30 Day Challenge- Parts Work

How many days completed- 28

I’m always doing 30-day challenges. I’m not sure why 30 days. I’ve seen other people do it I suppose, and 30 days is a month, give or take.

Earlier this year, I did a 30-day cold-water immersion challenge where I dunked myself into the small river that runs alongside my house. I got a cold during it so managed about 26 days. I have done 30-day 1 hour a day meditation challenges a few times. I find them to be very useful. There is something about the competitive nature of it that appeals to the athlete in me.

I also feel that it magnifies the effects of the thing I am doing so I can really notice a change and that this leads to an ingrained understanding of why that thing would be useful for me to do regularly, if not in quite such an inflexible and militant fashion.

Over the last 30 days, I have embarked on a 30 day “parts work” challenge. If you would like to understand exactly what that is you can read a blog I wrote on it a couple of months back, Your Part Of The Problem. In short, it is a technique, sometimes used in psychotherapy, that allows you to uncover two opposing parts of yourself, to understand their needs, and then make a conscious choice as to actions that help both parts meet their needs in the same direction. This is designed to stop you working against yourself in achieving a goal or perhaps prevent you from aiming at the wrong goal completely.

During this challenge it dawned on me that perhaps it may be helpful to some people for me to publish what I experience in these challenges and could perhaps help encourage people to try some of these things themselves, even if they don’t do them in quite such an extreme way. It is my intention to start creating films for Youtube, but currently I don’t have the time to do that properly, as I get closer to the potential publishing of the book I’ve been writing. So, for now I’ll use my blog to record my experiences.

So what did I learn in this challenge? In the 30 days, of which I actually did parts work on 28 days, these were the things that I felt shift within myself:

  • I felt more in touch with my feelings. This brought with it a feeling of being more present and having more time to make decisions in the moment, especially when stressful things arose. Parts work requires you to get in touch with what the particular needs of certain parts of you are. Noticing this I believe helped me notice feelings more in my everyday life.
  • During the challenge I became conscious that I had been living my life in recent times in a fairly self-serving way. Coming from a perspective of “what does this do for me,” rather than “what can I do for this person.” I realised that my main aim in life should be to be of service to others and using the skills and resources I have available to do that. If I do this, the other “stuff” like money, and material gain will just take care of itself. This brought with it a much lighter way of living.
  • I became more grateful; even introducing a daily grateful practice into my morning routine. This and the previous example may not be related to the challenge at all. It may be a coincidence that both arose during this period, but I tend to think not. The aim of parts work is to integrate; to encourage a coming together of your psyche. I believe being grateful and being of service are characteristics of a well put together person and not things often present in fragmented people of a narcissistic disposition so its no surprise to me I started to feel this way.
  • And this is the one that I feel has the potential to transform me to the greatest degree. I have become powerfully aware of how I have a tendency to put a meaning onto every situation I experience, and that consequently this gets me into trouble. Parts work requires you to make contact with a part of yourself and to look within to find where that part formed itself. These parts separate or fragment, and as such create a need that suits their own wellbeing, in response to a trauma. The job of this part then automatically becomes the recognition of that trauma starting to arise again and creating behaviour that helps to avoid it. This part has created a meaning- when I see this thing, it MEANS that this will happen as a result.

 

Over the years, I’ve seen many a therapist, healer etc who’s said to me, “you live up in your head!” I’d tentatively agree. Of course, I’d think, isn’t everyone thinking all the time? But through this experience I’ve gained a far deeper insight into what they mean. My mind is working things out all the time. It’s looking for meaning and most likely the threat in every situation. It thinks it’s worked out what’s good and bad for it and it’s desperate to deviate around anything “bad.” But how does it know the same thing will always happen? How does it know that being spoken to in a certain way will mean that person will soon abandon it? How does it know that a client deciding to stop training will lead to financial ruin? It doesn’t, not really. The meaning is not necessary, AT ALL! I’ve learnt I need to be more open when faced with something I’m about to make a judgement on in the moment.

Now the 30 days is over, which is a relief, because at times it was hard, particularly when I’d left it until later in the day, I will definitely stop doing this every day. I do think it’s possible to have too much insight and start to confuse yourself which this challenge verged on doing. I will most likely do parts work as and when I feel I need it, which maybe be once or twice a month.

Would I recommend others to do this challenge? No, I wouldn’t, but occasional use of the technique should be of benefit to anyone. Parts work is a powerful tool when used correctly and when guided by someone who is experienced in its application.

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