At the beginning of many of her workshop training sessions, Satir delivered a meditation. She believed that meditation tapped into the deepest part of ourselves and gave us easy access to our resources.
These meditations were done at workshops led by Virginia Satir (1916 -1988) and reproduced in her own voice on CD. The book and CD may be ordered online under the name “Virginia Satir: Meditations” at The Satir Institute of the Pacific store .
I invite you to pull up two chairs, and read this aloud to a friend. Then switch. Or tape-record yourself so that you can listen to these heart-felt words more than once.
We open with lines from “Intimate Body Connection”, and move into “Developing Your Self-Esteem Maintenance Kit”, then integrate paragraphs from “Using Your Detective Hat” and “The Medallion of Choice” (Satir, 2003). As you read, allow yourself to pause and breathe.
Satir used metaphors to allow people to take a different perspective on their inner life and outer choices, which brings about change. And so, I have chosen to blend three of her meditations that will relax you, deepen the experience of mind-body connection and then give you metaphors for building and maintaining healthy self-esteem.
Just be in touch, at this moment, with the feeling of allowing your breath to come into your body – . . . breathing. . . . And as you are in touch with the feeling of the breathing, expand your awareness to see if there are tight places in your body that require attention. . . . And if you find any, thank them for letting you know there is tightness, . . . and relax so that the tension and energy leave on an outgoing breath. . . And now let yourself go deep inside and give yourself a message of appreciation.
At this point, I would like to give you your self-esteem maintenance kit, which I hope you will receive, accept, and become familiar with using. The first thing in this kit is a detective hat, which you put on immediately when there is a puzzle or a question or an effort to understand, “How do the pieces fit together? How do you explore for the gaps and find the things that fit?” This is in contrast to judging. Many people judge before they explore, but I would like to recommend to you that you keep your detective hat handy for any time a question, a puzzle, or a gap appears, so that you can go on a journey of exploration.
Give yourself permission to use it frequently. The moment you reach for it and put it on your head, you have great powers for discovery. It can help you remember to turn your awareness to observing, both with your eyes and your ears, to discover what’s behind something. Perhaps you give yourself an even fuller awareness that what is apparent at a moment in time is like the tip of an iceberg, with so much supporting it that it cannot be seen. That’s why you need your detective hat. Chances are great that if you put on your detective’s hat, you may not need your judge’s hat.
The second thing in your kit is a medallion, which you can hang around your neck. On one side in beautiful jeweled letters, it says, “YES”. Underneath that “YES” it says, “Thank you for noticing me. What you ask of me at this time fits just fine. The answer is YES.” And on the other side in equally beautiful jeweled letters is the word, “NO”. Underneath, it says, “Thank you for noticing me. What you ask of me at this time doesn’t fit at all. The answer is NO.”
This is the key to your integrity. YES and NO are both loving words. When you say YES and you feel NO, or when you say NO and you feel YES, you have eroded your integrity and weakened yourself. So keep your medallion fresh within your awareness, and always say the real YESes and the real NOs – keeping your integrity intact and keeping your strength strong. And now both YESes and NOs become gifts, gifts that help you stay in harmony. “Yes, this fits me well. No, this doesn’t fit me, it is out of harmony with me.” And as you use these two words and their meanings as gifts for yourself, you are also giving gifts to others. You are keeping your flow of harmony, which is the most powerful force in the world for good and for nurturing.
The next thing in the kit is an empowering wand, a courage stick, a wishing wand. All three names can stand for the same thing. And when you feel a wish or a desire to move in a direction, you take this empowering tick in your hand and move, dragging your fears behind you if they are there. If you wait until all your fears are taken care of, you probably will never move ahead. As you take that empowering wand, wishing wand, courage stick in your hand, and move forward, many times your fear will have been dissolved by the time you reach where you want to go.
To take this wand and use it to empower yourself means you use yourself as a reference: Does it fit? Where do I want to go? You are the one who sees the vision. No one else can see the vision, and many people – not knowing your vision, not understanding it – will try to dissuade you because they think that you will be hurt. Many people do not trust going into the unknown. But with your vision to guide you and your hope to guide you, you can move there – and most of us have to go alone. Or if not alone, you cannot be dissuaded by the people around you, who out of their fear try to dissuade you. The growth in all of us is strong and wants to have continuing expressions. And so your giving yourself permission to move in the direction of your visions, of your dreams, of your hopes and wishes is what brings you to new growth levels.
The next thing in the kit is a golden key. The key enables you to open any door, ask any question, make speakable what is unspeakable, and attempt the undoable – to make it doable – open up all the possibilities, looking in all the cracks, noticing even the smallest kind of movement. That is your golden key.
The next thing in the kit is a wisdom box. The wisdom box is part of your heritage; it’s part of what you came into the world with. For me, I have located it going into my navel two inches and going up toward my heart. Halfway between I find the wisdom box. This wisdom box is in contact with all the wisdom of the universe – all the wisdom of the past and all that resides within you. It is that part which you sense sometimes giving direction, sometimes called the still small voice. It is that part deep inside that knows and tries to give directions. Like a thought or a feeling, you will not fid it on the surgery table. You won’t find the wisdom box there, but I don’t question the presence of a wisdom box. It is that part of us, when we are cleared of all our defenses and all our fears, in which we can hear the stirrings of our growth and our wisdom. Perhaps our greatest job in life is to remove all that stands between ourselves and our wisdom, and then to recognize that all human beings have a wisdom box. It needs only to be tapped.
Look again at your self-esteem maintenance kit: your detective hat to explore, your medallion for your integrity, your empowerment stick to go straight to your vision, your golden key to look at anything, and your wisdom box to be in touch with the wisdom of the universe. Your body is the manifestation of the universe with all it contains.
Let yourself now be in touch again with your breathing. And if those tools are not already within your grasp, or you have not already used them, could you give yourself permission to try them on for size and let them become yours?
As you make more use of your wisdom box and all your tools, you can then go into your psychological closet to examine what is there for you, what you need right now. And you may find that there are things there that came about as a result of your saying YES when you felt NO – which might include anger, rage or resentment. Or you may find things there that have said to you in the past, “You don’t deserve to go farther. You have done bad things.” But you will recognize this for what it is – a misunderstanding of you and yourself. And as you clear your closet of those things by sorting them, by noticing them, and by letting them go, you can make room for new things that come as a result of new ways of viewing yourself.
Opportunity for new visions and ways to get there is enhanced by your connection with the centre of the earth, which brings energy upward to your feet and legs and gives you groundedness – the ability to think, to know, to collect knowledge, to be reasonable. And also you are a recipient of energy from the heavens, which moves downwards through your face and neck into your arms and torso, bringing with it the energy of imagination, of intuition, of sensing – the kind of thing that gives colour and song and texture to your life.
And as these two come together they create a third energy, that which allows you to move from the inside of yourself to the outside, where you can connect with those eyes and ears and arms and skin and ideas that are ready and are open. For those that are still in bud form, not yet ready, allow yourself to notice, love, and pass by.
So as you come into this day, give yourself permission to know that your underpinnings are solid; that you are wonderful, magnificent being of this universe, and you have only to learn about that magnificence.
And now if there is anyone in this world, including yourself, who would need energy from you, anyone you want to send it to – world leaders, family members, friends – take this moment to send energy from yourself. Send it with a love message that says, “Use this as you can.” Then very gently let your attention come fully here and gradually open your beautiful eyes looking comfortably around.