china-dragon

The following interview is with Janet, a young woman who has finished her high school education with outstanding grades. After spending a year abroad working as a teacher’s aid for disabled children in a second-world country, she is embarking on university education in special education. She has issues that are shared with many youth in her position world-wide: “How will I shift into this next stage of my life and find new friends? How will this change my relationship with my family? Should I live at home, like my mother wants, or should I move closer to my school?”

Janet writes, “I am happy to see my mother and sister and I am happy to live with them. It is better because we always fought before. Now it is nice but my mom still talks a lot about her relationship with Terry in which she is stuck. I am thinking I might be stuck if I don’t leave. I need to find who I am and how I want to develop and live. Am I just abandoning my mother and my sister? I am not responsible for them but my mother tells me her problems and I would be leaving my sister alone with family problems. I feel nervous because I feel stuck! I am afraid I am getting back to where I was before I left for my year abroad.”

These feelings reminded Janet of a chaos of colors – blue or grey moving!  They congealed into the head of a dragon! Here is what the dragon had to say to Janet:

“I am inside Janet’s breast where the heart is. I am red and I look like Chinese dragons with the body of a snake and fly through the air, moving like a snake. I have a tongue like a snake and big golden eyes, and big, sharp teeth! I have a friendly smile! I am strong, regal, and brave and can more very fast. I can be very tough when I want.  Sometimes I feel like I’m going into a circle, like when I’m in a rage, when I can’t get outside, but stay caged up inside Janet’s breast. I represent her wish for justice, for life to be fair, for people to be fair with each other. Her wish to be honest and true.”

“I would like to stay as I am because I am strong and brave and can fight for my rights and aims. We dragons were also the final wisdom in China. I will stay as I am and learn more about myself. I would love to spend time outside of Janet’s chest and fly and have freedom! I also want to know that I can come back. I am way too big to stay in this small chest.”

“On a scale of zero to ten, I score myself nine in confidence, because I know I am strong and have my place to go back to. I can decide to do whatever I want to do. I am a five in compassion because I feel compassion for others but I have a thick skin, so if I don’t want to feel compassion I can shut it off. With myself it is the same. I don’t have to complain so much about myself or my situation. There are many people and creatures that are in more difficult situations, so I should see the best of mine.  I score myself a seven in acceptance because I try to accept others as they are, but I can be very critical in other things toward myself and the way I treat others. Should I make more of my freedom? I am also a seven in inner peace, because I am always wanting to explore or know if I am in the right place or if I should fly away and learn some more. I have my moments when I am very content with what I have done and who I am. I score myself an eight in witnessing because I’ve seen a lot of fighting; I am free to fly wherever I want and so I can keep calmer and my control; I don’t have to explode the way I did before. If I scored all tens in these six core qualities Maybe I would feel less stuck because I could enjoy my freedom and give my good qualities to others. Maybe I would feel more compassion for myself if I knew I deserve the same compassion as others.”

If Janet scored like I do maybe she would feel freer to make more independent decisions and trust more in her judgment, because she would have a hard skin like me and not let the words of others influence her feelings and thinking so much. If I were her I would be a little more spontaneous and not think so much. If I wanted to fly away I would, instead of fearing to leave. She would be a dragon like me and know she is strong and can fight for herself and doesn’t have to fight so much for others, knowing they have to fight their own fights in their lives.  She would tell the world what she has learned in her year abroad. Since I can fly, I would fly back to visit! She can live in the moment! Regarding her studies at university, she can get into this stage of her life and find friends: I am very strong, big, and beautiful! If I were there I would go there and see what happens! Find who is interested in me and who is not. I would go and see what I can make out of the situation. I would know I can always go back to my home where I know the people and the places. Janet will feel better if she leaves home and helps from outside because she will not be so involved. She will have a stronger skin and more strength for the moment to be with her mother and sister and enjoy time with them when she wants to. If I were her I would focus more on balance, movement, and new perspectives. Some adventure, maybe!”

“It would be good for her to remember to become me when she is with her family. She will be more wise in not getting into the drama of the family. To have more distance and movement in her direction to find her way. To have more confidence!  Janet has learned a lot during her year abroad and now is willing to fight or find out that she is strong and confident. There is something burning in her!  She can help her sister by taking her with her on some adventures to show her the perspective of being a dragon! She can help her mother by being more distant and not letting herself get involved in her mother’s problems. Also by sharing some more quality time with her, like sports, so they find other things to talk about.”

Here is what Janet heard the dragon say to her:

“I need to be more confident in myself and not have too many worries about acting how others need me to act. It would be wrong to stay home for my mother and sister. If I am happy and strong I can help them better and more than when I am lost in their conflicts. Sometimes it’s easier or better to listen to what your inner voice is telling you and not wonder so much if this is right or not!”

Here are some of the recommendations the dragon made:

Think less and be more active!

Have hard skin to protect myself from influences!

Be more confident!

Know I am free to fly and can always come back to a safe, secure refuge.

Here is the transcript of the interview:

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

Getting my Year abroad and German lives in the here and now:

University and learning- to get into this stage of my life and find friends;

Family issues: is it better for me to stay at home to help resolve family issues or to move on and move out?

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

Family issues: is it better for me to stay at home to help resolve family issues or to move on and move out?

What feelings does this issue bring up for you? 

I am happy to see my mother and sister and I am happy to live with them. It is better because we always fought before. Now it is nice but my mom still talks a lot about her relationship with Thomas in which she is stuck. I am thinking I might be stuck if I don’t leave. I need to find who I am and how I want to develop and live. Am I just abandoning my mother and my sister? I am not responsible for them but my mother tells me her problems and I would be leaving my sister alone with family problems. I feel nervous because I feel stuck! I am afraid I am getting back to where I was before I left for Year abroad.

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

A chaos of colors – blue or grey moving!

 Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.  

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What? 

The head of a dragon!

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Dragon, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am inside the breast where the heart is. I am red and I look like Chinese dragons with the body of a snake and fly through the air, moving like a snake…I have a tongue like a snake and big golden eyes, and big, sharp teeth! I have a friendly smile!

Dragon, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I am strong, regal, and brave and can more very fast. I can be very tough when I want.

Dragon, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

Sometimes I feel like I’m going into a circle, like when I’m in a rage, when I can’t get outside, but stay caged up inside Janet’s breast.

Dragon, what aspect of Janet do you represent or most closely personify?

Her wish for justice, for life to be fair, for people to be fair with each other. The wish to be honest and true.

Dragon, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I would like to stay as I am because I am strong and brave and can fight for my rights and aims. We were also the final wisdom in China. I will stay as I am and learn more about myself. I would love to spend time outside and fly and have freedom! Also to know I can come back. I am way too big to stay in this small chest.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Dragon, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. Why?  Nine, because I know I am strong and have my place to go back to. I can decide to do whatever I want to do.

Compassion, 0-10. Why?  Five, because I feel compassion for others but I have a thick skin, so if I don’t want to I can shut it off. With myself it is the same. I don’t have to complain so much about myself or my situation. There are many people and creatures that are in more difficult situations so I should see the best of mine.

Acceptance, 0-10. Why? Seven, because I try to accept others as they are but I can be very critical in other things toward myself and the way I treat others. Should I make more of my freedom?

Inner Peace, 0-10. Why?  Seven, because I am always wanting to explore or know if I am in the right place or if I should fly away and learn some more. I have my moments when I am very content with what I have done and who I am.

Witnessing, 0-10. Why?  Eight, because I’ve seen a lot of fighting; I am free to fly wherever I want and so I can keep calmer and my control; I don’t have to explode the way I did before.             

Dragon, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

Maybe I would feel less stuck because I could enjoy my freedom and give my good qualities to others. Maybe I would feel more compassion for myself if I knew I deserve the same compassion as other.

Dragon, how would Janet’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

Maybe she would feel freer to make more independent decisions and trust more in her judgment because she would have a hard skin like me and not let the words of others influence her feelings and thinking so much.

Dragon, if you could live Janet’s life for her, how would you live it differently?

I would be a little more spontaneous and not think so much. If I wanted to fly away I would instead of fearing to leave. She would be a dragon like me and know she is strong and can fight for herself and doesn’t have to fight so much for the others, knowing they have to fight their own fights in their life.

Dragon, if you could live Janet’s waking life for him/her today, would you handle Janet’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Getting my Year abroad and German lives in the here and now: She would tell the world what she has learned. Since I can fly, I would fly back! She can live in the moment!

University and learning- to get into this stage of my life and find friends: I am very strong, big, and beautiful! I would go there and see what happens! Find who is interested in me and who is not. I would go and see what I can make out of the situation. I would know I can always go back to my home where I know the people and the places.

Family issues: is it better for me to stay at home to help resolve family issues or to move on and move out?

She will feel better if she leaves and helps from outside because she will not be so involved. She will have a stronger skin and more strength for the moment to be with them and enjoy time with them when she wants to.

Janet, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Janet’s life?

I would focus more on balance, movement, and new perspectives. Some adventure, maybe!

Dragon, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Janet to imagine that she is you, become you, and act as you would? 

When she is with her family. She will be more wise in not getting into the drama of the family. To have more distance and movement in her direction to find her way. To have more confidence.

Dragon, why do you think that you are in Janet’s life? 

She has learned a lot in Year abroad and now is willing to fight or find out that she is strong and confident. There is something burning in her!

Dragon, why do you think that Janet can most help her sister, Isa?

Take her with her on some adventures to show her the perspective of being a dragon!

Dragon, why do you think that Janet can most help her mother?

Be more distant and not let herself get involved in her mother’s problems. Share some more quality time with her, like sports so they find other things to talk about.

Thank you, Dragon! Now here are a couple of questions for Janet: 

What have you heard yourself say? 

I need to be more confidence in myself and not have too much worries about acting how others need me to act. It would be wrong to stay home for my mother and sister. If I am happy and strong I can help them better and more than when I am lost in their conflicts.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Sometimes it’s easier or better to listen to what your inner voice is telling you and not wonder so much if this is right or not!

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Think less and be more active!

Have hard skin to protect myself from influences!

Be more confident!

Know I am free to fly and can always come back to a safe, secure refuge.