from Having It All: Mind, Body, Heart Spirit Together Again At Last by Phil Porter
The splits between body, mind, heart, and spirit are only part of the problem. Our lives are full of splits, including ones that are reinforced by culture and language. We are asked to view the world and our experience of it as a collection of independent, if not conflicting, parts rather than seeing it as a whole.
From birth we are taught to separate, divide, categorize, fragment, and polarize. The words we are given, the institutions that have been created, the philosophies and theologies that we have been taught are full of splits.
Some splits are large, some are small. Some are easy to heal, others will take time and energy. Some are personal, but others are deeply ingrained in the culture. Some splits are too difficult to change—we’ll work around those.
Here are some examples of splits:
- We have splits between what we know deep inside and what we are willing to admit. If we have experience that seems abnormal or unacceptable, we may go to great lengths to hide that knowledge from others and 43 even deny it ourselves.
- We experience splits in the ways we behave in different situations. For example, we act one way at work and another when we are with friends. We may play very different “roles” in different situations.
- We experience the split of peer pressure when we struggle between what we want and what the group demands of us.
- We split up into racial and ethnic groups and different religious denominations and faiths.
- We split work and play into two completely separate categories.
- We experience splits between seemingly contradictory experiences in our own bodies—the desire to be alone and the need for community, a need for both control and letting go of control, or wanting attention and shrinking from it.
- We have splits in our political system between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. Even though our personal philosophies may be quite varied, actually integrating wide points of view, the system encourages polarization and distrust. We become reactionary and defensive in response to other opinions.
- We split our corporations and organizations into parts that rarely communicate with each other, parts that compete rather than cooperate. What are the splits that you see in your own life or in the world around you? What changes would you like to make to experience more wholeness in your life? Do you feel cut off from some part of your experience? Is there something you want that you are not getting? Are there people from whom you are separated or estranged? Are there situations that force you to hide part of who you are? Are there areas of conflict in your life? Are these due to some sort of split? Are there political, ideological, religious, or racial splits in your community? Do you experience your country as being split politically?
- Are you separated from spiritual or religious experience, or do you experience splits in your faith community?
Are there parts of yourself that you find difficult to admit to yourself or others?
Does your family, community, or culture ask you to be a certain way that you find uncomfortable?
It can be challenging, even painful, to focus on the splits in our lives. But to realize that there are splits, and even that we are encouraged to be split in many situations, is important.
To recognize splits and articulate them to our- selves and others is often the biggest step we can make toward healing them.
We experience splits between seemingly contradictory experiences in our own bodies—the desire to be alone and the need for community, a need both for control and being out of control, or wanting attention and shrinking from it.
To realize that there are splits also lets us know that whole- ness is possible. If we can name a split, we can take the first step toward healing it, even if it is only a small one.
R E S U L T S Wholeness and integration are much more possible when we acknowledge our splits. The bits and pieces of our lives can be brought together like the multicolored threads of a tapestry.