Integration: An Issue vs. a Life

One of a series of exercises and reflections for expanding the benefits of mapping and moving one or more feeling states…

When working with a focused issue – an ongoing challenge in your life, a longstanding habit you want to change, a recurring experience of difficult emotion, an experience of limitation in pursuing a goal, etc. – the work will most often remain somewhat limited in scope. For most issues, you can fully clear the pattern by mapping and moving the nine parts of the relevant set. In doing so, you often find the problem simply vanishes. It is relatively easy to make new choices and set in motion a new pattern, a new direction in that area of your life.

But it is rare that anyone has an issue which is truly isolated, a challenge that has no echoes into other areas of their life. In most cases, clearing this first issue will lead to your finding yourself in new situations, ones which may have a tendency to trigger another pattern which had previously been hidden.

For example, let’s say you were terribly shy. So you had very few close friendships. You clear the shyness, and all of a sudden you find yourself having a close friend or two. In those friendships you notice the issue of jealousy coming up. The potential for jealousy was there all along, but because the surface issue of shyness kept you safe from close friendships, you never had to deal with it.

You may find it helpful to migrate from one issue to the next, clearing them as they appear. But eventually you will start wondering if there is any end to the hang-ups you have stored inside you.

In my own growth work, I cleared many sets of nine feeling parts. Eventually I grew tired of it. I thought for a while that I didn’t want to map and move another feeling state, ever.

That’s when I started looking for the deeper pattern. All the surface patterns seemed to share a certain DNA, a kinship, a theme. I went in search of the theme, and I found that these sets of nine actually arrange themselves in groups of three. I call this a constellation, and I’ll have more to share about this in future articles.

Now whether you are doing this work on your own, or you are choosing to work with me, or someone I’ve trained, or a self-taught therapist, eventually many of you will want to take on the work of a full constellation. This work is not so quick to put behind you. This work is not so easy to move through. It takes a level of commitment and support which is serious and substantial, and I just want to let you know that up front.

Think of the example I shared yesterday of myself starting all over again as if I were an adolescent, dating for the first time. That was a result of clearing a single set or two. Now imagine that same level of disorientation, newness, and naivety applied to your deepest sense of identity, your sense of who you are as a person, your sense of connection to the people around you, to your work, to your deepest decisions and preferences in your life.

That is the level of transformation you may experience as you map and move a full constellation. This is not simply clearing an issue, a pattern. This is like hitting the reset button on your entire being in one dimension of your life. (FYI, yes, there are multiple dimensions, each governed by a constellation, at least half a dozen of them in total. Again, more on that in future articles.)

It’s wonderful. It’s exciting. It is also terribly frightening at times, extremely uncomfortable and disorienting at others. There is no experience you are likely to be able to compare it to. It really is like starting over.

Fortunately, although you wipe the slate clean on this core issue that defined your persona, and the template that shaped many of your decisions and patterns related that issue, you do find something solid in its place. You find an exquisite, robust, embodied sense of being yourself. The language eludes me right now. The experience is so simple as to almost not be worth putting words to, yet so profound that only poetry might approach its essence.

The longer you inhabit this new self, the more experiences you accumulate, the more choices you make, the more memories you lay down, the easier it becomes to be at peace with this new self, and the more confident and secure you become. You learn by doing, just what are your preferences, just what do you care most about, just what will you go for when given the chance. And so gradually, imperceptibly, you come to redefine your life and the way you choose to inhabit it.

Want to dive in more deeply to feelingwork and further explorations of feelingmind? In 2020 I’ll be I’ll be opening a learning and practice community with live, group calls where we can go much deeper into the material and practice the skills. If you think you might be interested, please check out the community website at If you might prefer working with me one-on-one, consider booking a private pession. If you’re already clear about what you want, contact me. Looking forward to connecting!