Tag Archive 'personas'

Oct 27 2009

THUNDER & ENLIGHTENING – A Persona Celebration! – # 30

   In the spirit of Halloween, I’d like to share with you this excerpt from my book-in-progress, Miracle Marriage, revealing some of the motley menagerie of personas (those parts of us that seem to take on a life of their own) that showed up to help us celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary:

   When Tom and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary, some of the ‘guests’ who made an appearance were Mr. Blunderful, Chopped Liver and Ms. Thunderful, to name a few. It’s funny how this gang tends to show up at stressful times like holidays and special occasions – they are such party animals! Fortunately, ‘Jane Goodall’, my non-judgmental witness, shows up as well to observe them.

   Tom and I made a date to celebrate by meeting and laying together in intimate connecting, meditating, breathing, and revealing our deepest thoughts and feelings—we call this “Lying and Truthing.” He was watching the end of a very exciting Lakers game. Ms. Wonderful oh so graciously said he could finish watching the game (isn’t she wonderful!) and we could meet in an hour for our time together. The game ended, but then the phone rang and Tom got involved in a phone call. Ms Wonderful, ever the good woman, let that be okay and waited patiently for our date.

   The phone call ended, and then I heard Mr. Blunderful on the phone calling a friend to talk. Chopped Liver then entered the party and thought, “What the heck?!” It was well past the hour that we had agreed to meet and he was calling his friend for what is usually a long conversation. Did he forget?! What am I, Chopped Liver!? Ms. Thunderful had now arrived (she usually follows close on the heels of Chopped Liver). She stormed into the party and was none too happy with Mr. Blunderful!

   Ms. Thunderful mouthed the words to Mr. Blunderful, still on the phone with his friend, “What happened to our date? Well, never mind. Forget it. I’m leaving.” Revenge is sweet, and Ms. Thunderful has a sweet tooth. She was about to storm out on this run-away train to Trance-ilvania, when Jane Goodall showed up. Jane patiently sat in the field observing the monkeys in my mind and all their shenanigans; she doesn’t judge, she just observes. She noticed the swarm of adrenaline hornets that were buzzing in my nervous system, and noted with interest that my breath was shallow and I was in classic fight or flight mode.

   Mr. Blunderful, AKA Mr. Oh Oh, hastily ended his call with his friend and announced that he was ready for our date. Ms. Thunderful still had one foot out the door, ready to bolt. Jane Goodall was marveling at the compelling nature of this internal fight or flight tug of war within her. Tom calmly asked me, “What do you want?” Jane Goodall’s awareness had loosened the grip of my righteous anger a bit, and I joked, “I want a divorce.” We laughed. I said, “Okay, let’s lay together.”

   I knew that the act of laying and breathing together would help usher in the bigger field of awareness. As we did this, we became one with the field and witnessed our inner tribe of chimps monkeying around. We were allies in this witnessing, sharing our ego thoughts and compulsions and laughing about them. From the perspective of the big open field, our egos are very funny—our egos are our funny amigos.

   In this field of awareness we were in, I became aware of the part of me that was uncomfortable with physical intimacy, and I could see that that one had been hitching a ride on Ms. Thunderful’s run-away train, trying to get away from the impending intimacy.  A part of me wanted closeness and another part of me didn’t. I took a deep breath and welcomed that persona, the Flee-er. It is a big field—fear of intimacy is welcome here. 

   Tom shared with me that when I’d suggested we meet in an hour that one of his personas, “Thomas MORE – The Human Doing”, thought, “Oh boy, I can get a lot of stuff done in an hour.” I shared with Tom my own “Human-Doing” thought that was urging me right then from the sidelines saying, “This is great stuff. Let’s hurry up and finish this intimate time together so I can go write about this intimate time together.” We laughed again.

    I wondered if Tom had a persona that was excited by the danger and drama of Ms. Thunderful and he provokes her appearance. He thought about it and said, “That could be.” He knows that he thoroughly enjoys the enlightening that always follows the thunder.

   These party guests have not ruined the party, they have enhanced it. We have gone deeper into learning about ourselves, revealing ourselves, and being one with the field of energy that embraces it all. It is such a great joy and relief to me that we can be this honest with each other, that we can reveal and be real and play with it all. ALL of us are welcome here!

   Are there any personas of yours right now that have taken on a life of their own? Welcome them to the party and invite your version of ‘Jane Goodall’ to witness them in curiosity, amusement, and love. Happy persona celebration!


In Love,

Jan Jacobsen



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Aug 27 2009

My Ego, My Funny Amigo – Issue #25

In the past I have been appalled by the embarrassing antics of my ego. I’ve felt like a mortified mother in a supermarket with a little monster who was acting out. To that little monster, the mortified mother was “the Momster”, trying to control and subdue it with criticism and shaming. I used to wonder, “How is anyone ever going to love me when I have all THAT going on inside me?” I tried to hide and get rid of these parts of myself, but that was futile – it was like pushing down a Jack-in-the-box; when tension built, POP goes the weasel, and all hell would break lose, again! I wondered what to do about this motley, menacing menagerie within me.

Fortunately, along the way, I discovered the miracle of mindfulness. In 1990 I participated in a two-year Hakomi training where we were taught to develop a compassionate witness – an inner Jane Goodall who sits in the expansive field of awareness, observing the monkeys in our mind, and all their shenanigans, with non-judgmental curiosity.  Through the magic of mindfulness these manic monkeys calm down. Instead of seeing them as malevolent beasts, I learned to see them with compassion, to befriend them, and understand that they came into being to help us cope, be safe and survive in this jungle called life.

Several years later I discovered Gay and Katie Hendricks’ Conscious Loving Foundation workshop. There we were encouraged to not only befriend our ego defenses and life strategies (Personas), but to play with them and give them names. I met my husband Tom in an advanced Hendricks training. We danced together during the breaks, playfully moving like wild chimps, making monkey faces and noises at each other. We were having fun letting the other see our most contorted, ugly faces. Instead of being uninvited guests, we welcomed our defenses to the party. When defenses aren’t invited to the party, they crash it.  So we might as well welcome them, play with them, and put the fun into fundamentally flawed!

Gay and Katie created an ingenious tool for getting to know these parts of ourselves, called the Persona Interview.  You tell an interviewer the name of the persona you want interviewed. (Some of Tom’s persona names are Professor Reason A Bull, Mona Lott, and Mr. Oh Oh – some of mine are Goody Two Shoes, Chopped Liver, and The Incredible Sulk). The interviewer invites you to get into the posture and character of that persona, and then ask the persona the following questions: (I’ll use The Incredible Sulk as an example):

(Picture my Incredible Sulk persona standing with arms folded, head down, lower lip protruding).


Welcome, Incredible Sulk. What’s the most important thing to you?

I want people to pay attention to me.


Incredible Sulk, what are you most proud of?

I Do get peoples attention.


Incredible Sulk, when did you make your first appearance?

When I was a little girl, maybe 3 or 4.


Incredible Sulk, who did you learn your style from?

My mother.


Incredible Sulk, what are you most afraid of?

I’m afraid that no one cares about me and how I feel.


Incredible Sulk, what do you most want?

I want to matter and be important to someone.

Thank you, Incredible Sulk.

This is a great way to gain insight into our personas, to feel compassion and understanding for them and discover the essence qualities at the heart of them. 

After the workshop Tom and I spent the week together, mostly at my house on the Santa Barbara Riviera. During that week, every day, all day, there was a slow, steady, metronomic sound in the distance, a pound, pound, pounding of pilings being installed for the foundation of a new building downtown. That was the perfect background sound for the beginning of our relationship – we were building a strong foundation by being fully present and authentic with each other, revealing all our personas, defenses and life strategies, creating a space of acceptance, a vast playground where everything could show up. I would ask myself, “Can I reveal THAT to him?” Yes, I could. I’ve always felt a deep desire to be All of myself, to be real, to take the girdle off and let it all hang out. I longed to find someone who would hang out with me in that space of ungirded openness, curiosity and exploration.

Ten years later Tom and I still live and play on that playground. We are allies in mindfully witnessing and sharing our ego defenses, revealing our inner tribe of chimps. From the perspective of the big open field of awareness, our egos are very funny – our egos are our funny amigos. Tom and I are partners in wholeness, welcoming and learning from all of our ego amigos. We are actually much more than partners…we are wholeners…becoming whole together by loving and accepting the whole menagerie of inner selves! One day I asked Tom, “Do you love all of me’s?” He smiled and said, “One of me’s does.”

Do you love all of you’s? Or are there some who mortify you and make you cringe? Invite them to the party and give them a party hat! When we welcome all parts of us, the party transforms into a wholely experience.

 In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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