is the marbling in a slab of steak) that seamlessly wraps every tissue and organ in the body.
The Alexander Technique, dance and yoga trainers examine posture and thus fascia's shape but only some fully unfold the fear held in posture as ought for example, the practitioners of Process Work and Hakomi body-oriented psychotherapy.
I recommend couples and families wishing to explore these to experiment with some collaborative trust exercises and invent their own.
There is much else to embrace at the edges of awareness, avowed and disavowed.
Critical Thinking and the following quotes from the web pages of Professor James R Elkins Professor of Law, University of West Virginia April 28 2004.
"The whole person is always greater than the cultural roles because the living organism always has more potential behaviours than the particular cultural game that society sets up in order unthinkingly to further the business of everyday living. The total individual, in other words, is always greater than the cultural role self. But man does not realize this, except in rare cases, because he must live as society has set up the plot.
The result is that mostly people approach each other from the point of view of their roles, rather than as whole beings. The role player stages life; the whole being acts spontaneously. But spontaneous action is a momentous problem for most, precisely because they have learned to keep action going smoothly and satisfyingly by simply and uncritically following out the roles that the culture designed for them. They have, in effect, subverted the possibilities of their total being to the narrow interest of action and uncritical survival. Now this is not a criticism so much as it is a simple observation; man is hardly to be blamed for accepting the ongoing version of the life drama, and drawing the ready satisfactions that this entails.
Besides, this gives what man needs most - it gives conviction. When everyone upholds unflinchingly his roles, within the cultural fiction, the joint staging seems right for all time." [Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil 272-273 (New York: Free Press, 1975)]
"Within the career of day-to-day, common-sense existence, each of us goes about his business without philosophical worries. It is simply taken for granted by all of us that the world in which we move about and act is real, has a long history, has not only a physical being continuous with the realm of nature but a conceptual and emotive reality assumed to have force and consequence for others no less than for ourselves. Further, we assume that our world has a future which will be more or less like the past, societal and cultural institutions and practices which have always marked civilized beings, and men in action, steeped in practical affairs and proceeding to discharge their duties and obligations in typical ways. All these assumptions--and many more--are assumptions in the sense that unless we stop and think, reflect for some reason on them, they do not ordinarily become explicit objects for thought or investigation." [Maurice Natanson, The Journeying Self: A Study in Philosophy and Social Role 2 (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1970)]
"There are people whose metaphysics are, in effect, the comfortable feeling they have just after a heavy lunch; they see no need to raise ontological questions. They live and they die; and they think persons who torment themselves about ultimate questions both waste their time and overlook the pleasantness of the present." [Michael Novak, Ascent of the Mountain, Flight of the Dove: An Invitation to Religious Studies 47 (New York: Harper & Row, rev. ed., 1978)]
"Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched we cannot know ourselves." [Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978 __ (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979)]
"The defences that form a person's character support a grand illusion.... He is driven away from himself, from self-knowledge, self-reflection. He is driven toward things that support the lie of his character, his automatic equanimity." [Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death 56 (New York: Free Press, 1955)]
"If individuals act automatically or conventionally, if they do only what is expected of them (or because they feel they have no right to speak for themselves), if they do only what they are told to do, they are not living moral lives." [Maxine Greene, Landscapes of Learning 49 (New York: Teachers College Press, 1979)]
"As Jesus saw a man working on the Sabbath, he said to him: 'Man, if you know what you are doing, you are blessed. If you do not know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law.'" [Erich Kahler, The Tower and the Abyss 191 (New York: Compass Books, 1967)(quoting the Bible, Luke 6:5)]
"Many people only think in reaction to something and depend heavily on the dominant ideologies. This can sometimes be a way of protecting social status or privileges. That is how what Nietzsche called the morals of slaves are formed." [Gérard Fourez, Liberation Ethics 40 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982)]
"Every person and every social group is to a greater or lesser extent blind to many of the injustices of its time, because its own culture and education, supporting a particular way of life, represents embedded and distinctive features of this way of life as unavoidable features of human life in general." [Stuart Hampshire, Innocence and Experience 59 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989)]
The information in this web site is provided as a free service. Accessing this site does not create any form of legal or professional relationship and neither this web site, its host or its contributors accept any liability or responsibility for any action taken or avoided on the basis of information provided. It is dangerous to rely on generalized information or guidance. You should ALWAYS seek independent professional advice in order that it can be tailored to your own individual circumstances.
Inclusion of other sites on this site in no way implies endorsement by me of these sites or any services offered by these sites. These links are provided as a service only and as when purchasing any service or product, consumers should satisfy themselves as to the validity and credentials of those who offer a service.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of the issues covered herein. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. 107, the material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in reading the information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.