Today is Easter Sunday, a day celebrated by many as a reminder of rebirth and regeneration. Whether you celebrate Easter or not, it is spring and a time when there is new growth. It is a time that can remind us of the benefits of ‘letting go’ to ‘let come.’ Fall is a time of letting go as the leaves change color and drop off the trees and as plants slow down. Then in winter there is a kind of hibernation. And then in spring comes reemergence of leaves and blossoms. The beauty of the new leaves and spring flowers can only happen after the letting go. But this happens only when there are nutrients and water.
Born in California, I lived in Kansas from age 2 until nearly 20, when I got married and we moved to California. I often am nostalgic for the markers of the seasons. Last weekend, I found lilacs in Trader Joe’s and bought 2 bunches. They are my favorite flower for the scent and the colors. And they remind me of joyful times in my grandmother’s garden and making May baskets. Oh, the joy of having them sitting in my line of sight as I work at my computer so I can inhale their wonderful scent and see their beauty!
Usually cut flowers don’t last more than a week. These drank a lot of water and I kept adding water with that ‘flower food’ that came with them and as I look at them today, the branches are growing. What a wonderful reminder that if fed, growth goes on even after the stress (or even trauma) of being cut off from the tree. Some of the blossoms have died off, but some have opened.
I see several connections to type and to the video series we are creating about human agility and type, especially the one about self-management and self-organization where I share some principles I learned from Fritjof Capra and the movie Mindwalk.
Living systems are…
- Self-maintaining, meaning that they seek what they need to stay alive and to thrive.
- Self-renewing, meaning that they continue to grow and develop in ways that renew their energy.
- Self-transforming, meaning that they adapt and change their form, but keep their essence.
If we are self-organizing and some of that self-organization is there from the beginning, wouldn’t it be helpful to know how we are organized? This is where personality type comes in.
A typology describes a system of organization where there is a core purpose that influences the activities that maintain the pattern. In personality terms, I call the purpose a core psychological need or a driver. Related to this core are core beliefs or values that guide our choices and behaviors. Certain kinds of activities feed this core and I call these the ‘talents’ of the pattern. They scratch the itch that the need creates.
We self-maintain to keep the core ‘fed’ much like we eat to stay alive. For example, as someone with an INTP variation of the Theorist Essential Motivator pattern (aka temperaments), in order to to feel psychologically alive I must have a sense of deep knowledge and competence. If I feel like I don’t know enough or I am not competent enough I will engage in behaviors to restore the lost equilibrium. Sometimes that means I keep researching to deeply understand or I obsess until I can solve a problem, or, or, or… Each Essential Motivator pattern describes a different set of core needs. Other models or lenses like Interaction Styles or Cogntive Dynamics give us maps for knowing other aspects of our purpose. These different aspects of our whole type work synergistically, but more on that later.
We self-renew by engaging in activities that rejuvenate us. This shows up as we get joy from exercising our talents. I have noticed that when I have work to do that requires logistics and some kinds of prioritizing decisions, I have no energy. Yet when I get to think of things from a strategic perspective my energy goes up, strategy being a talent that feeds the core of the Theorist pattern. And from a Cognitive Dynamics perspective, I sometimes find I ‘self-medicate’ by exploring posts and links on LinkedIn and Facebook as I see emerging patterns and connections using Interpreting (extraverted iNuiting). I just so enjoy seeing connections and patterns and how they link with a workshop or a concept or with something someone else is working on. I could spend hours doing this as it reenergizes me.
Self-transforming: Letting Go and Letting Come
We self-transform by responding to the urges to grow and develop. In terms of Integrated Type, I see how I have responded to the internal drive to develop different aspects of myself. So I have found myself drawn to working with people who have different type preferences and they have served as models for me. I didn’t engineer that, but after the fact noticed how many ESFJ and ENFJ friends and colleagues I have. This helped me develop that Connecting (extraverted Feeling) aspect of myself. I was drawn also to read novels about relationships in my leisure time and I set up my business with more of a family feel than a corporate feel. As I was exposed to other perspectives and ways of being, I transformed so I don’t look quite like the INTP, Behind-the-Scenes, Theorist that is at my core as I used to. And I had to temporarily let go of those core aspects in the process of letting come. But believe me, those core needs are still there.
In order to do this self-transformation, we need to …
- Know ourselves so we can identify what we are inclined to do by nature and feed that core to give us strength to be open
- Let go of our tight hold on our innate, habitual ways of feeding our own needs
- Be curious and explore other approaches
- Consciously take perspectives and seek other perspectives
Yet, we still need to stay true to the inner core of who we are. The same drives and needs have been there for me throughout my lifetime, but they no longer rule me as much. Transformation involves change, yet some of the central aspects of the core remain.
Now back to spring, rejuvenation and lilacs
Saturday, I needed to write this blog for my promise to myself to send out a blog post weekly on Sundays. But I needed to rejuvenate from a week of hard work, so I took the day off to do other things like spend some time on bodywork, be outdoors, and also look at tile for the floors that have been torn up in the mold remediation project in our home. Immersing myself in the sensory experiences (extraverted Sensing) helped reenergize me, but this morning I still wasn’t inspired, so I read my escape novel about relationships and romance for a while. Then I watched a short video that came in my email about rejuvenation. With that time off from my usual ways of being energized and moving back to renewing my energy with the video, I was inspired. I was back into self-renewal using my talents of writing and sharing the patterns and interconnections with you.
If you know about your own Essential Motivator pattern, Interaction Style pattern, and Cognitive Dynamics pattern, I hope this has been thought provoking for you and you find ways to use it to seek to reenergize yourself. If you do not know about your personality type, then below are some places to explore. And check back with my YouTube channel for more videos on type and human agility.
The Leading Edge of Psychological Type
The Understanding Yourself and Others series of books on each lens.
For more information about the theory of living systems and complexity theory:
The Web of Life
The Hidden Connections
Fritjof Capra’s website