My brilliant cousin, Ruth Cherry, PhD, is a psychologist living in San Luis Obispo. She has produced a series of short videos called ‘Living in the Flow Moments,’ based on her book Living in the Flow: Practicing Vibrational Alignment. I initially struggled to understand her concepts and how they applied to me, in part because the language was foreign to me. With my mechanical background, I thought of ‘vibrational alignment’ as something that could be measured on an oscilloscope in cycles per second, displayed on a screen, and analyzed and understood. As I listened to her videos, I realized I had to think of it metaphysically, as a way of integrating the various sub-personalities we all have. I had always let my Controller sub-personality dominate – the part of me that takes care of business, that gets things done, that ensures that the things that are supposed to happen in my life actually happen. The Controller sub-personality is what I think John Wayne meant when he said, “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” (Which he never actually said – at least not exactly like that).
My Controller sub-personality has proven to be distressingly inadequate in getting me through the changes I have experienced recently. My wife Portia’s long illness, during which I essentially abandoned my law practice and gave up all my hobbies so I could care for her, our financial immolation as Portia could not work and I chose not to work, followed by her completely unexpected death in our daughter Lucille’s living room, overwhelmed the Controller aspect of my personality. I had to learn to give up the idea that I could make things happen the way they should; the last 15 months have proven exactly how evanescent that conceit was.
I really struggled the first few months after Portia died, until I finally accepted that I couldn’t control things the way I thought I should. I finally accepted that it’s OK to let other people do things for me, and it’s OK for me to ask for help, and I don’t have to always ‘make it happen.’ Ruth’s book and videos (and several very long phone conversations) helped me to understand how the different aspects of my personality have to be aligned with what I actually need in my life at that time, so that the Critic is not dominant when I really need to access the Observer. It’s been an educational process, as I had to learn a new vocabulary as well as developing a conscious understanding of things that I was doing subconsciously.
This is not a pitch for Ruth’s book (although if you are going through significant life changes, as I am, you might find it helpful). It’s just that her insights have helped me so much in getting through the miasma my life has been, that simply telling her ‘Thank you’ seemed insufficient. I wanted everyone to know how transformative her book was for me.