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Talk Given by Mary Ennis at the Castaic Group Session

Sunday, January 20, 2002

MARY: Hi, everybody!

GROUP: Hi, Mary!

MARY: I really want to thank you all for coming, and I feel extremely privileged to be here and to be talking to all of you. I feel privileged that all of you are here and are willing to listen to me babble on, 'cause that just might be what happens this time!

This has been an exceptionally interesting year. For those of you that were here last year, this ... you know, I never know what it is I'm going to talk about. I don't plan anything out, or write little speeches for myself or whatever, so I never know what it is that I'm actually going to talk about until the last minute.

But it seems very fitting that this year, this talk would be a continuation of last year's talk. For those of you who weren't here last year, I talked basically about asking yourself different questions to get different answers. I talked a lot about my relationship at the time as an example, and giving yourself permission to create what you want, and figuring out what you want, being able to identify what it is that you want.

Well, a year ago I thought I had it all down. (Smiles) I'm here to tell ya I didn't! (Laughter) I wasn't even close to having it all down! I can sit in front of you today and tell you I KNOW I don't have it all down now either, but I can tell you that this past year has been extremely enlightening. I have gone through a lot of experiences, as probably everyone has. This has been an exceptionally difficult year, but at the same time it's been a really good year because I discovered a lot about myself and gave myself a lot of freedoms; at the same time, as per normal me, I interjected an awful lot of challenges - but that's what I do! (Laughs)

Anyway, last year ... I am a person that presents imagery and information to myself through how I deal with relationships. I know other people don't all do that, but that's how I do it. It doesn't really matter what it is that you do to present yourself with information because it all comes from the same place, and it all means the same thing, so however it gets translated in anybody's imagery is really all the same stuff. I believe that, that it's pretty much across the board.

For me, my method - or whatever you want to call it - happens to be in relationships, and how I translate things in relation to that. That's what helps me to see me, which I think is the bottom line point of everything.

I've been listening to people this weekend talk about the group session and about their individual sessions, and it sounds to me like Elias has gone in a direction that kind of not so interestingly enough goes along pretty much with what I've chosen to talk about today.

I don't really know what other people's experiences have been this past year. I know that a lot has gone on this year. I know from talking to most of my clients throughout the year that generally people seem to be dealing with a lot of big things. The big things they're dealing with have to do with themselves, how they deal or don't deal, their own confusion, trying to pay attention to themselves, trying to be in the now, and not really understanding why what they think they want isn't what they get, or isn't what they create.

When I left California last year, I was grappling with a lot of things inside myself. I was dealing with some pretty big issues and beliefs concerning relationships, how I associate with the word "relationships" and all the beliefs that go along with that, and really trying to focus on myself and pay attention to myself in what I want.

I started to go into a mode of further questioning myself, discovering that there are different parts of me, and really tossing around the idea of what is this weird thing that we call attention, how does it work, and how do you move it if you don't even know what it is? It occurred to me that there are times when my attention must be somewhere different than my thoughts, because there were times when, in my estimation, I didn't seem to be thinking anything but I was creating things. So I started to question this whole idea about attention, and what that is and what it means.

I still don't really know what it is, because it's something I can't really put my finger on. But I know that it moves, and I know that I can actually intentionally move it. When I started experimenting with that, I started to pay attention to things that Elias has been saying this past year. I started to pay attention to different parts of me, and I gave myself some really concrete examples of thinking something in one particular moment and in the very next moment actually choosing something different - only I wasn't aware in the beginning that I was CHOOSING something different; all I knew was I was DOING something different.

As a very tiny example, at one point my new partner, who I was just seeing off and on, and my ex-partner, who I was very much interactive with on a daily basis, were both in the picture. One Saturday my ex-partner said, "Would you like to go to lunch and a movie?" Now this sounds really small and insignificant, but prior to that question I had already made a plan to spend time with the person that I was seeing, who is now my present partner - try to follow me here! (Laughing) Anyway, in the moment, my answer was sure, let's go to lunch and a movie. And I stopped in that moment, and I thought, "Oh my god, what did I just do? I already had a plan." I had already made a plan to do something else, and I watched myself choose something else - DO something else - so in that moment I stopped and questioned myself about what I was feeling.

Other people may define it differently, but the way I'm defining it is that there are three very important and very real aspects or components of me, as the person that I am. Those three pieces of me are the thinking piece, the feeling piece, and the choosing piece. All three of them are present all the time, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm paying attention to all three of them.

In that moment, I was paying attention to all three of them. I realized that what I was thinking was one thing, which was oh my god, you have made a plan to do something and now you're not doing that, and you should be doing that because that's what you want to do. But the choosing piece of me chose something different. The choosing piece of me was physically doing something else and making a physical agreement in the moment to go in a different direction.

So I questioned what the feeling piece of me had to say about the situation (laughing). In that moment, without saying a word, I asked, "What do I feel if I follow through with my original plan?" And I got a twinge. I felt a little bit uncomfortable. It wasn't big, but it was there and I noticed it. Then I asked myself how I felt about what I just did, and there wasn't a feeling. I didn't have any feeling.

I started to really experiment with these three pieces. For months, I was in this mode of experimenting with these three pieces of myself, paying very close attention to them. I was really going back and forth with the thinking piece of me and the choosing piece of me. For a while there I was very convinced that the thinking piece of me and the choosing piece of me are very often at odds.

I used to talk to Vicki about this; I was convinced that there was something wrong with this thinking piece because it seems to sabotage me, and it doesn't really know what the other parts of me are doing. I thought, "I don't really understand this, but maybe I should stop paying attention to this thinking piece of me because it doesn't know what it's doing, and it's off the charts!"

Well, since then, in barely scratching the surface, I have come to realize that the thinking piece of me is not always so off the charts. All three of these pieces of me work together, and they all give me different pieces of information.

The ones that I can very much trust to tell me what I really want are the ones that "do" and communicate. The ones that "do" and communicate are the choosing piece of me and the feeling piece of me.

The choosing piece of me doesn't seem to care what I think. The choosing piece of me doesn't seem to care what my beliefs are. The choosing piece of me seems to follow whatever it is inside of me that I genuinely want, even if I don't really know what that is. Even if the choosing piece chooses something that appears to me in the moment to be very uncomfortable, or something that I really don't like or wish wasn't happening, there's some reason that I'm choosing that.

I present myself with a lot of challenges, and I present myself with a lot of uncomfortable things. I seem to fascinate myself with dramatic situations. I have come to a point in my life now where I'm not looking at those dramatic situations as a bad thing any more. It's just part of who I am; it's just part of what I do. It obviously gets my attention. Other people may not create very dramatically, but I do. What can I say, I'm soft! (Laughing) I think a lot of soft people create very dramatically. I'm sure lots of other people do too, but it just seems to be a natural thing for me. So in that, I've stopped fighting with it, which is a big piece, because I think the more we fight with ourselves, the more we create the crap that we don't want to create, or that we think we don't want to create.

At this point now, my assessment of things is that this thinking piece of me is not always so far off base. I just don't know how to interpret it a lot of times because I get stuck in these absolute modes: "I think I want this," so therefore it's an absolute.

For example, my huge struggle over the summer was that I want THIS kind of a relationship, and I had some pretty specific ideas about what it was that I wanted. I was genuinely trying to pay attention to myself and hear myself about what it is that I wanted, not what I wanted from another person. What is it that I want to do in a relationship? What are the things that I want to do? What are the things that I want to express? How do I want to BE in a relationship? How do I create that with another person, because the other person is another person? And I'm sorry, but for me, in my little limited awareness so far, I don't care how many times Elias says that the other person is a projection of my perception. I believe him, but I'm not there yet.

FEMALE: Amen, sister! (Laughter)

MARY: The other person, in my perception, is still another person making their own choices, and that becomes a question for me. How do I create something that I want in relation to another person when they're creating their reality and they're making their choices, and their choices may not always be the ones that I want and I might not like them?

Well, I was really successful this year in creating lots of things that I did want in relation to another person; but once I created them, I discovered that I didn't want them. (Smiling) I was very successful when I left California, and so directed and just so sure I wanted to have this relationship with my now ex-partner as my partner, and that no matter what her choices were, I was going to create that. Interestingly enough, I was so directed with it and so sure I could do it and so not doubting my ability to do it ... but now we're not talking about "want" any more. We're just talking about whether I have the ability to actually do this by myself and make it come out the way I wanted when there's another person involved. So the want kind of went by the wayside, and I started not paying so much attention to that, and thinking that the want was what I was focused on.

For about six or seven months I kept going in that direction, and I was actually making it happen. My ex-partner last year was involved with another person, which I perceived, of course, as would most people, to be exceptionally hurtful to me. I was wallowing in it for quite a while, and my direction was that I was going to create a scenario in which she was going to stop seeing this person. She was going to be focused on me, we were going to make this relationship work, we would become partners again, and she would be just so desirous of me.

And by the summertime ... which should have been a clue to me, but believe me, folks, it wasn't! (Laughing) This is how much I was not paying attention to what I wanted or what I was even doing. But I presented myself with my new partner, who just appeared on my porch. I didn't even have to go find her - she just showed up! (Laughter) Pretty good creating, huh?

But I was still in the mode of "I'll experience over here, and I'll try this out and give myself some freedom, because actually we aren't really together anyway, we're just trying to get together, so it's okay that I go over in this direction over here and test out the waters or whatever; and it's a good thing to flatter myself and have someone be attracted to me - I'm 47 years old, and oh my god, is anybody in the world going to be attracted to me ever again?" So here's this person, who is yet again 11 years younger than me, and wow, I was so flattered. I'm like in flattery-land and so happy; but I was still in the direction of I'm going to make this work with my ex-partner.

Well, it started to work. My ex stopped seeing this other person, started focusing on me, and wanted to spend all this time with me and was so affectionate. It was like we were just taking a break, it's okay now, we're coming back together, it's wonderful, and we're so connected, we know each other so well - which we do - and if this relationship can weather this storm it can weather anything, we will be together forever until we're 80, and it's going to be wonderful! And all of a sudden, I was uninterested. (Laughter)

I sat there at one point - this happened actually several times over the summer - but at one point I had spent the weekend hanging out with my ex-partner and we had a great time, we had fun, and we were very present with each other. It was all great, and I was very happy. Sunday came, and "you don't have to go home, Mare, why don't you spend the night," because she moved into her own place at the beginning of the summer. And I thought about it, and decided no, I don't want to do that. Why don't I want to do that? This is what I said I wanted to do. I've been waiting for this invitation. What's the matter with this picture? I should be all over this. I should be jumping at this opportunity. Okay, something must be wrong with me. I just created everything that I wanted, and I'm having some sort of problem with it now.

So, I really started to question what it was that I wanted, but not entirely. Things started to get a little too close to my beliefs with having my new partner still in the scenario, so I stopped seeing her. I was overwhelming myself, and I couldn't deal. I was grappling with loyalty and commitment and honesty, and oh my god, using someone, and "what a shit you are Mary." It was very difficult, and it was very confusing, because at the same time there was still a piece of me that was very connected to this new person. There was another piece of me that was very, very drawn to her, and I felt a very strong push in that direction; but I was determined to ignore that because I had already convinced myself that this was really a bad thing.

So I tried to turn to the situation with my ex and I, and go back into the mode of trying to make that work, but it just kept not working. I kept not feeling comfortable with that, and I kept not making it work. I was very aware that it was my choice to not make it work, and I was also very aware when we would get into some sort of a conflict that there was a piece of me that was generating that, that was making it happen, but I couldn't figure out why.

I kept asking myself how this thinking piece of me could be so incredibly far off. It must be really malfunctioning, because it's getting louder and telling me that what I want is this relationship, but I'm obviously choosing not to make that work. This feeling piece of me is really uncomfortable, so the feeling piece of me is obviously echoing the choosing piece of me. They seem to be on the same page, but this other piece of me seems to be off in another book somewhere. I must be missing a piece here or something. How is it that we do this stuff?

Then I went back into examining me, which was a key turning point, and doing what I did last year, asking myself different questions. What is it that I'm looking for in this other person? Get real - you're obviously looking for something in this person, and what is it? No matter how much you think you're concentrating on yourself, Mary, you're obviously not, and you're trying to find something in something else, something outside of yourself that you desperately want but that you aren't allowing yourself to express or to have. What is it that you're actually doing right now? What is it that I am actually doing?

And that's when it became clear to me that what I was doing was dangling myself in some middle place somewhere, waiting for somebody else to make my choice, waiting for somebody else to steer me into a lane.

I'm a person who has to pick a lane. There are lots of people in the world who don't have to and can ride the middle ground and can go from one lane to another, and it doesn't bother them, but I'm not one of those people. Even as flighty as I can get sometimes, and as much as it might appear outwardly that I'm just jumping off a cliff and that I have no idea where I'm going, inside of me that's not true. Inside of me, I always pick a lane, because that's what makes me comfortable and keeps me in a direction, and it makes me feel secure. For months and months and months, I wasn't picking a lane. I was just drifting because I didn't really understand what it was that I wanted.

The thinking piece of me wasn't that far off. I was just translating it in very definite terms. "I want a relationship - I want it with THIS person." It had nothing to do with this person. It didn't really have anything to do with any other person. It doesn't have to do with my present partner. It has to do with me, and what it is that I want to do. And inside of me, I want to be able to do what I do as my job, which is my sessions, because that's fulfilling to me and because it makes me happy. I want to do my art. I want to be able in any moment to tell another person that I love them, that I appreciate them, and not feel that I can't do that because they might not respond the way I want them to. I want to have the freedom that if I'm not in a mode of wanting to talk or interact or physically be in the presence of the person that I love, that that's okay, and I don't have to feel obligated and don't have to feel that I am doing something wrong or incorrect.

I want to know inside of myself that I can express myself in every manner that is me, whether it be in my sessions, or interacting with other people, or my art, or just sitting and watching a movie because that's what I feel like doing, and not having to justify that to another person because I know inside of myself that it's okay, and that I'm okay, and that whatever I choose in whatever moment is what I choose. It doesn't depend on what another person thinks or feels or does or chooses. I don't have to mold myself to anything else.

And I don't have to expect anything from another person, which is a big thing. I think we all expect things from other people, and we give ourselves permission to expect things from other people, because other people should do and give to us because we are doing and giving to them; so of course, you know, tit for tat, what goes around comes around, they should be giving and doing for us, too. And if they're not doing and giving enough, then there's something wrong with this picture.

But it's not about that. It's about letting me do and give or express whatever it is that I want to, or whatever it is that is genuinely me in the moment.

And I'll tell you what, that was a huge revelation, because I'm sure every single person in this room has had moments where they stop themselves: "I was going to say this, but I didn't because..." "Well, I was going to do this, but I wasn't sure where you'd go with that or how you would perceive that." "I was gonna tell you this, but I didn't think the timing was right because you might not receive that well right now, because you're going through a lot of stuff." Or, "I really felt an overwhelming need inside of me to express myself in this turmoil that I'm experiencing right now, but I didn't want to rain on your parade. It's your moment right now, so I didn't." I know there's not one single person that can't say they haven't been there.

Now, what I don't want to do is that. I don't want to tell myself no, I can't or I shouldn't express myself however it is that I want to express myself in any particular moment based on the dictates of another person or situation, or even my car.

I'm starting to get it, that all of these things are a reflection of me. Reflections are not always comfortable, and believe me, as a drama queen, I can say first hand that I create lots of reflections that are wicked uncomfortable. I created one today! I do it quite frequently! (Laughs) I just challenged myself off the charts with this. And why am I doing it? So I that can see my own reactions, I can see my own responses, and I can see my own reflection of me. What are my beliefs?

When I get presented with fireballs from my partner, it would be very easy for me to go in the direction of saying, "This is your shit. See ya! I don't have to deal with this; this has nothing to do with me. These are your insecurities; these are your problems. I don't have to listen." Believe me, I have my moments when I do go there inside myself! In the situation where another human being is in your face, it's really difficult to stop and say to yourself, "Oh, what am I creating here," especially if the other person is being blaming or saying things that seem really mean. And you sit back and say, "Well, gee, I'm not doing that. That's not me."

We think in such literal terms. What the other person is saying may not literally concretely be our reflection. It may be something else. It doesn't mean it's not a reflection, because I think it is, but it's just getting to understand what that reflection is and what's going on.

And that goes back to my relationship with my ex-partner reflecting to me all this love and affection and "let's be together" and everything like that. Yes, this is what I want; but no, this is not what I want with this person. So what does that mean? Maybe this is what I want, but it doesn't have to do with another person. Maybe this is what I want inside of me, and if I can do that inside of me, then I could generate it with another person much more easily.

It doesn't matter whether it's a relationship, a car, a job, your dog - it really doesn't matter what it is. What matters is what I'm doing, and starting to pay attention to those pieces of me that tell me what it is that I'm doing.

Even though the thinking piece of me may not be far off, it seems to be a lot more black and white than the other pieces of me. It seems to go automatically into the definite mode: "This is what it is. You want a relationship; you want it with this person." No, I want a relationship; I want to express myself. Does it matter whether I have a relationship with another person as a partner? No, not really. Is that a nice perk? Yes, but not always, because there's a big challenge in that too, because I'm still dealing with another person, and that's still reflecting back to me, and that's still me!

So I think that what I've discovered in this last year is a real turning toward much more paying attention to me, and when I do that things work much better, and I give myself much more information. I understand things better. I understand myself better. I understand what I'm doing, and I understand why I'm doing it.

I went through my own little piece - and I still am - of dealing with me and my responses to Vicki's choice. That's very difficult, because it's not about her choice, just like it wasn't about my ex's choice last year to have an affair. It's about how I respond, what it is inside of me that's making that happen, what it is inside of me that's creating these feelings and these communications, what they're telling me, and all the influences about that. It can get pretty overwhelming, and I can say at this point there are still lots of things that I'm not listening to because I'm not ready. There are so many other things happening right now that I'm also communicating to myself about, and I am paying attention to them. They're a little overwhelming, and some of them I'm not ready for, either. And that's okay. I don't have to be ready for everything all at one time. That's why we live in linear time, so we don't have to deal with everything all at one time! (Laughs, and group laughter) God, am I glad I didn't make the choice to go through the door and have to deal with everything all at one time - 'cause I'm not ready! (Laughing)

Anyway, I've talked to quite a few people in recent months about these three pieces of thinking and choosing and feeling, and people have a lot of questions about that. I think that basically everybody can see those pieces of themselves but they're not sure how they work, either. So I thought if you guys wanted to talk back and forth about those pieces that we all have, maybe we could glean some insight from each other about how they work and how we work them, because we do.

JO: Can I say something first?

MARY: Sure.

JO: I just want you to know how much I've been enjoying this talk of yours, and last year's too. Because when you come into town, you don't have a lot of time, and you're really busy, and there's a lot of people who really care about you and what you've been up to, and it's just a wonderful opportunity to hear what you've been doing and who, you know, as the case may be... (Laughter)

MARY: And who you've been doing! (Laughter)

JO: I just wanted to tell you I really appreciate it, because I think it really takes a lot of balls to open yourself up like that in front of an audience.

MARY: I think it's important to share with each other. I know that for a lot of people it's really scary to expose yourself, and say this is what I'm doing, this is where I'm at. I don't have all the answers, and yes, lots of times I mess up or at least it seems that way in my perception, and things are not all smooth and peachy. I'm just like everybody else. I'm just me, Mary, and I go through the same garbage that everybody else goes through. I think lots of people have a tendency to perceive that other people aren't going through the same stuff that they're going through.

My god, if you want to get real down and dirty raw, some of the issues this year and challenges and beliefs that I've presented to myself and had to look at inside of me have been about sexuality. I made a choice four years ago to change preference, and I don't think anyone who has not actually done something like that even has a clue ... I didn't, and I did it! (Laughter) You can't possibly have a clue how that turns your whole life upside down and how many questions come up. I presented myself with a situation for three and a half years with my ex-partner, which was a very good transitional period for me in the sexuality piece. We were more friends and buddies than we were actual partners, even though we called each other partners.

My ex was like Vicki to me, but as a partner. She was my friend; she still is my friend. She kind of helped me into a transitional direction of changing sexual expressions. But on the other hand, because we were buddies and because we are friends, the romantic aspect of that didn't translate the way that it translates with real partners, whether they are queer or whether they are straight. It just didn't, and I think I created that as a safety net because I would have overwhelmed myself, thrown myself off a cliff. If I had jumped in with both feet, I wouldn't have known what to do!

This year was the first time that I have ever gone in the direction of talking about naked things with another person - which was little Ben! (Laughing and looking at Ben, and the group laughs) In fact, he was surprised: "Are we actually talking about naked things? Oh my god!" Anyone who has been close to me for any amount of time knows that sex is something I never talk about. This is such a taboo subject. You do it; you don't talk about it. And even if you do it, you do it quietly and in private! (Laughter) And you are careful of how you do it. So that's been a big issue.

Now, four years after this switch, now I'm starting to get it. Oh my god, I made a switch! Oh my god, what does that mean? Oh shoot, what do I do with this? How will I be? How do I present myself? I know how to be when I was straight and with guys, but I think all the rules must be different now (laughter), because I'm not with guys anymore, nor do I want to be, and so, oh god, everything is different! What do I do, and how do I act, and how should I be? I even asked those questions to my new partner, and got the answer "you'll figure it out!" That's helpful! I'll figure it out? How am I supposed to figure it out? Where's the rulebook? I actually considered going to Barnes & Noble and finding a book to give me some info - how do you do this with a same sex partner? Oh god!

JO: How do you be yourself with a same sex partner?

MARY: Yes! How do you act attractive, how do you be? WHAT do you do? 'Cause god knows, there are different parts, so how do I ... what do I know what to do! (Laughter) What do you do with those other parts?

JO: I'm not trying to change the subject here, but (loud laughter and hooting) ... okay, I was raised a Catholic too! (More laughter) When you were talking about Vicki being your friend and your ex-partner being your friend, and how your ex-partner really was there to help you through the transition, it occurred to me...

MARY: Not to her knowledge, but she was.

JO: Right, right, 20-20 hindsight. But I was wondering if you felt the same could be applied to Vicki? That she was there to help you through the transition with this phenomenon?

MARY: Oh, definitely! I see tremendous parallels between the two of them, which also was a huge contributant when she died, because right in the same time period when she died, my ex and I really finalized everything and went in a different direction, and I made the choice to become partners with my new partner. All of that happened at the same time. I am very aware of the parallels between my ex and Vicki. They were extremely parallel in personality, in actions, in relationship with me in very many, many ways, and so, you know, that's been hard.

JO: It's a lot at once.

MARY: Even though my ex-partner is still alive and lives only two blocks away from me, there has been a definite marked separation. There has been a definite obvious pull away, and she does not interact with me even a fraction of the time that she used to; which is okay, but it's an adjustment.

JO: It's a grieving process, too.

MARY: In a manner, yes.

JO: When I think of Vicki's passing, I relate it to 9/11. To me it was a local event, like a local mass event, in a way. And I wonder if because Vicki was such a hub, not only for us, but at the Way Station and in the electronic world ... she was the hub, like so many of these targets were hubs, too. So that was my big thing, and I wonder even if that's being applied to other communities, if the hubs are going away, so that we become more focused on self and more decentralized and that kind of thing. So that was a piece - and you were talking about the pieces - that was one of mine.

MARY: I very much understand. I think it's very easy to project your attention out to somebody else and let them make the choices. It's very easy to rely on someone else to direct things and to make the choices. Even when you are making some of the choices, it's easy to have someone to fall back on who will take care of things and who will organize things or handle things.

Even in my everyday life at home I see that big mirror going on in relation to my ex and Vicki, in very practical everyday terms. My ex used to work on my car all the time, and now I have to take it to a garage. She used to deal with that kind of thing: "I'll take your car and get an oil change. I'll take your car and get it inspected. I'll deal with this, I'll deal with that." I never dealt with any of that. I didn't have to.

This is like the everyday stuff that has to be attended to, but I'm out in cosmic land - "Sorry, I don't deal with the physical garbage that goes on. Somebody else can deal with that." Now I have to make an appointment to go get my car inspected, drive it down there, have them inspect it, get this fixed and get that fixed, do this and do that, and take care of it myself.

JO: Self-sufficiency, too, came about with the events after 9/11. People were ready to take down a terrorist on an airplane rather than giving up their authority to airport security or whatever. That's been part of it too, a mass event thing too, where we're looking at these ideas that we have security and those kinds of things, and authorities.

MARY: Definitely, and I think that's a big part of what gets so confusing, 'cause now you're turning it back on yourself, and "oh god, what do I do with this? Now where do I go?"

RODNEY: I'm thinking of examples of these three parts and some choices I've made in the last year. If my thinking part just keeps going around in a tornado, it seems like I can trust my feeling part, and I kind of let the choosing part follow the part that I trust, and I saw some choices I made in that regard.

I saw the other side when my boss the other day ... but you wouldn't know about that. My feeling part was screaming, "Tell this guy to go fuck himself! Take this job and jam it!" and a whole bunch of other stuff. I was just being totally overwhelmed by it. My thinking part was, "Right, are you ready to not have this job tomorrow?" So that part, my thinking part, was trustworthy; whereas the feeling part, which was so overwhelmed, I couldn't trust that. So I trusted the thinking more than I chose the feeling part, and I went with that choice.

Would you talk a little bit about being overwhelmed? I can't see being overwhelmed by the choosing part, unless it kept flipping, saying yes and saying no, saying yes and then saying no. But I get a pretty good feeling about being overwhelmed by the thinking part of me or being overwhelmed by the feeing part.

MARY: I can give you an example from today of being overwhelmed with all three. I got up this morning and I was in a pretty good mood, and what I presented to myself in my reality, what I created, was not what I would classify as a fight, because I just don't see it that way, but what I created was a horrendous onslaught of conflict between myself and my partner, to such a degree that for an hour and a half she was throwing out fire-balls at me, screaming and threatening.

All three parts of me were overwhelmed. The choosing part of me was overwhelmed in recognizing that I've chosen this partnership. The feeling part of me was overwhelmed because I was very aware that I was feeling attacked and threatened, and trying desperately to filter that and understand where that was coming from, what the actual communication was, not just the signal of the feeling. The thinking part of me was overwhelmed too, and it wasn't doing a very good job of getting in touch with what the communication was that was going on. It kept going off into comparison-land, being overwhelmed, and saying, "What the hell's the matter with you? Here you go again!" Here I am on a Sunday morning in a place away from home, facing the prospect of an entire day in work mode, and I'm presenting myself with the scenario of my partner freaking out and going into screaming ballistic mode, which is deja vu of my last partnership.

You want to know something? Right in this very minute, it's occurring to me why I presented that to myself. It is because I choose to draw to myself people in partnership relationships that are not involved in this forum. It is very important to me that my partner focuses on me and sees me for who I am, not Elias, the dead guy or his material. Because I don't want to be overshadowed by that in my relationships, and there is a concern of mine that that will happen, I draw to myself people who are not involved to create a partnership relationship with.

But I am also aware, in this moment right now, that in doing that I also generate a real threat that this person is not going to understand what I do, and is not going to be okay with the amount of time that I spend outside of my relationship and my attention with them. Therefore I generate it, and I create my partner shrieking those very things at me, that I'm emotionally unavailable, that I don't have enough time, and that I don't pay close enough attention. Which, in my perception, is not correct; I do. But in this moment it is correct, because in this moment I'm here and I'm in work mode, and when I'm in work mode, I am emotionally unavailable, I am not spending a lot of time with my partner, and I am not paying a lot of attention to her.

RODNEY: Not that I want a direct answer to this, but in however you brought that to some kind of closure - whether it was closure or not closure - where was your level of trust? I'm sure you were probably aware of the feeling part, the choosing part, and the thinking part. Were you able to trust one or the other in how you brought that to closure?

MARY: I haven't brought anything to closure, let me just tell you that! (Laughter)

RODNEY: But it's the element of trust...

MARY: I really actually have no idea how I'm going to approach this situation this evening.

RODNEY: Got it. You said there's the three parts, but I would sense that if I'm aware of the three parts - and now I sense that I am, although I haven't labeled them - that there's a fourth part, and the fourth part is trusting which part, if they're not all together...

MARY: But I think they are all together.

RODNEY: Well, they are all together ... hmm. (Pause, and group laughter) You trust that they're all together.

MARY: Yes, I do trust that they are all together, and if I were going to pick one to pay more attention to and trust...

RODNEY: Only in a particular instance, not as a rule.

MARY: Right, not as a rule. But in any given moment, for me - which may be different for other people, some people may trust the feeling part of them and go with that one first, and trust and pay attention to that - but I'm not real good at that, being a thought focused person.

This whole business of emotion as a communication has been a real different thing for me and has been a real adjustment. I am paying attention, but it's taking some work because I'm not used to even paying attention to emotion unless it gets to an overwhelming proportion, then I pay attention.

RODNEY: I don't pay attention to it either, until it gets overwhelming, which is...

MARY: Yes, then I'll pay attention to it, but I'm not really paying attention to it. All I'm paying attention to is the signal going [makes a static noise]. How do I get rid of it?! (Laughter) That's about as far as I've paid attention to it in the past, to the emotion part.

Now I'm paying attention to it much more intensely, and realizing that there is a communication there, and trying to figure out what that is; but as far as which piece I would be more inclined to trust and to watch, for me I would say the choosing piece, because the choosing piece seems to go in a direction that doesn't really matter. It's gonna do what it's gonna do, whether I think something or not. There are times when I can make the choosing piece of me choose something in relation to what I'm thinking: I can choose that, I can go there. But there are lots of times when I'm choosing something in every moment, and I'm not necessarily thinking about it.

RODNEY: I'm aware that I can give myself permission to make a choice no matter what I think and no matter what I feel. It could be some reason that I give myself permission to do that, but...

MARY: I'm not talking about giving myself permission. I'm talking about in just everyday movement, that choosing piece is going to choose. That piece is going to move, and it's going to choose in each moment.

RODNEY: Regardless.

MARY: Regardless, it's going to keep choosing. There are times when it chooses something, and in hindsight I can sit back and give myself a reason. I can say, "Oh there's a reason for everything," and in hindsight I can find a reason why I chose something. For me, being the person I am, I can turn that into a beneficial positive thing in my head, no matter what it is or how uncomfortable it is. But regardless of what I think about it, in the moment that piece of me is going to choose things, regardless.

And in paying attention to what it's choosing, I give myself more of an understanding of what it is that I'm doing, what direction I'm going in. Just like in the scenario with my ex, saying to myself, "I want this relationship with my ex-partner," the extra piece was the "with my ex-partner." That's the thinking part of me, and because that part is in there, the choosing piece of me is going in a different direction. I wanted the relationship part, but I kept adding "with my ex-partner," and that's the misinterpretation piece. So the choosing piece keeps going over here and choosing this over here, until I get it that the "with my ex-partner" part is the add-in part. It's not about that.

RODNEY: I've never looked at my choosing part.

MARY: I don't think I ever did either, until this year. I've had moments where I stop and I've made a choice in the moment, and I look at what choice I've made and go, "Why the hell did I do that? That was SO not what I wanted to do!" (Laughing)

RODNEY: Right, but I've never looked at the choosing part as a part that could give me information.

MARY: I never did either.

RODNEY: What you're saying is somewhat revelatory.

MARY: I also never thought about the choosing part as something that I could turn my attention to and actually manipulate.

RODNEY: Manipulate? Could you give an example?

MARY: Like in these scenarios where you create something or choose something and then two minutes later or a week later, whatever the case may be, you're saying, "Why did I do that? I didn't want to do that!"

If I am really concentrating my attention and paying attention to this choosing piece of me, I start to realize that the choosing piece of me actually has choices. Because it has choices - and that's its job, to choose - I can realize I'm choosing THIS right now. I can see that at times, if I'm really paying attention. If I'm choosing THIS right now, there is probably a reason why I'm choosing it whether I see it or not, and I also have other choices. So do I feel comfortable about this choice or not? Even if I don't feel comfortable about it, I could continue to choose that choice, because I'm starting to get information about why this is beneficial to me.

SHARON: Can I ask a question? As a thought focused person, do you make a difference between emotion and feeling? (Slight pause)

MARY: For me ... a lot of times, yes. Because a lot of times I feel things, but I don't necessarily associate it with an emotion.

SHARON: Is emotion a higher intensity?

MARY: Probably. It's probably a higher intensity because I'm more aware of it. Maybe it's not a higher intensity actually, but I'm more aware of it, and it's uncomfortable. Sometimes even emotions that are happy, if they're too big, are uncomfortable, too.

ARIEL: Do you think that's partly because you're soft?


ARIEL: Oh, okay. 'Cause I do that too, and I'm soft.

MARY: I don't think the intensity of emotions has a whole lot to do with the orientation. I think that with my orientation and as a thought focused person, and in my experience and what I've observed with intermediate as in Cathy or with common in Vicki, both of them seem to have more difficulty with emotion than I do. I seem to be able to allow that expression more readily, even though it still is difficult for me. There is an aspect that is difficult, but I seem to be able to express it more readily, which may have to do with my orientation.

GILLIAN: Mary, was Vicki thought or emotion or...?

MARY: Thought, and so am I and so is Cathy, and that gives me an example of all three orientations with the same thought focus, and how we deal with things differently and how we interpret things differently. I can genuinely say that of the three of us thought focused people, I was always the most emotional. Correct? (Looking at Cathy)

CATHY: Oh yeah! (Laughter)

MARY: I've always been more emotional than either one of them. I can say I'm not as emotional as emotionally focused people, 'cause I seem to surround myself with them, and they're WICKED emotional! (Laughing)

SHERI: You seem much more emotional than I am, and I'm emotionally focused and soft. I'm amazed at the emotion I see with a lot of people here.

MARY: I think it depends on where you see me, what setting you see me in. The people who are close to me and are emotionally focused would tend to differ with you because they see me as going into what they call shutdown mode. I'm not shut down, not at all. I'm quite open at those times, but their interpretation is that because I'm not participating in this back and forth emotional thing that I'm in shutdown mode or robot mode or something.

So, I genuinely think it has to do with the setting that you see me in and what's going on. I'm very able to share emotional expressions with other people in certain settings but not necessarily in other settings. My partner would be one that would tell you I'm an emotionally deficient person, that I'm emotionally unavailable and dysfunctional even, because I don't respond in the same way and I'm not doing the back and forth thing, or whatever. That's not what clicks in with me in certain situations.

Can we just take a break here?

[The group breaks, and the socializing begins ... and continues for the rest of the afternoon.]

?2002 Mary Ennis, All Rights Reserved