What do you do with your evil twin?


Hi, wanted to share with you some interesting thoughts about our ‘evil twin’ sent to me by my NLP coach:

Hi {Binki}
Have you ever had the privilege of baby sitting? Not something I do regularly but, the times I have, I am often amazed at the range of emotions a toddler can display in just a matter of moments.

Sure, a toddler or baby wouldn’t be classifying their experience in that way, and that my friend is, a real, if not the real skill! They have no concept of what we as adults categorise as an emotion, never mind the labels … think about it!

Adults all too often seem to forget this natural ability, to be able to experience a full range of emotions. As adults we often become accustomed to a less complete range (related to the concept of small ego, should not’s and should’s) and as one consequence, can experience what I will call emotional constipation. I think the term is very appropriate!

As a therapist, change professional or coach, there is often both a tendency to focus on our client feeling good at the end of a session and their outcome focus as some kind of completion. Both of these in my opinion have the potential to distract from the real generative process of change.

Joseph Campbell is very famous, among other things, for the phrase “follow your bliss”. There is another form of this and it is “follow your wound”. I first heard this wonderful statement from Bill O’Hanlon. The real skill here is using either your wound or your bliss to make a genuine and heart felt difference in the world and certainly your own well being.

This to me, means integrating and accepting pain, pleasure and your evil twin, Skippy! Who has a great deal of energy to offer you. If you will welcome them in.

There is a real power to be gained and it’s about acknowledging and welcoming, yes, welcoming your wound, or the parts of you that are pulling against the small ego. There are ways to many therapies and change processes that concentrate on the so called positive. So, what about acknowledging ALL your feelings be the bliss or piss? Welcoming your demons and angels.

Nietzsche said “Beware lest in casting out your demons you cast out the best thing that is in you”. Joseph Campbell said that “So many psycho-analised patients are like filleted fish” – The best part ( the guts ) is missing … Think about it and perhaps you can harness and integrate an incredibly powerful part of yourself.

Here is a little experiment for you to explore and internalise.

Let’s say you have a negative experience, like emotional pain, hurt, guilt, anger, rage, animosity etc … all of these are somatic and are within your body, the feeling is not a concept, it is a feeling!

First, acknowledge your own feelings (anything else will surely lead to a kind of dis association that is IMO ultimately unhelpful). That is feel it and then … welcome the physical sensation. Notice where you feel this sensation.

Notice I am already re-framing a labelled emotional response to a physical feeling.

Then concentrate on the sensation, notice if the sensation is moving or still, and BREATH and then BREATH in and out through the sensation. Welcoming this physical sensation. This is not a 30 second exercise.

What I want you to do is imagine you are breathing in through the place in your body your are experiencing the sensation. And keep breathing, in and out, through this place (or places) and notice consciously if the sensation is static or dynamic, if the sensation is changing or staying the same.

Do this until the sensation passes or until it is really, very different. Concentrate on the sensation and NOT on your descriptions of the sensation (anger, sadness, jubilation, sickness), this is way to conscious mind stuff. The whole aim here is to be mindful of your body sensations and not your conscious mind description of the emotion.

If the sensation moves to some new emotion (well a sensation really) repeat the process. This really is a very deep meditation and is intended to re-orientate us to a skill we all had access to as children. After all there are no pre-verbal babies or toddlers I know of who are sad, angry, depressed, happy, pissed off, expectant, disappointed, worried, anxious or you name it.

In fact, the naming process of emotions was ‘inflicted’ on all of us by someone else, our parents or care givers who were very well meaning. Time to re-write our own feeling interpretation systems?