Metaphoric cards

If you are looking for a dynamic and undogmatic personal development tool I am offering you metaphoric associative cards (MAC).  It is a great tool to enhance the process of self-reflection.  It helps to develop spontaneity, creativity, intuition and flexibility.

We can use MAC to explore such coaching tools as the Johari window, The Wheel of Life,  Ikigai  or  ‘Descartes’ Square. We can also use MAC to work with feelings (anger, fear, guilt, regret, shame, love, etc.), relationship issues, inner critic,  our shadows, our masks and self-esteem.

I offer a 𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄 2𝟎-𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐞 𝐧𝐨-𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐧𝐨-𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬-𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 to see if virtual metaphoric cards tool is a good fit for you!

What do you choose to starve, to fight or to guide your vices?

“An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life: “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. ”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right, they both win. You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and always fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities – tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong-willed and great strategic thinking – that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength and the ability to recognize what is in the best interest of all.

“You see, son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention. And when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or a woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or a woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing. “How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

–Cherokee Story”

“Working with inner child and inner parent using emotion-image therapy methods”

The first unit of the course “Working with inner child and inner parent using emotion-image therapy methods” is finished!  Four months of deep immersion into such topics as destructive parental messages and its effect on the child; development of nurturing and adequate inner parent, and obstacles on the way to her/him; vanishing twin syndrome, the replacement child syndrome and much more.

Eight hours’ time difference didn’t stop me from attending this course. I grew personally and professionally and now I can see more deeply into the clients’ internal processes.

I can help my clients to accept their inner child, to take responsibility for him/her, to help them allow their inner parent to emerge and get strong, to remove the obstacles that are between their inner child and their inner parent.

During the course I learned how to be more authentically myself (my authentic inner child is freer, and my adaptive/surviving child is relieved of this unbearable task).  I am freer and freer of destructive introject.  I learn more and more on how crucial it is to be honest with myself and how not to subside to my feelings of self-pity or self-indulgence, instead recognize and transform my feelings.  As we heal our inner children, we take responsibility for them and for our lives. And that means that our life is in our own hands. And it is impossible to heal our inner children without developing and supporting our inner parent.

I am looking forward to deepening my understanding of self-sabotaging models in the second unit of the course.  I am grateful to be in this uneasy journey with Ira Rudnitskaya whose professionalism, depth, structure, warmth besides introducing us to invaluable theoretic and practical aspects of the topics, provides an immense therapeutic value.

A glimpse into the course.

Our final lesson was about the replacement children and sufferings some of these children experience.  Such children often choose between two options either become talented or crazy (and there is a fine line between the two).  But what is important, there is also a hope for such children, they can achieve healing through experiencing a psychological rebirth. 

Some famous replacement children Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ludwig Von Beethoven and many others.

You can read more about famous replacement children here:

Famous Replacement Children

“Vincent van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, a year to the day after the birth of his stillborn brother. The deceased brother and Van Gogh carried the identical full name: Vincent Willem van Gogh.  They even shared the same number, 29, in the parish register.  The family lived in the rectory of the parish and so Vincent passed his brother’s grave – same name, same birth date (except for the year) – daily on his way to school.

Salvador Dali’s elder brother, Salvador Galo Dali, died when he was nearly 22 months old.  Dali, the famous painter, was born exactly 9 months and 10 days later.  Dali felt the anguish of his parents’ loss of his brother, their firstborn son, very deeply. His parents chose to view their second son as a reincarnation of his deceased brother.  Dali’s dead brother was his “ghostly double“ and, as such, created a tremendous conflict and stress for the painter. Salvador Dali essentially lived the life of two people, his own and that of his deceased brother.”

You can read more about famous replacement children here:

Famous Replacement Children

A short parable about self-confidence

Once, a youth went to see a wise man, and said to him:

’I have come seeking advice, for I am tormented by feelings of worthlessness and no longer wish to live. Everyone tells me that I am a failure and a fool. I beg you, Master, help me!’

The wise man glanced at the youth, and answered hurriedly: ’Forgive me, but I am very busy right now and cannot help you. There is one urgent matter in particular which I need to attend to…’ — and here he stopped, for a moment, thinking, then added: ’But if you agree to help me, I will happily return the favour.’

’Of…of course, Master!’ muttered the youth, noting bitterly that yet again his concerns had been dismissed as unimportant. ’Good’, said the wise man, and took off a small ring with a beautiful gem from his finger.

’Take my horse and go to the market square! I urgently need to sell this ring in order to pay off a debt. Try to get a decent price for it, and do not settle for anything less than one gold coin! Go right now, and come back as quick as you can!’

The youth took the ring and galloped off. When he arrived at the market square, he showed it to the various traders, who at first examined it with close interest. But no sooner had they heard that it would sell only in exchange for gold than they completely lost interest. Some of the traders laughed openly at the boy, others simply turned away. Only one aged merchant was decent enough to explain to him that a gold coin was too high a price to pay for such a ring, and that he was more likely to be offered only copper, or at best, possibly silver.

When he heard these words, the youth became very upset, for he remembered the old man’s instruction not to accept anything less than gold. Having already gone through the whole market looking for a buyer among hundreds of people, he saddled the horse and set off. Feeling thoroughly depressed by his failure, he returned to see the wise man.

’Master, I was unable to carry out your request’, he said. ’At best I would have been able to get a couple of silver coins, but you told me not to agree to anything less than gold! But they told me that this ring isn’t worth that much.’

’That’s a very important point, my boy!’ the wise man responded. Before trying to sell a ring, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to establish how valuable it really is! And who can do that better than a jeweller? Ride over to him and find out what his price is. Only don’t sell it to him, regardless of what he offers you! Instead, come back to me straightaway.’

The young man once more leapt up on to the horse and set off to see the jeweller. The latter examined the ring through a magnifying glass for a long time, then weighed it on a set of tiny scales. Finally, he turned to the youth and said:

’Tell your master that right now I can’t give him more than 58 gold coins for it. But if he gives me some time, I will buy the ring for 70.’

’70 gold coins?!’ exclaimed the youth. He laughed, thanked the jeweller and rushed back at full speed to the wise man. When the latter heard the story from the now animated youth, he told him: ’Remember, my boy, that you are like this ring. Precious, and unique! And only a real expert can appreciate your true value. So why are you wasting your time wandering through the market and heeding the opinion of any old fool?’


image from the internet

Does your life belongs to the past, present and future?

Imagine there are three chairs in front of you:

In the first chair, visualize your past.

In the third there is the image of your future.

In the second chair (between the first and third chairs),  there is your present.
Take a closer look at these images.

What do you see?  

How does your past look like?

How does your future look like?

And what about your present?

How many percent of your life belongs to the past, present and future?

Are you satisfied with the distribution of your vital energy between the past, present and future?  

Do you want to be in the present moment, to meet life’s challenges with dignity, experience warmth, joy and interest in your current relationships?  

Do you prefer to escape the present for the fantasy about the future?  

Are you holding on to something in the past that doesn’t exist anymore?

If you are escaping into fantasy or illusions of the future, you cannot see reality and take needed steps in the present.

If you need help figuring out what holds you back, how to bring inner resources, which are seeping out of you into the present, dm me to set up a session and I will help you.

Victoriya Makrishcheva

Unfinished business

Twelve years ago when at age 52 my father passed away from cancer my psychotherapist lent me a book called Life after Loss by Vamik D. Volkan. This book helped me to understand and to process my grief. My therapist gave me more than one book on grief and mourning, but this book stood out the most.

Later when my friends or clients experienced losses I always recommended this book.

What stood out for me back then was the differentiation of complicated vs. uncomplicated mourning. And that if there is unfinished business, a relationship is complicated and unsorted, the grieving process can take a long time and can lead to a prolonged depression.  On the other hand, when a relationship is relatively healthy and there is no unfinished business, the mourning process is easier to live through and it brings growth. 

Another thing that stood out was that losses can be not only about loss of a loved one, but also about losing a job, a house, a project, health, part of the body or an organ, love, country, family, marriage, dignity, respect, friendship, etc.  All those losses if unresolved and unprocessed constructively can lead to depression and anxiety.

All the losses of recent years reminded me about this book and I decided to reread it.  Here are the first two paragraphs of the introduction:

“A colleague of mine, John Buckman, tells a story of a London man of modest means who was hospitalized for depression after winning the Irish sweepstakes. This fellow was found to be suffering from complicated grief: Sudden wealth meant the loss of his former life. Despite the incentive of his new riches, he could not let it go.

I use this story because it illustrates one of the great truths about our lives: Human beings do not give up things easily. Even when it means trading a hardscrabble life for one of luxury, we mourn what is left behind.”

It is crucial to work through all kinds of losses in order to resolve complications so that we can be present and live our life fully.

Research shows that when people are dying they don’t think about their careers or financial achievements, they regret about the relationships that were not fixed.

Accepting the loss, finishing unfinished business and expressing and living through all the emotions regarding the loss (be it anger, sadness, guilt, regret, frustration, disappointment, shame, emotional dependency) are crucial in order to be fully present in your life, in your relationships now.  Returning the emotional investments you did to your previous life, all your expectations or your fantasies will lead to a closure, to your ability to let go and to stop the emotional dependency to your past.  All this is necessary for the trapped vital energy that is wasted on suppressing your emotions or on ruminating about your regrets to be freed. Released energy will be directed towards new experiences in life, not towards the losses (past life style, status, divorce, marriage, bankruptcy, rise in profits/salary, miscarriage, birth of kids, death of loved ones, etc.).  It will be used to start a new healthy life, a life where you are fully present.

In December I have two more spots available for sessions. If you have unresolved and complicated relationships dm me.

“Good genes are nice, but joy is better”

“Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.” — Robert Waldinger

“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Link to the article:

What do you do with your feelings?

Do you suppress them, compress, freeze, numb or displace?

Do you create a bustle to avoid facing them, dump on someone else or do you live your feelings through until they become wisdom, creative force and bring maturity?

Are you able to digest the feelings, keep emotional nutrients and eject emotional toxins?

“Monkey trap”

Caught in a monkey trap? Sometimes we are held back by an idea or belief we are not willing to let go. It keeps us stuck.

“It’s simple. Drill a hole in a box or coconut and put a banana inside. A monkey will grab the banana and not let go. Just walk up on him with a net and catch yourself a monkey. The monkey trap works on us all…”

It is very easy to be freed, just let go, relax the fist, relax the grip.

“Oddly enough, there is no actual physical barrier preventing a monkey from escaping the trap – they could just let go of the food and they would be free. There is, however, an incredible mental barrier. Due to the scarcity of food at times, monkeys have it ingrained in them from birth that when they see food, they must hold on tight. This principle which has served them so well in the past creates in the mind of the monkey an inability to re-evaluate the rice in the context of their new found circumstances, costing them their freedom.” -Donald Grandy