This is a guest post from Thomas Cannon. Enjoy!
An important IFS practice is staying connected after identifying and getting to know your parts. It’s a common misconception that once we get to meet and know our parts, even unburden those who have been embodying emotions, that our work is mostly done. And while this is good progress towards healing and transformation, it is, in my view, only the beginning of a remarkable journey.
One way to meet the challenge of staying connected, among the most important aspects of cultivating and leading from Self, is to follow these simple steps (what I’ve coined as CHIRP):
Commit and follow-thru
When meeting parts, especially exiles, ask them how they would like you to stay connected with them - they are often quite explicit. You might ask them: “What do you need from me? How can I let you know that I understand and care about you?” Once you know what they need, follow-through is important to establish that your commitment is trustworthy.
Hone your intentions
Being clear about how you want to be in the world sets the stage for manifesting that way of being. Try starting each day with a few moments of deep breathing, going inside to setting daily intentions. What qualities do you want to bring to this day? How do you want to handle challenges and unexpected events as they present themselves during the day?
Increase mindful awareness
Practicing mindfulness means intentionally paying attention, without judgment or criticism, in the moment. Awareness is a state of mind that allows us to create new pathways and healthy habits. A few minutes each day can make a big difference.
Reflect and renew
As you go through your day, take a moment to check-in and reflect on how well you have been able to stay connected, and times when you may have become blended or in reactive mode. Reinforcing good habits and tidying up those pesky old habits takes time and practice - regular check-ins help keep us on track and allow us to make corrections when we veer off-course.
IFS practice - the Five P’s
These are the lesser-known qualities of Self, and are distinguished from the 8 C’s because they are more focused on ways of being: Patience, Persistence, Playfulness, Presence, Perspective. When we bring these P’s into practice, we are planting seeds of transformation. Try focusing on one of these qualities, one that will help you lead from Self, and bring that energy into your day.
Practicing these steps will help move you towards mastery of Self-leadership more consistently and effectively. If you’d like, go to my website: mindingwhatmatters.org, and then my resources page for guided meditations and ideas that can help you with IFS practice. Dismantling old protective habits and establishing healthy new ones is the key to mindfully living with intention, awareness and purpose. It takes practice. May the Self we with you.