Feeling Into Type One
Ones tend to see things in black and white, focusing like a laser beam on what's wrong or needing to be corrected. They feel an intense sense of personal obligation to be good and do the right thing. It almost feels to them as if they're responsible for fixing the world (or at least whatever particular mess they may encounter).
Ones have very high standards for themselves and others, and can feel fixated on correcting, organizing and controlling their environment to comply with them. This can sometimes feel quite critical or judgmental to others. However they have their own raging inner critic, the toughest of all the types, so are highly sensitive to criticism from others.
Are you getting a sense of what it might feel like to be a One?
Here are a couple of poems and practices that might help you feel into the insides of a One...
by Molly Peacock
Hold up the universe, good girl. Hold up
the tent that is the sky of your world at which
you are the narrow center pole, good girl. Rupture
is the enemy. Keep all whole. The itch
to be yourself, plump and bending, below a sky
unending, held up by God forever
is denied by you as Central Control. Sever
recumbent below the sky. Nothing falls down,
except you, luscious and limited on the ground.
Holding everything up, always on your own,
creates a loneliness so profound
you are nothing but a column, good girl,
a temple ruin against a sky held up
by forces beyond you. Let yourself curl
up: a fleshy fetal figure cupped
about its own vibrant soul. You are
the universe about its pole. God's not far.
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
What if you actually didn't have to be good all of the time? What if your only obligation to yourself and the world was to "let the soft animal of your body love what it loves" (as Mary Oliver recommends), or to "let yourself curl up: a fleshy fetal figure cupped about its own vibrant soul" (as Molly Peacock invites you). How would that feel? What would be the impact of that deep relaxing? On yourself? On others?
We all have (at least) a bit of Type One in us – wanting to be right and avoiding being wrong. Here are some questions to help you explore your “One-ness”. (You may want to go through this round of questions a few times, noticing how your answers deepen as you do.) Can you begin to feel into some of the key struggles for a Type One?
In what ways do you try to be good?
How do judgment and criticism operate in your life? (Toward yourself? Toward others?)
How does anger show up for you?
How are you resentful?
What is serenity to you?
How is life perfect just as it is?