Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Contradict Myself...I Contain Multitudes

No, the title of this post does not come from the DSM-IV!

Walt Whitman's Song of Myself came to mind as I began to construct this piece after reading chapter seven of Stephen Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga:

Yogis discovered that consciousness is dominated by highly conditioned patterns of reactivity -- patterns that are deeply grooved and very difficult to change once established. And as Freud also discovered, the power of these patterns is mostly denied in daily life.

How many times have you heard yourself say to someone: "This is just who I am."

Most of the time, we are saying this to defend an action that is perceived as inappropriate at the very least or destructive at the very worst.

Yogis would answer that we are acting out of past actions when we claim "this is who we are" and so we are not free in each moment but rather enslaved by past moments.

This is not good. The organisms that survive are the most malleable, the most able to adapt. When we stay stuck in past behavior, we are not evolving, and human life is all about evolving.

Assuming then that we want to evolve -- in spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual ways -- our first task is to overcome old patterns. But how?

The first step would be to identify the patterns. Be aware of them.

For this step, I have decided to call each of these parts of me some sort of Chick. Of course!

Please: Do not get stuck in MY list. This is just for example's sake. I hope that it helps you to think up your own list of Chicks.

I like this method very much because it turns these destructive or stuck patterns into something we can make fun of, tease ourselves about, and I find that that is hugely helpful when trying to become aware for the purpose of personal evolution.

So here they are -- the BlissChick's Multitudes:


AngryChick comes out, most often, when I think an "underdog" is in trouble. When I think someone is being treated unfairly, when I think Lady Justice is in Peril, AngryChick puts on her SuperHero Cape and starts the Mighty Tongue Lashings.

AngryChick has been with me for a very long time. She is stronger and braver than any SadChick would ever be, and so she feels much safer to me.


SuperstitiousChick believes that she can ward off Bad Things by not asking for any more Good Things in her life.

She believes that if she is ever grateful and always humble that nothing bad will happen.

She leads to ApathyChick if she sticks around long enough. SuperstitiousChick thinks that asking for any more than she already has would be Totally Greedy and would prove that she is actually GiantGreedyPigChick.

(oh...this gets so complicated, doesn't it!?)


Anytime I feel like someone is thinking that I don't know what I'm talking about, SeriousChick comes out to kick some intellectual ass.

Her greatest fear in life is that someone may think she is stupid.


BabyChick is one of the deepest layers of all the Chicks. She is kinda the FoundationChick.

Whenever I get over-tired, over-hungry, or overstimulated, BabyChick shows up. She refuses to take good care of herself and pushes herself to her edges so that she finally kinda collapses.

She believes, in her heart, that she is not worth taking care of.

Okay. That's a start.

How about you?

Who are your Multitudes of Chicks? Can you identify them and what their triggers are? Can you start to name them, so that you can more clearly see them?

Share here in the comments or feel free to write about this yourself and leave a link.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)


Louise said...

TeacherChick always thinks she knows what's best for you. She is very quick to tell you what you should do. In fact, 'should' is her favorite word! Sometimes she even tells people that they shouldn't use the word 'should'!
TeacherChick is much better at instructing other people than herself, and she gets angry when people don't do as she suggests.
TeacherChick is aware that she comes off as annoying and bossy, so she, cleverly, has the habit of saying "My experience is that it's best to do x or y" or "When I've been in that situation, I've done x or y." That way it always sounds like she's just talking about herself, when in fact she's still telling you what to do!

speck of dust said...

Hi I came across your blog. I love this post. I'm doing EMDR therapy to address layers of trauma which involves reliving the event and experiencing the emotions that are held in the body in order to process it. I am right in the middle of the process and aware of radical changes already even thought it's nearly killing me. I also practice yoga. Namaste :)

YogaforCynics said...

That's long been my favorite Whitman quote (of many). Similar to someone saying "this is just who I am" is saying, to another person, "I'm finally seeing the real you," which is generally a way of dismissing the person--reducing him/her to his/her worst qualities so breaking up will be a little bit less hard to do....

lucy said...

you, my dear, are a godsend :-) i love your playful way of getting to the hard stuff and totally agree that awareness is the first step to addressing all of these hanger-on chicks. i continue to do my own soul work while working alongside others to do theirs. i was literally trying to figure out a way to present exactly this topic in a short workshop i am developing called "returning home to yourself". if you can't figure out who/what's keeping you away from blisschick, then you stay stuck, i.e. no evolving. this post was a huge boost in many ways. i recognize so many of your chicks because they are, of course, mine...just like whitman says :-)

thanks for all you do!! namaste.

differenceayearmakes said...

This is a good post - I'll give some thought to who my 'chicks' are.

Oooo I get really annoyed (perhaps my first chick) when anyone says "That's just who I am" - annoyed is probably not a strong enough word. It is an excuse for bad behavior. My sister would say this far too frequently. And since she is my sister I could give her a really hard time about it - the "Sister Lecture" :). I haven't heard her say this in quite awhile - whether because my Sister Lecture was effective or because just noway is she saying that in front of me again :).

Jennifer said...

I loveloveLOVE this post! Thank you!

Ellen said...

BossChick thinks she knows best and loves to tell everyone else what to do.

Fogedaboudit Chick:
This chick curls up under the covers and lets the world go by without her. It's all just too much.

The current difficulties are the end of life as I know it - there's just no point going on.

Can't stop complaining - can't someone fix it for me?

I am so an intellectual and smarter than you are...

He he This was fun. Something to think about.

hmmbrd said...

This is list day in the blog world (lucy's diamondy blog). okay.. our chick's or little hmmbrds overlap some. one on my list;
I've got brave hmmbrd; one minute, wings flapping quickly and staring conflict in the face, ready to fight and find the sweet nectar of humanity from the 'flower' i'm facing...(getting crazy with the imagery here) then the next minute, i am timid hmmbrd, darting away...this darting is old-part of the highly conditioned pattern of reactivity. Needed at one time, not so much now.
My list goes on.. the old ways slowly named and seen(i agree with you in the huge merit of this process) and morphed into the new ways of being in this world. I have found being compassionate to my old ways has helped tremendously in the morphing process. Not saying this is just who i am, but rather, this is who i believed i had to be. Now i can be something different.

Anonymous said...

haha as You personally know, i have many bad chicks....did you get my latest email i sent you?
Holly xx

Claudia Olivos and Sergio OlivosM said...

Great post!
I could so relate to:
angry chick putting on her cape when she thinks Lady Justice is in Peril and starts the Mighty Tongue Lashings.
That is ME (though I have always pictured this "me" a bit more like miss Piggy flying through the air to get at the "bad person" LOL!)

mmaaggnnaa said...

Hi, BlissChick!

The part I like most about this post is that you are reminding us to allow ourselves to re-invent who we are each and every single moment.

I love that!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

Linnea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linnea said...

Blogger doesn't like my coding! Just click on my name and you can read more than you ever wanted to know about DiscordantChick, the puppet master of all of my StuckChicks. :-)

His Girl Friday said...

over from Lucy's place. good post, very interesting...will have to think on this some more. :)