Anger Management… check!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Common Issues

A client “got it” after just our fourth weekly session, reporting the good news in our fifth. That’s one month of his life of learning a new way to live, practicing it, returning to discuss, practicing more, returning to discuss more, etc. Wash Rinse Repeat. And he was forever changed now – he had simply come too far to go back. He had turned the corner so much that I felt like crying tears of joy. It was awesome.

He had come in just over a month earlier because of fairly severe issues with anger – severe enough that his wife was prepared to leave the marriage. He had to fix it or she was done. And it seemed like there wasn’t a huge amount of time.

I began like I usually do, teaching him about how feelings, including anger, work in the body. The mechanism is always the same; his flavor just happened to be anger. No big deal. I talked about the importance of stopping as soon as you notice even a hint anger in your body. And close your eyes, stop thinking, breathe, and feel. Take note of what you’re carrying at that moment and then let it go. It might stay for a while, but the doors are open whenever it is ready to leave. And in checking the anger out directly like this, without a story, you might notice that it’s really just physical sensations or energy in the body. Not a problem. We don’t even need to call it anger at that point. And we certainly don’t need to listen to the voice in the head that tells a very believable story about why it’s there, whose fault it is, etc.

I also talked about the other major component of human life besides feelings: thoughts. The voice in the head is not to be believed. Just stop and let go of it when you notice it. If you need to be thinking about something, then feel free to engage in some conscious, active thought. But that chatterbox voice in the head that has useless conversations with itself all the time isn’t real thinking.

Note: the voice in the head really isn’t as bad as it seems – as long as you don’t believe it. Just stop when you notice it. Over time, and it might take some time, it’ll lose its power. Mine still talks to itself all the time, but it’s literally nothing like it was before I started stopping (yes, you read that right). Stopping means you let go of it when you notice it. You don’t feed it. You just stop, take a breath, and listen to the sounds around you. You continue with what you were doing. And the voice in the head just lost a little bit of its power. Do this for a while and you might notice that it’s not an issue in your life anymore. It just doesn’t carry much weight anymore.

Finally, I told my client to start reading a book called The Sedona Method as soon as he could – this was the game changer. This is how you really release what you’re carrying. I told him he was ready to start practicing a new way of living when he walked out that door and into the rest of his life. He could expect to still express anger, but catch it when you notice it and practice what we’ve talked about. You’ll catch it earlier and earlier until you catch it before you act on that anger. Inner peace, here we come…

One week later was session two. He was enjoying The Sedona Method. He was having success already with traffic. Many people experience anger while driving, so this is a great practice area. He was reacting less and less to other drivers. He had small successes at home, but that was it.

By the third weekly session, he and his wife were still arguing about small stuff, but the duration had been cut in half. That’s huge! He was really enjoying The Sedona Method and finally felt like there was hope for his situation. He had also caught himself in the middle of an argument and noticed that his forehead was all scrunched up. What a great sign! Relax your forehead and then try to express anger. I’m not sure that it’s possible.

By the fourth weekly session, his wife had said that the “scary” fights were pretty much done. I was quite happy to hear this. He still had to work on the smaller stuff, though, like his tone with his wife. I suggested that he catch himself as soon as he said something with a nasty tone and stop immediately, laugh at himself, and then tell his wife something like, “That tone was terrible! Let me try that again…” Then continue like nothing had happened. This brings us to the fifth session. He reported that something had shifted. He was so vigilant looking out for that nasty tone that it took several days for it to slip out (which was huge progress in and of itself, by the way). Finally one day, his wife called to him asking him to do something. He was busy, so he snapped back at her, “What?” in a terrible tone. This was not the tone you’d want to use to address the love of your life. That word, in that tone, basically said, “Shut the hell up and leave me alone – I’m busy doing something more important!” He instantly caught it, though, and he was happy, because this is what he had been waiting for! He stopped what he was doing, walked in the other room to where she was, laughed at himself, and said something like, “I’m sorry – that tone was awful. What was it you wanted?” Yes! Do you know how his wife reacted? She was in disbelief, and she immediately hugged him out of joy.

He had experienced success right away with larger bursts of anger, and now he finally had tasted success with the more subtle stuff. He was very happy about this, as he should be. He wants to stay on top of this, so he’s still coming for the time being, but he’s definitely come too far to be that same angry person again. He learned what was going on and then he started paying attention and busting himself. He practiced and has gotten better and better. This has possibly saved his marriage. He’s starting school while working, and he now knows how to handle stress. And this all happened in about a month. He was ready, though, and we’re all on our own time frame. But this shows that it doesn’t have to take forever to start developing A Clean Mind and to start seeing major results. It’s pretty incredible, and it’s such an honor for me to be a part of it all.

NOTE: All of these client stories are told with no identifying information and of course with permission from the clients. My only interest in sharing these stories is to help more and more people find peace, and these clients are interested in the same thing. There is no pressure on the clients to allow their story to be told. Finally, note that these stories are always told at a certain point in time.

When they are told, it is unknown how the future will unfold. Feelings are powerful, thoughts are powerful, and the past is powerful. New and old issues might emerge after progress is made. If that happens, though, we know how to deal with it. In these cases, I’ll write up the rest of the story if and when appropriate. As said before, it’s all about helping more and more people find peace.

I Guess She Really Is Getting It…

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

I recently wrote about a client who made great strides in learning how to handle stress after just one session (She’s Getting It!). Life wasn’t suddenly a bed roses – that’s generally not how it works – but she was able to stop a potential panic attack in its tracks while at her stressful job by practicing A Clean Mind. As I wrote in that post, I was pretty happy about this. Actually, I was freaking elated. After all, this is exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing – because peace can be learned. She had clearly started to learn it.

Fast forward about a month, and she called and left a voicemail to say that she would like to cancel her next session. This would’ve been her third. What was the reason? She said that she felt she was doing pretty well and didn’t think she needed to come in at this time. She said that she very much appreciated our work and would definitely come back if necessary, but it might not be for a while.

What great news! I loved what I heard. Working myself out of a job is what I’m all about. I called her back as soon as I heard her message and left her one saying how happy I was to hear this, well done, keep practicing A Clean Mind, and I’m here if and when she needs me. I think I also said something like if at anytime she wants to come back, it’s no big deal – we just do the same thing as before. She comes in and we review what went down in the time since the last session. What did she do well? What could use improvement? And this is always done without even a shred of judgment, criticism, or harshness. There is no concept of failure. It’s school – that’s all. The grades are given by how peaceful you are with the world. Does it take more and more to stress you out or make you upset? If so, you’re passing with flying colors. A+. Everyone is on their own time frame, too.

I really love my job, and I’m so proud of my clients. They’re kicking some serious ass…

NOTE: All of these client stories are told with no identifying information and of course with permission from the clients. My only interest in sharing these stories is to help more and more people find peace, and these clients are interested in the same thing. There is no pressure on the clients to allow their story to be told. Finally, note that these stories are always told at a certain point in time.

When they are told, it is unknown how the future will unfold. Feelings are powerful, thoughts are powerful, and the past is powerful. New and old issues might emerge after progress is made. If that happens, though, we know how to deal with it. In these cases, I’ll write up the rest of the story if and when appropriate. As said before, it’s all about helping more and more people find peace.

She’s Getting It!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

A client called this morning to reschedule our next session. We had met only once, so this would be only our second session. Two weeks ago, she came to my office at the recommendation of a common friend and began to learn a new way of living. At the end of that session, I explained that she had just learned some very powerful things that could be applied as soon as she walked out the door. She would leave my office, go back out into the world for a period of time, practice what she had learned, and then return to discuss. What did you do well? What could use improvement? It’s all purely about learning – there is absolutely no self-criticism. If you got into a fight or an argument, that’s fine – we just roll back the film, replay it in super slow-motion, and break down exactly when things started heading south and why. Then you go back out into the world and practice some more. Wash, rinse, repeat. Life will invariably bring you exactly what you need to practice on. And you get better and better with practice. It’s so cool for me to see. People do this stuff that they learn and it works.

After the first session, this client wanted to come back one week later to really keep on it. That’s not a bad idea when learning something new. A conflict came up that week, so we moved it back another week. This brings us to when she called this morning. So it has been two weeks. I said that we could set up something soon or wait another week to keep that same day and time – of course it’s up to her. She replied that overall she was doing fine and waiting another week would be no problem. Then she casually said that she had started to have a meltdown at work recently, but she used what she had learned and avoided it. She’s had panic attacks at work before, by the way.

She sounded very non-chalant as she said this, but on the other end of the phone, I was jumping for joy. I was high-fiveing the air (if that’s how you spell high-fiveing). I said, “Wait – you almost had a meltdown at work and you avoided it? You mean to tell me that you simply learned some things from some dude, applied them in your life, and the result was avoiding a potential freaking panic attack? Do you realize how huge that is? You did it! Do that same thing for the rest of your life and it’ll be so much more peaceful than it otherwise would’ve been – no comparison!” I get kind of excited about these kinds of things…

After my initial happy freak-out, I asked her exactly what had happened. She said that she had been at work at a stressful restaurant job and suddenly felt a very strong wave of dread about being there. This was the moment of truth. In the past, this dread had lots of power to take her down. Now she was armed with some pretty powerful knowledge, though. Instead of letting her mind race out of control with thoughts of how terrible the situation was and how bad it would be if she were to have a panic attack, she stopped. She breathed. She felt that dread without labeling it, and she let it go. She reminded herself that it was just another day at work, and there wasn’t anything that bad about it – not bad enough to justify freaking out, anyway. Maybe it wasn’t her ideal way to spend the day, but a panic attack out of nowhere? No way. Not anymore.

At this point, the dread was stopped in its tracks and revealed to be not that bad. When we don’t stop to investigate something like this, it can grow in power and even spiral out of control. The voice in the head tells a story that supports it. The feeling is assumed to be crippling. It’s not, though. It’s just not. Go see for yourself, although for some people it helps to first do this in a safe place like the super comfortable chair in my office. When a person gets the hang of doing things this way, s/he is no longer afraid of unwanted feelings. They have been exposed.

This client used new knowledge with great success. The result is that she now has her first real-life experience to go with that knowledge and to support it. That day marked the first day of the rest of her life. Before that day, she had little power. Now she knows that she is very powerful. It’ll take more to rattle her, and as she keeps living and practicing, it’ll take more and more. This is the path of inner peace. As I’ve said before, it’s pretty cool…

NOTE: All of these client stories are told with no identifying information and of course with permission from the clients. My only interest in sharing these stories is to help more and more people find peace, and these clients are interested in the same thing. There is no pressure on the clients to allow their story to be told. Finally, note that these stories are always told at a certain point in time.

When they are told, it is unknown how the future will unfold. Feelings are powerful, thoughts are powerful, and the past is powerful. New and old issues might emerge after progress is made. If that happens, though, we know how to deal with it. In these cases, I’ll write up the rest of the story if and when appropriate. As said before, it’s all about helping more and more people find peace.

The Past

Posted Posted in Essential Topics

Is the past real? I was driving home from Gainesville, FL, to Pensacola once when I realized that the past isn’t really real. I was listening to a lot of Eckhart Tolle at the time, so I guess that had something to do with it (see Resources)… I laughed a deep, hearty laugh and it was awesome. Most people would try to lock me up for saying such a thing like the past isn’t real, but when you really check it out, I’m pretty sure it’s true. Remember that I’m a very logical guy, a former math teacher, who puts his beliefs aside and then researches things. So let’s take a look…

My claim is that the past lives now in our memory, which is thoughts/beliefs. Those memories have feelings associated with them, so there’s a feeling component as well. These feelings live now, though, mainly when we are reminded of the event. There might be a physical component as well, like a scar from when you got stitches on your knee, but if so it only lives now. So we have memories of the past along with any accompanying feelings and physical marks, all of which can only live now. So is the past real? Hells no – it all lives now and only now. Nobody has gone to the past. Nobody can touch the past. It’s nothing more than a concept that we’ve made up. When you see that it lives now, you can do something about it. You deal with thoughts and feelings just like I’ve talked about all over this blog. Are the thoughts 100% true? Remember that 99.999% doesn’t cut it. If they aren’t true, pitch them. And feel the feelings without a story, without words, without thinking (see How Feelings Work). Just feel them. Regarding the physical, if there’s something you have to deal with or take care of then deal with it or take care of it. That’s all. The scar on my knee just sits there, so there’s nothing to be done. When I cut my knee as a kid, though, I had to get stitches at the time. I dealt with it. Actually, the nearest adult dealt with it – thanks!

Since memories are the main place where the past lives, let’s take a closer look at how trustworthy they are. This is huge. When I think about something from the past, I basically tell a story about what happened. Well, this story sure doesn’t seem to be etched in stone. For one thing, it changes depending on how I feel when I’m telling the story. If I tell the story twice, then there are two versions of the story that aren’t exactly the same. Sometimes the versions are closer than other times, but we need exact for the past to be considered real! (We have high standards here at The Blog for what gets to be called real). Versions also change with time. Some stories are even forgotten. This sounds like the shifting sands as opposed to the rock. Stories change. Where do they come from? Memories. I sure wouldn’t want to put much stock on memories after examining them as we have just now…

Another way to look at it is if you and I experienced something together in the past. When we tell the story, we might see that we have different versions of it. This can be pretty hilarious, really. It speaks to the filter of our mind as well (see The Filter). Sometimes the versions are incredibly different, especially when lots of time has passed. You might hear my version of what happened and think, “Was he even there?? That’s not how it happened!”

So the past is like the shifting sands and not the rock. It’s definitely not something to rely on. Another way of saying this is the the past really is not real. It’s quite liberating when you get used to it. You focus on how it affect you now. That’s the only way you can do anything about it and finally have more peace.,