Below is the practice exploration suggested by Jessica Dibb & Russ Hudson for the Self preservation instinct. Its good to be connected and in tune with all 3 instincts and how they show up in ones life. I will include practices for social and sexual subtype in another post.
In essence, we want to feel the instincts as energies in the body even as we are engaging in the behaviors that these energies invoke for us. If you have a morning practice that helps you to cultivate presence and centering, its a good idea to use this to maintain a layer of awakeness that you can use to notice the movements of our instinctual energies during the day. Below are three practices for self-preservation.
First practice: continue the practice of “presencing” the three centers with the focus on sensation, but take some extra time to focus on the sensing the self preservation instinct. As you sit, find a posture that
works, and to get in deeper contact with breath and sensation. To review: as you feel at least somewhat established in this, see if you can notice the sensations of self preservation. What is your body telling you about needs, well being, comfort, etc? Can you feel the temperature of the room? Are you aware of digestion or other physical processes? Can you feel how your relaxation affects your breath and heart rate? The body is giving so many messages about how we are doing and what we are needing moment by moment. See if you can establish a deeper sense of connection with this intelligence as you go.
Second practice: Use the awareness cultivated from your sitting to see if you can notice more about your relationship with the three zones of self preservation (Well being, practical wisdom and home) . You may be surprised that some of your “real time responses and reactions” are not exactly the way you might think about yourself. Most of us have self images that do not exactly correspond to what is happening in our more immediate experience. Notice through the day as various needs arise
around self care, around practical considerations, and around your sense of home, of having a base to operate from. Does your attention flow more easily to some of these areas than others? Where do you tend to get preoccupied? What do you tend to overlook or leave to others to handle? What emotions and narratives arise as you are faced with attending to these areas of life? It can be very helpful to take some notes about this through the day and review them at the end of the day.
You can support yourself in this endeavor by picking some specific times of day to take on the exercise and build Tiny habit anchors around these times – see what scripts are running in your mind and emotions.
Third practice: As you gather impressions of your relationships with the three zones, select one of them that you would like to work on. Generally speaking, that will be the zone you feel less confident in, or one that you tend to overlook or neglect. Pick one or two behaviors that you will
actually do, and like doing, and experiment with adding these new behaviors. It will take presence to remember to do this, and to actually engage the new practice. Pick something “humble” and small so the chances of success are greater. If you take on something too big, too difficult, any failures to follow through will generally lead to superegoinner critic attacks that will convince you that you cannot change. So something you will do, something you CAN do, something you WANT to do. For example, you might commit to taking walks or doing some stretches for the wellbeing zone. You might take on learning about what foods
work for you better. You might commit to getting a bit more sleep, etc. You could look at various procrastinated tasks for the resource zone—looking at money, getting your affairs more organized etc. You might attend to some element of your home, or devise a practice to feel more grounded at home in other places that you are working or living. And you can enlist some help or company for any of these new behaviors. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask for support.
Special thanks to Russ Hudson for these practice ideas.