June 11, 2013

Mindfulness, Monkey Mind and PTSD

This week, I am pleased to introduce you to Jolynn Van Asten, cofounder of Expert BreakThrough. Jolynn is not only a solid and dynamic leader, amazing woman, and entrepreneur -- she is also a Beyond Survivor. In her three part series, she will take you through the rise and fall of the segments of your day and how mindfulness can lead you ‘out ‘through the ‘in’ door. In today's post, she speaks specifically about how we can find our way out of PTSD and into a calm, peaceful life.

Going ‘inside’ isn’t the favorite activity for most of us who have survived and overcome traumatic events. In fact, for me personally, contemplating what to chat with you about in a blog that would keep your attention, and make sense, caused me to go inside to a new place within my own self for a visit. 

A new place? What does that mean? As I have healed and grown, learned and began to, as Rachel Grant says, “find my genuine self”, I notice how places in my mind that I often would visit frequently, well, they just aren’t open for visitation anymore. By that I mean it is not that there are rooms shut off for access, or boarded up with "Keep Out-Danger!" signs as they once were ... they just aren’t there anymore. 

I decided that the only way a fellow overcomer and professional as myself could bring you anything ‘genuine’ is to do just that, share with you my genuine beliefs as to what keeps me still and peaceful; grounded. If you too find these beliefs, and suggestions useful, please feel free to try them on for yourself. For science, data, research change rapidly in our world today. New discoveries are being brought to the surface and old models of thinking seem to just fade away, much like the rooms in my mind that I used to believe held ‘important stuff.’ So, as I have traveled the path of finding my genuine self, and as I work with many amazing men and women as a business coach for them, I find that our stories are all so alike and yet so subjective.

On this path through the in door of one’s mind, if our neurology hasn’t reset yet, the daily journey in can be rough to say the least. Life can often feel like a sludgy, muddy uphill battle or a frontline bomb attack. An often mundane or overstimulated battle where things can seem surreal, out of our control and as though the chatter in our head is barking orders; on the full-time payroll. The truth, in my experience, is that no matter how much pay the chattering brigade of ‘monkeys’ running around in one’s mind are demanding, we can re-occupy the coveted corner suite of our mind, the one with the floor to ceiling windows and gorgeous scenery, that is rightfully ours.

Through daily habits centered in mindfulness, we humans can operate in our day-to-day experiences and shift our attention away from the primates and onto what we are seeking to experience and create. Some seek to create a thriving, peaceful and prosperous business that blesses the world, a career experience that is satisfying or just to bake a wonderful batch of cookies to share with people that they love. Whatever it is for you, life can be calm, enjoyable and yes--if I may dare to say--fun! Calm as we enter the inside, even while the day-to-day moments attempt to rush by. By shifting our focus, our attention and intentions, repeatedly through time, we are able to create a fortress of still strength within, no matter what stage of our healing we are in.
Consider the value of attention. If you notice how many people, and situations are clamoring for your attention, that to me means your attention has a very high value. Even I requested it from you to sit and chat with me in this blog. Consider how much advertisers are willing to invest financially to grab your attention. How children, spouses, co-workers, assignments, deadlines and yes, the thoughts in your head want to grab your attention. The past can pull at your attention. The future as well. Your attention is, in my experience, a high value asset that must be gently and firmly guarded. The more awareness you bring to what is pulling at your attention, the more you can begin to make choices and gain more internal control over where you directionalize that attention. This is good news. This is a key to peace, mindfulness, and the regaining of focus that often feels lost. This is a key to the fortress being built. To you having whatever may seem far out of reach to you right now.
So today we’ll look at the focus of attention on the words you speak.  I have a task for you if you’re willing to accept. I believe you’re savvy, or you wouldn’t be following this blog. I know you have a deep interest in the human experience and that you may have gone through trauma, or have had PTSD, like I did. Or that you are a professional who touches the lives of wonderful people that have had significant emotional events in their human experience. 

Touching on the PTSD, I say “DID” with emphasis because getting to the other side of it is possible. I DID do the things I’ll tell you about, I did them and found peace. It’s now a daily practice to practice these habits. Often imperfectly, that’s why it’s a practice. I believe also that you were raised by mere mortals who probably did an imperfect job, plain old humans trying to find their way through life without an instruction manual. Those humans and others in your life passed on thoughts and beliefs that you might have embraced or rejected. You paid attention to some of what was brought into your experience consciously and you unconsciously paid attention as well. Some of what you chose to believe was picked up unconsciously, and that my friend, is what runs the show today, pulls us, pushes us, stops us and starts us. At least in my belief. And the good news is there are clues, breadcrumbs on the trail, that you can follow with your valuable conscious awareness and attention now, to switch up whatever beliefs aren’t working for you anymore.
Your task is to pay attention to what you say: outloud and in your head. Your language points at what beliefs are lying under the surface, and those beliefs are driving many of your habits. Habits of peace, or habits of stress; non peace.

WARNING: This may begin to change you!
As you pay attention to what you say, a time tested, ‘old school’ way to find out what is really there is to journal. I, as do many other helping professionals, believe in the power of purge journaling, sometimes known as stream of consciousness writing. This form of writing was highlighted in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. She calls them “morning pages.”
Stop: you may be thinking: “Really, journaling? I don’t have time, it’s boring, everyone says that and sometimes I try and I just can’t stick to it.” Or something to that effect. Or you may be in the camp that is nodding your head in support of this task for it’s an extremely effective processing tool. Today, it will be the tool that highlights what you are believing. Coupled with the language you produce in mere conversations, with attention and some scrutiny for a defined period of time, let’s say 30 days for starters, you will notice things about yourself that you just didn’t notice before. 

You will hear tip off’s and clues. In NLP, one tool we use is the Meta Model to dissect language patterns. For example, you will start noticing if you are using what are called Universal Quantifiers. Words like ALWAYS, NEVER,EVERYONE. Words like this show that you are generalizing many experiences into one experience. You will find much truth as you inquire with yourself: If you say something like: I always have this problem.  Really, ALWAYS? Was there ever a time you didn’t? By journaling and inquiring with yourself you can take the emotional charge off of some of your unsupportive beliefs and find some peace practically instantly. You can also find what we call: Modal Operators of Necessity and Possibility. You may be thinking: I have to believe this about journaling. Have to? What would happen if you didn’t? Who says you have to? What would stop you from believing something new?
So on my path to peace I started noticing my own language patterns and through the magic of journaling, was able to sort out what thoughts, beliefs, and motives were propelling me into a future I would enjoy and what thoughts and beliefs were hindering my growth, even severely. In fact I could ‘see’ on paper where I was unconsciously holding myself captive with my beliefs. Like the belief that the monkeys who were occupying the corner office couldn’t possibly be kicked out. I couldn’t possibly be able to willfully operate my mind and directionalize my thinking. I couldn’t possibly stop certain behaviors I had adapted to self soothe, and put new ones in place. Through morning and evening journaling, and over time embracing gently the focus of my attention on my own language patterns, I could literally walk myself down a different trail of crumbs that led to a still calm place of personal power in my mind vs. a shadowy place that did not by any means feel peaceful. I regained command in the corner suite. I gave the monkeys new jobs to perform.
I invite you to to do this task for one week until we meet again, and then we will look at the next practice for setting up your day for success, as you learn to travel out of what you ‘don’t want to focus on’ through the ‘in door’ of what you do want to focus on. 

Check back next week for more from Jolynn!


Jolynn Van Asten M.Msc, M.NLP is a solid and dynamic leader, seasoned Master Business and Personal Transformational Coach who is dedicated to teaching women entrepreneurs and leaders how to create businesses that pay them over six figures annually while working less, and spending more time enjoying their other life passions.
Jolynn has worked with 1,000’s of entrepreneurs in elevating their business success and assisting them in clearing their personal  inner and outer roadblocks quickly at the unconscious and conscious level.
She has a passion for training women in  entrepreneurial leadership  how to heal their emotional wounds around finances, prosperity,self worth. How to restore their authentic divine connection, intuition, confidence and creativity while  increasing their profit and productivity; their bliss.
She holds many degrees and certifications in Transpersonal Psychology and Brain Based process and believes her clients and students seek out and appreciate how she’s able to lead and teach from her own healed heart business wisdom. Jolynn imparts intuitive guidance and grounded practicality to guide them on a journey to richness, wellness and wholeness.
She  is the forthcoming author of : Procrastinate your way to prosperity, turning your weaknesses into gold. She conducts womens wisdom workshops on prosperity and time-energy management.
To book her to speak to your group you may contact support@expertbreakthrough.com 

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