Category Archives: Relationship

Something to Declare

Unconditional love Copyright Simon Carey

© Copyright Simon Carey

Less than a week ago I arrived in the USA after a four-year absence. I am here to visit my 93-year-old mother and a dear friend who has recently become ill. Before leaving Italy, I anticipated that I would experience a clash of subpersonalities. How would the American part of me emerge and what would the European part of me do about her?

Upon arrival, instead of a passport control agent, a machine took all my biometrics and a computer compared them with my passport. I am now in a NSA database somewhere… But a real person in uniform did stop me and asked, “Do you have anything to declare?”

Immediately I felt a subpersonality fight her way forward. She wanted to say:

“Yes, climate change is real and I am sorry the only way I could come here was on a horribly polluting transatlantic flight. Build bridges not walls. Love is the desire for the whole and the pursuit of the whole is called Love.”

I guess this was the “Rebel” in me.  As well a the Creative One, the Smart Alack and the Clown. But ‘I’ managed to take control and simply answer, “No.”


Assagioli’s note of Plato’s quote.

Assagioli said that our subpersonalities are:

“… in continually play one against the other, they form alliances, and struggle between themselves. It’s a continuous integration.  They continually act and react between themselves. It is the drama of the human life, where the desire to profit, for example, struggles with laziness in a constant subpersonality tug of war.”

After 6 days in Southern California I am both caught and having fun observing this tug of war. A part of me feels strangely at home. Everything feels familiar. Another part of me is homesick for Umbria. I search for a mug for my morning tea in my sister’s kitchen cupboard and find the Italian part of me longing for the most beautiful cup I can find. My family often buys their dinner-to-go, all eating at separate times. The Italian part of me wants to sit down together for a four-course pranzo. The American part of me enjoys the courtesy shown by drivers who stop to let me cross the street, unlike Italian drivers who seem to make up their own traffic rules. The list goes on…

Subpersonality - Masks

The Dreamer and the Judge

Interesting enough, Assagioli said:

“It’s enough to think of how we will pass an evening and soon there are four or five parts of us that clash, imposing their point of view and hopefully two that align themselves against the third. For this, we need the ‘I’ to be vigilant. The ‘I’ directs the subpersonalities.”

But the fun part starts when all these subpersonalities in me who struggling for my attention and control meet all the subpersonalities in you, who are busy with their own tug of war! Again we turn to Assagioli:

“The complexity of relationships is given to the fact that we are a group of subpersonalities in front of another group of subpersonalities. We do not realize this continual multiplicity enough. This is what complicates life, as well as our personal relationships. When John talks with Joe, there are three Johns talking with three Joes – and even more – therefore they have multiple reactions and often they are contradictory.”

And so I marvel while visiting with my mother… I am Daughter, she is Mother. And then suddenly the conversation turns and we both are Friends. Sometimes I become Mother and she becomes Daughter. Then I am Caregiver, and she is Vulnerable. Then I am Vulnerable and she is Wise Woman. The play is a beautifully woven tapestry of life.Tapastry

I would like to declare that all our subpersonalities are authentic, real, genuine and spontaneous. When they are in equilibrium, a harmony occurs within ourselves and within each other, and among each other. Subpersonalities can actually become our gateways to better relationships, to a more authentic way of interacting, and to the pursuit of Love.

Formulating Christmas Blessings

goodwill yellowAre you dreading this holiday season? The incessant music. Crowds of anxious consumers. The proliferation of plastic made in China? Unwanted gifts and the duty of buying gifts unwanted? The unreasonable pressure of a perfect Christmas dinner on the table. Forced encounters with others with whom you would rather not? Fake joy…

Rejoice! There is a simple way out. It’s called “Formulating Blessings.” Anyone can play and it’s absolutely free! Continue reading

(Re)Learning to Mother Ourselves

1024px-Mother-Child_face_to_faceRecently I have been taking psychosynthesis lessons from my 3-1/2 year old neighbor Martina (not her real name). She is an only child without many friends who has been wandering over to my garden whenever I happen to be planting or hoeing in the late afternoon. At first she showed up in her electrical jeep, zig-zagging down the country road from her grandparents’ house, alternatively jerking to a halt and zooming full speed ahead, her three dogs chasing after her.

Martina is highly intelligent, strong-willed and precocious. She is an organizer and often explains to me where plants should be placed and what vases and flowers I need to buy and where they belong in the garden. She is also a great storyteller. In true Italian style, her entire body moves while she talks, her hands fly around with precision, and her facial gestures rise and fall with the tone of her voice. Continue reading

Courageously Creating Good Will

003415 good willOne could not help but be horrified by the images last week of Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off United Airlines overbooked flight to make way for a crew member. His forcible abuse and maltreatment by the three policemen ended up with him suffering a concussion, broken nose and the loss of two front teeth. Dr. Dao only wanted to go home to see his patients the next morning.

Since the release of the videos made by fellow passengers, responsibility for this incident has been placed on a number of different people.

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Women’s Psycho-Spiritual Gifts

Olga Froebe Studio Assagioli

Painting by Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, hanging in Assgioli’s studio in Florence.

In his controversial essay, “The Psychology of Woman and her Psychosynthesis,” Assagioli discusses the psychological characteristics of both women and men, and how together, “each can become, psychologically, a complete human being.” He also describes in detail “womanly functions” such as the maternal function and wifely function.

In June, 2016, Piero Ferrucci related a funny story about this essay and Assagioli’s ideas concerning feminine roles. In the 1970s, Betty Friedman, author of the Feminist Mystic, came to meet Assagioli in Florence. She had a great time and during a guided meditation, the image came to her of a rainbow uniting men and women in the world. She asked for some of Assagioli’s writings to take back with her. Despite Ferrucci asking Ida Palombi, Assagioli’s secretary and associate, not to give Freidman his controversial writings on the psychology of men and women, Palombi did. And they never saw Friedman again.

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From the Couple to Humanity


“Psychosynthesis of the Couple” from Assagioli’s Archives

On Saint Valentine’s Day, we recently celebrated ‘the couple’. In fact, Assagioli viewed marriage as a work of art – a canvas where the husband and wife can learn to alternate in a variety of roles. He believed that psychosynthesis of the couple was fundamental to achieving psychosynthesis of humanity. He wrote:

“When talking about the consciousness of a group, talk above all about the human couple: man and woman and their synthesis, and about their central importance as a fundamental basis and model of inter-psychics at its most vast and complex.”

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Wise Love and Original Sin


Most of us come from a long line of motherless mothers. Women who were never mothered themselves, never learned from their own mothers how to nurture the imagination or creativity in their souls, were, basically, never encouraged to become the persons they were meant to be.

Psychically unprotected, emotionally harassed, and sometimes beaten into being good girls, many women today are still only accepted on condition that they behave well. And these scarred, scared women bare babies. They do their best to clothe and feed and care for their babies’ physical needs, but are often unable to cope with or understand the deeper spiritual longings of their children, their need to feel protected and initiated by a wise and soulful Mother.

This is what I consider to be “original sin.” The unresolved pain, emotional trauma, and childhood neglect that a person receives from his or her parents, which they receive from theirs, ad infinitum. Most of us as children, receive, sometimes violently, sometimes emotionally, most often unintentionally, the unhealed hurts that our parents received as children.

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