Enhance the Soul of Your Writing Using the 3 Selves With the 3 Learning Styles

3 Ways of Finding Your Internal Flow

After some time spent writing about the varying components and origins of “creative flow” and which origins open that flow better from a handwritten or electronic writing format; I FINALLY realized a discussion of flow would be incomplete without first including some talk about how one was taught to write in the first place and what tools were available at these early formative years. The way we first learned how to write and establish our own process into that mode of organizing our thoughts is intrinsically connected to the actual tools on which we were first taught. Deep and specific neural pathways are formed early in our brains which now inherently include deep attachment to both the tool and the style and are forever physically linked together into a habit. Every time we go back to the habit usually involves using the same tool and the ease of flow arrives from that place, more and more easily over time. However, I do believe the nature of certain tools lend themselves more easily to certain origins of flow.

A previous essay just published as a counterpart to this one examined the more external elements that affect ones flow and a brief history of the manual and electronic tools our recent generations have learned to write on. This essay will focus on a more complex pre-evaluation of the internal pathways in the psyche through the 3 Selves and 3 Learning Styles that form our personal writing approach. These tools go more into the nature-nurture area of my argument of inherent genetics versus how we were raised. In some cases, the way were we taught may have gone against our natural grain and in other enhanced what was already in our nature, and either case may have created more frustration and obstacles to grow from or may have enabled a much easier learning and growth environment when It comes to getting to know our internal process towards the flow of creativity and production. More importantly for this piece, is the fact that familiarity with any of these tools can show us different ways to get to different kinds of material as well as lend themselves more to the pen or the keyboard for access

For this more complex pre-evaluation of the internal pathways in the psyche and flow, I turn to 2 completely different and seemingly unrelated sources: the 3 learning styles and Starhawk & Hilary Valentine’s The Twelve Wild Swans pagan journey & workbook and merged them into complementary parings which give an anatomy of sorts to the internal structure that provides us s a flow. These styles include Visual, Kinetic and Auditory. A Visual learner absorbs new information by reading and writing; a Kinetic learner absorbs new material by doing or being fully absorbed in an experiential modality; and an Auditory learner prefers to listen to an outside source such as a lecture or books on tape. Meanwhile, introducing us to the wild places in ourselves and nature, here is where Starhawk refers to Talking Self, Younger Self and Deeper Self.

“Talking Self” is what some Buddhists and popular spiritual literature calls “Monkey Mind”. That’s the more superficial part of the brain, not connected to the rest of the body and flying all over the place from limb to limb sporadically from one idea to another without real coherence and consideration. This is where you find chatter, clutter and anxious fret and worry over things not in your control. I also consider “Talking Self” to be the Verbal Self and relates to the visual learning part of our brain and psyche. In the linear types of documents mentioned in the previous essays, such as legal, medical and/or workplace documents, clearly Talking Self has an appropriate place. In our Western world of commerce and computers, where, unfortunately, this self has quite become the default setting, there is valid need to be objective and outline certain ideas in a concise and straight forward way. I find that the electronic modes of typing, and producing documents on my computer is the place where Talking Self is most effective.

However, when it is time for more creative pursuit of writing, the other modes and selves get a turn. Starhawk explains:

“In our daily lives most of us use one kind of consciousness almost exclusively. We drive the car, answer the phone, and write checks with a logical, verbal, task-oriented, ‘grown-up’ part of ourselves that in Reclaiming Tradition we call Talking Self. When we fall asleep, Talking Self falls asleep too. But we are still conscious in some way, and sometimes we can remember a dream world of vivid sensation, powerful emotion, and logic wholly unlike that of waking life, a dream world inhabited by Younger Self.

We can observe the working of Younger Self’s logic in small children, too. From a two-year-old’s point of view, the statement “First we have to go to the bank; then we can get ice cream” makes no sense whatsoever. Passion, hunger, will, and ice cream create their own world in which the word after simply doesn’t make sense. Ice cream is now.

Artists, too, are aware that creative impulses come from a somewhere outside Talking Self. While painting an ominous canvas with a livid orange moon showing the shadow of teeth, the artist knows perfectly well that the ‘real’ moon doesn’t have teeth. But in the artistic vision, which feels like a true vison of another world, the moon is orange and it does have teeth.

Some mystics have searched for access to these other realms with hallucinogenic drugs. Witches everywhere will assure you that these realms can be reached at will, with training and practice. This is what we mean by ‘art of changing consciousness at will.’

In Reclaiming Tradition, we honor these other forms of consciousness, which find outlet in artistic impulses, daydreams ‘accidents,‘ physical health and energy and many other nonverbal expressions. So magic is the art of communicating with Younger Self intentionally in ritual, while awake rather than waiting for a nightmare, accident, or illness to force us to pay attention. Younger Self may have known for years that a certain job wasn’t right for us, but Talking Self may not know until carpal tunnel syndrome sets in. [page 11-12 of The Twelve Wild Swans,]

While this reference is decidedly more biased than I wish to be for this more objective essay, Starhawk’s distinction of these first two Selves is very clear. To me “Younger Self” is your Inner Child or youthful place that really needs play and creative stimulation from a variety of elements in the outer world, and therefore correlates to the Kinetic Learning style of doing and experiencing. This mode puts us out of our heads and into the present moment. I recognize Her when I am feeling distracted from a telephone call by a frog on my patio chair or the way my color pens are lying on the table or when I need let the waves tickle my toes and pick up seashells then mess around with them in my sandcastles or desk. She comes up when I’m stuck or my Inner Child has been ignored too long and I need to enter into that alternate sense of time Einstein speaks of. Clearly this Self is necessary when we need a”jump start” of new ideas or to continue the flow of good material past a stuck place.

I first got to know my “Younger Self in art and dance classes and decided that my Medium is Motion. All those years of training, performing body movement in dancing, acting and improvisation, helped me to get to know my deep emotional core and the necessity of keeping an active, open channel with it. Later on, exploring SO many kinds of body and energy work modalities to receive healing benefit, and finally to meet Her doing group work with the 12 o receive healing benefit, and finally to meet Her doing group work with the 12 Wild Swans only developed Her in more structured and usable ways. In fact, typing up this first big quote from the book is forcing me to reconnect with this material in deep way after many years of being separated from it and is reminding me why I needed and decided to do this blog writing in the first place. Now that all this time and midlife stress-ola has transpired in my life, during a 10 year interval I was doing my own general magical work, I see how important all this is to me beyond this essay. It’s coming together for me in a deep way.

In visual art classes, we learned to use a wide variety of mediums, paint, charcoal, graphite, silkscreen, weaving, basketry, fiber coils, yarn, strips of fabric, or we even did a whole choreographed staged piece in high school called Dance About Art where my modern dance and art instructors’ got together to set various modern dance pieces to well-known historical Works of Art, projected on a screen behind us. As a senior in choreography class, I had the distinction of creating my own solo piece dancing with a large sheer piece of cloth under colored lights in Louie Fullers’ Isadora Duncan. Writing about it now, I see how eventually spending so much time learning so many differ ways to interact with different mediums using different parts of my body, all comes together under one big light bulb: of course I use different modes of writing for different types of writing! Of course different types of ideas would flow from using different types of mediums! It could come down to something as simple as: I just get bored doing the same thing with the same thing all the time. I need variety whichever way I can get it and contact with ALL my senses.

Talking and Younger Selves receive particular distinction later in life, as spending so much time in front of a computer or electronic device does have impact on one’s brain chemistry, especially for a patient like me whose internal hormones have become quite out of balance and parasympathetic nervous system over sensitized due to too much adverse stimuli from a long term mysterious fatigue disorder. According to my Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist, I have too much “heat” and “yang” and have become mentally overstimulated as a result. I need to limit my exposure to electromagnetic energy fields. Grounding myself into my body by getting out of the house and away from TV and computers and using my other tactile sense immersion in alternate stimuli of natural color and texture, creates a different flow from different parts of the brain by rebalancing the release of neurotransmitters, Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA and Norepinephrine. Its really not healthy to spend excessive amounts of time interacting with electronic devices. Not only does it create a psychic imbalance with our nervous systems, but EM waves are actually toxic to us. Sitting in nature while listening to and watching outdoor creatures move about; lying in our hammock at the beach with a paperback, or my anti-gravity chair by the pool with my hands on knitting projects using so many colorful and textured yarns; coloring in my mandala coloring book with color pencils; swimming in the pool, or writing hand to page in my beautiful journal with colored pens is very grounding and relaxes my body and soul. All that electronic stimuli over activates the visual cortex and keeps one in a more superficial and anxious flight or fight mode- into Talking Self; becoming more vulnerable to an addictive feedback loop which confuses the synapses with its spiritual vexations. Whereas the experience of being in nature quietly makes use of the other senses activating the creative flow in the brain and keeps the door open for Younger Self to come out and play. Therefore, “Younger Self” is brought out through the Kinetic mode.

“Deeper Self” is the wellspring of divinity that resides at the core of our soul. The Hindus like to say that we are spiritual beings incarnated into a body on Earth to learn how to be human (and NOT the other way around). And for every one of the 11 Billion souls that does walk the Earth, there is line of unincarnated souls just waiting for the privilege to be born. Therefore, the soul of each of us is merely ONE drop in a HUGE Ocean of divinity and spirit. In this moment I feel an upsurge of emotion that shows me why I have always felt compelled to make my life MEAN something with a sense of value and connection to each moment and not waste so much time! Also that brings up reflection for another blog about the meaning and purpose of our current overpopulation problem. Things that make you go hmmm… Anyway: connecting with Deeper Self brings about an experience of deep silence for me. Not just an absence of external noise, but an experience of Presence inside me where I hear my own voice speaking deeply connected wisdom rather than scattered nonsense. A kind of echo emerges from my core and just rises up to the surface effortlessly and in perfect order and expands to form a sphere all around me. The most amazing awareness comes from that place. Connecting in this way with Deeper Self feels like the Auditory Mode to me as these message comes to me in voice that sounds like my own, only much wiser and way much more clear and focused.

Again, Starhawk writes:

“Connecting with Younger Self may seem like good idea for general mental and physical health, but it is actually much more. For in Reclaiming Tradition, the way to Deep Self lies through Younger Self. Deep Self is the part of us that is directly connected to, or even part of, the Goddess. To our normal everyday consciousness, divine power is a distant theory – maybe something we should care about but terribly vague, perhaps old fashioned, and usually theoretical.

“But to Younger Self, divine power is as real as French fries or the tooth fairy. It just is a wondrous, sensual fact of living that we can observe anytime by watching a child absorbed in chasing fireflies on a summer night, by remembering a mysterious or vivid dream, or by getting the chills at an unexpected twist in a fairy tale. In these moments, a sense of awe and present power may make the hair on our necks stand up and a trembling sensation run down our spines or the backs of our legs. Deep Self can be directly felt by Younger Self but not by Talking Self.

So in order to recapture the simple reliable presence of a divine power that can heal any hurt and bring sad and sick world to rights, we have to learn to release the narrowness and prejudice of Talking Self, who has long believed that magic isn’t real.”

p12; “Twelve Wild Swans”

A healing beach trip in January 2005 after major surgery in December 2004, renewed my appreciation of handwritten journaling and first made me conscious of Deeper Self, though I didn’t not know her name then. Armed with my brand new 2005 “Sacred Journey” calendar journal & colored pens, a portable altar with goddess figurines, scented candles, a dark blue sparkling altar cloth resembling the night sky and Aliester Crowley Tarot Cards; writing about my New Year’s intentions became deeply transformative and spiritually therapeutic for body and soul. By casting a circle with the 4 directions and my Goddesses and asking for spiritual guidance for clarity in goals and intentions and writing my intentions in each of the neatly titled pages for each area of my life completed an important circuit in my psyche. That tangible connection of pen to hand linked a profound spiritual “spiral staircase” connection of the spine from cranial to sacral. Things changed; things manifested in my life from that place of “deeply connected centering” into Starhawk’s “Deeper Self” and my handwriting is much neater and legible as well.

Another one of my favorite female authors’ is a Jungian Analyst, Marion Woodman, who has written a series of “Jungian Primers” {Addition to Perfection, The Pregnant Virgin and The Ravaged Bridegroom: Masculinity in Women} relating to recovery of women and men from psychic destruction of Patriarchy and its unique Individualization process for women. In The Ravaged Bridegroom, she describes a particular dream and ensuing soul experience of one of her analysand’s that not only perfectly describes one way of experiencing Deep Self; but also provided me with a powerful Image and technique that I use to this day:

“[analysand’s dream:] ‘I am sitting alone in the gods [the upper balcony] of an old theater, listening to “Mahalia Jackson – huge, joyous, suffering Mahalia, full of love and simple faith, walking on the earth with her heart wide open. From the bottom of her anguished soul, she sings,” His eye is on the sparrow/and I know He watches me.”

My insides quiver as her voice rolls into me. I know I am going to burst out sobbing. A long, thin me, jumps up, runs down flight after flight of stairs, up the aisle and into her arms. She has a golden ball in her hands. There the two of us are, embracing and laughing and crying with joy, and the ball between us in the air.’

[The analysand, Jeannie, continues:] ‘Singing with her breaks open the floodgates of my heart. I love the woman I was. I love the clown, the cook, the singer, the lover, the believer – I love them all. Dear god, what a long way down those stairs – around and down, around and down, down the long, long dangerous run – right the way down my spine form head to tailbone. … My body gave up and the complex that I loved blinded me with Light.’

[Ms. Woodman concludes:] This dream literally transformed Jeannie, the dreamer. As she related it, she was again ‘crying with joy.’ The opposites come together. The transcendent self, imaged in the golden ball, broke down the stone wall of her either/or world. … Jeannie spent hours writing in her journal, bringing to consciousness her false ideals, separating out the image that was projected onto her from the authenticity of her own Being, separating out the complex from the true Light. … The long run down required her to face her own lies.” [p178-9]

My own experience with Mahalia Jackson choreographing a 3 piece modern dance composition to three of her songs was more about the hope and spirit I got from her music (although the setting of the dance itself brought up quite a bit of my own anguish!). And, while I have had many of these types of explosive transformative soul experiences over the years thru dance and other journeys, my contact with Deep Self by writing that year at the beach, however, was much more quiet and subtle. But this image of that “around and down, around and down, down the long, long dangerous run – right the way down my spine from head to tail bone” spiraling staircase into the abyss of my deepest soul has actually been one that has shown up for me from various sources and times of my life and today is an important resource for my flow and connection to my writing, my soul growth and my divinity, usually all at the same time. Therefore for this particular connection to Deep Self, the handwritten experience of pen in hand to a tangible page, feet on the ground and seat in my chair actually completes a circuit from cranium to sacrum and back again. Up and down this staircase I go. Casting that circle and using altar and incense and colored pens a beautiful journal, and is often jump started by throwing a tarot card or two to induce the flow in and intentional sacred space I ask the goddess to be present and dispel anything less than love in my mind and heart; body and voice has become a vital and essential way for me to show up for myself, to connect with my Deep Self and my inner child. It’s that physical connection that is not really the same when using the computer. The practice has become so automatic and that I go there almost immediately and I really miss it when I don’t do it. Over time, I have had the most amazing insights and spiritual awakenings from a deep, deep place with this practice. Making it a regular part of my life as much as eating and sleeping, amazing things will happen over time.

The primary upshot here is finding the strange partnership between the 3 selves and the 3 learning styles and how choosing the style can assist you in getting to the self, “who” then decides what kind of flow you need for your writing work at the time. All the while, each self prefers either the pen or keyboard. Generally speaking, writing in and of itself falls squarely in the verbal learning style, however writing is so broad and has so many purposes to our human process that we may take that process to varying levels using different tools. The Talking Self pairs functionally with the Verbal learning style and most often goes for the keyboard: owing to its inmost attachment to the Western World and its preponderance towards the objective mind and purely linear work done in electronic format and the work of modern times. The Deeper Self really conjoins with the Auditory learning style and opening up to a nonlinear aspect. When choosing to access Her thru writing, which combines both the conscious and the unconscious, blends the mental and emotional layers, almost exclusively prefers the colorful unusual pens and journals that appeal to the Inner Child. It’s this physical connection of the body to the chair to the page that completes and internal circuit from the Cranial to Sacral in the most fulfilling way, free of vexing digital vibrations to really Hear Her most clearly. Additionally, according to the Reclaiming Tradition, the Way to Deeper Self is thru Younger Self who more enjoys the hands on stimulation.

Speaking of which, this leaves Younger Self to pair with the Kinetic learning style and could chose either the pen or the keyboard but more often chooses neither because it’s time to get out of the chair or off the couch into a fully engaged experience. Younger Self usually comes up when the other selves have been neglected too long and it’s time to take a break from writing, the Verbal style and Talking Self altogether. Some typical cues are having writers block, feeling distracted or exhausted, and/or maybe a lack of joy or vitality in the writing work currently on hand, and it’s time to redirect the focus towards refilling the well by some much needed play time. This could involve the computer as there are plenty of ways to be creative – or be distracted- using digital media, such as just taking a break and doing a few games of FreeCell or Spider Solitaire. Or maybe invoking YS will involve the pen and the page, but be more about unstructured coloring and drawing if your inner child is throwing a fit for attention, or taking notes and organizing ideas in a freeform ways like in colorful bubbles connected with lines to other bubbles or on separate note cards on the clean table or floor to be tangibly moved around. But being honest, I think we can all agree that many times that block is due to excess mental time with the EM waves and we need to remember as humans, we are part of the animal kingdom and therefore are originally part of nature. So it’s time get back to nature and purely analog ways of being and doing out in it by relaxing the mind by stimulating all the other senses, or simply relaxing. Of course, accessing the YS to begin with by establishing a routine with her in the top slot can bypass writers’ block and getting stuck altogether.

Another thing that occurs to me is my revelation of the gratitude for my wide reaching liberal arts education which exposed me to so many different skills and different tools to begin with, and how essential exposure to ALL the Selves and ALL the Learning Styles in early childhood thru a wide variety tools and senses really is. But even if we were not exposed to these various avenues of learning until much later in adulthood, and maybe missed identifying our true flows from our learned secondary ones, it is still possible to explore them now and find new ways to establish more productive flow and surprising insights, if you are willing to, of course. Yes it may feel much more difficult or frustrating now being so imbedded in the one way; or it may feel “foreign” to get to know another truer Self; and it may also seem impossible and therefore not even worth trying, so certain levels of powerful resistance may need to be acknowledged in new ways as well. But if you are willing to be open even for short intervals at a time, and be free from attachment to any one outcome, regular practice and adventurous trial and error will get you to new and exciting places of inner transformation and outward creative product. This is always true as we learned in the previous essay, because Deep Self is the living presence of whoever your god maybe – or the writing gods in general- and is always inexhaustible, always renews itself. You just have to be willing to spend more time there.

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