Wholeness of Selfhood

Nicola Mary Christensen-Johnson

An Archaeology of the Personality

Book One – An Archaeology of the Personality – is the first volume of the collection – Wholeness of Selfhood. The Odyssey of Becoming Fully Human – and it is twinned with the second volume – Pathways to Selfhood.

The Higher Purpose of Storytelling

Storytelling is crucial to our sense-making and it provides a context for a deeper understanding of singular phenomena and their interconnectedness. It fashions a framework for exploring relationality and the interwovenness of life. Book One is a compilation of curated accounts from my childhood, and I offer my own stories as an entry point for unravelling the extraordinary adventure of becoming fully human.

Through my storytelling I track down the genesis of emerging aspects of the human experience, as I remember them (the content), and in which circumstances (the context). I liken this inner work to an archaeological excavation retrieving memories from my childhood. I dive beneath the surface layers and into the depths of the human experience, fully conscious that my archaeological survey enables me to welcome and to embrace the denied and suppressed aspects of myself. It is through this integrative process that I become fully human and enter the realm of unitive consciousness where I dwell in my sovereign selfhood.

The Restoration of the Flow of Love

Throughout my archaeological excavations, untangling the intricacies and ordeals, I have chosen to stay clear of the path of retaliation. It feels crucial not to seek revenge, nor retribution, in particular when I come across distressing memories and the festering wounds still alive in me. I am very clear that I want to remain open to a deeper understanding of all the events and circumstances cuddled between my deepest yearning for unconditional love and the multiple experiences of unrequited love.

My sovereign choice is to stay on the path of restoration as an intrinsic part of the odyssey. Violence only begets violence, and storming the path of retaliation inevitably leads us down the spiral of violence to further systemic collapses impacting our individual and collective structures, both being interconnected within the web of life, something which is slowly penetrating our awareness as we face largescale crises on a planetary level.

The archaeological work on the personality invites us to dive into the very personal and sometimes excruciatingly painful stories stored in our memories. Slowly and tenderly, we then excavate and unpack our imprinted structures and behavioural patterns, our assumptions and belief systems. We gently unearth all the places where we are withholding from life, shielding ourselves from the full blast of life, wielding weapons to protect our dignity and our truth, or devising astute compensatory strategies to avoid direct confrontation with what we fear the most.

My inner work revealed that, during my childhood, I blocked myself off from the emotional responses to my mother’s life and circumstances. And there is great wisdom in this resolution, a sovereign choice. The tender archaeological endeavours carried out from the welfare of my maturity slowly opened me to her inner worlds. I am now able to feel her from a new perspective, no longer fear-based, with a different understanding. In so doing I restore the faith, the hope and the love which are woven into my ancestry, and all humanity. I then allow myself to feel and grieve what my ancestors, starting with my mother, were not able to feel and grieve, and that has been passed on to me to celebrate and honour.

A Wealth of Discoveries

The eight chapters of Book One are structured in the same way beginning with some contextual information. Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of the human experience and the story then describes my encounters with the phenomenon. A chapter can comprise two or three events for the more concise archaeological surveys, or up to five or six incidents for the more intricate investigations.

The chronicles are written from the perspective of my age at the time, in a first-person stance and present tense. I trust that the wording reflects as faithfully as possible my feelings and thoughts at the time. In other words, I have taken care not to drown my childhood voices with adult interpretations.

Having presented the events and circumstances, I then offer a comment from my current adult perspective in a section called Archaeological Findings. This is where I share what I have learned not only about the process of an archaeology of the personality, but also some of the treasures discovered under the condensed and packed strata.

The third section of the chapter – On the Pathways to Selfhood – acts as a bridge towards Book Two with references to selected chapters or sections.

Each chapter concludes with a practice providing the reader with an opportunity to approach the human phenomenon under scrutiny. The eight practices are grounded in traditional meditative and contemplative practices. They focus on working with the breath, which is conducive to deep inner listening, and draw on visualisations to enhance the inner journeying.

Table of Contents


Chapter One – Emanating Love

Chapter Two – Burning with Shame

Chapter Three – Disappearing into Mutism

Chapter Four – Battling with Terror

Chapter Five – Wrestling with Contempt

Chapter Six – Consenting to Grief

Chapter Seven – Colliding with Betrayal

Chapter Eight – Overcoming Mistrust