Duality: life itself.

Débora Barrientos
5 min readDec 28, 2020


What I’m about to share came during last month’s SPT practitioners call hosted by Laura Pastorini and Manish Srivastava. It was about the mourning and celebration of 2020. To do the practice, we had break out rooms of 3, and I was in the group with my good friend Uri Noy Meir. I don’t think it was a coincidence, we had held and shared many spaces together in 2020 and all of them were part of my celebration.

As we were practising (I have to do it in the garden due to my connection) I didn’t have my notebook, so as a journal I made a spiral with some branches, I don’t know why. All of us felt that we were mourning the same as we were celebrating. The dual concept is like yin and yang.

Afterward, I started to think more about “spiral” and its meaning. Cycles of rebirth. The spiral represents the evolution and growth of the spirit. It is a symbol of change and development. In order to do that, you need to mourn and celebrate, both processes are a must. The meaning was with me the whole week. Letting go, surrender, release. All of this is the process of the spiral.

Friday came and with that, our last session of Unfolding the invisible. The space that we hold every Friday with Marina and Uri. We went through the last question of the dragon dreaming song line. What do you want to leave behind? We explored a dual meaning of it. What do you want to leave behind as a “legacy” and also behind as a ‘letting go’? Again, mourning and celebrating in the same question. Duality again. The Cycle of connection. Starting and finishing. The symbol of the spiral again.

Whilst we were sharing after the first practice, the identity concept came up. We explore it with our bodies and senses.

As usual, the sessions resonated with me for some days. I was sensing about our own cycles of rebirth and how they are connected to our identities.

I have been practicing Vipassana for a long time now, with a pause as part of my own spiral process. Goenka, the founder of the Vipassana movement, said, identity seems to be real as apparent truth, but identity is not real at all. It is a flow of connected facts that shows a kind of fluency, but in fact, it is not a deep fixed truth about ourselves. It just seems to be real. I guess we can expect some kind of fluency that is given by the story that we tell to us. Not as a justification, as a sense-making process. But still, we can not expect to be all fluent. Anyway, it is a process that arrives frequently after the events. There is a big difference between those two ways. Justification or telling a story to fit in or making sense afterward.

As my own sensemaking process, I was being curious about my own spiral of life. I had some pauses and I needed to stop the ascending and descending movements for a while. Which was Ok, or still worthy I could see it after. First, I felt it that was a process of narrowing my vision and stuck me in certain dynamics with me and others but then I realized that I needed to; I know now. The sense-making process comes after.

Words can have a dual meaning. Again. Duality. Words can be a cage and also a relief. Words can be the ones for justifying or the ones for making sense. Both ways have a significant impact on our lives. Are we using them to define us to get some certainty or to make sense of us?

The spiral movement is an expansion from the center typically connected to the roots, the source, or the beginning of it. And sometimes there are bumps in the road. The duality of the spiral, going up and down is also part of it, so our identity is like this too.

Later, in the same week I was part of a new narrative sense-making project, we started with a scoping session that I observed. It involves a new spatial embodied research method developed by Stephen Sillett. The first person that participated in the method was great and revealed a lot. During the session, he told us about his story, his own spiral, and the bumps on his road. Finally, he said I Have done many things in my life, I have been through a lot and here I am. He showed his process and that we are not fixed identities.

It is notorious that our identity is an organic process that makes sense after a while but even at that time when the awareness comes along, it is not fixed. So, we should not get stuck in a definition. Seeing our “identity” as a living process within the spiral of life, where you are surprised by some different events and transformed by them. We will have the chance to experience many things and for that, we will have to become quite different throughout our own lives.

It is more accurate and healthier not to identify ourselves with a cognitive idea of ourselves, others, or the events around us. Not for us but also not for others. Instead, there are more resources to find more knowledge. What we do, Social Presencing Theater, invites us to follow the intelligence of the heart and the body, and in consequence, not as expectation, will lead us to a better sense-making process. Also, this starts accepting the dual-energy of ourselves, our life, choices that we make, others, and the events of our life.

Now I made sense of what Uri said to me at one moment during the year. He said, for something totally different, “get out of your way”, and it meant a lot greatly resonated then, but I didn’t know why, until now. Thank you, Uri. I guess it is what we need, to get out of our ways to keep on moving through our own spiral. Not getting out of our ways, also in any daily practice, reinforces the fixed idea of ourselves. Getting out of our ways, allows us to sense it differently, and in consequence results and the awareness.

One of the best methods I found to develop emotional intelligence and awareness is Practising Social Presencing Theater. The embodiment of the theory.

Thanks for reading!

#spt #embodiment #bodyknowledge #practice #wisdom #emotionalintelligence



Débora Barrientos

Social and organizational transformation. OD teacher. Social Presencing Theater facilitator. Vipassana practitioner. Researcher. EI. Narrative transformation.