Tuesday, November 5

Some dangerous ideas

Last night during Sydney's Festival of Dangerous Ideas' screening of a show called Q&A where the audience asks panel members questions (both Germaine Greer and Peter Hitchens were on the panel, so it was never going to be a friendly chat), a viewer's tweet appeared on screen twittering something along the lines of 'I'm male, it's not fair that women get six months holiday after having a baby'. That tweet crystalised for me so much of what was amiss with how the panelists argued with one another and the issues they were arguing about.

Now I get it that people who haven't experienced something can find it difficult to understand what it's like for those who have. But with having children, even if we have not had our own, how can anyone with even a little imagination not see how much work is involved in looking after children, especially a young baby? Six months holiday? Two to four-hourly feeds, as many nappy changes and vomits, connection/play/nurturing time, the mountains of washing, the physical exhaustion and all that with hardly any sleep. Not to mention the recovery time from birth, and also getting done all the things everyone else has to do as well, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, tax returns, and so on. Cutting your toe nails? Forget it! A haircut? Just wear it back for a few years! A drink or coffee or movie out with friends? Maybe once in a while, and it's usually meeting up with other new mothers with baby (and all the associated gear) in tow. Unless you can or even want to outsource raising your child, the whole thing is bloody hard work!

And the idea that is bandied around in the media, by both commentators and readers, that somehow caring for children is not work is, I believe, the major issue for feminism today (and for the future of our environment). What is the point in having more women on boards if there's no one to care for children who will be the future customers of the corporations their mothers work for? Do women take over the business world and men care for children? If one parent in a relationship has to give up outside work to care for children because there is no flexibility in the workplace regarding hours worked, why put more money into education if once people have children one person out of every two won't be able to use that education? Child care, everyone says, is the answer. But is it? So we will pay another person not very much to care for our own children while that carer pays even less for someone else to care for their children? Where does it stop? Do you have a class of child carers who are not allowed to have children of their own? And how do you know the child carer assigned to your child in the centre you deliver your child to is raising your child in the way you would like, and connecting with them in the way that nourishes them most? What about the perspective of the child? It seems as if we have come to believe that the work involved in raising children is akin to other work you can outsource without much thought, such as cleaning or gardening. Is this really the way we want to go as a society? With all the knowledge we now have about child development, do we really believe that our children are not worth the time and effort we give to a corporation or a brand? Although each panelist on the show had his or her ideas about raising children, ranging from a 1950s fantasy which existed only for a few to allowing kids to care for themselves more thus freeing up time for parents to do 'real' work, the fairly obvious conclusion to me is that the way our society is structured needs to change entirely if we want both male and female children to grow up into men and women who feel they can participate in life fully, taking time to experience both work unrelated to child-raising and also related to child-raising. Because at present the world is set up to support work outside the home, and family and home are secondary, or are seen as support structures for 'real work'.

So I watched in amazement how each of the four panelists, each with very different views, claimed to be fighting for rights for their own interest group (women, gay people, patriarchal Christians, and young people wanting 'new' kinds of relationships), all so that we could have a better world for the people in it, yet none made the connection that a better world would involve raising children in such a way that those children would feel as if they were valued members of the world (and of their family), and would grow up being able to see that there was more than only their own perspective, that there existed other people, with entirely different interests to their own.

All the panelists' opinions were presented with such disrespect towards their fellow panelists' opinions, along with their inability to see even a smidgeon of truth in the other's ideas - even in the other's concerns. None of the panelists appeared to be nasty people or out to hurt another - in fact they all really cared for the world, as they saw it. They all had major vulnerabilities and fears that they expressed publicly but instead of trying to find a common thread or concern - they so blatantly rubbished what each other said.

How are people with that attitude - and the audience members who cheered their favourites on and booed the others - going to 'teach' children, our species' future, how to deal with difference and find ways to see the world from another's perspective, to see that there is always more than one truth, to see that the person who works in the home is just as valuable as the person who works outside the home, that children are as valuable as adults? To me, each panelist had real concerns and good ideas to offer (and also not-so-very-good ideas), but each also was so blind, and so felt it okay to put down what they couldn't understand about each other's viewpoint. In Voice Dialogue terms, there was no aware ego whatsoever.

If you're not familiar with what an aware ego is, see my explanation on my website here, which also includes an explanation of what Voice Dialogue is, a technique to awaken the aware ego process, which allows you to unhook from the dominant part of your psyche, along with its perspective, rules and judgements, and to experience the perspective of another.

#awareego #voicedialogue #qanda #festivalofdangerousideas #germainegreer

Tuesday, October 29

Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom - the end of their fairytale, the beginning of yours?

Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom

So Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom are a couple no more. The fairytale has come to an end. But is it all that surprising? After all, many marriages end. And are all those gossip columnists who have reportedly been sobbing over their keyboards really that upset about someone else's marriage, two people most would not have even met? What could be going on here?

Of course it's sad that any marriage ends and particularly if the divorcing couple seem so nice and so perfect together. Unavoidably, all marriages - all relationships - are subject to positive and negative bonding patterns, which, if we don't become conscious of, will lead to a fairly predictable end (see my posts If you want to leave your relationship... and Is your relationship too good? for an explanation of bonding patterns).

The difference with celebrity marriages is that they have taken the place of fairytales for us, they have become our mythology. We need to believe in these modern-day myths because they set examples for us, they offer hope. And the people in the fairytales are like gods and goddesses - they even look like such - and we really do care about them, in the way in the past we cared about other gods and goddesses, and in the way many of us still care about whoever to us is our god now.

So if you are one of those people distraught about Miranda and Orlando, what can you take from this? For a start, allow yourself to feel the pain. It's what fairytales require of us as the protagonist loses his or her innocence and learns more about the complexity of the world - and of him- or herself. But you don't have to despair - neverending love is possible, but to obtain it you have to learn about how it works. You have to become aware of your own innocence, of being blind to all the hidden facets of yourself which are revealed to you in the people who come into your life. You have to learn about the hidden facets also of your partner. You have to learn how all these parts of you bond with the parts in another person and how the bonding patterns that form limit and stifle your relationships - if you don't become aware of them and find a way to navigate them. Basically, you have to become your own hero or heroine and embark on your own fairytale journey so you can find the magic kingdom, with all its riches, within yourself. Then you'll be able to partner with another person and have the love and passion grow over time.

See my book The Perfect Relationship for a straightforward, 10-step guide to achieving the relationship of your dreams.

Wednesday, January 2

Who in you is making your New Year's resolutions?

When we set New Year's resolutions (and goals generally) we think about all the things we would like to achieve or change in our lives. For example, if your body is no longer looking as trim as it was a decade ago, one of your resolutions might be to lose weight and begin an exercise programme. If you are struggling financially, then one of your resolutions might be to expand your wealth/income/investments/financial knowledge. If you work as a salesperson, one of your goals might be to meet higher sales targets than you have in the past. If you are single, one of your goals might be to meet someone to start a relationship with. If you have children, one of your resolutions might be to spend more quality time with them. The reason we want to make changes in our lives is because we want to live our lives better than we have been living them, and also because we believe we should be living our lives in a better or different way.

The word 'should' is one of the keys to why most people find it difficult to achieve the resolutions they set for themselves, and it is why people make the same New Year's resolutions year after year. The word 'should' is a word used by your primary self, which is that part of your whole self which you identify with most of the time, and which has particular rules, values and ideas about what kind of person you should be. (It works closely with your Inner Critic who compares you to others and sets benchmarks for you).

For example, if your primary self is achievement-oriented in the world of business and it wants to be successful in that world, then one of its values would be to have you achieve whatever it is that is required of someone who is successful in your line of business. So your 'shoulds' would involve things like meeting certain sales targets, growing your business/department, increasing your company's share value, and so on; and your New Year's resolutions will be set by this high-achieving business self of yours.

Your primary self might also be concerned with appearing attractive, healthy and well-groomed, and if you have spent the holiday season eating and drinking more than you normally would, with little exercise involved, then you might set a resolution to diet and eat healthily after you realise you no longer fit into your pre-party-season clothing. You may even look back to how you appeared before the party season started and believe that you were not as attractive as you could have been, and so as a New Year's resolution you plan a serious lifestyle change.

Sometimes, however, New Year's resolutions are set by your disowned self, which includes the inner aspects of yourself which you repress and do not allow into your life. So, for example, if you have a work-focused self as your primary self, then one of the goals on your list might be opposite to the kind of goal your work-focused self would make, such as to take time out to do a yoga teacher training course, to rest and go fishing, to go on an extended holiday, maybe even to take a year off and write a novel. At the time of setting such a resolution, you would probably feel excited and enthusiastic, as if you had discovered a new path or a better way to live your life. The excitement and determination to achieve your goal would propel you to research how you might achieve it, you might talk to your friends and family about it, you might daydream about it - but then, after the holiday period ends and you return to work, your work-oriented primary self also returns to control your psyche and says: "Holiday? Time off? You're kidding! You can't afford a holiday (not if you want to send your kids to that private school) and you have no time! You're not going anywhere until you achieve x, y and z." Before you know it, you're celebrating New Year's Eve again and it occurs to you that you need to take a break and so you set some resolutions...

The other thing that can happen is that you also might not achieve the goals your high-achieving primary self sets for you either. You might start out fully motivated to improve your sales targets, but as you set out on that path, distractions get in the way. You find yourself suffering more headaches than usual or just plain tiredness. You sit at your phone, intending to make a certain number of calls but suddenly calling your mother, sister and cousin seem more important and you tell yourself that you'll make up for it the next day. At the end of the year you look back and realise that much hasn't changed. You achieved what was necessary but there aren't that many ticks on your resolutions list. And if you were the person who set the New Year's resolution to start a healthy lifestyle, you might have started it with passion but soon found yourself sitting in front of the television with a bucket of ice-cream and a bag of popcorn.

These scenarios are common. They occur because it is not us that decides what we want for ourselves. One self sets a particular goal, and another self resists it, or even outright sabotages it. We get stuck in the middle and find all sorts of excuses for not doing the things one self has determined we 'should' do, yet we also cannot do the opposite with full commitment. If we do follow the wishes of one self wholeheartedly and ignore the desires of opposite selves, then we can suffer symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, body aches and stiffness, which are our unexpressed selves making themselves heard through our body, or we feel anxiety or guilt or suffer low self esteem because we were not able to achieve 'our' goals.

A solution:

The trick is to set your goals with more consciousness. So rather than accepting without discrimination an idea that you have about what you ought to do, first get in touch with the opposite way of thinking or feeling. Question the rule that feels so certain. Spend time sitting with an idea before acting on it. Allow time for other parts of you to make their way to your conscious awareness and to have their say.

Listen to what other people around you are saying - for if you feel completely certain about something, chances are someone will come into your life who will express a totally opposite viewpoint. Take what this person says or does seriously, particularly if you react to it strongly, for this indicates you are currently identified strongly with a self and its viewpoint, and have no awareness of the opposites functioning within you.

Contrary to what is often advised, which is to act quickly on an idea, I would suggest to not act. We all know or have heard of someone who bought a house on a whim because it felt 100% right at the time but then later discovered that it didn't suit them or was riddled with expensive-to-fix problems. We've all had the experience of shopping and finding an outfit that we felt was so perfect for us, only to bring it home and realise we will never wear it.

You will save far more time, money and energy in the long run if, before you decide to act, you take the time to consider, to ponder what you are drawn to acting on. It may even mean that one of your New Year's resolutions is to not set any resolutions but to explore some options, to allow yourself to be in a state of not-striving-to-reach-any-particular-goal, but instead to listen inside to the different parts of yourself and to see if you can get in touch with a deeper sense of what is right for you. You can do this process both with small issues you are considering making decisions about or larger ones.

By allowing yourself to not act, you might even find that new options become available to you, options that you had not previously considered and which could take your life in a direction that satisfies you far more deeply than the original goal you wanted to achieve would have allowed for.

Awareness exercise:

Write down all the goals you would like to achieve for yourself. Write each one on a separate piece of paper or on a new page on your word processor. Then after each goal write the reactions you have about it. Give yourself time to allow any reactions to come to your awareness. Some might be supportive of your goal and some might be against it.

Then review what you have written and you will have a fuller awareness of how the various parts of you - your various selves - feel and think about each goal. Now make a decision about each goal if you wish to, but remember to hold onto the opposite viewpoints. Don't push them away, but take them on the journey with you, just as you would take a toddler to a supermarket even though she would prefer to go to the park.

If you are not sure about what to do, then wait. Just sit with the issue. Maybe you need more information, maybe you need more time to become aware of what feels best for you. Pay attention to your dreams and see what they reveal. Keep doing what you have been doing in regard to your resolution, and be mindful of the thoughts and feelings that arise within you as you do this. Then explore those thoughts and feelings. Enjoy the process.

In the end, fulfilment in life (or in each new year) is not so much about setting strict resolutions and being able to stick with them, but about discovering more about yourself and what is important to you so that you can move in a direction in your life which will bring you the greatest fulfilment. One year that might involve learning to stick to a goal, but another year it might mean unhooking from a rule that you ought to achieve a particular goal. If you feel you must try to achieve a resolution/goal, then go ahead and do it but at the same time consider why you feel such certainty about it - where do the rules about your resolution come from? Who set them? Have you chosen those rules or has someone else? Will the achievement of that goal work for you and your life? Is it possible? What are the alternatives? If you have setbacks, be gentle on yourself. If you approach the setting of resolutions with greater awareness and self-understanding, you will find that you will feel better about any resolutions you set for yourself - even if you don't achieve them. And in that process you will keep growing and understanding and evolving.

Happy New Year!

For more information about how your selves affect your life, see www.voicedialogue.com

To learn about 45 selves of the human psyche and discover which ones run your life, see Which Self Are You?

Wednesday, November 28

Can we fight for the environment without also fighting for the feminine?

The issues of gender relations and climate change (for me climate change includes environmental destruction in general) are debated almost daily in the media, and little progress has been made with either (re gender relations, the lack of progress has been made clear as a pregnancy-test result when you peruse the public's comments after an article appears on the issue). The thing is, these two issues are so closely related but so few of us seem aware of that. Here's an explanation from a blog post I wrote a few years ago, which still applies today:

"It is interesting that with such worldwide and intense concern about the environment, with many public figures stating that climate change is our most pressing issue, the issue of giving equal value to both sexes has lost its status as a significant public concern. Many women are still fighting for paid maternity (and paternity) leave, wage equality (apparently the gap is growing wider again), and there is much comment in the media about how society is sexualising teenage and even pre-teen girls. But there appears to be little or no insight by our leaders, activists and commentators into the connection between these issues.

Environmental abuse stems from disregard for nature and its cycles, and the promotion of unbridled competition and economic expansion. The environment - nature - is something human beings from all cultures regard as the feminine expression of life whereas industry and 'building' are seen as the expression of masculinity. Both women and men have masculine and feminine attributes yet in our modern world masculine qualities are valued more highly than feminine qualities. Thus we have had such inequality between the sexes, because superficially it seems that women are identified more with the feminine attributes of human nature and men more with the masculine. But we have seen in the examples of female leaders and athletes and ordinary women going about their daily lives that women can quite easily express their masculine side, and men can also express their feminine side.

Can we fight for the environment and expect any positive results without also fighting for the feminine?

By ignoring women's issues and continuing the devaluation of feminine qualities, exactly what kind of vision for the health of the environment do we have?"

The only bit I would change today is to substitute in the last paragraph 'ignoring' with 'sidelining' or 'marginalising'. And I will add that there appears to be some progress because there is more dialogue by both men and women in the media, even on the conservative side of politics, about issues of childcare, maternity and paternity leave, marriage equality, rights of both men and women to participate in family life as well as work outside the home, rights of women and men to participate in activities they are interested in and to express themselves how they wish, regardless of their gender, and so on.

But we still don't seem to have made the connection that the health of our environment is directly related to and affected by the health of our psyches - when our individual and collective psyches are not in balance, when we validate only a part of who we are and disown and dismiss any opposites (the 'other'), then we are not able to act in the world, or even to percieve the world, from the point of view of all sides. And so while so many of us, and many of our governments and institutions continue to value masculinity over and above femininity (this applies for women and men), we will continue to act in the world from the position of that value system.

Until we are able to see ourselves and our fellow sisters and brothers as multi-faceted beings, with both masculine and feminine attributes; until we are able to see our families and communities as multi-faceted organisations, with each facet requiring attention, validation and resources provided for it in order for it to be able to participate effectively and thrive, and thus benefitting the whole, we will continue to repress those facets that we, from the limited perspective of whichever facet we have come to identify with, do not find of value.

We need to stop seeing ourselves as self-sufficient and disconnected individuals in competition with each other for resources but as sufficient individuals who are a part of a community, with each one of us contributing to our community in different ways, and differently at different times of our lives. We are all at some stage independent and dependent, workers and carers, teachers and students, parents and infants, rational and emotional, giving and needy, active and passive, strong and weak, hard and soft.

At present our environment, our Mother Earth, is given about as much respect and care as is given to our mothers. We expect the earth to just be there for us, continually giving, with no care or 'payment' or appreciation in return, just as we expect mothers to just be there for children, continually giving, unpaid, unnappreciated.

Many individual famiies realise how vital all the individual member's roles are, but still mothers are seen by society as being parasitic. I've lost count of the number of times I have been asked 'When are you going back to work?' as if as a mother (and a writer) I do no work. Until such a time when a mother or father can be a nurturer and carer for the next generation (or for an older generation) and that role is valued and supported fully by our society, I doubt we will be able to fully care for the earth.

For more on this topic see my book Enlightenment Through Motherhood

"This book is just what the world needs now as our planet continues to move towards political and ecological disaster while the patriarchal systems that still dominate our thinking continue to devalue everything traditionally - and biologically - female. In a most perfect balance of yin and yang, of logic and feeling, of humor and gravity, Astra Niedra reclaims for all human beings – not just women – a precious element of that which is truly sacred in life."   Sidra Stone PhD

Thursday, October 27

Australia's 'evil' carbon tax

Australia will soon join a host of other nations and get Prime Minister Julia Gillard's carbon tax implemented - even after all the (hysterical) opposition to it. Now I'm not an advocate of new taxes generally (why not just raise the levels for super high income earners?), but I have been astounded about the degree of outrage about this tax. It is a tax which will be imposed on only the top polluting companies in Australia, around 500 of them. Yet most public discussion seems to have taken place with the presumption that it will be a tax on every individual in the population.

Sure prices of the goods and services of the newly-taxed top-polluting companies will increase as they pass on the cost of the tax, but then why not just buy the products of their competitors who are not as polluting and thus offer cheaper products?

Isn't that the point? To get us to buy from non-polluters or users of cleaner energy so that if the high polluters want to stay in business they will have to begin to use cleaner energy too?

Regarding products such as electricity, which will increase in price, the government is compensating households with tax cuts, in some cases with the cut being greater than any additional cost incurred for the household. Why are people upset about this? Even if we did have to pay more, if the true cost of something is more than we are accustomed to paying, then someone has to pay the real cost. At present, that someone will be our grandchildren and their children. Is that really what we want to leave them and have them remember us by?

Then of course there's transport and fuel and the steel industry etc, but if companies in those industries are high polluters then maybe they need to find new and more efficient ways of doing things? Isn't that also the point of this tax? Will our competitive advantage be so compromised by this tax that it will lead to large-scale unemployment as has been argued or is it that deep down we know that most of the affected industries are reliant on demand from China, and China's growth is slowing and so that demand will decrease soon anyway? When we're feeling vulnerable about something big, it is tempting and easier to blame something not so big.

Sure I'd be upset if I were a high-polluting company executive - but we all have to change our ways sometime. Without the carbon tax, at some point some other market disrupter will appear anyway, even if it's only a new competitor. Over time, whole industries disappear and new ones emerge. We can't keep everything as it is - imagine what the world would still be like if we had been able to do so! Change happens all the time in business (in life!), and isn't that why these huge organisations have so many managers, to direct and guide change? Isn't that what 'change managers' are for?

To begin to take care of our environment is a pretty good reason to make some changes I think.

Thursday, July 28

The Way of Voice Dialogue

I've often been asked the question: "How many Voice Dialogue sessions will I need?"

I can understand the desire for such a definitive answer, whether it be because a person wants to have an issue resolved once and for all, or if someone wants to reach some goal in consciousness, which, once they have attained it, means they will have no need for further work. But the truth is that you can never have enough sessions (consciousness is an ongoing process, just as life is) but also that you may not even need all that many (I realise this is a statement which appears to be contradictory, which is typical of many spiritual and consciousness paths - but bear with me).

Although Voice Dialogue is a therapeutic and personal growth tool, and it is also the quickest and most direct method I am aware of for experiencing an expansion of consciousness, for me it is also much more than that: your entire journey through life can be lived according to 'the way of Voice Dialogue' or, more accurately, 'the way of the Aware Ego'. What this means to me is that as I live my life, I can perceive the people, things and events around me and affecting me as a part of myself, maybe a part I know well or maybe a part I haven't yet met, or a part I would rather not meet. I can see the world as a mirror of myself but one which is in constant relationship with me. The boundary where I begin and the outside world ends is a boundary which is malleable, sometimes distinct, at other times more blurry, and at yet other times it is a boundary I am in charge of.

If I go about my day paying attention to what life brings to me and to my responses to those things life brings, I become increasingly aware of where my comfort zones, judgments and blind spots lie. If I look at everything and everyone as a teacher for me, as a reflection of my inner family, which I am in some sort of relationship with, and if I respond to the outside world with a sense of acknowledgement, curiosity and respect required of the situation, while at the same time being aware of how people and things are affecting me, then, to me, I am living Voice Dialogue. That is, I am in a process of becoming more conscious. My reactions and responses tell me where I'm at, and the outside world tells me what is. I then continue to move on with my life with that information, sometimes not being able to do much with it except carry it with me while continuing to experience my reactions, but at other times enjoying those 'aha' moments when something changes and I feel myself grow and become richer, and am able to act with greater choice and compassion.

I am not advocating narcissism when I say I see the world as a part of me, nor am I trying to feel compassionate towards each person I come across. For I am not referring to 'me' as a primary self, or the ego. Of course if a self - or someone's ego - were to see everything external as belonging to it and related to it exclusively, then narcissism would result. And, likewise, if you feel you have to be compassionate and loving towards everyone, and you suppress opposite feelings, then you are identified with a self who holds those rules. The compassion that arises from embracing the other in yourself does not require effort.

What I mean when I say that the world is a mirror, that everyone is a part of me, is similar to how the ancient Indian texts describe us all as one. We have our individuality but the 'I' we all share and which is part of a greater 'I' becomes, soon after birth, even before, bound to the selves which form and arrive with us, to enable us to relate with the world. So our 'I' becomes identified with a self or group of selves and we lose our connection to other selves, to our essence and to the greater whole. (The video I linked to on my Facebook page - Jeremy Rifkin on "the empathic civilisation" illustrates this process and how we can also evolve - and in fact are evolving - to become more empathic, if we allow ourselves to communicate/relate with one another - the video is not about Voice Dialogue and the aware ego but its content supports the idea of the aware ego process, in the way that it is about reaching out to and embracing 'the other'.)

This 'way' is all about relationship: our relationship with ourselves - our selves; our relationships with our partners, which give us priceless teachings; our relationships with our children who not only mirror us and teach us but also give us unconditional love and are among the most forgiving people we will encounter; our relationships with our parents, friends, colleagues and neighbours; our relationship with the natural world around us; our relationship with the spiritual world; and our relationship with the unconscious, the all-pervading, all-knowing intelligence which, if we are willing to listen to, will guide us.

If we pay attention to the reactions we have to the people who come into our lives and we also pay attention to who in those people might be dominant and defining their personality, in much the same way as we meet the selves in a Voice Dialogue session, we can discover just as much as we can in a formal session - and our aware ego process can continue to evolve. This way requires that we relate with each person we encounter with the attitude of engagement and interest we would use in a Voice Dialogue session, and when we realise that we are stuck in judgment (or awe) about someone, or we can't help but become enmeshed with someone, or we are afraid of someone, or any other response where we lose the ability to relate with some choice and become destabilised, we accept that too and use it as a teaching. And then we can go and have a formal session, or countless sessions if that is what it takes, and if we feel that is right for us at the time.

That is the 'Way of Voice Dialogue' for me.

For more information about Voice Dialogue, please see www.voicedialogue.com

Monday, June 20

Learning from Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow

I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean film with my kids the other day and found myself wishing I could meet, maybe run off with for a while, or even be Captain Jack Sparrow. He's not even real, just a fictitious character, although Johnny Depp who plays him is gorgeous enough. I even checked to see if there is a Facebook page about Jack Sparrow - there is! - and thought about dying my hair dark and changing the way I dress.

You may think I'm crazy but this fantasy was a lot of fun and I've calmed down a bit over the last few days. I've also discussed it with my husband and he also would love to dress like a pirate at times and roam the world in total freedom.

Now it's not only the fact that Jack Sparrow is a pirate that's the appealing thing - none of the other pirates in the film had any effect on me. It's that Jack is meant to be this tough and mean pirate Captain yet he's so totally in touch with his vulnerability and other more sensitive characteristics, and is unashamedly happy to display them. He also has a delicious sense of humour, is basically a 'good guy', and is just a little crazy. He's the opposite to how we are meant to behave in our sophisticated Western societies. And even though he is meant to be on the wrong side of the law he in fact is more moral and achieves greater good than the guys on the 'right' side.

The lesson in the fascination for me included to lighten up a little, to remember to question the rules our culture and its institutions want us to live by and make sure they are really right for me, and generally to get back in touch with energies that being a responsible parent doesn't allow for.

If others are also feeling the attraction of the eccentric pirate energy of Jack Sparrow, which I suspect they are, given the huge popularity of the movie, maybe there's a lesson in his character for us all?

For more information about how we all identify with only a small part of ourselves and so are attracted to our disowned parts in other people, see my website voicedialogue.com

For how this works in our romantic relationships, see The Greatest Relationship Secret

Captain Jack Sparrow