EXPERIMENT SHIFTIDE.01: NAMING TO MAKE A BACK DOOR OUT OF EACH CHARACTER
We think we have no other choice but to act as we do. We create this illusion for ourselves by thinking we have an identity that is real, permanent, solid and cannot shift, and which has a fixed set of “needs.” But this is all internal politics! Whichever “identity” happens to be in power in this moment gets to determine which “needs” are “real” and must be met.
To wreck the Identification Game, do the experiment of “Naming the Identities.”
“Naming” is a powerful alchemical act. By giving a name to something that did not have a name before, you change the thing from invisible to visible, from subjective to objective, from unconscious to conscious, from
background to foreground. By clearly naming an identity, you bring people’s attention to the option of shifting to a different identity.
By changing the identity of the moment, you change the “needs” of the moment. For example: You can name your own identities in order to catch yourself in the act. You may identify characters such as The Whiner, The Judge, The Complainer, The Victim, The Glutton, The Perfectionist, The Head Chopper, The Sneak, The Miser, and so on.
Or, you can use naming to open doorways through which you can then step, and thus shift your identity in that moment. One way to open a doorway is to say something that the new character might say, such as: “Enter The Dragon”; “May I present The Goddess”; “Jamison at your service, Madam”; “Which way to Kilimanjaro?”; “Choose your weapon!”;
“What have we here, Sherlock?”; “Has anyone seen my Ferrari keys?”
You can also open doorways through which to shift identity without saying anything.
For example, if you are going to bed with your partner at night and you feel the same old evening pattern arising, shift identity. For example, change the timing of your entry into the room. Take a different physical posture – crawl in, strut in, limp in, come in backwards, come in with your
eyes closed. Use a different breathing pattern. Put on or take off different pieces of clothing. Change your mood. Beat up the teddy bear. Sing. If, while you are practicing shifting identities, your partner thinks that you have gone nuts, tell them that before now you were only pretending not to be nuts, and that you think they will get used to it.
The idea is to reveal yourself, rather than waiting around for your partner to reveal themselves first. It is crucial to remember that revealing yourself does not involve complaining, gossiping, blaming, or talking about other people. Revealing yourself is about getting present and letting yourself be authentically known. You may not be able to manage this the first time you try it, so plan to keep experimenting.
Human Beings have parts... many parts. We don't know when we shift from one identity to the next, but if the phone rings and it is our boss, our mother, or our child, the person we were just speaking with won't know who just showed up. And when we shift back to being 'ourselves' with our friend, we won't even know we shifted. You can make this whole shifting thing conscious.Then things start getting interesting.
We will start again with the eternal question, “Who am I?”
We have now, and have always had, the complete freedom to choose who we are being. It is true that we have been raised in certain circumstances and in a certain culture and time. It is true that there exist powerful forces to try to sway our decisions in one direction or another about who to be. But those circumstances and forces are now, and always have been, outside of us, incidental, and not causative. The final decision – even down to the finest minutiae of our quality of being – has always been ours alone.
There are of course consequences to the decisions we make. Our assumptions about these consequences make it seem like we actually have no choice and that we are squeezed into our way of being like warm plastic is squeezed into a steel mold. Cultural “being shaping” machinery is indeed powerful, as is family tradition. That is why the vast majority of us surrender our capacity to shape our own being to fit the illusion that it was never our decision in the first place. Nevertheless, the “vast majority” does not have to include you.
“Who am I?” is one of the first questions we are driven to answer. Once we find workable answers we usually don’t change them for the rest of our lives. We don’t even wonder if our answers are the most useful or interesting. We assume the answers are true and consider the job finished. Once we have built our Box, we forget that our Box is something that was built. Unconsciously, we know that if we reconsider the “Who am I?” question it could drop us back into a liquid state – one that we assumed we had permanently left behind. The Box is quick to produce the terse comment, “Been there. Done that.”
However . . . nonetheless . . . notwithstanding . . . you still have the right to change your mind about who you are. That has not been made illegal. After all, your Box is yours to play with and to make into whatever you want. That is why you are reading this book – to play with other possible shapes for your Box.
Consciously changing your Box is an option that you may tend to ignore if you have not acquired a taste for being in flux. Having the option to take on any identity, in any moment, is the same as having no identity at all. Those in-between times of making a new decision often seem bothersome – they are indefinite; we entered them after leaving behind the way it was and before having in place a new the way it is.
A Human Being Is Like A Tornado, Sustained By The Energy Flowing Through Her.
We are 'Dissipative Structure' Capable - in the correct circumstances - of being precisely perturbed and suddenly reordering into a more elegant, more sophisticated functionaing.
Shifting Identity can feel at first a bit like going crazy, like a bird being freed after long imprisonment in a golden cage.