These are musings about what it means to be connected to our Self, have access to our and how we can learn to cultivate both.

The map I am using here is derived from the Internal Family System (IFS) but could also be taken from many different spiritual schools. 
Basically: We all have a True or Essential Self. And we all have many Parts (Sub-Personalities) that together make up our personality or character.


According to IFS our Self is always present, but we may not be aware of it or connected to it – this can happen if parts have taken over and are we are blended or identified with them. 
To be connected to our Self means for our true Being of who we really are to be an active part of our experience of, interactions with and reactions to ourselves and the world. 

This often does not take the form of ‘spiritual enlightenment’, but what IFS calls “being in Self-Energy”. 

Self-Energy refers to the natural way we feel, act and behave when we are connected to our Self. This can be seen as two things:

  1. The natural qualities of Presence that arise in us when we are connected to our Self
  2. the natural emanation of who we really are into our experience and actions

IFS has found that the qualities of presence that are naturally emanating when we are in Self-Energy are consistently the same in people. These qualities are called the “8 C’s” in IFS, where each C stands for a specific quality of presence:

Curiosity, Compassion, Calmness, Confidence,
Creativity, Courage, Connectedness and Clarity


When Self-Energy is present I feel compassionate and calm, or creative and courageous… (I don’t have to feel all of them at once).


If there are certain states of feeling and relating to ourselves and the world that correlate with Self-Energy, we can use them as yardsticks and help for ourselves.

Asking ourselves “Am I connected to my Self, right now?” is a very abstract thing to ask. One that invites a lot of distortion and abstraction. 
On the other hand asking ourselves “How am I feeling towards this, right now?” is much more concrete. And this feeling-answer will still give us a lot of answers

  • Is there curiosity and compassion?
  • Are there also other voices (parts)?
  • If there are other parts – is there still some presence of the C-Qualities?

We can use this to determine where we are at in the moment – and to then learn to consciously work with that, for instance by consciously unblending.


I invite you to experiment with this simple question: 

“How am I feeling towards X (person, event, situation…)?”

While checking, be open to the different aspects of your experience:

  • What different voices are there?
  • But also: Is there a place where any of the C-Qualities are present?

Because: To be connected to Self-Energy does not mean you love and embrace everything. 
You can still realise that things are wrong and stupid and not for you. But this comes from a different level of presence – where you can simultaneously hold an openness and acceptance towards the other person or idea, while you realize that you disagree. 

This can tell you a lot about the current state of your inner system and give you clear options on what to do next. 

(Like consciously interact with the parts, take a walk, keep going with your work etc.)