Term Glossary


Self-Symmetry is the idea that at the same time you are undoing so much of the ego’s story and dismantling your old self, you begin to meet and fall completely in love with the most tender part of you that is still holding on to the thinking (and thus innocently creating what remains of your suffering.. In this reconciliation, you become who you really are: the unconditional forgiveness, warm understanding, and unfailing self-love and advocacy that cannot come from anything else (and yet in finding it, you connect to EVERYTHING else). You and the small scared parts of yourself will begin to experience deep and absolute belonging to each other that allows you to embrace whatever life brings!

Whatever you have experienced of this, it is just the tip of the iceberg. If you continue, this sweet self-solidarity will become the mainstay of your existence and mainline to what is beyond existence.. Together we will face the fear of worse-case scenarios where external events are concerned—and discover that the cost of failing to support, beating up, and so quickly ‘leaving’ our most innocent, well-meaning selves is worse–for ourselves, others, and the planet–than ANY other consequence we fear.


Recently a client came to me completely demoralized as her daughter had gotten a special gift from her husband’s mother–a gift that reminded her of a way she and her daughter had traditionally bonded. It felt like the last piece of territory my client “owned” with her daughter, who tended to spend much more time with her mother-in-law than with her.

My client had lots of angry, jealous, sad, and fearful stories–projecting almost complete abandonment by her daughter. She was jealous that her daughter was excited about her mother-in-law’s gift. She was hurt that her daughter was dismissive of her own generous gift of money. She was frustrated that she had not thought to give that special gift herself. She was resentful about the other mom “stealing” her daughter. And she was beating herself up about all the ways she isn’t “good enough.”

While we started with a traditional inquiry in “The Work,” doing a “Judge-Your-Neighbor” worksheet on the issue, the shift to freedom from this inner terrorism didn’t happen until we did a kind of “talking inquiry.” We followed each thought and the “yeah-but’s” that come up when you start to feel freedom from the inquiry, when you let the scared, childlike mind thoroughly investigate and see through the stinkin’ thinkin’ that is truly the only thing scaring us.

She went deeply into the childhood situation where she felt abandoned–literally pushed out the door by her own mother when she was already very fearful. We both cried as together we imagined her picking up the child whose wellbeing she was now leaving in her daughter’s hands. We envisioned a warm, powerful I-will-never-leave-you-no-matter-what new way of mothering…

That is what I’m talking about when I say Self-Solidarity–finding where we are still doing to ourselves the specific configuration of things that was done to us when we were little. And it’s important to note that it doesn’t matter if what really happened and what our parents’ motives really were are anything like what our child-mind interpreted them to be when we built our story. What matters is that we see that we are the perpetrators of child abuse when we fail to question the thinking that is perpetuating the pain, when WE are the ones continuing to blindly buy into the painful thoughts that are the result of this habitual firing of neurons.

Once we spot this we start to build the commitment to be the CCC (Curious, Compassionate Caretaker) of that little one who is NOW suffering, not from others’ actions, but at the hands of our own thinking. It is very easy to stop and “be the hero” who steps up and takes care of that little one–in truth, no one else can. Whatever solace emerges from the love, appreciation, and approval we receive from others feels hollow if we know we are secretly using it to prop up our own ego–it leaves us vulnerable–constantly posturing and manipulating for our next fix, and feeling resentful of those to whom we have given that power.

When we USE the situations that trigger the firing of those well-worn neural pathways, we see how we now have taken on the role of inner child-abuser, leaving ourselves in cruel ways and telling that little one that he/she is only OK if… (fill in blank with a mind-made condition about how life or others need to show up).

Self-Solidarity is when we commit to stopping all the external noise, when we notice the pain we are in. It is going into our bodies and being with those parts of us that are reacting in habitual clenching and adrenalin rushes–and then just sitting with those physical reactions. That is what the Beyond Mindfulness Map is about. Then we go back to the moment where we are beefing ourselves up (in this case when my client did not think of that provoking gift and all the other stories she regularly tells herself about how she isn’t a good enough mother or wasn’t a worthy enough child). Self-Solidarity is when we commit to addressing with love whatever story gets triggered in us by firmly going in and finding the perfection and innocence that we were in all along, absolutely every moment. (See step one of the Wheel of Self Love.)

WE stop the cycle of leaving ourselves in the hands of others’ neuroses and blocks and inability to see our innocence and perfection or even their inability to recognize our stories–and we find a new story. Our new story is that things were and are exactly as they should be. That nothing anyone can say or do, and nothing that we ourselves can say or do “wrong,” can make us love that little innocent one any less.

WE take on the role of a die-hard advocate for that little one (not to be confused with defensiveness)—and we disengage from the compulsion to “get” someone else to see our innocence and be our advocate and reflect our worth back to us through THEIR understanding, love, support, and acceptance. (See “The Defensiveness Dialogue.”)

This kind of advocacy that I call Self-Solidarity is different. It is unshakeable. It is always there for the taking. It doesn’t separate us from others as it is simply not about them. It is stepping out of the victim-persecutor-rescuer triangle we have played out with others since the moment we made our happiness contingent on them. Instead it suspends all entanglement with them, re-unites us with the parts of ourselves we left so long ago.

The emotional pain that we feel as physical reactions is ALWAYS a thread that eventually unravels back to the moments when we first began to separate from our perfect childlike “in-the-moment-ness” and started to care what others thought of us. Those decisions to please them at all costs to us–that “being-who-they-want-us-to-be”–became tenaciously linked in our minds to our very survival. That is why it is so hard to dislodge… But by exposing the myth that it was EVER about them or their words or actions, and realizing that it is really our programming that is distorting the lens through which we see ourselves and them, we can start to get the focus back to the real source that has been perpetuating those childhood wounds.

True freedom comes not simply from becoming mindful of that part of us, but in actuality it comes from reeducating our faulty inner perceptions about “the way things are” that are still driving the bus of our pain and dysfunction. When we become like a firm parent (as tenacious about debunking our cruel inner myths as the myths are about saving us), they easily let go. They WANT to be saved.

That is the call to action our bodies are giving us! Every single time we experience emotional pain we can count on the fact that it is reflecting the belief that this moment needs to be different than it is in order for me to feel safe, lived, happy. “You, I, or life need to show up differently in order to be OK,” the innocent mind tells us in its effort to maintain the illusion of control. It uses that one very old, very unimaginative story (cloaked in many different situations so that it shows up in many different impossible and hopeless forms of victim-hood and persecution) to play God. We sacrifice our unending state of unfolding perfection and innate belongingness to hopeless striving and separation born of the belief that we can be in control of reality.