Prerequisite to my own training as a certified Completion Process practitioner, this April, I had a CP session facilitated by the practitioner of my choice. I chose Mark Scott, via a semi-random, semi-intentional sorting process, and had my Zoom session yesterday.
Reactions: shoulda done this earlier! Taking myself through the CP has been good; relaxing and allowing someone more skilled and objective than me to facilitate was better. I didn’t even have an idea of what to work on, and I told him that, and he said we could figure it out together.
Okay, he started off asking me about my experience with Teal Swan and CP (which Teal sometimes refers to as “emotional midwifery”), and discussion, and then what I might like to work on. I said I’d had some thoughts about sacred femme, sacred masculine, wanting to feel comfortable practicing my receptive feminine energy more and I’m happy to have aligned myself with a masculine energy male, but I’m unhappy with how addiction themes keep reoccurring in my love life, and how those issues and those people can take on tones that feel tyrannical for me when I’m in my my passive/receptive/trusting energy, making me feel sometimes forced to take an active, almost “mothering” role, which isn’t the relationship dynamic I want. So I feel like either way I lose — I don’t want to alpha my male and don’t want to be bulldozed.
Mark is a great presence because I felt like he was comfortably in charge as the facilitator, but not rushing or too brisk or “driving” towards anything. He really lets things sit and settle and seems to really check in deeply with himself at each point about what might be the next logical thing.
After more back and forth, he suggested I might want to try some “parts work”. Teal Swan’s modality is heavy on the parts work, which is where you directly access, and ask, and “channel” any given part of yourself, and let it speak directly and tell you how it feels, why it’s there, and what it needs.
Mark suggested either parts work on the aspect of myself that chooses partners who have addiction themes, or alternatively the aspect of myself that feels forced to mother others, and doesn’t want to.
I thought about it deeply and said I didn’t know, I didn’t feel entirely pulled towards either one.
We talked and explored some more and I said I feel my explorations around caretaking my sacred femme energy more consciously aren’t something I learned from any female role models in my life until very recently, and additionally my interest is commonly not reflected back to me by other women entirely sold on “feminism du jour”. I said I do appreciate feminism and what it’s accomplished but I don’t resonate with it now, or for quite some time. It feels incomplete, or like a reaction to a problem rather than offering any real solutions.
We explored about that and I said I have a very few girlfriends now who I feel I can basically talk with, but they have entirely female brains which is actually kind of weird for me, friend-wise. This launched the subject of my 25 year long friendship with (a trans friend, x), and how I enjoyed having a friend who’d occupied both both female and male aspects, but that I’ve realized in hindsight we had gotten severely out of sync in our ideals and values quite a while ago, and had just agreed to disagree until around May when rupture become unavoidable.
Mark poked around a bit and asked me who it was, in my 25 year friendship with x, that did more of the ‘work’ of agreeing to disagree, and I immediately said, “Oh, it was me.” I said, “It’s always me. I’ve been a commercial driver for 21 years but on family trips I still sit in the backseat. I’m the younger sibling and I had a loving family — who valued me, for sure — and it just always seemed natural for me to be hauled around like a sack of potatoes and not really express a lot of preferences, and just plug into what everyone else was doing, and somehow that’s continued into my life as an adult.”
In fact I remember being on a long car trip, as a little girl, and mentioning I needed to pee, and my dad said “JESUS CHRIST Hannah, we just passed the last exit for the last gas station,” and I felt so chagrined. Also, infinite occasions of sharing spaces with people who run hot, and I run cold, so always being cold so that they won’t have to be hot.
Mark said, “What would happen if you chose to drive instead of being in the backseat?”
I thought for a while and said, “But I like it in the backseat because then nothing is my fault.”
He was quiet for a long time and then said, “Sounds kinda funny when you say it out loud, huh.”
I said “…yeah…”. Honestly I didn’t even really care how it sounded. But then I thought some more and got pretty animated, “Okay wait, it’s not actually that. Here’s what it really is. I was an NCO in the military and did all kinds of leadership stuff and I know I can do that! —“
And Mark said, “But that kind of leadership isn’t really about YOUR feelings and preferences, though, is it?”
I laughed and said, “Exactly. Not ever. That’s why it’s easier. It feels too hard to organize other people into my preferences because it’s not so much that I prefer this or that, I just prefer that things feel right, you know? And this might feel right today, but that might feel right tomorrow. I can understand that and go with that, by myself, but other people are always attached to patterns or facts or habits, so it’s impossible to get them to actually cooperate on the part of stuff that matters, the feeling place.”
He said, “Can you give an example?”
I said, “Well — okay. I don’t know that this is, like, a real example. But I always say, if I died and went to hell, I’d expect it to be me, hungry and trapped in a car —“ (probably a car that’s too cold) “— with other people who are also hungry, and can’t agree on where to eat.”
“What would you do in that scenario?”
“Well obviously I would just get screwed. I always do. I’m vegan so it’s never, like, an option to go where I want to go. Every single person in the car is like….NOT THAT! And I could try to say where I want to go, but even if they agree, then they’ll just be shitty to prove how it’s not what they wanted, which will ruin it for me and I’ll wish I had just kept my mouth shut. But it’s always been that way, with everything! Whatever *I* want is too hard or different or inconvenient for people to wrap their heads around, so I don’t even try. And other people want these really specific, common, easily achievable things, so it’s just easier to adapt to that.”
He thought for a bit and said, “So what does it feel like, to be in relationships with people where their preferences outweigh yours? What does it feel like when what you want always matters less? What does it feel like when, if the possibility of conflict arises, you’re the one who settles, to smooth it out?”
I said, “It feels…lonely.” I thought for a while more and said, “Actually my boyfriend and I had a big disagreement, five or six weeks ago. It started out small but got very big. It was because I said I felt like I valued his time more than he valued my time. And he said it was unfair for me to think that. We were on a car trip where we’d spent a lot of time doing the stuff he wanted and then the one thing I wanted, he said we didn’t have time for. And it became a very big fight.”
Mark said, “How did that feel?”
I said, “It feels like I lose either way! Like I can be lonely by myself or I can be lonely with other people. It feels…totally futile, actually.”
He sat with that for a while, and so did I, and he said, “That’s the feeling you’re going to go into. Concentrate on that feeling. What does it feel like, in your body?”
I closed my eyes and sat with it, and said, “It feels paralyzing. Like I can’t speak.” I sat with it some more, remembering times of feeling that way, and my throat got really tight and seemed to almost close up, right above my clavicles. I said, “It actually hurts right here, in my throat.” It did, it hurt a lot. It burns and feels blocked. “It feels like there’s no point. I probably won’t say what I actually want, or feel, and if I do, I’ll be misunderstood or talked over or talked down to. And if I try to force the agenda of what I want, it won’t feel good anymore because I’ll just be dealing with another person who’s in resistance and wants to ruin it for me, to show me they were right and I was wrong.”
He waited for a while, and then said, “Can you remember the first time you ever felt that way? Just whatever comes to mind. If nothing comes to mind, that’s okay too. Just relax, and let your mind show you whatever it wants.”
I sat with my eyes closed, and my throat hurting, for a long time, scanning back over my life. My throat was literally hot, and like there was a golf ball sized piece of lava stuck in there. Scenes came and went in snatches but there wasn’t much intelligible — it was like trying to remember a dream. There have been so many times, infinite times, of feeling that paralyzed, throat closed feeling, and it was always when I wanted something different than what was happening.
Finally — and it seemed like it took a long time — my mind hovered over one memory, and I wasn’t even sure why, but I began talking about it as it came back to me. “I was about six, I think? I was sitting in my room. I was doing a hunger strike. I wouldn’t eat or talk to my parents until they let me have a guinea pig. I wanted a cat or a dog but I knew they wouldn’t allow that, but I wanted something, some kind of animal, so much. A guinea pig or a mouse or anything.”
Mark said, “Tell me all about that.”
I thought, and remembered, and said, “It felt the exact same way. My throat hot and tight. Knowing no one cared what I wanted.” I sank into the memory for a few moments, and then continued: “We had a dog, before. His name was Prince, and I hung out with him a lot, and fed him cottage cheese and carrot sticks and celery sticks. My brother was already in school and I was alone at home, and I loved Prince. This was in a different place we lived before.
“And then we moved — to another place — and Prince wasn’t there any longer. And I didn’t know why. I asked my parents and they said he couldn’t come with us, but he was with some other people. And I started school, and I hated it. I was in a different building from my brother so I didn’t see him. And I still had a birthmark on my face, then. And the other kids just kept saying things about my face, teasing me and saying it was ugly. That was the only thing anyone said to me — that my face was ugly — or else they just ignored me because I was new.
“And then the teachers weren’t any better. I tried to tell them I was vegetarian at lunch, and could I have extra vegetables because I didn’t want the meatloaf, and it turned into this WHOLE humiliating thing, and I regretted saying anything. God, I regretted it. And then the ladies at church were the same way, so I just didn’t say anything anymore. And I just missed Prince so much. I missed my brother too, but I was angry about Prince.
“And then we moved again, and on my first day at that school, the teacher said to close our eyes and pray, before lunch. I didn’t know the prayer. Then a boy told the teacher I didn’t close my eyes and did that mean I was going to hell. And the teacher said how did he know if his eyes were closed, did he want to go to hell. And then same thing with the lunch ladies, I didn’t even try to ask for no meat and double vegetables or anything. And I asked my parents for a pet and they said no.
“I wanted a friend, you know? I didn’t like being judged and misunderstood and teased all the time. I wanted to grow up and be beautiful so no one would make fun of my face again. And I stopped telling people at school how I felt and what I wanted because they were sooooo shitty about it. And I wanted a friend that wouldn’t act that way, a pet, and I thought if I stopped eating and stopped talking for long enough my parents would get me one.”
Mark listened, and when I stopped talking, he said, “What else do you remember?”
I said, “I remember smelling my mom’s cooking. And just laying there. I think it was a couple days, I don’t know. The bathroom was the other way so I could sneak down the hall when no one was up, and drink from the tap. And then finally I was too hungry and I went out and ate, and I felt so defeated.”
Mark said, “Okay. Let’s go take care of that little girl. Let’s go let her know that she has every right to feel the way she does, and want the things she wants. Will you tell her that?”
I did, mentally.
He said, “Let her know that it’s awful to feel that way. No one wants to feel that way. She has every right to want a friend, and to want to get enough to eat at lunch so she’s not hungry, and not be made fun of for her face. Let’s let that little girl know how beautiful and perfect she is. And that she’s right to worry and be upset about what happened to Prince. Of course that was upsetting.”
“Yeah!,” I said, with my eyes still closed, and tears. “I mean, that’s pretty weird, right? You move, and next thing you know a family member just…didn’t make it? And I just hated how my parents were…reasoning with me. Explaining it to me. Like the reasons could be some justification for Prince just…NOT being there, out of nowhere.”
Mark waited, and then said, “Anything else you can remember?”
I thought, and then said, “I HATE people using their reasons and their explanations to lie. And I feel like they do it, all the time.” I remembered all the adults, all the authority figures in school, explaining to me that I had to eat meat to stay alive, if they ever found out I was vegetarian, and becoming very furtive about it. Any respect I had for authority figures, generally, evaporating. I didn’t become rebellious, I just stopped saying anything about being vegetarian, or anything else really. No one asked me why I didn’t want to eat animals or expressed any curiosity about my perspective at all. It just didn’t matter what I thought. *I* had to manage their emotions, at six years old.
Mark waited, and nothing more was forthcoming, so he said, “Let’s bring in someone to help that little girl. It can be you, as an adult, or an angel, or a—“
“SHE WANTS A DOG,” I interrupted.
Mark laughed. I laughed too, because I wasn’t even expecting it, but I really felt her, I really felt who she was and what she wanted. “She wants a dog. A big, big dog. Not Prince. Prince was silly, and sweet. She wants — a wolf. Who goes everywhere with her. Everywhere.”
Mark said, “Okay, let’s bring in that wolf. She never has to go anywhere again without this wolf.”
I still had my eyes closed and I felt that little girl’s relief wash over me. She did not expect to actually be heard. She did not expect to be given her heart’s desire. This was Christmas times one million. She was astounded, and immediately felt totally fine. She didn’t care about birthmarks or classmates or lunch ladies or teachers or going to hell because she didn’t close her eyes during the prayer, or ANYTHING anymore. She was still sad about Prince but she did trust her parents — she knew that he was okay, somewhere. And now she felt okay. It’s not that she even cared about all those assholes accepting her, she just wanted to not be left alone at their mercy.
Mark said, “Let that little girl know, this is her wolf forever.”
I said, “She’s so happy right now. The wolf can’t be reasoned with, or tricked, or confused. It definitely can’t be lied to. It just wants to be with her all the time.”
Mark said, “Okay. Let’s have the wolf check all over, for any other parts of her that might still be hiding. They might be in the desks, or on the playground, or waiting in the shadows. Let’s have that wolf call to her, to bring all her parts together so she can be whole. Are there any parts hiding?”
I thought, eyes still closed all this time because I could see it, and I said, “There’s nothing at that school. There are some parts of her in old houses they used to live in. They came. They’re all together now.”
Mark had the wolf check a couple more times, and then had me ask the little girl if she wanted to stay there or take off and go to the safe haven I made for her. This was already constructed in my mind from my previous experiments with the completion process. My safe haven is an underground circular room with a fire pit in the center, torches on the walls, and warm soft cushions all around, but there is also a blue pool underneath a glass house, like a greenhouse almost, where it is very hot and bright, and there’s a bedroom with a huge bed, full of books and a fireplace and a soft chair.
So I asked her, and told Mark, “Oh, she wants to go, for sure. She’s all done here.” The little girl had zero reluctance about leaving.
So me and the girl and the wolf went to the safe haven, and Mark said, “Let’s have the little girl bathe in the healing waters and purify all that old, sad stuff off of her. She can swim as long as she wants, and as she swims she’s healed and made whole and sparkling.”
Then he had me ask her what she wanted, and she wanted to be alone in the safe haven with her wolf. She didn’t mind if I was there, as the adult self, but she wasn’t interested in talking or hanging out. She was tired of people. Mark had me check a couple more times if there was anything she needed, and give her a little bell to ring if she needed me or got lonely. She said she wouldn’t be getting lonely for a long time, she just wanted to hang out with her wolf.
So it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that none of this is about identifying who’s fault something is. Teal’s perspective on relationships is that we’re magnetized to those people not so much so that we can then have a holly jolly problem-free time, but that they will serve to specifically evoke our wounded patterns, creating new opportunities for healing and reclamation, because universal forces are inherently…cathartic. Obviously we have to use our judgement on when to stay and when to go, all that, but that when we stop using our relationships as facades and start using them as integration opportunities, we stand to harness a lot more value from whatever’s going on.
I currently see myself as being surrounded by people who are actually very receptive to what I want, so it’s not a current level of resistance; it’s an old pattern that often has its way no matter who else is involved.
Mark gently observed, several times through the session, that an instinct to compare one’s self to others is almost always useless and deceptive, and so I closed by saying, “I KNOW it’s not good to compare myself as a future CPP to you right now, but I just have to say — it’s amazing how I just showed up and threw a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and you were able to find the deepest thread in all of that.” It really blew my mind.
But then again, I have observed that others’ patterns are much more obvious to me than my own, and no doubt the vice versa, so we’ll see how all this goes :)
Although my prerequisite of one facilitated CP session is now complete, I got pretty excited to do a second one and see what happens with some more parts work. Teal recommends everyone get real comfy with the aspect of themselves that prefers not to help others, and I know I have that going on big time. But now that I’ve felt the value of parts work, and that it doesn’t just feel like it’s “in my imagination”, I’m very keen to really get in there and see what else arises. YEAH.
And, final thought: no wonder I like writing so much! It’s always felt like a place where I can, actually, have everything just the way I want it, and no one can beg to differ. I mean they do, but by then I’m already on to something else. In fact I’ve been fairly resistant to critique in this regard because they’re like, “that’s good but how about you tweak this,” and I’m like, “how about you shut up.” Ha! And that’s okay too.