Crossroads to Crossroads

The Lifecycle Completed,
Erik Erikson

About Nancy Hayes

Crossroads to Crossroads
by Nancy Hayes, Ph. D.

Wherever You Go There You Are, Jon Kabat Zinn reminds us in his wonderful meditative book. We are who we are at any given moment in our lives. The likelihood, however, that we are well enough tuned into ourselves at any given moment is slim given the many demands that our external world creates.

Especially in our culture where achievement, productivity, and drive are so well entrenched, there is little support from others for us to become quiet and self aware. Thus, I believe we have many spaces, patterns, gaps of awareness about ourselves that if acknowledged and developed could be vital to provide a road map that could help us know where we are, where we've been and where we want to go.

We generally have an overall picture of who we are but the specifics are often hidden from us. There are many rules that support not getting in touch with our inner self, our inner world. Medications and even well trained psychotherapists and psychiatrists (in good faith) work daily to help clients to look away from their thoughts, fears, worries, and troubling feelings like depressions. Others, well meaning also, encourage a friend, family member to try to solve complex problems quickly as they themselves can become uncomfortable with unresolved issues and want quick solutions so that everything can return to "normal" again. And, even if we are honest and well intentioned, we can still "miss the mark" in helping another because we are not familiar with the whole field of emotions, and the rich resources our inner world can present.

Becoming aware of our inner world requires becoming more critical (sensitive) to our outer world and the interface between the two. Often we go through our days bumping into life (the external challenges of eating, working, paying bills, doing the laundry, etc.) and only enter our inner world (our fantasies, aspirations, worries, feelings, spiritual strivings) in passing moments of distraction from what we consider REAL LIFE.

The reels inside our head are turning fast and pounding out meaningful data but we often miss this information. We are attuned and trained to meet so many challenges from the external world often through our senses and its interface with the world- that we in essence have a silent movie running in our minds without any audience.

Even if you are open to my thesis that becoming aware of our inner life and its richness and resources is a good choice, you might ask how would you make sense, give meaning to this world?

There are various roadmaps that can help in this regard. I want to share with you one of my favorite and preferred way of looking at behaviors that give clues and reflect the inner sense of stability or lack of same in any particular individual.