I must give the time and energy to the innermost circle. Its position, at the centre of the rings, demands that.
I must take the time to get to know me, to understand me, to nurture and look after me and to take the risk of loving me.
That process has revealed that within the innermost circle reside large numbers of disparate parts of me. At times these parts can appear to be in conflict. For example, my desire to help others and my need to look after myself can often find themselves at variance.
I am prepared to accept as a premise that each of these parts has my best interests at heart, even though at times it may appear that they are out to destroy me.
There are other hypotheses, but I am adopting this one because, over time, it has proven the most useful.
What has become clear is that it is lack of communication between parts which leads to confusion, bewilderment and uncertainty. And one part operating on its own, convinced it is right, and refusing to listen to input from other parts will inevitably cause disaster.
I must open up lines of communication.
Parts which are running rampant must be assured that I do appreciate they have good intentions, but I must ask them to take the time to consider other options, other information, to be prepared to consider the fuller picture. I must reassure parts which feel neglected, undervalued, under appreciated that I do heed their words, that I do consider their opinion important and that I am willing to listen to them.
I must invite all parts into the kitchen where there is a range glowing warmly on one side of the room, where there is a bottomless teapot on its top, where there is the smell of freshly baking bread and where there is a large, solid wooden table, seemingly marked by generations of use, in the centre of the room.
I must invite them all to sit round the table, to partake in bread and tea and conversation.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Gradually, as the warmth and camaraderie of the kitchen table works its magic we begin to find a harmony and discuss an interdependent, mutually satisfactory wholeness. Gradually there emerges openness, trust and honesty. Each part is encouraged to discuss its intentions, its reasons, its approach and by co-operating we create unity.
The strength of one part becomes available for use by others. Parts with enormous energy, drive, enthusiasm and determination, when persuaded to use those attributes for the benefit of us all, become useful members of the community. The more gentle, reflective parts, when confident they will be listened to, provide a balance, a solace, a comfort and a direction.
And, as long as the kitchen remains an attractive place, other parts, of whose existence I was unaware, will emerge, blinking in the light. Sometimes we have to work quite hard to merge them with the whole, but we must do that because their contribution will be valuable.
I must work to maintain the atmosphere, the ambience of the kitchen. If the fire in the range does not get stoked, if the bread does not get baked, if the butter does not get churned it will become a cold and uninviting place.
I must do the work because it is only in the environs of the kitchen and around its table that the sense of wholeness, of completeness and of unity can be maintained.
Audio Version at http://youtube.com/user/DavidAgnewpoet