The ingredients of depression, helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, victimization, and vulnerability can begin very early, before we have the verbal tools to understand what is happening to us. Integral Deep Listening can access these early experiences and allow us to reinterpret them in ways that render them neutral or even positive.
The following is a fascinating example of how, in a short interview, a person can see the rapid healing that can take place when we take ownership of wounds that we have long repressed. Rebecca told the following dream:
I have been on a journey driving my car with my daughter Eli. She had a kitten. It didn’t have any fur. It was red and like a just born naked mouse, just born. It was astonishing for me to see how this cat was! She cared very much for this kitten. Sometimes this kitten had fur; at other times it seemed to so not have fur that it was bleeding.
Rebecca chose to interview the kitten, which she called “Kit-Cat.” Here is what Kit-Cat had to say:
“I am just Kit Cat! I am doing nothing! I need somebody who cares about me, who takes care of me. They are not really caring for me. They don’t know who is responsible. I want the grown-up, Rebecca, to be responsible for me. I want her to be responsible for me and not look at me like I am a monster. I don’t want her to be afraid because she is not knowing what to do, since I sometimes don’t have fur and am nearly bleeding. I can feel. I’m changing fast. I go from having fur to not having fur to bleeding, to not bleeding. I would like to have fur all the time. I would like to not have the bleeding. I have all the attention on me when I am bleeding. I am freezing when I don’t have fur.”
“I dislike that I am so mousy! When I don’t have fur I am more like a new-born mouse! Helpless! I represent part of Rebecca’s emotions at a very, very early age…feelings of sadness and helplessness. If I could change I would be a grown-up cat with short black, thick fur. Not so big, beautiful, a grown-up black cat. A bit like a black panther! This is a good feeling! Very comfortable! I love my thick fur. I don’t need attention so much! I’m not so needy! I don’t feel helpless! I feel independent, completely independent! I don’t need anything. That feels easy!”
“As this panther I am a ten in confidence; as a cat, I have a six or seven in confidence. I don’t know what I score in compassion. It’s not really my business! I am a ten in wisdom because I am always at the right place and time. I am a ten in acceptance as a panther; as a cat I am seven. I am a ten in inner peace. I don’t know what my score is in witnessing, since I don’t care about that…”
“If Rebecca scored like I do in all six of these core qualities she would be different. She wouldn’t care about the future! She would not care at all about the time. She gets stressed about dates. I don’t care about such things. She would let go of her past. She would meet her friends at parties. She would be more in the moment, relax and enjoy the moment more. She is already doing it and she needs to do more…Not care about time. If she were more like me she would let go of her worries about time and her fear and anger. I don’t get scared or angry. She is not patient enough with herself. Not at all. She is very rude and hard with herself. She could be much softer and relaxed with herself, and enjoy what she has created. She could enjoy how nice her life is. She has a bad conscience! I don’t! She has a bad conscience because her husband is not healthy (for twenty years) and he’s suffering and she’s not suffering enough! This is her having the Drama Triangle inside her! He has been this way for twenty years. It’s an illusion that she is able to help him. He is a good dad for the girls but he is not able to have a relationship eye-to-eye.”
“Regarding Rebecca’s issue with her shoulder, I don’t have anything wrong with my shoulders because I am moving very slowly and stretching all the time. I do yoga all the time and running on occasion in the jungle. If she were more like me with the stretching, the shoulder injury would need time and physical support. Maybe six weeks, and it’s gone. Regarding her issue with the office, I would handle issues one after another and keep energy high. Regarding her dance studio, maybe its better to have a second place with very professional equipment and a flexible wooden floor…”
“I would have her focus on joy, good food, and maybe some nice friends! Not worrying about the future…It would be good if she would become me in the morning when she wakes up. During the day she can have the warm feeling from having my thick fur! Not the naked feeling! She will feel more safe in her body. It’s time that Rebecca recognizes me. I’ve been waiting and looking at her all the time. I am her next level. I’m here to encourage her to be not so vulnerable. She thinks she is, but she isn’t. She’s not just a week old!”
“It would help her to remember to become me if she should buy a stuffed black cat! It’s time that she recognizes that I’m here, that I’m not that vulnerable animal, but the black panther, grown up.”
What did Rebecca hear the kitten, cat, and panther say to her?
“I heard and felt really interesting things – that this kit-cat belongs to me, not to Eli. In the dream I was sure it belonged to Eli. I preferred in the dream to be with Eli alone. This black cat is an upper energy state. It makes me feel safe. Another state is the black panther. It feels really joyful. It feels life and joy! It is interesting to see that I have these three levels or choices.
Panther: “Rebecca should be the black cat in relationships and be me, the black panther, independently of relationships and people. I am not responsible for relationships. She needs me to be in contact with joy and life within herself.”
“There has been a part of me not in my consciousness that wants now to come out, to be seen. It is a naked kit-cat. If it is allow to mature it could be a cat scoring in the range of six to seven points in the six core qualities. It could also become a panther with ten points in these qualities. The panther is only for me, not for relationships. He is not needy at all. He is so independent.”
Is Rebecca learning to parent herself, to take care of her own woundedness? Is she being given three distinct identities to choose among? Apparently she can relate to her vulnerability as the furless kitten, healthy relationships with others, as the grown black cat, and her own internal sense of contact with joy and life as the black panther.
Notice how Rebecca automatically accessed perspectives that depicted a wounded past self that she had not been taking responsibility for, a secure self which becomes prominent as soon as she does, and a potential self which is self-reliant, independent, alive, and joyful. We not only have a picture of an evolutionary progression from vulnerability to independence; we have a personal, tailor-made, organic experience of the reality of each of those ways of living life. This feels authentic to Rebecca because it is authentic – these are not symbols, archetypes, or someone else’s images. These embodied perspectives and experiences are intimate, autonomous, and authentic to this one person. They manifest in a powerful way her path to healing, balance, and transformation.