Imaginal Moments

Ron Macklin & Michelle Mosolgo

Imaginal Moments

Episode 14: Imaginal Moments

Michelle introduces the topic of “Imaginal Moments.” It’s the third step in the Macklin Method, after “Be Your Stand” and “Care and Assess the Help That Matters.” Michelle asks Ron: What does “Imaginal Moments” mean?

Ron discusses the concepts of Plus Self -- when you’re not open to help; Zero Self -- when you’re only open to “really good” help; and Minus Self, who is open to getting help and giving help as well.

He says there’s a moment when we dance between all three of those. An imaginal moment is when we have an internal dialogue and make the shift from being a Plus Self to a Minus Self and being curious.

When a caterpillar goes into a cocoon to begin its transformation into a butterfly, it uses its “imaginal” cells to change the caterpillar’s entire makeup into something new.

Michelle shares a story. Her husband, who is a retired chiropractor, is always an offer of help to people. When she was playing tennis, there was someone on the court who was having back issues. Her husband offered to help with an adjustment, but the tennis player kept saying no.

Michelle’s husband was confused about why the man kept refusing his offer of help, and Michelle realized the man was just not open to the offer of help. She noted that it can turn into a fight when someone isn’t ready to accept the help that is offered.

Ron says he has a long list of similar experiences, as well as him being on the other side of it -- rather than being a Minus Self, he would see people as trying to control his life. When you’re a Plus Self, you have a story in your head of not needing help.

Michelle says it has caused her to re-evaluate times in her past when, even though she has had the best intentions in the world, she may have annoyed people with her offer of help, as well as times when she has closed down offers of help.

Michelle asks Ron to share any stories about times when he’s tossed someone a line as an offer of help and saw a shift in them, to open up and be curious.

Ron shares a story about a close friend. Ron kept tossing him lines -- but at first, his friend made up that they were rocks. He wanted Ron to leave him alone. And Ron learned that, until this person was ready to open up, he needed to “shut up,” be friendly, and come back later. It went on for 9 years.

Eventually, the moment came when this person shifted from a Plus Self to a Minus Self, and they were able to become friends. But Ron says there are other people he’s known who made the shift in just a few seconds.

Ron asks Michelle what stories she has. Michelle talks about “Peacefully Waiting,” which is part of the Macklin Method.

She shares a story about her friend, a physical educator, who was used to working with people physically present in front of her. As Michelle had experience managing people in different time zones and working remotely, she offered to help her friend make a move to teaching virtual classes. But her friend felt adamant that she needed her students to be in front of her. Michelle realized she couldn’t change that story -- only her friend could.

Over time, while Michelle worked with her, the pandemic hit and her friend had no choice. Then, her friend became curious about new methods and working online. She eventually started asking Michelle questions and started hosting remote classes. And she thanked Michelle for being patient with her until she was ready.

Michelle asks Ron: Was there ever a big Imaginal Moment for you?

Ron says that the biggest moment that hit him was the realization that you can never make a Plus Self do anything. He was talking with someone who felt that they knew what they were doing, and Ron said something, and that person asked him to share more about what he had just said.

In Ron’s head, his Self Talk said “I’ve already told you about this before. Why are you asking me about this again now?” But the other person said they wanted to talk about that topic again on the next call.

Ron said he realized that there are points where someone can suddenly decide to be open to something, even if they weren’t open to it before. This made him question whether the same thing was true of him and whether he could create that in his own head.

Ron says he isn’t always perfect about being a Minus Self 100% of the time. He doesn’t try for perfection, but he keeps trying. If he can be open even 30% or 40% of the time, he’s opening new possibilities for himself.

Michelle recaps Ron’s story. Even though he tossed the same line to the same person time and time again, it eventually resonated with that person -- and it depends on a lot of different factors and that person finally being open. Sometimes you just need the time, patience, and peace while you wait for them to open up.

Ron says he looks forward to the greatest, most rewarding imaginal moments that are still yet to happen in the future.

Join us to hear how understanding the idea of “self talk” — and what you can do about it — could change your relationships and life for the better.

Episode Summary

Imaginal Moments

What is an Imaginal Moment? Ron and Michelle discuss being an offer of help, opening up, and waiting peacefully in this episode of “The Story in Your Head.”