I’ve recently had an interesting experience doing an IFS (Internal Family Systems) audio workshop while working out on a threadmill. There’s something about working out physically while also doing inner work with your mind that I sparked my curiosity.
- Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts: Discovering Your True Self Through Internal Family Systems Therapy by Richard Schwartz
- King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by by Robert Moore and Doug Gillette
- Carl Jung In His Own Words
[00:00:00] I had a really cool little experience yesterday and today. is it called an elliptical?
What is the, is the elliptical the thing that you also, like, you move with the legs, but also with the hands kind of a funny thing. That’s right. That’s the elliptical. So. I’ve had back pain, these last couple of days. So I didn’t go to my training and I didn’t do any weights training, but I did the little to go because it’s sort of the Grandmaster version of you’re safe here.
Like there’s literally nothing on the joints. Nothing really. That can happen. Exercise machine of choice. That’s why I said it’s. It does. I know it does look goofy. I always like I should run a threat mode. It looks so much cooler, but I know that you would like it. That’s why I called it the grandmother’s thing, because I, you know, part of you is a little grandmother. anyways, I’m, I’m on the elliptical and my whole goal because I do feel low back pain. I’m going extra smooth and slow and I’m not doing it to the superintendent level.
And I’m thinking, [00:01:00] let me listen to some audio book. And I’ve listened now through to, C G young books. And then I try to listen to the, uh, there was three audio books that I could get, uh, about young on audible. And the third one was like, in his own words, it’s basically a bunch of lectures or interviews I think. And that was both entertaining, but also hard to follow and not that compelling. So I listen to a little bit of that and then I switched to another ifs, poke another internal family system book, dude. I’m like, I’m sorry. I am not now. I’m now I, you know, within a month from now, we’ll have read all the available books on the topic.
It’s just, but this is, so me, this is so, so me, if I get it into something, I consume all of it. Like just everything that’s out there, I’ll consume it. And then I know, right. And then I can move on with life. But, there’s a little audio book that I downloaded. basically an online course from the founder of IFS. [00:02:00]
And so I’m doing the fucking, the elliptical and I’m listening to him explaining. Now I’ve heard like, 4,000 times the explanation of what ifs is like can every book that I read, it just starts with explaining what it is and all that. So it does all that.
And I’m like, whatever, I’m not even paying attention. I’m in my own little, little world. And then he, he does an exercise and he goes, all right, close your eyes and relax and just. And as I’m on this elliptical, the great thing about the ellipticals, that it’s one of the few things in a gym you can do with close eyes and you’re still safe, There’s no place to go. You can’t fall. Nothing really can happen. So as I’m on the elliptical, I’m starting to sweat a little bit and I’m like, oh, all right, I’ll close my eyes. I’ll go along with this exercise. And he goes through this thing of just follow your intuition to notice if this.
Any place in your body, any sensation, any feeling, any thought, anything that, that stands out? And I did feel my jaw a little bit, you know, my old friend. And so I’m all right, I’ll go, you know, I feel something of the [00:03:00] jaw go back into my jaw and to that part of me. And then it goes through kind of an exercise Feel into the feeling, ask this question, then see how that feels then as that maybe when it goes through it a whole sequence, Where he asked you these questions, it is been quiet for you to play the scenario through in your mind. And I have to say, five minutes into this. I’m 30 minutes on the elliptical and I’m now sweating. I’m moving. I have my eyes closed and I’m following this meditative therapeutic exercise a couple of minutes into it. It started to be kind of cool. I dunno. It was weirdly spiritual and. I got one interesting tidbit interacting with my inner critic, the critical part in me where, you know, I’ve, I’ve told you in the last couple of weeks, that that part of me is not very verbal.
Like, I, I can’t really have conversations with that. Part of the part is the only thing I’ve heard from that part. Was none of your fucking business, besides that it’s been [00:04:00] almost like just clutch teeth and just not wanting to engage. And and there was one moment on the elliptical where I don’t know, I don’t know what he said anymore.
Exactly. But it was it came to me that. My inner critic said something of the, kind of, why you so arrogant with me? Like, why do you think you don’t need me? And you already know everything I have to tell you. And that little moment that split second was a real revelation because I was thinking that is actually true.
Like everything that my inner critic is telling me is something that I think I already know and is not that helpful. There’s like a part of me that thinks I know I should have done more work today. I know I should’ve finished this and finish that. I know I could have, and all this, this is not helping like me just get, and then, you know what I did, I, I.
Often use this [00:05:00] technique. This is not an ifs technique, but I often even with, when I play with ifs, I often project outwards and ask myself who are people that have tried to be critical with me. And how do I interact with people being critical with me. Right. I like try to see if I can play it out in the real world, the external world.
Because I believe that that oftentimes isn’t a reflection of my inner world. Right. And vice versa. So I thought about a bunch of people. And now I have to say there, the, the thing that I realized is that there are very few people that I value you and trust so much that I seek out their criticism and I listened to it.
But then everybody else, I actively ensure that they never give me that criticism because I really don’t want to hear it because I’m very arrogant towards it. And when I think about some of the people that are so close in my life, that I can [00:06:00] have them shut up. So they still sometimes come to me with their advice or criticism.
I am incredibly arrogant and I’m incredibly like, just shut the, I don’t care. I don’t want to hear this from you. And I wondered if there, if this it felt to me that this is the way I feel about my inner critic. I feel about my inner critic, that everything, that part of me is telling me something I already know, and it’s not useful and it’s not invited, I am not asking for advice because I don’t trust that part.
I don’t value that part. And that part. You know what the thing was, that part felt towards me the way or towards other parts of me, the way that, you know, a bunch of people in my life feel about me, where they can just tell I’ll take my oldest brother as an example. My oldest brother knows I don’t value his opinion that highly.
He would never say it. He would never say Steli, doesn’t value my appeal because he’s too confident. [00:07:00] You would never say anything about how I value his opinion, which is everything you need to know about what he knows about my value, his opinion, right. Because he’s the kind of guy that would brag that out.
Still always comes to me when he needs this. Oh yeah. So you’ll never say anything about me and his relationship with me in that regard because he knows I’m not seeking his advice. And when he gives it to me, I don’t care for it. Yeah. And I know that he feels bad about this. If he is, at times, it has come up in indirect ways of you’re so arrogant, you think, you know everything.
And that was the way this inner critic felt towards parts of me was like, why are you so fucking arrogant? Like just stop being this arrogant with me. It’s unbearable. I’m not being valued. Nothing I bring to the table seems to be important. And fuck you. You’re not that smart. You, you wouldn’t know all these things.
If I didn’t tell you all the time, you know, that’s sort of, that was kind of, the attitude this all [00:08:00] played out in, I don’t know, like in a minute, But it was, I don’t know, it was a spiritual moment. Imagine me on this elliptical I’m sweating, which might add to the religious aura of the moment.
And I’m like following whatever the instructions are that uh, Richard Schwartz is giving about this inner exercise. And then when I got that response, the beautiful thing when something like this happens is that when it. Comes to you and it’s sort of surprising, right? It came to me and it was not necessarily something I thought about like that.
Yeah. That my inner critic was frustrated that I am arrogant towards it. That’s not something I thought about something I could have. There was no way near the sphere, my consciousness throughout the last couple of weeks that I’ve been thinking about some of that stuff. And it just. Came to me. And when he came to me, just felt so true.
[00:09:00] And then when I thought about how, how do I deal with people that criticize me? I’m like, well, Rameen and Anthony can criticize me and I take it. And I’m like, yeah, what else? I’m like, pretty much nobody. I’m like, how do I deal? Who else is giving criticism? Uninvited it criticism. And then I no people. And then I thought, oh yeah.
So arrogant. And I’m so like, Without telling them everything in my body language is telling them, shut the fuck up. You lose her. I don’t want to hear you in the car. Okay. Maybe this is my attitude towards my inner critic. It’s kind of a cool moment. And then today, Hey, I knew I wanted to go and do another like 40 minute light workout on the elliptical.
And then I thought, and then today I was like, I’m going to do the I’m listening to the online course. Let’s see if I can, again, recreate another spiritual moment, you know, something cool happens. And I did, but in different ways I didn’t have, I didn’t have that part of me talked to me again or revealed something interesting, [00:10:00] but I had a few other parts show up and.
I dunno. I feel like, IFS for me the framing of that, I mean, I’ve started thinking about the multiplicity of my personalities and it really started with a warrior king magician lover, that book. Really that book and the metaphor of these four art types really started showing itself in many things in my life.
Right. And I really started using that framework or that whose four archetypes, a lot to understand certain conflicting parts of myself. And then it kind of went from there. But the ifs phase of my inner work is this very big room and I’m still in the phase room. Shining a light at different spots.
And I go, oh, this is the living room. And then, walk a little bit around the darkness and then a shine on us, but then go, whew, there’s a purple chair in here. Huh? And I still [00:11:00] eat, I don’t have the whole picture. I’m not there yet, but I have looked and seen interesting. Things, and it is generated you interesting ideas in me.
Yeah. And it’s definitely been, I have what I’ve noticed. Most of all I would say is an ability to more clearly separate when I’m in a, when I’m not in. What they would call self when I’m not what I would describe as maybe my best version. You know, the version when it, when I’m like, we have clarity where feel like myself, where, where would be like, yes, I’m my self right now.
And then there’s many moments where maybe I’m like the grumpy Steli or maybe I’m frustrated silly. Maybe I’m angry, silly. I’d like these different states that are not. My ideal of best self, right? And so that’d be playing in the ifs [00:12:00] room when I’m in certain moods or certain other parts that are not the ones that maybe I’m making me happiest or making me feel most comfortable or be how and who I want to be in that moment.
I am. Asking very different questions and it’s generating interesting, useful results. Like I, instead of just going I’m grumpy. And why is, why does everybody suck and why does this suck? And why do I feel like this? And I really don’t want to do this. And instead of being in that loop and then maybe trying to go, okay, this isn’t helping shut the fuck up.
What, you know, what can I do to get out of this funk? Should I go on a walk? Should I go to the gym instead of doing that? I now just sit there and go. Who is that? Which, who, what is the part that is currently talking to me? Where is it physically? Where [00:13:00] is it emotionally? Can I, can I find a form for it? If I had to give it a name and what does it want to tell me?
What is it trying to help me accomplish? Why is it. Doing this is it distracting me? Is it protecting me? What is it doing? And that is, those are very different questions that I would ask before. And they have oftentimes brought a much quicker remedy and turnaround and even taken a specific action. oftentimes that alone.
And I don’t do this all the time. Like, it’s not like every time I felt a certain way. I always do my perfect ifs in our workings. Sometimes I am lost in my state. Right. Even through reading this, but increasingly I do it. And even just going through like asking a few questions and gaining awareness in gaining presence and allocating it is.
[00:14:00] An entity and framing it as an entity. That is not just me. It’s a part in me that is doing something right now that alone. Oftentimes take something that’s on a level eight from one to 10. And just within the first couple of minutes of asking a few questions without even wanting to reduce it just goes down to four.
I instantly normal’s like, is that the moment I give that part? Attention? It relaxes a little bit. It’s just like, oh, okay. We’re good. We’re getting attention. Okay. We can relax. We don’t have to be this loud in this extreme because we are being looked at right now. No, it just instant just goose, just, just from an intensity to point of view, just there’s relief just by asking a few questions.
Which is super interesting, like just very, very interesting, but I’m still so early. I’m still [00:15:00] don’t have the full picture. I don’t know the entire village, these last three days, every day, I’ve met new parts of me, where it was like another part. And, um, and I’m, and I’m, I think experienced enough now that I’m not like, I think back in the day I would get too ambitious about all this shit.
In the sense that I would try to map out the entire village. Oh. And now I’m like, I like, there’s certain parts that I haven’t looked at or that I now know, oh yeah, this exists, but I don’t care. And I don’t need to chase it. And if it, if there’s there’s more to this, I’ll get it like this all will just, it just is happening.
And, and there’s no, there’s no figuring it out. There’s just learning about it. And so I’m learning about it and I’m experiencing some things and it’s kind of, it’s very creative. It’s interesting. It’s very intuitive and it feels useful to me. And so, I mean, I,
I enjoy like by two elliptical sessions, I’m telling you, like, [00:16:00] I dunno how I look in the gym, but I’m like this dude that’s sweating profusely and has his eyes closed.
And people probably think that I’m listening to really intense music. But I’m doing internal family therapy, which is not, it’s not necessarily, I think what people would imagine I’m doing, but it’s kind of fun. It’s like, there’s also something fun about doing it while sweating so much. Like we’re doing something physical.
I don’t know if it’s good forever, but yesterday, today I was surprised how much I was enjoying myself going through these exercises. Yeah would say, yeah, I get the whole working through the internal things on the elliptical, because it’s such a, it’s one of the things I like about it that it’s such a mindless dumb thing that we can put that on autopilot and just kind of regulate what intensity you want.
And then you can do something in your, in your mind. That’s taking your full focus. Yeah. Well, let’s see. maybe this is in my future. Sure. [00:17:00] Maybe I’ll combine the elliptical workout with tense, you know, therapy take these and it’s going to be the internal elliptical systems, and we’ll just gonna merge. The mental health and the physical health industry and create a completely new industry, you know, whole self health.
Oh, the whole self-help industry. I’m going to roll right now, you know? And so it’s going to be, I mean, yoga, is that sort of right? Yoga is you guys sort of a spiritual and physical, I mean, it’s not psychological necessarily. It does blend and Eastern philosophies and mindfulness and fizz, physical and spiritual is a nice little melting pot of these things. And look how successful yoga is to now you take that to the next level with the internal [00:18:00] elliptical therapy systems. And you might really have something here.
Like I, I’m gonna explore doing intense internal work and therapy on different devices in the gym. And see if I could come up with a new framework that we can sell it. I make money with four different kinds of inner work. You need like different devices. So you have like course machine for kind of the.
That’s that where you, I don’t know, gore, like future oriented work, where you have like a goal and you’re like, ah, internal processing of past things and then understanding wisdom, insight. Yeah. I love that. It’s like the different kind of body. So when you run, it’s a it’s endurance. So it’s about like the things you endure in life.
And the things where you need to be more consistent and then maybe if you do bicep curls, it’s like you tap into your inner anger and aggression. And when you do, I don’t know what the fuck core exercises it’s about, like the core of your family and light, like you train different parts [00:19:00] of your body that corresponds to your psyche.
I mean, we’re making fun of this, but it’s kind of brilliant. She know I’m just low key. This is kind of genius, but we’re just a fucking around, but it is copyrighted. We’re just copywriting all of this right now, just in case that we really like it and it does work. yeah, that’s definitely the first time that I’ve done, more intense.
Meditation therapy inner work stuff while really work out. I mean, the gym or working out or running, there always been good places to be clearing your mind or being very present and like really focusing on the exercises or listening to interesting audio books. Like all these things I’ve enjoyed before, but it’s definitely the first time that I’ve done.
Such an intense internal exercise while exercising. I like it. I like it. Nice. We just need a better name for it, but yeah, but I like it.