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Envisioning a More Perfect World with IFS Therapy

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I want to live in Selfville.

In Internal Family Systems (IFS) trainings, we joke that we are in “Selfville”—a deep community embedded in the healing energy of Self. In IFS, Self is our divine core that is calm, compassionate, courageous and connected. Self exists in everyone just below the surface of our parts—like the parts that are afraid or those that engage in extreme behaviors to protect our vulnerability. 

Self energy magnifies in a group, so our trainings are a powerful sea of Self (or Soul) energy. As IFS founder Dick Schwartz writes, “We are sparks of the eternal flame, drops of the divine ocean.”

Last month, I finished staffing an IFS training with Einat Avni Bronstein of the Israeli Institute for IFS. In our final staff meeting, I felt like I was in heaven. It’s hard to describe the rich connection and vast energy that was present there. Being bathed in Self can feel like transcendence, but it’s embodied—like heaven on earth. 

With all the pain in Israel and lack of safety for Jews around the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about Moshiach. Maybe it’s because my dad is a Chabad rabbi, but I’ve always had this yearning for a better place and time. I’m so grateful to IFS for giving me a taste of what the Messianic age might look like. 

Here’s my vision of a better world. Let’s call it Selfville. 

There will be an infusion of Self energy in the world that helps us heal. We will welcome back our exiled parts with love, an “ingathering of the exiles” for our wounded inner children. Once they are healed, the parts that protect us won’t have to work so hard to keep the pain away. They will be able to put down their guard and relax. 

We’ll soften, feeling more connected to ourselves and to others. This will allow us to achieve true intimacy. We will be able to speak for our parts, calmly and confidently, instead of reacting from them. We will have access to both tender and fierce self-compassion, as Dr. Kristen Neff describes

Immersed in the sea of Self, we will feel healthy with overflowing energy to walk our authentic paths. Everyone will know what to do because it feels right. We won’t have to choose between authenticity and attachment, between “I” or “We.” We will have a strong sense of Self and healthy, nourishing communities that foster authentic connection. 

We will feel a deep sense of safety and peace in the world and in our bodies. “Nation shall not lift a sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). We won’t have to comfort terrified inner children because they will be off playing as children should. 

We will be able to choose what we do, not out of fear, but out of love. The powerful, loving, divine force will unite us all. Secular Jews, Charedim and people of all faiths will be able to sit together, learning and laughing with one another.

We will live in a state of flow—with ourselves, each other, animals and the planet. We will feel incredibly present, one with the vibrancy of creation. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie with the kid, and a calf with a lion’s cub and a fatling together, and a small child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6). 

So that’s my vision of the Messianic Age. What is yours? 

To learn more about IFS, check out this article on Get Help Israel

About the Author
Manya Ronay is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®), Internal Family Systems (IFS) practitioner and health journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She holds a BA in Journalism and Media Studies from Rutgers University and an MS in Health Education and Behavior from University of Florida. To learn more about Manya and to connect, visit www.meetmanya.com.
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