I recently watched a movie with a shapeshifter in it, and it brought attention again to shapeshifting in our own lives.
For myself, I notice it in how different qualities (voices, subpersonalities) comes into the foreground at different times and in different situations.
Some may shift into the foreground more frequently and be more familiar to me, others less so. There may be more or less fluidity among them, and resistance to the shifts and certain qualities.
I can relate to them with easy acceptance and comfort, with attraction (when there is identification with them, and they fit into my shoulds), or aversion (when they don’t match the preferred identities and the shoulds.)
And there is really no limit to the number and variety of qualities or subpersonalities.
I notice it in how I, as this human self, change over time.
My interests, attractions/aversions, passions, activities in the world, the food I eat, the clothes I wear… none of that stay the same. It changes over days, weeks, seasons, years, decades.
Even if it appears to be the same, it is still different. It is experienced and expressed differently, it exists in a different context.
Who I was some time ago doesn’t exist anymore, apart from as a memory in me and some others. It is often a strange experience for me to talk with someone I haven’t seen for a while, and they assume – innocently – that my interests, diet, or whatever else it may be, has stayed the same.
My identifications may change over time as well.
They may shift from one identity to another, and they may be released from a particular identity to allow for more fluidity between and among a set of identities, and there may be a more thorough release from identification allowing for even more – potential – fluidity.
And then how everything changes here now, in awareness.
If I use the filter of memory, I see how there is a continuous flow and nothing to hold onto. Even a thought with an apparent identical content as a previous thought is new.
(Here, thoughts compare the “present”, which is really what just left and thoughts tries to grasp, with what my thoughts tells me was some time ago. To say that anything changes, or is fresh, or something similar, we need the filter of thought. Without it, nothing can be said.)
I can also work more deliberately with shapeshifting, in different ways.
Through The Work, I explore my habitual beliefs and identities. For instance, identify a belief about Other, find the truths in its turnarounds, find in or as myself what I previously saw as Other, and how I can live the truth in that turnaround more in daily life. I also find a release from identifications in general, which is another shift.
Through Process Work, I can notice a symptom or movement or impulse here now, follow it, allowing it to unfold and amplify, and shift into something else, and then something else. I can take on the role of and become whatever it shifts into. See see how it relates to my usual identity, what it has to tell me, what it asks of me, and how it can bring something new into my daily life. And then how it can be lived more actively, and brought more consciously, into daily life.
I can explore the different voices through voice dialog or the Big Mind process, shift into different ones, see what they have to say, how my usual identity relates to them, and how they can more easily and effectively help this human self in daily life.
I can choose to do something in daily life that goes outside of my normal identity, find more comfort with it, expand my active repertoire, and find more fluidity among a wider range of identities, roles, qualities, voices and subpersonalities.
I can use any other form of shadow work to find in myself what I have attraction or aversion to out there in the world, using attraction/aversion as a pointer to what is really here, but not actively embraced, owned and lived yet. (The living part unfolds over time, as I become more familiar with it, what it asks of me, and what it can bring into my life.)
The shapeshifters of stories are right here now.