EGOs are the Helpers [Part 2]

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In Part 1, I wrote about some of the different ways we address multiplicity of mind:

  • EGOs (where EGO = Earth Guide Only)
  • Egoic states
  • Parts
  • Archetypes
  • Schemas

These days I like to consider the term “human” being as:

The biological spacesuit comes with a feather-o-meter. It has 3 main states… If you have checked out my blog or videos before, then you know that I love looking at the 3 main physiological states, and I call them (as many do): GREEN, YELLOW, and RED. I’ve come to call these 3 states “feather modes” on the feather-o-meter. (Btw, here’s a great — less feathery — Polyvagal Chart that you can reference if you’d prefer.)

I was considering the question: “How do my parts (a.k.a. EGOs) show up in these different states?” and I figured that someone else must’ve figured this out already. Viola: Check out this diagram with examples of parts that show up depending on state.

If you consider the parts I noticed in my system shown here…

…Perhaps in GREEN my Advocate Part shows up with spunk energy, ensures balance, and advises on self-care. But maybe in YELLOW this part leads me down a path of diversions and distractions (in a “helpful” way to give me a chance to “relax,” or get away from work).

Being able to assess what polyvagal state (or feather mode) you are in, is oh so very helpful in life. This is a state that your biological spacesuit sets itself to in the background. It’s helpful like that. Taking note of how your parts help (or “help”) when your suit is in different states is a wonderful practice. So assess:

  • What state am I in?
  • What parts are here?

…And is it one part (1 earth guide only) that showed up to open mic night? E.g. One earth guide only taking center stage within the biological spacesuit, like this serious manager part:

…Or is there a whole cast of characters in there?

…Are they at odds with each other or in cahoots?

(Please excuse the robot’s lackluster attempt to create “a naked family of animals living in one astronaut space helmet.”)

Remember, IFS welcomes all parts, and acknowledges that even extreme parts have good intentions. There’s also the ‘part that’s not a part’, which IFS calls Self. (I equate Self with spirit.) When we show up with Self Energy we are compassionate, calm, connected, curious, courageous, caring, creative, and have clarity. These qualities that we have access to when we are in Self Energy are called the 8 C’s. When we are infused with Self Energy. We can move from “a mind at war with itself” to a more harmonious inner fam… An internal family that is Self-led.

The idea is to grow the internal harmony… the “teamwork makes the dream work… have a harmonious inner fam that uses their inside voices and are guided by Self. Parts with extreme roles can ultimately adopt (or come back to) roles that are truly beneficial to the system. We don’t want to just leave the YELLOW state and get to GREEN, we want to take the time (as needed) to examine parts that have taken on “helpful” roles (roles that one point in time could’ve been a literal life saver, but now… not so much). This is how we get greater and greater internal harmony and live more lucidly.

The following 2 images are from The SQ Workshop and allow participants to take a look at what’s going on in their biological spacesuit’s when the feather-o-meter — behind the scenes — switches into one of these 3 modes. The second image allows them to keep track of what EGOs they notice.

Things you can try:

  • Often (thanks to the genius work of Deb Dana, LCSW), people use a LADDER versus GREEN / YELLOW / RED. You can use these two concepts in combination as well. Check out this post, here on BetterAndBetterer, and grab the PDF that let’s you Befriend Your Inner Ladder. Follow the instructions and also map out the PARTS that you meet. You can also check out posts that are tagged Polyvagal Theory.
  • Simply noticing your parts, welcoming them, and following the 6 F’s: Find, Focus, Flesh out, Feel toward, Befriend, Fear (what does this part fear will happen if it stops doing what it is doing to “help” you?)
  • Check out posts on BnB that are tagged IFS.
  • A lot of these images are from my book Am-fullness… check it out if you are interested in getting the full download as to how I view and experience this SQ stuff. The idea of helpful or “helpful” is elaborated on in my book Ever-stressed.
  • Join… it’s quite inexpensive and you can catch awesome live webcasts and replays. Maybe this suggestion doesn’t super-apply to this post, but go do it anyway. <3
  • Watch this video and be sure to check out the article here for awesome notes.
  • Look at these cards — an amazing description of all kinds of parts! (These are also for sale on Amazon as well.)