What about those three bears?
There is a relation to my surname, it is derived from the Old German ‘bearo hard’, meaning ‘a strong bear’ (1)
And once I had a powerful medicine dream, in which I am in a sacred space, being held and protected by 12 (!) bears.
And then there is the way I see myself professionally in relation to clients:
In this context the smallest and most distinct bear takes the part of our ‘ego’. It is most clearly shaped and worked out in detail. Just like the face we show to the world; like how we want to be seen by others; what we want others to see, when they look at us; bringing our best parts to light. the word ‘person’ is derived from the Latin ‘persona’ (2) originally meaning the mask of an actor: today I understand the meaning of the word as describing that mask which we put on in contact with the world. Some of us are able to change the mask, depending on the situation they are in: family, work or healing. The use of the word ‘mask’ does not imply that we are false or pretentious, it means that we are going into relation to other humans and their characteristics, looking for an – in our assessment – apt behavior. Surely the mask of a psychotherapist will be different from that of a murderer or a clerk. This does not settle the question, if the persons do feel free in their choice of the masks, or if the feel pushed to take on a certain part, or feel the obligation to carry a certain mask on account of their family fate.
The middle bear reflects to us how in our person we always push some aspects to the side. Parts of our person that we think are not appropriate in the situation at hand; parts we believe are not liked by others, or that - being declared ‘evil’ or ’bad’ - have been forbidden or estranged by parents, teachers or religion. Within psychotherapeutic work one can find out again and again that we prefer to ‘suppress’ these aspects of ourselves and that they are presented back to us in our life in another form: the classical examples of the ‘annoying colleague’, the ‘bad mother-in-law, ’or physical symptoms that refuse to heal. The art of psychotherapeutic work consists of restoring the connection between these phenomena and our suppressed aspects of the self, opening the way to make new decisions. The more aspects of our person we integrate, the more energy we get, the more flexibility we can afford in our thinking (Ken Wilber speaks about the a-perspective consciousness (3)), and it becomes more natural to feel compassion with others.
The tall bear stands for our whole human potential. Everything we ever might be. To my understanding, our potential is always greater than our life in consensus reality could ever be. This potential gives a direction to our life, to where our being-human is moving. It gives us independency of the recommendations of the time dictated by the current trends, and we gain more self-awareness about who we actually are, how we were meant to be before being born, and where the path of our life may lead. In my psychotherapeutic practice, at the beginning of our work together we will concern ourselves with the question what these characteristics could be for you. Whatever therapeutic solutions we find they should be in harmony with your essential being.
(1) Reclams Namenbuch; Stuttgart, 1985
(2) Duden, Herkunftswörterbuch; Mannheim 1989
(3) Ken Wilber, Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy; Boston 2000