Personality Pattern Overview

Posted Posted in Personality Patterns

I’ve written before about The Control Freak and The Perfectionist, and The Thinker is next. Gee, I wonder why a Virgo with two math degrees and tight hamstrings would pick those to start? Anyway, it occurred to me as I started writing about The Thinker that it might be a better idea to first write about personality patterns in general before continuing. This is because the overall answer to each is pretty much the same – stop and bust yourself while you’re being these patterns and just let them go in that moment. And without any negative mental chatter at all. None. In other words, ditch the whole self-critizing thing (that’s just an old habit as well). Over time, these patterns get weakened. Stop, let it go, and continue living – even if you carry through with the patterned behavior or thinking! Now you’re awake as opposed to asleep, and that makes a huge difference over time.

Okay, let’s go ahead and get real… I’m pretty sure that the truth of the matter is that who you are is not a temporary body. The evidence definitely doesn’t support that. And I hate to keep being vague here on this blog about the deeper stuff, but I really do have to wait until I start my next blog, A Deep Mind, to really get into the question, “Who am I?” And trust me – we will thoroughly examine what I call “the evidence.” That won’t be until the end of the year or beginning of next year, though, due to work and licensure reasons. And that’s fine. Until then, though, we’ll operate under the assumption that who you are at the end of the day, after your body is dust, is a spiritual being. That’s what all of the spiritual teachers and wise ones have said, anyway. And there’s an absolute ton of things happening to this day that I consider to be very strong evidence in support of this idea.

So we’re a spiritual being and not a temporary body or ego (interchangeable terms to me). This means that the patterns and habits you don’t like are just patterns of the body that you find yourself in. It’s not who you are. Rather, it’s who you are not. And what a difference that makes! Rejoice! Now you can own your BS and it’s literally not personal because you’re literally not really a person. And yes, I know that you seem to be one now. I see Ashley when I look in the mirror. Slowly but surely, though, the belief that that’s who I really, really am is weakening (and yes, it does take some time, but you’re going to live anyway, so why not?). So if I’m noticing that I’m engaging in or about to engage in a pattern that I don’t like, I can stop and wake up. In an instant, I tell myself that I’m about to act in a certain way or that I’m thinking in a certain way (i.e., the pattern in question). Then I have a choice about whether or not to continue. And as we said above, even if I continue, I’m awake now and not asleep. I’m present. I’m aware. I’m doing it consciously. I have a choice. If I’m asleep, there’s no choice and I continue to live as some robot that always acts the same way. You are definitely not a robot.

I realize that these patterns are very old and ingrained. There’s no time like the present, though. The first step is to just notice them. Just pay attention and be honest with what you find. This is where the belief that you’re not really a temporary body comes in handy. It lightens everything up so we can accept our flaws. Remember that “perfect” is just a concept, unless you define it to mean “exactly as things are now.” Most people don’t define it that way, though, so they’re constantly measuring themselves up to something that doesn’t even exist. Not a good plan if you want to be happy… At least this type of pain is self-inflicted, though, so we can change our thinking over time and let some real peace in.

As we notice our patterns more and more, and we remind ourselves on the spot that we are not a bundle of patterns contained in a body, the patterns start to weaken. We can accept them and say “this is how things are now.” And then we can start to make different choices when we bust ourselves. I might catch myself after I’ve been too critical and immediately say to the other person, “You know, I really wish I had said that differently. What I really meant is (blank). I could’ve done a better job with that.” And you don’t beat yourself up at all. And that person is blown away! And as you keep practicing, eventually you’ll catch yourself right before you’re about to be too critical (I’m just using The Critic as an example, another one with which I’m quite familiar). And now you have a choice. Nothing has happened yet. You haven’t ruined the vibe yet and crushed the person you’re talking too. And you choose to say something else, or nothing at all. And the vibe never gets ruined, and the person never gets crushed. If you really need to get a point across, you put yourself in their shoes and say it a different way. And after the exchange, you reflect on the situation. And you start jumping for freaking joy! Great job, hypothetical person! You learned something, started paying attention, started busting yourself without negativity, and then you were finally able to put it into action and see real results. That’s what it’s all about. The pattern just got weakened, and you’re definitely headed in the right direction. Man, I love this stuff…

So happy practicing, and relish when you bust yourself. Be happy! Why? Because you can’t let it go if you don’t know you’re holding it, so bring it on. And as always, let me know if I can help. And let me know if you have some results. Also, if you want to explore this whole “I’m not really a body/meat suit” thing, then I’d really love to help. That’s a favorite conversation of mine. There’s no shying away from the evidence in my office; just here on this blog. Once I’m licensed and on my own, we’ll take the gloves off and really get into it. The things we talk about here at A Clean Mind, though, are enough to be totally life changing, though, so don’t be deceived by their simplicity. Again, happy practicing. I have to go unconsciously criticize someone now…

Tool: Connected Breathing

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

I’d like to introduce you to your new best friend, connected breathing. This is how you chill out on the over-thinking and get out of your head, at least for a moment. You reset. You get centered. You get clear.

It’s very simple. All you do is connect the inhale with the next exhale. And then connect that exhale with the next inhale. Wash, rinse, repeat. You don’t have to breathe any differently other than that. A client thought I meant hyperventilating. I’m glad he mentioned that before he passed out while driving… Breathe as deeply or as shallowly as you want. Do what feels right. I usually breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, but do what you want. The point is that you connect the inhales and exhales so that there’s no gap in between.

So what’s the big deal with connected breathing, you might ask? Very simple – if you’re always focused on the next inhale or exhale, there’s no room for your chatterbox mind to creep in! To test this out, do some connected breathing for even just fifteen seconds right now and see if it was easier than normal to clear your mind of the chatter. And as always, when you notice some chatter, just let it go and return to the breath. No big deal.

This is just a slight modification to normal breathing that makes it easier to get out of your head. One of my friends has said that this has really been working for him. When he notices himself living in his head, he stops immediately and does about three connected breaths. Then he resumes what he was doing, much more present than before. This decreases all the stress and anxiety that living in our head tends to cause and exacerbate. The result is that you feel lighter and more clear. And everything else in your life is exactly the same. All the same stressors and challenges are there. You’re just more clear as you handle them.

If you’re feeling really stressed out, worried, anxious, or fearful, do this for about a minute and see if you feel any better. You still have to deal with the situation, but this allows that tension to start to clear out of your system. You should at least feel a little better, and that’s your job – to get that junk moving. You might even feel totally different. And that took only one minute. Most people don’t actually do this type of thing, though. And it only takes a minute… Of course if something reminded you of a past trauma or something big, do this for longer. One minute can work wonders, though.

If you like living in your head, then definitely don’t do this. That’s a painful existence for most people, though. Those people tend to say it can be very tough to snap out of the story. They’re in constant thought and have been for decades. This is a simple tool that can help. I got it from an amazing book called The Presence Process by Michael Brown. It leads to a 10-week breathing program that’s designed to let all of our buried emotions, some of which literally came from when we were in the womb, come up gently and naturally. Once they come up, it’s just like we’ve always talked about on this blog – feel it. When you feel a feeling, it leaves. It’s job (to be felt) has been done. I’m only in the earlier parts of the book, so I haven’t done the program yet. If/when I do, I’ll certainly let you know and will keep you posted on what happens. I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve read so far, though. There really are so many great teachers and teachings out there these days, by the way. People really are starting to wake up. So cool…

Well, that’s all for now. Happy breathing and let me know if this helps!

Tool: “Pass The Test”

Posted Posted in Tools & Techniques

A great way to look at life’s challenges is as if they’re tests. Literally. Do you want to pass it? It’s okay either way, because if you don’t pass it, then you’ll just take it again later. It’s not personal, and it’s not good or bad. It’s just how life works, that’s all. It’s the law.

So what does it mean to “pass” the test? It just means that you handled it well. It’s not really about the outcome, either. It’s all about how you handled it. The funny thing is, though, that the better you handle it, the better the outcome tends to be. We still have to release wanting a certain outcome, though; that just sets us up for failure. And we really don’t know what’s best for us, anyway. The extreme version of this is the control freak.

One of the most powerful examples I can think of comes from a woman I met at The Monroe Institute (aka “Consciousness Camp”) back in 2006. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this in a previous post, but it’s worth repeating because it’s so powerful. Basically, her elderly mother was beaten up pretty badly and robbed. She could not figure out how anyone could actually beat up a “defenseless old lady.” It sounded like the guy got her pretty good, too. She and her sisters were absolutely filled with rage, as most normal people would be. This woman viewed life’s challenges as tests, though, and she definitely did not want to have to take this one again! This way of looking at it gave her the extra strength and motivation needed to try her best to forgive this person. Her sisters wished him pure hell, a fate worse than death. They could not get past their anger, and this is totally understandable. The woman who told the story, though, had been looking at things differently. She wanted to pass the test. This enabled her to find a way to forgive. And she felt all that anger and rage move on. While her sisters were still stuck in it, she was eventually able to move past it. So her life was more peaceful as a result.

Take a quick look and see if some of the same challenges come up over and over again in your own life. If so, this usually means you have to handle it differently. There’s a lesson you still need to learn in order to pass the test. At the very least, try something else out and see what happens. Be a scientist about it. What do you have to lose? And if you don’t know what to do differently, use your intuition. Or do some inner work, like forgive. My next blog, A Deep Mind, will go into much more detail about this inner work. That’s a good ways off, though. I have to finish my current job (around the end of the year) before I can really go off the deep end… I’ve written about doing inner work before outer work here, though.

So give it a try and let me know if any of those recurring challenges seem to move on; I’d love to hear about it. And the trick in the heat of the moment, as soon as you notice that something “bad” has happened, is to immediately tell yourself, “This is a test” or “Pass the test” or even just, “Test.” Whatever works for you. If you get in the habit of doing this, of telling yourself just a few words right away, then it keeps the mind from going back to its old ways and freaking out. You snap out of it and handle the situation much better. You pass the test.

There’s probably another one lined up, though, because that’s how life on earth works. We’ll talk much more about the “why” over at A Deep Mind in the future. For now, though, we’ll just train ourselves on exactly what to do when the tests come, and then we practice that and hone our skills. And life eventually becomes more peaceful. You’ll have to take all of these tests at some point anyway, so I say there’s no time like the present. Bring it on. And as you get better and better at passing tests, they’re not as big a deal. So now that you’ve done some good studying, I say good luck with the next test. And do let me know if any of the recurring old ones, the “broken records,” fade away with this new attitude. Happy practicing!

Client Melts Anxiety From Jerk Boss

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

A client of mine does not like where she currently works. It used to be a better fit for her, and then a new boss came in. And everything changed. Then little things would happen that made it even worse. Not a fun place. Not a fit. My take was that life was making it pretty clear that she had done her time there and that it was time to move on. She had gotten what she needed from there, and they had gotten what they needed from her. Whenever she would mention a new “little thing” that had happened, I would just remark that of course that happened! How can we be surprised? That’s to be expected. It’s not about that specific thing, like the new receptionist being not nice. It’s about the fact that her time there is done. The new receptionist is just a symptom for the real cause, which is that… her time there is done. It’s like a water fountain that was really flowing and then had been turned down to a trickle.

So she came into work one morning and as soon as she walked in the door, her boss said something like, “Come see me in my office after you get settled in.” I asked the obvious question with a smile on my face – “How did you feel after hearing that??” Of course we all know the answer – totally anxious!

Let’s stop the frame right here, because this is where it gets interesting. This is the moment of truth. This is where we have a choice between two totally different ways of living. And she nailed it. Her past self would’ve freaked out and been a basket case as she headed to his office. Her current self has been practicing, though, and she stopped the freakout in its tracks. Thank you! The whole world rejoices… First, she breathed and let go of the anxiety. She let it be there but without making a problem out of it. And it became substantially reduced, as it does when we simply let it. Feeling, check.

Then she moved on to thinking aspect of the situation. She calmly told herself that all she had to do was go talk to this guy. She’d see what he had to say and would respond accordingly. She didn’t have to try to predict the future with a story that would make her feel worse. So she went to his office. As she was listening to him say some things that weren’t totally totally true and that were even somewhat ridiculous, she was able to just smile and nod her head. She didn’t protest or argue, because it wouldn’t have made the situation any better. She was aware of her elevated heartbeat, but she knew there was nothing wrong with that. That’s what happens when you’re summoned to the principal’s office! It’s called adrenalin and cortisol pumping through your system. That’s normal. No big deal.

She made it out of the meeting just fine, and she was very proud of herself for how she handled it. The morning is the most anxious time of the day for her anyway, by far – that’s how her body is now. So to be ambushed by the boss as soon as you walk in the door is quite the test for her. A major test. And she passed! She passed big time. I was very proud of her. She did exactly what we talk about here. Learn another way. Practice it. Develop it. That’s all. It works just like anything else, be it a sport, a musical instrument, dancing, a foreign language, technology, or whatever. She did great. Now maybe her boss will come in…

This Stuff Works!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

An old friend messaged me recently on the Facebook page for A Clean Mind, and she said this: “Just had to tell you again how your blog helped me calmly get through a situation I had been dreading. The phrase ‘all I have to do is …..’ is very empowering. Keep up the posts!”

Yes! Thank you! You keep up the awesome work! Obviously I was pretty psyched. Why? Because another one of the seven billion psychos currently on earth (including me) is waking up. How common is it that we’re dreading something? Very common. Totally common. But we have to do it anyway. So the question is, how are we going to do it? This is a choice, though they don’t teach us this in middle school (I’m starting to – contact me if you’re a teacher or work with kids, by the way). My friend told herself one simple sentence and it totally changed her experience. “All I have to do is (blank).” That’s seven words. Seven words! And it totally changed her experience.

Dread is comprised of feeling and thinking, just like most everything else. When we get out of our head and breathe for just a few seconds, the feeling part starts to move. So that’s not a problem anymore. Then we tell ourselves the truth, which is that all I have to do is (blank). The story of dread is usually not the truth. It’s simply not reality. We’ve been believing that it is reality for so long, though, that it seems like it. But it’s not. We’re turning the lights on, folks, one bulb at a time. And what a difference it makes.

So this is a MAJOR salute to my friend and to all the others living today who are tired of making life harder than it needs to be. We still have to deal with those same situations. So just deal with it without the drama. The drama is generally your thinking. So stop! And breathe. And then calmly tell yourself that all you have to do is (blank).

This is also an invitation for you or your friends to go to the Tools & Techniques category of this blog and look through it. By the way, if your friends or family members are stress balls then feel free to send them there. That’s where my friend found the one that she used. Another old friend said that using third person has worked for her. She would catch herself all stressed out and would calmly say, “Roxanne is upset that she’s running late for a meeting.” (Her name is not Roxanne, by the way. Or maybe it is?). Bam! That’s one simple sentence that makes the whole situation less personal and pulls her out of being in the middle of it. Then she can just focus on driving to the meeting without beating herself up the whole way there. Maybe she puts on some nice music instead. Or texts (just kidding). And she’ll still go to the same meeting! She’ll probably have a much more peaceful experience, though.

So if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, take a quick, effortless inventory. Has your life changed at all, even a tiny bit? Have you been able to remember any of these tricks in the heat of the moment? Remembering is the hardest part, after all. Like I’ve said many times, though, all it takes is practice. That’s the truth, and it’s very good news. And a big part of that is the willingness to get back on that horse when you get knocked down and keep trying, keep learning, keep practicing. You should see some results pretty soon (life will give you the perfect opportunity today, in fact). So take a look at the Tools & Techniques to see if any of them resonate. They’re just so simple. And since we’re all changing and growing, different ones will work for you at different times of your journey. That’s how it works with me, anyway. I salute you, I thank you, and as always, let me know if I can help. And if any of this stuff has worked for you, feel free to let me know. I love hearing about it. I think the whole universe rejoices, too. We’re moving into a new phase, and it’s time to wake up, one phrase at a time. “All I have to do is (blank).”

Tool: “I Forgive You. I Release You. I Send You Love.”

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Cool Supernatural/Paranormal Stuff, Tools & Techniques

This is a very powerful tool that can be downright mind-blowing. I’ve seen some very synchronistic things happen after doing this, which I’ll mention below. I got this from the wonderful book Spirit Junkie by Gabby Bernstein, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times before.

All you do when you’re having a conflict with someone is picture him/her in your mind and say, as sincerely as possible, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” You can do this silently or not – that’s your call. The point is your intention. That’s why this can work even if you hate that person so much in that moment. You’re putting it out there that your sincere intention is peace with the situation, whatever that looks like. You want real peace.

Do this practice for as long as you wish, and do it as often as you wish. Of course release any tension you feel in your body when you think of that person, if there is any. Note: if you do feel tension when you think of that person, then it’s especially important that you release it – let that nasty stuff move on out of your system. Your other option is to keep holding it. That’s not cool.

Here’s another thing – do this practice without any expectations. This can be pretty funny, actually. When you catch yourself doing this only to get that person to change in some way or to get what you want, gently release that with a laugh. Good try! I bust myself on this all the time, by the way – the ego is pretty sly. Don’t take it too seriously, though. Just let it go in that moment and move on.

Here’s yet another thing – do this on yourself when necessary! We all make mistakes, and we all screw up. We can even be pretty evil sometimes. Own it, learn from it, and move on. To speed up the process, though, do this practice. Do it just as you would another person – no difference. Picture your face, release any tension, and say/think the words, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” If there’s a strong emotional reaction, that’s fine. Just let the emotion be free, but without any story. After the bulk of the emotion has passed, then you can process if need be. It might just be that this was long, long overdo. I mean, you’ve probably been doing your best the whole time and have been too harsh in your internal criticism. This is a pattern that can be busted just like any other. In the meantime, forgive yourself!

This is an example of how we do inner work before doing outer work. Why? Because it’s more effective that way. So do this practice and get things working behind the scenes. You can even do it right now. (Pause). Yes, right now – go ahead and try it with someone. After you’ve done this, then if you feel guided to contact that person or even get a restraining order against that person, do it. You still act as needed, but you do this internal process first. And during. And after. You can do it anywhere, anytime. And always release your expectations, as I mentioned above. Release everything! Keep going deeper. As we do this more and more in life, the peace and joy that are our natural inheritance can shine through more. They’re always there, but they’ve been buried.

Remember that this is something to do in order to see for yourself if you like it or not. Don’t just read about it (unless you want to, in which case of course that’s fine). And note that even if you don’t see any results in the outer world, if doing this makes you at least feel better then that’s huge. You might see some wild things happen, though. I was moved to write about this now because of a call I got recently from a client who has been having a terrible issue with her sister, who has been her best friend. Her sister recently pulled a Jekyll-Hyde and turned into a totally different person, a very mean person who has said some hurtful things that will be hard to forget. This has been incredibly painful for my client, and releasing has been very hard to do. I suggested this practice, and my client did it. She pictured her sister and said/thought, “I forgive you. I release you. I send you love.” She was sincere as possible. It wasn’t easy to do since she’s pretty angry with her sister right now, but she did it anyway. She did her best and made sure her intentions were pure. Within an hour, she received a text out of the blue from her sister saying, “Hey – I love you.” They hadn’t spoken in almost two weeks, too. So my client called to tell me what had happened. Whoa! It doesn’t always work that fast, but when it does it’s a lot of fun. It’s basically a synchronicity that tells us that we’re on the right path and to keep it up. My client is not letting her foot off the gas, either. More forgiveness. More releasing. More love. There can’t be too much of any of that.

There are plenty of other examples, like another client who did this practice with his ex-wife. They don’t exactly have a kind, loving, respectful relationship. Since they have a son together who is in middle school, they can’t just totally part ways and not speak to each other. He was at his wit’s end with her, and I told him about this technique. The next time I saw him, he said, “Hey, you remember that thing you taught me using my mind with my ex-wife? It works! She’s been a totally different person.” I was laughing. I love it.

So go ahead and give this one a shot. I’m sure you can think of a couple of people in your life that would make suitable candidates… Release any expectations and just let it fly. Do it as often as you feel guided to. Just do what feels natural. And if this is a person you can barely even stand to look at or think about, then it’s extra important that you do this. Release all that resistance and tension as well. There’s nothing wrong with it, but do you want to carry it around 24/7 or not? I choose the latter. So happy practicing, and I’d really love to hear from any of you who have results you’d like to share. Especially the dramatic ones like with the immediate text message above. And now I release this blog post…

Middle Schoolers Learn Releasing!

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Other Cool Topics

I’m so psyched right now. Actually, I was already psyched because of what I’m about to write about, and then I had a session in which a client continued to amaze me with her transformation. So I’m double psyched. I’ll have to write about the client much later, though, after the story has unfolded. In the meantime, let’s stay with the original source of my elation: teaching middle schoolers how to release. And they got it. Blew me away.

A couple of months ago, I was asked to talk to some middle schoolers about stress. They attend a private school in Pensacola, my alma mater actually, and the kids are very sharp. The school is known to be quite academically rigorous, and the reality is that these kids can get stressed out. A teacher was telling me that they can get carried away, and that their parents can be pretty demanding, type-A folks as well. There’s nothing wrong with any of this, of course, but we need some balance. A kid still needs to be a kid, right? I mean, adults have to have some fun in their lives, so kids definitely do. Our society can be too serious in this modern world.

The teacher, who was also one of my middle school teachers, asked if I could do a little stress talk during lunch one day. I’d start with 5th grade and rotate through the rest of the middle school, which is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Then I could rotate back through and we’d just figure it out as we went along. I’m naturally a teacher – I just love it. I’ve been a math teacher before, but math didn’t cut it after a while. And I’ve been wanting to get the stuff that I do with clients, which is the same as what I write about here at A Clean Mind, into the schools somehow. I didn’t know exactly how to do this or how to start, and I didn’t want to force it, so I just put it aside for the time being. And then my former teacher called and it started to take shape. Awesome. And what a great topic, too – stress. Stress is universal, and it’s totally misunderstood.

So I went in there that day and we covered stress pretty well. We had about half an hour, and in covering stress of course we had to cover the basics of A Clean Mind: Feelings 101 and Thoughts 101. We clarified that stress is neither good nor bad; it’s just stress. Isn’t it easier that way? The students were taught the simple technique of stopping their mind when they noticed stress, breathing, and letting it pass. Then return to thinking, but in a clear, calm inner voice. What are the facts? What am I reacting to? What can I do about it? And if I made a mistake, own it but don’t engage in any critical self-talk. People make mistakes. What did I learn? What can I improve upon?

By the time I gave the stress talk to the other classes and got back to 5th grade, it had been a couple of months. I had no idea if they’d even remember what we had talked about. I was pretty excited, though, because we were about to find out. I started off by asking some questions to refresh their memories. Is stress good or bad? Neither! What are the two main components of stress? Feelings and thoughts! What’s the first thing you do when you notice stress in your body (or any other feeling)? Stop your mind, breathe, and let it go! Then return to thinking after we’ve gotten out of our heads and the stress has at least started to pass.

Here’s where they blew me away, though. I asked if any of them had actually done this in the moment since I had seen them last. After all, this is all about doing it and experiencing it – not abstract concepts. Had they tried it out? And their hands went up. And they started telling me about their experiences. And I realized… these kids are ten years old and they can do it! They’ve already done it! What a huge success!

One student was already in bed or about to go to bed and remembered something happening the next day, like a test or project. She started to freak out and then stopped, took a breath, and calmly told herself that there was nothing she could do about it right then. She had to sleep first and then deal with it in the morning. Nice job. We talked about the moment of truth being the very second that thought first enters the mind – “I have a test tomorrow that I forgot about.” The mind starts freaking out right away, and the body immediately reacts with feelings like stress, anxiety, and maybe even anger that we forgot. As we practice, we get faster and faster at stopping and releasing. When we first start out, though, we might let it go for a while first. This student nailed it right away.

Another student started to freak out about something happening the next day for science class. She was assuming it would be incredibly hard. She caught herself, though, stopped, and breathed. I asked her what happened to the stress and anxiety when she did this. She said it went away. I was practically jumping up and down, asking them if they realized how major this was. It went away? It simply went away?? She then calmly told herself that she didn’t know what the assignment was going to be, and there was no sense in making up stories about it. She told herself to chill out and do the assignment when she got the assignment. And it turned out to be super easy.

Another student had an experience in which the same stressful thing happened twice. I’ll have to remember to jot down some notes as needed after these things, because I’ve forgotten the details. But the same stressful thing happened twice. He did the normal freak out the first time, and then the second time he remembered the stress talk and he did it. He stopped, breathed, let it go, and then did some calm self-talk. So he had an excellent compare/contrast for the old way of living versus this new way. And he sees clearly which way is superior. If you don’t want to be a stress ball, that is…

Another student was playing baseball and was up to bat. He had gotten down in the count 0-2, so he was one strike away from being out. His mind started to freak out some, and he stopped it and breathed. Total focus. What’s done is done. Just pay attention and play. After that, there were three balls, making the count 3-2. And then he crushed the next pitch. Nice! It doesn’t always work out that way, but the point is that he was close to going down a negative wormhole which would’ve decreased his chances of success. Instead, he tuned all that out and just focused on the next pitch. And he had great success. He’s going to be a much better athlete (and person) than he otherwise would’ve been with this new mindfulness practice.

There were more examples, including a student who tripped walking down some stairs because she was lost in thought about school or something else on her plate. This highlighted the power of living in our heads as opposed to living in reality. She’s walked up and down stairs a million times, but she messed it up because she was lost in thought. After she fell and got back up, she released and life was much smoother.

And there were lots more examples. You get the point, though. I asked if they saw how different it was to live this way versus the stressed out way. They did. And they see that they still work hard and achieve; they just do it with a different attitude. It’s like our front door is always open, and stress and other feelings are always coming in. They’ve learned that there’s a back door that can be opened as well, and these feelings can pass right through. They hang around for as long as they want to, though – that part is not up to us. But eventually they’ll leave. They’re programmed to leave if we’ll just let them.

Well, that’s the tale of the ten-year-old budding Zen masters, folks. I’ll have a follow-up visit with a couple of the other classes, if not all of them, before school lets out for the summer. And of course I’m just super pumped, wondering how to get this stuff out to more young people. Patience isn’t always my strength, so I continue to release on this in terms of where it will go from here. That’s up to Spirit and not me. I’ll keep working with the kids at this same school next year, but I want to reach more. These youngsters will just be so much better off as adults for having learned this. And I feel so much better off from having learned from them.

Addicted To… Drama?

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories, Other Cool Topics

I have a client who is kicking ass. Major ass. Basically, she came in wanting to ditch the bulk of the drama in her life, or at least the drama that she’s responsible for. She has a major situation going on, and she wants to handle it the right way. She knows that unless she makes some changes, it won’t be handled as well as it could be handled. Great call to come in and get some assistance. Great call.

So she’s been coming in weekly for not too long, and she’s doing really, really well. She’s doing so well, in fact, that at the end of the last couple of sessions, I asked her if she wanted to stretch it out some or if she wanted to keep coming in weekly. She has always said something like, “No way – I’m coming in weekly until this situation is totally resolved. After that, we can re-evaluate.” And I think that’s a great way to handle it. It’s a great idea to play it safe and come in more often while there’s a stressful situation going on. And it’s not like I don’t like working with someone who really “gets it” and has seen dramatic results by implementing the simple things we talk about into her daily life. I always say that the truth is simple, but it’s not always easy to do in the moment. It takes practice. This is because we’ve been practicing another way for so long, a way that’s less peaceful. If you’re reading something like this, though, then those days are numbered. They have to be…

Anyway, when I asked her recently if she’d still like to reschedule in a week, I loved her response. She said, “Yes – stop asking! I don’t want to have a relapse!” A relapse? A relapse of what? A relapse of drama! A relapse of her old self, the dramatic self who is reactive rather than responsive. A relapse of the character that came to see me not too long ago who was sick of how she was living and wanted to learn a better way. Because there totally is a better way.

Most of us hear the word “relapse” and immediately think of a person falling off the wagon and having a drink, a cigarette, a pill, carbs, or something like that. I love the use of addiction language in this more general sense, though. When you think about it, we’re totally addicted to our old patterns and habits. We think that those things define us, but they do not. Anything that’s temporary does not define you. That’s because who you really, really are, at the end of the day, is not temporary. Note that “temporary” includes the body that you see in the mirror, so we’re wading into deeper waters here. That’s okay. Let’s just stay focused on the brilliant use of the word “relapse.” She basically said, “I’ve learned a better way, and I’ve seen crystal clear, obvious, powerful results. It hasn’t been that long, though, so this new way is not second nature yet. Yet. I don’t want to slip back into the old way, so I’m being really careful and vigilant to not do that.”

I love it. Kudos to her efforts and to the early results she’s experienced. And kudos to her bringing this awesome new language to my attention. Old language with a new use, that is. I actually heard the spiritual teacher Gangaji talk about the real addiction among humans – the addiction to “me.” Very powerful stuff. I’ll have to write about that more in the future. That’s where the waters get really deep, though, so I think we’re cool for now. In the meantime, feel free to use the term “relapse” in your own life, regardless of what pattern or patterns you want to break. Just keep a relaxed attitude like we always do. The added pressure we put on ourselves often gets in the way. The term “relapse” with something like drama sounds pretty funny to me, too, so it keep things light as we do this work. In fact, it makes it less “work-y.” So I wish you all the best with your various relapses, and as always, let me know if I can help!