June 26, 2013

23 hours and 55 minutes to live...

This week, I am pleased to bring you the conclusions to Jolynn's series. It's been great having her on, and I hope you will send her a note if her series has helped you in any way!

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I find it paramount to walk-our-talk in the profession of coaching. To be transparent and opaque at the same time--as in solid with boundaries and professionalism, yet living in a glass house where if one’s coaching student was a fly on the wall, they would see their teacher, mentor and guide living their craft. Modelling excellence, as we say in the NLP world. Someone who models excellence to and for me in the mindfulness arena is Jon Kabat-Zinn. His works became sacred texts for me to soak in like a warm reflecting pool as I was first learning to integrate the practices into my own life. His definition of mindfulness is perfect for our discussion today: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

We have been discussing how mindfulness, can take you out of suffering on many levels through, what I like to call “the in door”. The door into your emotional heart, your mind and intellect, your deepest true self. The door that opens into rooms of contemplation, focus, attention, awareness, stillness, and daily rituals. Curiosity is another room or state of mind we can enter. All of these new skills, or old skills we are bringing back to life, can be cultivated to serve us.

In part one of this series we talked about attention. The value of attention, who wants it and why they want it. How you can embrace and cultivate awareness to what you are paying attention to in order to have your attention, your focus serve you, reveal answers and a’ha’s to you. When we sharpen this skill within us, and retrain ourselves, we find that the attention serves us and is released from duty in the hyper vigilance department and self-beratement department and is gently reassigned to noticing all that is right within us, all that is lovely, good and praiseworthy. We find our attention and our perceptions shifting to enhance all of the solutions we have been seeking. Joy increases, Peace increases, curiosity about what pleasant surprises await us increases.

As we embrace the tool of redirected focus, of concentrating on our new life enhancing skills, such as suggested with the foundational acts of journaling and meditation, we find we can tolerate more peace. Peace at first can feel like an unfamiliar, discomforting state because often times people are so accustomed to operating in and from a state of ‘stress’. Enduring chronic states of overwhelm, anxiety, worry, dysfunctional chaos and self-beratement are the norm. Better-the-devil-you-know-than-the-devil-you-don’t philosophy. 

Peace, quiet, non-judgmental loving self-talk, that in the beginning feel like soothing balms, can lead to thoughts like “It’s too quiet. Something must be going to happen that is bad.”  One doesn’t realize it isn’t the ‘quiet before the storm comes rushing in’ anymore. It’s the Peace that is at the core of our being while storms go on around and outside of us. Gentle teachers, coaches, therapists and other healed helping professionals can assist the person who is adapting to their new life of joy. Re-mind-ing and re-framing the healing person. Helping them adjust their focus and new identity.

So all that being said how does one adjust to the 23 hours left in the day after they journal and meditate? Here’s a habit I took part in, and is second nature to me now, as I learned to live a transparent and opaque peaceful life. I adopted the practice of entering the ‘in-door’ on an hourly basis. Yes, with a timer. At first it was a kitchen timer, then, my smarter-than-me phone. I literally check in with myself every hour. (This gets faster with practice and healing and also cuts down on any impending external drama.) It shifts a person from constant reactive unconscious behavior into proactive behavior. Perfectly every day? No imperfectly every day. However ‘something’ that in the beginning of learning to do this that would take me a week or a day to spring back from (or let's face it five months to five years) now can take an hour or two, 15 minutes or not even bother me at all. Imagine it like being a release valve on a tank full of hot steam and boiling water. By opening the valve every hour, a bit of built up pressure comes up and out. This way, when life throws a curveball, an entire tank of boiling water isn’t going to explode.

Here is my method (feel free to email me for a PDF version of this you can use to practice. Put ‘hourly sheet’ in the subject line.)

  1. I check in with what I believe is happening. I tell myself the story of what I’m perceiving is going on around me. I do self inquiry to find out if this story is factual or just bunk I am exaggerating on, or both. I love Byron Katie’s “The Work” process for this. Which works well every time I play linguistic gymnastics with my story of what is happening.
  2. If everything is ok, I dive into the next part. I fill in the blanks on the following (oh and actually feel the feelings I am about to describe). For a free ten minute audio on ‘How to Feel a Feeling’, email me.
  3. The next part is this: I say out loud, filling in the blanks of course with pieces of my story and what I am experiencing: I feel angry that:_______. I feel sad that:_______. I feel afraid that:_______. I feel guilty that:_____. I feel grateful that:_____. I feel happy that:______. I feel proud that:_______. I feel secure that:________.
  4. I look ‘under’ those feelings to see if I have any unrealistic expectations or non-right-sized ideas going on. I ask myself if it is realistic or right-sized to be believing what I am believing. For I believe that our feelings are generated from our thinking. Conscious or unconscious thinking. If my ‘negative’ or less-than-peaceful feelings are tipping the scale, I recheck what the heck I am believing that is stirring that up.


This is the beginning of deep inner healing. It’s opening doors inside that welcome me into the rooms of each feeling. No more resistance to the contents of the rooms. By entering these in-doors, I feel what is in there and then I can let the feeling go. Dissolve it. Poof the energy-in-motion (e-motion) out of me. Pop open that steam valve.

Then in between my check-ins, I am free to do good work. Like blog, coach, love people and animals, take a bubble bath, paint a picture, go for a walk. Live my life. Curiously, freely, peacefully.

I encourage you to try this at home coupled with a back up plan of phone numbers of your helping professionals like myselfRachel or your own familiar support person. You don’t want to create a downward spin cycle and get trapped in it. You want to be free floating in the second half of the activity, in states of gratitude, happiness and security.

Let me know how these experiments in peace go for you. My prayer and meditation for you is that you become or stay Prosperous, Peaceful and Powerful.

Always in your service,
Jolynn


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www.expertbreakthrough.com 
702-350-0306

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 

June 18, 2013

Taking a Time Out from PTSD

This week, I am pleased to bring you part two of Jolynn's series in which 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 shares with us techniques for connecting to our environment as another step in recovery from PTSD.

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Last week we tapped into focusing on the mindful practice of paying attention to your language, which most importantly tips you off to what is under the language you’re using: and that would be your beliefs.

So that being said, I believe a few things could have happened after you engaged with our blog last week. Some of you took the ‘attention’ exercises to heart and began to journal, with full devotion and enthusiasm, in the morning hours and at night right before retiring to bed. You dove in to discover what the heck is going on under the surface of all your ramblings. 

Perhaps though, and more than likely you found yourself noting mentally: “I will try that someday. I will re-engage in a journaling practice, for now I will just notice what I am noticing about what’s swirling in my mind and what’s coming out of my mouth.” Some of you, yes maybe you in fact, thought that it was a ridiculous idea to journal and just blew it off completely, and yet here you are back for more answers on mindfulness, monkey-mind and feeling better, whether you have PTSD or not.

Here’s the good news. No matter what you did or didn’t do after the suggestions offered last week on awareness and noticing your language patterns, today is a new day, and I am here to offer you more musings on how to operate through life as a human who will make choices each day, gather feedback on those choices, and make new choices based on that feedback. I love to hold firm to a guiding principle in my belief system that no one--not even you--is broken or fundamentally flawed. That you and I and all of the beings on this planet have amazing resources within themselves. Sometimes, they are out of conscious awareness, sometimes they are budding and just beginning to be expressed. Sometimes those resources are in full operation and serving us well. Discovering and developing those resources to leverage our lives into full joy and minimal discomfort is the goal...well it is for me anyway. Hopefully to you as well, even if you are in disbelief at this moment that it’s possible to live in full joy and minimal discomfort. I will hold the belief and possibility of you experiencing that--the space for you to believe it if you so choose-=until you can grasp it.

Paying attention to the feedback our environments, external conditions and our experiences are offering to us is equally important in ranking alongside the language tip offs.

So as you pay attention, peacefully, mindfully and curiously to what is happening around you, how about taking a few minutes to note it, and consider what you’d like to experience differently next time, and what you’d like to keep the same.

If journaling isn’t your thing right now, let’s try another mindfulness practice that is equally daunting at first, yet delicious and rewarding after it becomes a habit. Let’s look at meditation as a means to discover more about ourselves and how we are experiencing life. What will this do for you? What will considering and hopefully engaging in a simple meditation do for you? A few, well a few thousand, things. 

For starters, it will give you a natural much deserved time-out from daily businesses. Eventually all we do, really for the most part, can become a meditative, present-moment mindful experience. All we do as in our work or house cleaning, our shopping, our recreation time, our time with our loved ones. Present, grateful, aware--even if that moment of minimal discomfort is happening, or even if we are fresh out of a shock or crisis or in a state of confusion over an event that occurred. 

If that is not what you are experiencing currently, practicing a ‘sit-down’ meditation practice is a great way to start. Truth be told, early days of starting a habit, as you may know, can be uncomfortable. You are changing, shifting, trying something new or something you tried to start before and maybe discontinued. Ease into this mindful practice with reasonable expectation and you may find yourself enjoying it more than you could have imagined.

Before we dive into how to start this practice I want to make sure you understand the importance of that last tip. Setting reasonable expectations for yourself, is one of the most rewarding gifts you could ever give yourself, in my opinion. Think about it, when you set an expectation that is way too oversized, or way too out of your control, you set yourself up for disappointment, frustration, anger, fear, self-abuse. Stop and pause, and mindfully pay attention to your expectation around any new habit you are starting. Right-size it and notice how you can ease into it, approach it with a tenderness that is much the same as approaching perhaps a butterfly sitting on a flower that you don’t want to alarm. 

Approaching this meditation experiment can be like that. Like: “I am going to sit on my butt for five minutes and observe my thoughts and my breath. I’m going to notice what I notice and see if that old inner critic in me has more microphone time than the inner-supporter/genuine self in me.” And that is it. Notice that those thoughts, those banners of words and emotions and such that are swirling around in there are just that, noticeable. See if you can notice them without getting caught up in their meaning or story lines. See if you can notice how you breathe, how you feel in your body. I am going to write a simple script here at the end that will allow you to practice. Even if you are a seasoned meditator, these back-to-basics reminders can feel good and useful.

So yes, I am suggesting that as part of operating your life in a mindful way, as a person who embodies joy and wakes up looking forward to the day versus resistant of the day, begin the day sitting down.

Here is my RX for morning meditation.

One: After awakening and going to the bathroom find a tiny clear spot that you can sit comfortably and undisturbed (Note: if you have pets, children or spouses this may just be in the bathroom!) Eventually you can create a lovely meditation area, but for now, a reasonable expectation is to just park your butt somewhere.

Two: Set a timer (so yes grab a phone or something to do this with, like a kitchen timer or a mini hour glass from a child's board game) for five minutes (reasonable expectation) and sit with yourself. This can be nerve wracking at first, and if you can only do it for a minute, that is better than nothing. If five feels too long, one is great.

Three: Begin the practice by allowing your mind to scan inside your body from head to toe. Notice what parts of you feel tense, cold, warm, soft, firm, light, heavy ... just notice. Do your best not to judge, and as you do this, notice how your body breathes without you ‘thinking’ about breathing. You are so amazingly built. Really, notice the breath. The breath eventually becomes a place for you to shift your attention to, much like a home base. A focal point.

Four: When your timer goes off, just note your experience.

There are many excellent books on meditation, and if you have further questions feel free to email me directly for a free seven week outline of how to practice meditation for beginners.

I love that if you begin with the intention of sitting with yourself for five minutes each morning, you can retrain yourself to begin to really operate your physical being from your point of peace and that is from your Parasympathetic nervous system. From a place of natural proactiveness versus the place of unconscious reactivity. This simple practice is a great step to creating focus and attention on all that brings you joy and peace, and less on that which causes you turmoil and upset. As you learn even more about how to re-nurture, re-program, re-operate your life, your days will flow, and you will look back at times of discomfort with a new understanding. Meditation and the journaling you learned last week coupled together will give you strong foundational habits that open the doorways to further success, peace and happiness. Until next week, practice, take it easy, and be well!


First Five Minute Meditation
Record this slowly into your phone or computer to listen to while learning this habit:

Sitting still, allow your shoulders to relax and sit up nice and straight. As straight as you can. Settle in to this seated position. You are safe. You are just practicing. Take in a nice, slow, deep breath, and let it go. Again, just breathe in and breathe out. Check your shoulders for tension. Is your tongue plastered to the roof of your mouth? Let it relax. Let your scalp, forehead, brows, cheeks, jaw, neck relax. Notice if your breath is shallow or in your belly. Let it be. Just notice it. Begin to make a mental scan with your mind's eye, your imagination, and start inside at the top of your head right under your scalp, just scan through from head to toe. Are there spots that are tense? Muscles tight? Muscles relaxed? Notice for coolness, warmth, tingling; whatever you notice that’s fine. Notice it and do your best to not label it or judge it. Notice how inside you there are many parts, muscles, bones, organs and even emotions, feelings, thoughts and sensations. This is just a scan to notice. You may even notice thoughts, words, stories, sounds in your mind. Can you allow yourself to observe them as though they are distant from you? As though they are separate from you? As though you can pull back and witness them, as though they are on a screen, like a T.V. screen and you are in a chair. Notice how you can be the observer. This is a useful tool. It comes in handy from time to time. To notice things from afar. Notice your breath now. Shallow? Deep? Chest? Belly? Re-scan through your body. Allow yourself to relax even more. There is no one you need to tend to except for you right now. You are important. No one needs anything from you in this moment. Notice how you are in a moment. This moment. Here, now, breathing. Sit in silence for a moment. When the bell rings, breathe, and go about your day. All is well. All is well. All is well.”


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Check back next week for the final post from Jolynn!

www.expertbreakthrough.com 
702-350-0306

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 

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.

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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. 

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Check back next week for more from Jolynn!

www.expertbreakthrough.com 
702-350-0306

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 

June 4, 2013

Beyond the Masks: More Than a Label

This week, I bring you the conclusion of Kylie's series in which she tells how she overcame the labels and identities that kept her locked in the past. It has been so wonderful having her on. If you've been helped or inspired by something she's shared, be sure to leave a comment for her!


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Beyond images. Beyond identities. Beyond labels.

This is where the truth, the real beauty, and the core of our being lies.

As a result of abuse and trauma in my childhood, I formed a fear-based reaction which became my “personality,” or the external aspect of myself that I was willing to share with the world.

I shared with you in the first two posts how this identity metamorphosized from “the rebel” to “the ‘looking good’ conformist,” and how I defined my inner worth and beauty based on these. I revealed to you the consequences, internally and externally, to creating a false self to project into the world.

Now I want to share with you how I broke through.

Once I decided to leave my new, popular, cool group and venture out into the world of recovery and healing alone, I had to come to terms with how alone I really was. How alone I am. How aloneness inescapably penetrates the human condition. This was the most painful realization of my entire life, and oftentimes still is. This is not to say that we cannot connect deeply and share intimately, because we can. Interdependence and relating to others is a beautiful, life enriching experience. It does imply, however, that we are 100% responsible for our journey, process and healing. No one else can do this work for us. No one else can truly understand or feel what we are feeling, or know what we need to do.

Deeply sitting with the pain of feeling alone, and not trying to cover it over with any image, reaction, or distraction, was the gateway to freedom and understanding the true self for my particular journey.

I realized through this deep contemplation of what Buddhists call emptiness, that any time I say “I am (fill in the blank with a noun or adjective)” then I am limiting the experience of my true self. So to say “I am a victim,” “I am a survivor,” “I am a rebel…” had some meaning and some importance, but eventually it becomes vital to let all of that go and sit deeply with the emotions underneath the charge of the story, to release myself from any need for identity or label.

True beauty gives birth to itself in spontaneous expression in the moment. From the bare naked soul interacting with self, others, and the world.

The false ego or false identity stems from a desire to avoid something, usually a feeling. I learned a few methods that I return to again and again, on a daily basis, when something inside of me is generating discomfort and I want to spin out into the lies again.

The first is to let go of the story. If I am feeling anger towards the people who abused me, then I can let go of the “I was abused, I was attacked, it wasn’t fair, I couldn’t defend myself” story. I can just sink into the emotion of anger. I allow the energy of anger to move throughout my body, to rip and burn … to do whatever it needs or wants to do. If I just sit through the experience without repressing or expressing the anger, the energy dissipates, as well as the story. The “I am angry because I was victimized” story has less power over me as a result of allowing the authentic feeling in the moment to run its course.

Another way to achieve a similar result is to ask myself “Where am I feeling this story, thought, or emotion in my body?” I do this when anger arises, or if I start thinking about something traumatic. Typically I can locate where it is in my body within just a few seconds. Then I can focus in on that body part. If it is my stomach or abdominal region, I focus there. I tune into the sensation deeply. This usually leads to some memory of trauma that occurred there, which is another story. When I tune into it, I can do a few things. I can send love to that area of the body, I can let myself know that I am going to keep myself safe and take care of myself. I can give that part of me a voice, express through sound, movement, or art. Whichever path I choose in the moment, it serves to provide true relief, and restores integrity to a part of my past that is painful.

When we create any sense of story or identity, we are no longer living fully. Identity is stale, stagnant and exists in the past. Life is fresh, energizing, and exists only in the present moment. Unless you are experiencing victimization in some way in this precise moment, trauma exists in the past. We bring it into the present moment by continuing to hold onto the story, in our bodies, minds and emotional bodies. I have to commit to releasing all of this, every single day.

And as I do, the truth of who I really am begins to be expressed.  

Healing is only possible in the present.

We can all make that choice, to heal fully … right now.

And then the true beauty of our rich inner life is revealed.  

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Kylie Devi is the author of Recovering the Spirit from Sexual Trauma: From the Traumatic to the Ecstatic, a 21st Century guide to healing the body, mind and spirit in the aftermath of rape. Her healing process took her through an incredible journey of intensive study with teachers and guides in the Tibetan Buddhist, Maori, Cherokee, Hindu, Yogic, Sufi and Christian traditions. She has created over 100 healing based live events, retreats and workshops. You can check out her work and availability at www.recoveringthespirit.com.

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