Sexuality, Guilt, and low self-esteem
Can Guilt and low-self esteem show up as physical problems that interfere with your sex life? If it can, what can be done about it?
This lady is a talented musician, but unresolved issues from her youth keep her from maximizing her capabilities and having a healthy sexual relationship with her partner, despite many attempts to address it throughout her adult life.
What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
I have a big issue I haven’t been able to solve for twenty years. It has to do with my vagina. It’s a chronic inflammation that does not have anything to do with a sexually transmitted disease, since I had this before I ever started having sex. My guitar and my vagina are connected to my father.
Guilt: I feel I don’t deserve a lot in my life.
I want to be a good musician so that who I am communicates to the audience.
Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?
If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?
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?
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!
Tunnel, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?
I am very very deep under the earth in the rocks. I am very secret. There is no one in me.
What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?
That I am for me, for myself. My walls are strong.
What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What are they?
It’s too dark in me. Nothing happens for me.
Tunnel, you are in Darlene’s life experience, correct? She created you, right? What aspect of Darlene do you represent or most closely personify?
Her being separated from the world.
Tunnel, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I would be a big street with trees on both sides and many people walking, very alive! A lot of very wonderful alternative shops. It feels perfect!
(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
Street, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing? Why?
Confidence: 10 Because I’m perfect!
Inner Peace: 10
How would Darlene’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
She would feel fulfilled. She would interact with many other people. Her richness. She would find many different ways to play all sorts of music and playing for other people…alive. She would be able to celebrate her life together with the people with whom she is playing.
Street, do you feel guilt?
I’m wonderful for everyone!
What does it feel like not to feel guilt, street?
It feels natural, without any doubt.
If Darlene felt the way that you do, how would her life be different?
If you could live Darlene’s life for her, how would you live it differently?
I would give her all the wonderful talents, love, enthusiasm, and joy of giving that I have. In her sexual life she would be able to receive the love Peter has for her.
If you could live Darlene’s waking life for her today, would you handle Darlene’s three life issues differently? If so, how?
I would remind Darlene that if she feels guilty that she cannot give anything to herself or to others. I would show her how it holds her down. I would show her the possibilities of her potential.
The chronic inflammation in her vagina is a fear of her own beauty! She does not feel safe! (Cries…)
What is Darlene feeling now, Street?
She does not feel safe! She feels sad and fearful.
What do you feel about that, Street?
She doesn’t have to feel sad and fearful anymore.
It is her own life now. There is no one who might harm her, threaten her.
If she didn’t feel sad and threatened any more, would it make any difference with her vagina, Street?
Yes! It would become healthy!
What three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Darlene’s life?
She needs to stop thinking that she doesn’t deserve happiness or that she is so small and doesn’t have anything to give.
If she stopped thinking those things, how would her life be different?
It would be indescribable!
In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Darlene to imagine that he/she is you and act as you would?
In her daily life with her pupils and her colleagues – other music teachers. When she is playing the violin, when she has sex with Peter, when she is with her father and mother.
Vagina, have you been listening to what the Street has said?
Yes! I know this. I have told her several times that I am healthy, safe, and cared for.
Is she not listening to you, Vagina?
Sometimes she listens to me but her reality seems so real!
What do you think about that, Vagina?
I have no problems. I know I am natural. I am a bit sorry that she does not connect with me.
What would help her to connect with you, Vagina?
She needs to understand that I am not a threat to her. She is starting to breathe deeply into her belly in the last week. This is a good way to connect to me.
Character, do you do drama? If not, why not?
No. I’m just me – perfect.
What is your secret for staying out of drama?
I don’t know.
What do you think about that tunnel becoming a street, Vagina?
I like it. It’s much more rich, much more alive, much more a gift for everyone!
Why do you think that you are in Darlene’s life?
She is very ready to face me and to become me.
How is Darlene most likely to ignore what you are saying to her?
What would you recommend that she do about that?
She could remember my richness, my perfection.
Darlene, what have you heard yourself say?
The Street part of myself feels perfect and rich. It likes that it is not a tunnel any more but that now it is a street and alive and has so much to give to others. It is not secret and alone as the tunnel was. Darlene has thought that she is guilty and small and has nothing to give because she has a fear of her own beauty because it was a threat to her at some point of her life. She doesn’t have to be afraid any more because she is an adult and there is no one here who is a threat to her.
Vagina said that she is warm and healthy and natural. She has told me this but has mostly blocked it because I was iu my own drama. If Darlene would remember to be this big, alive, street then her Vaginal problems would go away.
If this experience were a wake-up call from the most central part of yourself, what do you think it would be saying to you?
Stop holding on to these old thoughts about myself. Allow myself to see my richness and my perfection. There is no threat for me in my adult life.
While Freudians would have a field day with the relationship between a vagina and a tunnel, the real connections are in the secretiveness and protectiveness that a deeply hidden location provides. Things that are hidden tend not to get sorted out or fixed. Parts of ourselves that are protected too much never learn that they don’t have anything to be afraid of.
It takes more than an interview to change a life-long habitual attitude toward oneself and one’s body. Deep listening defuses wake-up calls by waking us up so that we get the message. Once we understand new behaviors and ways of thinking have to replace the old dysfunctional ones. Just understanding won’t change these problems any more than a smoker’s understanding that they’re addicted to tobacco will cause them to stop smoking. This awareness is a crucial first step. It must be followed by behavioral changes. One has to actually stop smoking. Darlene has to stop feeling threatened. To this end, I recommended to Darlene that several times a day she ask herself, “How threatened do I feel right now, zero to ten?” If the number she gives herself is anything below ten she is to ask herself, “What could I do right now to raise that number half a number?” (Say, from a six to a six and a half.) Her answer might be to take a deep breath, to smile, to imagine that she is the broad, lively street. It might be to call a friend. It’s her choice. The way forward is to keep doing interviews to regularly re-immerse herself in an undamaged potential identity, while taking small, concrete daily steps to counteract the dysfunctional lifelong scripting. The support of other students and Practitioners of Integral Deep Listening is critical in this respect.