This is a short post about a big topic, but I will start it going, as I was very annoyed by the following:
In an interview, Mark Epstein, psychotherapist and Buddhist, who has written numerous books about those subjects said,
“In a third example, I was speaking to my therapist about how ‘”part of me” was angry and “part of me” understood that I didn’t need to be angry. He looked at me with barely disguised disdain and said, “Mark, you don’t have parts.” This has served as a koan for me over the years. “I don’t have parts? What am I, then?”
I disagree. I don’t know about him but I have lots of parts. There’s a difference between being split and in conflict with yourself, and parts of yourself, and having different parts of yourself that are all aware of each other’s existence. Carl Jung thought the parts were the Shadow, the Persona, and the Anima/Animus, but I think we all have our own personal parts.
Katy Perry wrote a great song called “Part of Me”. I remember first hearing it not in her voice but from my seven year old patient who was singing it while we made art, “This is a part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me…” It was great to hear her sing this in the session, and see her strong part getting stronger. When I hear someone say, “Part of me wants to do such and such,” and then dismiss it, I say, “Wait a second. What is that part saying to your?” I think we need to dialogue more with our parts and be more comfortable with all our parts and they are definitely not an illusion. Maybe the murderous part in me is part of my shadow, but it is not all of my shadow, which consists of many parts, and once that part comes into the light, it is not part of my Shadow, not anymore. We have parts that are other genders, and parts that are not gendered. Some of us have animal parts. I think I have a spider part of me that likes to weave webs.
In a dream, all your parts show up in the form of different people, objects and other beings. If you dream about holding a knife, you are also the knife. If you view the knife as a part of you, you may have a dialogue with it and find out what it wants to do for you or what kind of energy it is inside of you…