Psychological flexibility is the ability to think and feel with openness, to attend voluntarily to your experience of the present moment, and to move your life in directions that are important to you building habits that allow you live life in accordance with your values and aspirations.*
When 3 and 4-year olds draw, the thing they are drawing can change from one thing into another, surprising them.**
We can rediscover the ability to change something into something else.
Especially important when it comes to the more difficult thoughts and feelings we have as adults.
I’ve been invited to read Steven Hawes’ A Liberated Mind alongside someone I’m in conversation with. Hawes writes out of personal experience about the Dictator Within, the story his ego had been telling him until he realised he could do something about this, he could change this into something else, identifying six pivots by which he would do this.
In the beginning there are yearnings.
Yet the ego’s story tells urges us to feed these in what are harmful ways. Hawes identifies our yearning for coherence and understanding, belonging and connection, to feel, orientation, self-direction and purpose, and, competence.
For coherence and understanding, instead of buying into what our story is telling us, we need to pivot to see this for what it is – simply thoughts rather than the way things really are.
For belonging and connection, instead of believing our conceptualised self-story we need to pivot to a perspective-taking self through noticing and attention.
To feel, instead of avoiding our experiences we need to pivot to acceptance in an empowered state.
For orientation, instead of being rigidly attentive to the past and future (what has happened, what could happen) we must pivot to being flexibly attentive to what is good and is happening now – presence.
To be self-directed and purposeful, rather than being socially compliant we must pivot to personal values – from should to must.
And for competence, instead of perpetually avoiding we must pivot to committed action – step-by-step, habit-by-habit.
Hawes is identifying how we turn from the False Self to the True Self, from the Ego to the Eco. I am already noticing how these pivots can be laid over the U-journey of Theory U and therefore I suspect to to Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.
Thin|Silence doesn’t aim to be finished and polished, rather it is about listening for whispers and reflecting on what is emerging.
Here’s something to play with through reflective journaling: let’s take each of the six pivots and reflect on where we sense ourselves to be at this moment.
(*From Steven Hawes’ A Liberated Mind.)
(**From Lynda Barry’s Making Comics.)