I came across a very useful distinction recently that I want to share with you.
It’s not new, but the wording of it gives it great clarity and makes it memorable.
[And if it’s not memorable, we probably won’t remember to use it, right?]
So here it is: Learn to work on the SYSTEM, not the SYMPTOM.
It’s from Eben Pagan’s productivity course.
The point is that if something is not working in your life, look at the bigger picture rather than just the specific behavior or symptom.
If you are always tired, or constantly hungry therefore gaining weight, or feel scattered and unproductive, what habits are you doing (or not doing) that are leading to those results? And what systems or processes could you put in place to help you produce different results?
This distinction is easily applicable to understanding and USING Human Design in our lives.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say that your symptom is feeling emotionally impacted by others, and it’s hard for you to control the intensity of what you feel. You may even feel completely at the mercy of (or sometimes a victim of) other people’s powerful emotional energy.
Trying to “control” your feelings and reactions (or trying to control the other people–good luck with that!) probably hasn’t worked very well for you.
That’s trying to work on the SYMPTOM.
If this symptom is an issue for you, then you probably have an Open Emotional Solar Plexus Center in your Human Design chart. [Check your chart—the large triangle on lower right side would be white]
If you do have an Open Emotional Solar Plexus Center, you are actually designed to take in others’ emotional energy and amplify it.
That’s the SYSTEM.
But yikes! That sounds scary and possibly hopeless. It’s not. Understanding the system—the Energy Centers, in this case—and how they work gives you both the opportunity and the power to use it to your advantage.
This ‘system’ has a 6-word mantra that can help you gain wisdom from experiencing others’ emotions, while minimizing the intensity, confusion and overwhelm of taking in emotions from others.
That mantra is: Be a screen, not a sponge.
It applies to ALL Open Centers in a chart, but especially (in my experience and the experience of my clients) to the Open Emotional Solar Plexus Center.
With practice, you can let the emotions of others flow past you like a breeze through a screen door. You’ll know they’re there. But they won’t impact you. They won’t bowl you over like they do now…as long as you’re not absorbing them like a sponge (which is the behavior pattern that most of us have with this Open Center, so you’re not doing anything wrong and you’re not alone!).
When you’re using the system’s mantra rather than trying to “control” the emotions you feel, you’re working WITH the system.
Then you can begin to distinguish that most of the emotions around you are not yours so you don’t have to “feel” them and “deal with” them. You can remain reasonably even-keeled emotionally. No more roller coaster ride on the emotions of others.
You’ll be working at the SYSTEM level, not the SYMPTOM level. That’s where real and lasting improvements are possible.
Your comments are welcome!