Where Synchronicity & Magic Happen by Peter Metzner


Where Synchronicity & Magic Happen 

By Peter Metzner

I once heard at a Symposium that:  “Genius is focused passion” .

To grow, to develop and become the best at your “art”  is a meaningful calling.  Joseph Campbell writes:  “Art is the making of things well.  The aim of Art is the perfection of the object”. “If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss money or not. If you follow money you may lose it and you will have nothing”  (J. Campbell Reflections on the Art of Living” p. 39)

Ideally, to successfully innovate; we need to feel passionate about and love what we do. We also need to feel our work – our “art” is beneficial to others.    That is the rocket fuel that can propel us to new heights.

What keeps teams or people from performing optimally?

Sadly only 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work, according to a 2013 report by Gallup.  For many work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in may ways, it’s getting worse.  Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. “Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night”.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.)

To maintain engagement it is important to have enough rest and renewal. Over work, stress and a lack of capacity leads to burnout.  Interpersonal conflict, unaware leadership and not feeling valued or appreciated add to the malaise that causes disengagement, lack of commitment and turnover.

When people and teams feel connected to a shared vision and mission that is inspiring and larger than themselves,  positive energy and appropriate actions result.    When relationships are trusting and safe enough to give and receive feedback and engage in constructive conflict;  everyone becomes “smarter” than anyone one.  Kurt Lewin –  PhD,  a Harvard psychologist found that “When we are  in a supportive environment we are better equipped to deal with the complexities of our working lives”

As times change, technology advances, new applications and opportunities will emerge. Yet, we need to always keep the timeless qualities that make us “successful” and feel fulfilled. Excitement, energy,  common purpose and dedication  come from feeling, that we are doing what we do best and are challenged to better in the service of “something” larger and beneficial to others.

“When completely caught up in something, you become oblivious to the things around you, or to the passage of time.  It is this absorption in what you are doing that frees your unconscious and releases your creative imaginations”.   Rollo May, The Courage to Create

This is the place where synchronicity and “magic”  happens.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Privilege of a Life Time” by Peter Metzner


The privilege of a lifetime is being
who you are.
The goal of the hero trip
down to your jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
That open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your self
being Buddha consciousness,
the Christ.

That’s the journey
(Joseph Campbell) Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion

“Find a place where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain” .

According to Campbell, Satan is the epitome of the intractable ego. That part of ourselves needing to be right, to defend ourselves, feeling separate, better than or not as good as others depending on our beliefs, dogma and life’s situations. Hell is the concretization of your life experiences, a place where you’re stuck, the wasteland. In hell, we blame others for our condition and are so bound to ourselves that grace cannot enter. What is hellish is being stuck without hope, without relief.*

How we mature, depends on taking responsibility for our choices, no longer blaming others, or expecting rescue from them. And to acknowledge the pain of loneliness however much we are invested in social roles and relationships. (James Hollis) Swamplands of The Soul. The mature person i.e. one who is psychologically free : “is confident in his inner world, responsible for his strengths and weaknesses, consciously able to love himself, and thus, able to love others”…. Marion Woodman

In a simple and poignant description of the human condition, and of growth; Jolande Jacobi, a Jungian analyst writes: “Like a seed growing into a tree, life unfolds stage by stage. Triumphant ascent, collapse, crises, failures, and new beginnings strew the way. It is the path trodden by the great majority of people, as a rule unreflectingly, unconsciously, unsuspectingly, following its labyrinthine windings from birth to death in hope and longing. It is hedged about with struggle and suffering, joy and sorrow, guilt and error, and nowhere is there security from catastrophe. For as soon as a man tries to escape every risk and prefers to experience life only in his head, in the form of ideas and fantasies, as soon as he surrenders to opinions of ‘how it ought to be’ and, in order not to make a false step, imitates others when possible, he forfeits the chance of his own independent development. Only if he treads the path bravely and flings himself into life, fearing no struggle and no exertion and fighting shy of no experience, will he mature his personality more fully than the man who is ever trying to keep to the safe side of the road.”
J. Jacobe, The Way of Individuation

There are two gremlins we face every morning.

Fear: I am too tiny it is too hard… I can’t do it.

Lethargy: – chill out tomorrow is another day…

Each will eat us alive… Fear and lethargy are the enemy they are not out there they are inside
Carl Jung wrote: The spirit of evil is the negation of live force by fear… only boldness can overcome that fear.
If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated”

Our task is to recover our personal authority and discern the meaning of our lives.
Who are we to stand in its way?

Stepping Into Your Vision by Peter Metzner


“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens.  I’ve knocked from the inside.” — Rumi

All of our trouble flows from being separated from our instincts.  C.G. Jung

Freud stated that “The price of civilization is neurosis”.   Neurosis meaning being someone you are not,  being split from your natural truth and being defined by an external definition of who you are.   Living a life that is authentically yours;  means being connected to your passion,  using and developing your gifts and natural abilities  in ways that are meaningful, useful and satisfying.   This is what vocational  integration is.    To get to this place requires some reflection and being  ‘real”  with your self.    Asking the larger and important questions can greatly help this process.

Below are powerful questions from James Hollis, PhD   that can help ease access to deeper insights.   Asking the “right”  questions;  stimulates our thinking  to seek to find answers.   We need   to ask and  be open and receptive to the messages we get.  Having solitude and quiet  allows us to hear and discern the answers that come.     Each may take some time so you may want to choose the one or ones that  resonate the most with you at this time.   

The Questions:

  • How do you know what is true for you?   How did you lose your personal authority in the first place?   Did you lose it through adapting  to circumstances?
  • What core ideas – are the defining ideas of my life?
  • What has brought you to this point in your life?  Fate?  Family influences?
  • What parts of history have framed your world?  Are there repeating patterns that make us prisoners of our history?
  • Which pieces or parts of your life are working  for you?
  • What constricts you?
  • What messages did you internalize?  i.e.  We are here to make money;  I have to be perfect,  successful;  have children and make them successful…
  • Why does so much feel like a script that has been written for you?
  • Am I choosing  security over truth?
  • Am I doing  what my peers do?
  • Do I change and grow and how?
  • Why is so much a disappointment?
  • Why do I hide so much from others?
  • What gets pushed underground in my unconscious?
  • Where do I experience the transcendent?

According to Jung, the highest calling is an appointment with our “self”.  We have an appointment with ourselves and not all of us keep it.     We need to mindful and discern where spirit is working in all areas of our lives. If the life we have lived has been too small and it may be too small for most of us;   the task of recovering ourselves is opening to largeness of our journey.

There are two  gremlins we face every morning.

Fear: I am too tiny it is too hard…  I can’t  do it.

 Lethargy:  – chill out tomorrow is another day…

Each will eat us alive… Fear and lethargy are the enemy, they are not out there they are inside.  We awaken only to fall back into the  comfort of our past life.

Jung also wrote:  ” The Spirit of evil is the negation of live force by fear… only boldness can overcome that fear.

If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated.”

We all have a task and it is;  the recovery of personal authority and discerning the meaning of our lives.  Who are we to stand in its way?  We are responsible for finding meaning in our lives.

We can look at symptoms like depression, anxiety, addictions and compulsions as ruptures in our false self.   James Hollis also writes this is the psyche or our “self” trying to break out of the confines of the acquired or false self.    So welcome a symptom.  The psyche which has been captive may have a different agenda than the one our ego or acquired identity is following.    Symptoms may be the psyche no longer able to cooperate in going along the path we are taking.  Similar to the reins of a horse correcting us when we stray.

Jung believed  that every patient knew at some all level what they needed to do.   We all need to become our own psychotherapists
and heal the bridge and split from our natural truth.   The self knows you have always known.   This is the knowledge of the head in service to the knowledge of the heart which gives insight and the courage to live our lives.

If you knew what you are truly capable of, would you move forward into your life with tremendous enthusiasm and very little self-doubt?
Find  your voice and a place in your life where your brilliance  can shine through.  There is  something we all can do to bring us a sense of satisfaction and meaning.   Find  what you love the most in life.  Search inside for that deep passion or restlessness, and allow  yourself  the quiet and peace to give it full expression.
There is genius in every one of us, as a natural part of our birthright.  Let it come out.  The German Poet Rilke wrote: “Our task is to be defeated by ever larger things” .
References and suggested reading:
Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really Grow up James Hollis PH.D, Gotham books New York, NY 2006
Why Good People Do Bad Things:  Understanding our Darker Selves.  James Hollis PH.D Gotham books New York, NY 2007
Memories Dreams , Reflections.  Carl Gustav Jung  Random House, Inc. 1963
 

 

Overcoming Addictions and Compulsions: “Finding Your Self” by Peter Metzner


If something out side of your self is the reason you are happy;  you are hostage to it.  Ekhard  Tolle

In over 15 years in being in the field of Human Development, I have seen no correlation with having a lot of material things and “happiness”.   Money is important and ranks along  with oxygen to live.   Yet, when there is enough oxygen to breathe  it doesn’t register in our awareness of needs.

Neuroscience has found that money or accumulating money stimulates the pleasure centers of our brains.      If we are happy, have supportive relationships and are living meaningfully and with purpose,  material comforts can  enhance our sense of well-being.   However,  if we are unhappy,  we are  like hungry ghosts.   Searching and driven yet never satisfied.  Riches, material comfort, distractions etc.  can’t make us happy if we are anxious, driven, unhappy or suffering from low self-esteem or lack of meaning.   If materialistic ambition becomes a substitute for our intrinsic needs for giving and receiving love and doing work that is “right” for us, we can become addicted in the pursuit of diversions, pleasure, accumulating “things” , titles, accomplishments, etc.

Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, PhD  explains, “dopamine levels increase as soon as we start anticipating a reward. Once the dopamine starts flowing, monkeys and people will work and work and work expecting  a treat.  For monkeys,  a grape is usually enough.   For people, the treats include:  a pair of sneakers, a shiny car, an MBA that might lead to a high-paying job, early retirement, a couple of minutes of entertaining diversion, a few seconds of sexual gratification, etc…    Monkeys and people’s neurochemistry  function virtually the same!    The main difference: “Monkeys don’t get hooked on beliefs, ideologies, dogma, degrees, titles, fantasies, lies, empty promises, or self-deceptions” .

What is known about addictions:

  • Any behavior that can deliver a dopamine reward can become an addiction.
  • The more powerful the addiction, the greater the denial, the weaker the free will, the more likely addicts are to detest any information that threatens to keep them from feeding their addictions.
  • It’s possible to get addicted to safety, peer approval, and esteem.   (The dopamine project)

Using brain scanning equipment, researchers have found that there is basically one addiction—dopamine addiction. When heroin addicts shoot up, the street drug tells their brains to produce dopamine. Heroin is a trigger.  Dopamine flow creates the sensation of being ‘high.’ When it comes to scoring dopamine rewards, there are many triggers. For some the trigger is cocaine. For others it’s nicotine, alcohol, sex, gambling, or food.  Street drugs are physical dopamine triggers that are hard to deny because they need the ingesting, inhaling, or injecting of addictive substances.  Sadly, physical dopamine addictions destroy lives and wreak societal damage.  Researchers have recently added video games and texting to the list. Yet the most dangerous dopamine triggers include easy to deny psychological addictions. Psychological dopamine addictions may be more insidious because addictive emotions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, ideologies, rhetoric, and deceptions also trigger release of  dopamine.

An addiction is anything you can’t stop doing and it serves as an anxiety management system.  Along with addictions come formidable psychological defenses.  They include self-deception, denial, and a lack of morality that can even lead to a capacity for murder.   Reason, integrity, morality and a distaste for lying, cheating, stealing, and killing  that non-addicts value are often no match to addicts of:   power, money, fame, substances etc.   We see  in history and current events “examples of unstoppable, unreasonable, inhumane, addict/killers attacking, vilifying, and eliminating reasoning, humane, non-addict/non-killers” (The Dopamine Project)

Addicts have an amazing capacity to dismiss and deny facts, truth, and reason.   “Dopamine flow fuels addictions: More dopamine = yes, like, do more while dopamine withdrawal = stop, hate, avoid. “Thinking”   justifies, rationalizes, and defends  dopamine-influenced decisions”. (The Dopamine Project)  In other words,  intelligence  in the service of  addiction.

One of the most addictive abstractions is money.  Someone  addicted to alcohol or drugs, increasingly organizes their life  around the use and abuse of their substance(s) of choice.  The person who uses money to mood alter can have their relationship with money spin out of control; by being overly focused on accumulating it, spending it, hoarding it or using it to control people, places and things. For example,  as with a drug or alcohol, tolerance increases and a person  may find him/ herself needing to devote increasingly larger amounts of time to these activities, to get the same mood altering high that only a little once provided.  They become increasingly preoccupied with all things related to getting and maintaining their “substance”  excluding  other areas of living.  Gradually, just like any addict, money and the relationship with money becomes a primary preoccupation.   (Tian Dayton, PhD)    Personal drives and identity become so wrapped up around money  that they lose sight of who “they really are” .

No matter how much they have, money addicts crave more.    As with all addictions, the first pleasure is soon replaced by cravings and withdrawal.  Acquiring more money only increases stress levels which keep money addicts craving more money while worrying about losing what they already have.  Money is highly addictive because it quickly and easily converts into other dopamine triggers that feed other addictions like drugs, foods, sex, gambling, approval, status, and power.  The corrupting influences of money addiction everywhere and at every level of society.

So what does this have to do with Finding your “Self”. 

“Since our capacity for Self deception is truly monumental”  (Yorum Kaufam ) Self Awareness and  Self Mastery entails being aware:  of who we really are, what truly matters, the emotions that drive our behaviors, being able to “regulate or manage them,  knowing our passions, our talents, owning our weaknesses and:   what our “Self”,  Psyche or Soul are asking of us.  This is an awareness of what we truly value and a growing understanding  of our place in the world and connection to the transcendent.  To get there,  we need to recognize the mine fields, the seductions and powerful conditioning  of society that  pulls us to these  baser levels of living, wanting  and consuming.  Freud wrote that “The price of civilization is neurosis” – neuroses defined as  ” being someone who you are not”.

Rather than conform mindlessly or automatically to the expectations of  society,  we can  listen to that small voice. If we are quiet and still enough, summoning the will to live a life that is authentically ours.   “When we allow our light to shine we give permission for others lights to shine” ( Marian Williamson)    The great change agents throughout history, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, etc.  all answered their summons to raise human consciousness, be in relationship to the transcendent,  live mindfully, ethically and see all of humanity as family.

It is OK  to not fully know our  selves or our true North.   The beginning of wisdom is to realize what you don’t know.  To get there requires openness, receptivity and  mindfulness.    I was forty before shifting into my role of teaching, coaching & training.   By  seeking to stay true to yourself, your values and what energizes you is the compass that helps in finding your way.

The Greek god Aesculapius decreed “that it  is through suffering we come to wisdom” .   Avoidance of suffering can lead to and fuel addictions, compulsions and flights from reality.  (James Hollis) Suffering can also give us empathy, understanding and insights which can help others work through their pain.  Being fully human is to experience the full range of emotions.  Being aware and   experiencing   “all”  emotions enables us to live more fully,  better exercise  free will,  intentionality and grow into the person we are meant  to be.

 “There is hope for the world if enough people do their inner work“. C. G. Jung

References and suggested readings:

The Dopamine Project – Better Living Through Dopamine Awareness : see  http://dopamineproject.org/

Swamplands Of  The Soul – New Life in Dismal Places, James Hollis inner City Books  1996

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should do the Opposite.  David Disalvo Prometheus Books  2011.

The Portrait of Addiction by Peter Metzner


How do addictions and compulsions happen?

According to David Disalvo in his book What Makes Your Brain Happy and why You Should do the Opposite;   “Our brains are equipped with a reward center that serves to adaptively motivate behaviors that benefit us. Without this drive to seek out pleasurable experience we would be very dreary.

This center is  called the mesolimbic reward center. It is like an unprotected power grid that  can be high jacked from external forces.  These forces make use of the same reward circuitry.  The problem is that the new rewards  are usually  not beneficial.  Our brains suffer a type of reward distinction blindness and new imprints are integrated into the grid.  (Koob et al. Neuro circuitry of Addiction)

The common denominator of in all compulsive behaviors is a mal functioning reward center. Whether it is drug abuse, addiction to the internet, video games, gambling, sex, or over eating the same underlying dynamic facilitates compulsive continuation and intensification of the behavior.  (Disalvo)

Research on rats found that stimulation of the reward centers of their  brains made them become compulsive.  Rats trained to press a bar that activated electrodes  in the pleasure center of the brain would not stop pressing the bar – forgoing sleep, eating, drinking or having sex as long as the bar was available.  Many starved to death – they never gave up the bar. This explains why meth addicts forgo food, sleep and sex to get more of the substance their brain craves.   The more the reward is sought the more the craving and the compulsive behavior is reinforced.

Dopamine is often called the reward neurotransmitter.  It  is essential to our survival but  a potent enemy within when our brains reward circuitry is overwhelmed with the wrong types of rewards.  When it comes to technology, Dr. Gary Small, in his book, ibrain, found that someone with compulsive tendencies and (there are estimates of 50 million people in this country) is predisposed to a range of addictive behaviors and technology has a way of accelerating the process.

Carl Jung pointed out to the founders of AA “that the craving for alcohol is the equivalent, on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness – an implicit attempt to connect with a higher power”.

Alcohol or any mood altering drug offers a brief promise of this connectedness and then yanks it away. One must continue in order to anesthetize this new pain and so it goes. (James Hollis, Swamplands  of  the Soul)  “Whatever structure we have erected to bolster our shaky sense of self, our addictive patterns are defenses against anxiety whether we know it or not.”  (Hollis p. 90) All addictions and compulsions are anxiety management techniques.  As the anxiety mounts, we indulge in repetitive patterns that allow us to connect briefly before the angst and emptiness return.  This is a good description of what a living hell is like.   As Hollis writes “what cannot be born consciously  will be projected onto a person, a substance, a behavior … Compulsions narrow life down until there is no living – existence perhaps but no living. “

So in addition to overcoming the physical addiction and highjacking of our reward center, which is very difficult, Hollis also states; “the guilt and shame linked to our short comings erodes the strength needed to confront the unthinkable.”   To go down in the anxiety state to feel what we really feel is to go through and break the tyranny of the timeless emotions that haunt us” .

Suggested readings and references

Swamplands of the Soul – New Life in Dismal Places.  James Hollis 1996 Inner City Books

Under Saturn’s Shadow – The Wounding and Healing of Men James Hollis 1994 Inner City Books

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should do the Opposite.  David Disalvo Prometheus Books  2011.

Neurocircutiry of Addiction, George f. Koob et al. Neuropsychophamarcology  35 Jan. 2010

River of Time Guided Visualization and Relaxation Process by Peter Metzner


How ready or able are you to: 

  • Eliminate stress?
  • Sustain self-confidence in the most challenging situations?
  • Maintain a healthy perspective towards life challenges?
  • Letting go of self-limiting beliefs?
  • Discovering your true life’s goals?
  • Staying  calm?
  • Generating a good nights sleep 365 days a year?
  • Enjoying a greater engagement with life?
  • Maximizing your energy all day long?
  • Dealing with the complexities of life?

For the price of a decent bottle of wine you can change your mood and life forever. 

I  made a CD and audio of a guided visualization and relaxation process I have been doing with various groups for over twelve years.  After going through the process,  many report:  increased self-confidence, sense of well-being, a healthier perspective, ability to  connect to meaningful goals, greater calmness and focus as well as sleeping better and having more energy!

The River of Time Audio enables you to experience  deep relaxation, allows you to release stress and let go of self-limiting beliefs.

It is crucial for health and mental well being to activate the the relaxation response daily.   A relaxed body relaxes the mind, giving a much greater capacity to manage life’s challenges.   It is clinically impossible to be anxious or stressed while the body is relaxed!

There are numerous ways to activate the relaxation response.    Gardening, golf, walking,  meditation and yoga to name a few.  An advantage of the guided visualization and relaxation  process is that not only does it assist  in achieving a deep state of relaxation – it  helps in letting go of self limiting beliefs and can you connect to the  true  North of your  inner compass.

After facilitating dozens of this process live to students, teachers, and people from all walks of life, many have connected to deeper and more meaningful goals;  and experienced the calmness, focus and drive to take action in going after them!

I hope you will experience this proven process.  Below is a  testimonial:

“I really enjoyed the River of Time CD!  After listening to the River of Time CD I experienced that I slept better than I had in a long while. Those 20 minutes were the most stress-free, relaxing, and encouraging 20 minutes ever!”
Once again, thank you!  Mollie D.

River of Time CD

The River of Time audio can be ordered for $9.99 from http://dynamicchangeinc.com/blog/shop/shop/river-of-time-digital-audio-download/

Or a  CD for 14.99 (Free Shipping) from:  http://dynamicchangeinc.com/blog/shop/shop/river-of-time-cd/

Please send your comments. They will be helpful for others to see!

Finding your Inner Compass by Peter Metzner


“We are living in a material world”  Madonna

Society and the media especially condition us to think  that something outside of ourselves will make us happy or fulfilled. Think of the onslaught of Television commercials viewers are exposed to on a daily basis. If you are an adult and watching TV at night you are exposed to every imaginable pill that that will take care of:  Aches and pain, acid reflux, arthritis, depression, sexual dysfunction, to name but a few.  Advertisers would like us to  think there is  a pill for every ill.    Not to mention the clothes, cosmetics, cars, vacation getaways  presented  to make you think you need them to be happy.   Advertising is Classical Conditioning at its best or worst depending how you view it.   If we see something over and over again – regardless of whether it is true or not we tend to believe what we are seeing.  Since our brain is usually more active when we are asleep than we we are watching TV – being in a relaxed semi- meditative state makes us more susceptible to being influenced by the images and messages we see over and over again.

Ekhard  Tolle states:  “If something out side of your self is the reason you are happy then you are hostage to it.”      In my 12 years of coaching, training, and teaching Psychology; I have yet to find evidence of a link between material wealth and fulfillment and happiness.   If we are happy, material comforts and financial independence can enhance our sense of well being… however if we are unhappy  we are  like hungry ghosts -always searching and consuming  – never satisfied.  “Having more things does not make an unhappy person happy”.  No amount of riches, material comfort, business success, distractions, etc. can make us happy if we are anxious, driven, unhappy, suffering from low self esteem or lack of meaning and purpose in our lives.

Happiness is a by-product having a purpose, finding meaning, enjoying “good” relationships and feeling like we are making a difference in the world around  us.  We cannot be psychologically mature unless we feel like we are making a contribution to to the world or leaving it in a better state than we found it.  (Erickson) I am not saying it is wrong to want to be affluent and have financial security and travel the world.  I like striving for these things as well.     Maturity and mental health come from knowing who we are, being responsible for our behaviors, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, accepting and loving ourselves thus being able to accept and love others.  (Marion Woodman)  Affluence in the fullest sense is knowing what matters, going after what is truly right,  meaningful, having a sense of being connected to something larger than ourselves and  having healthy and supportive relationships. In other words: claiming our personal authority, knowing we all have a purpose for being here,  finding our own unique personal connection to the transcendent and world around us.

Living in the past

Imagine going to a photo shop and having film developed. (Remember the days before digital cameras?) You take out of the package some negatives to view.  You look through one and  put another negative in front of the other. What do you see?  Probably a blurry picture with the first picture obstructing the much of the view of the second.  in a similar way, we view our  present circumstances through the lenses of past experiences.  What happened to me before is clouding the experience I am having right now.  So if I hadn’t bonded well with a primary caregiver such as my mom or dad, this can become the template I view future relationships.    Inadvertently, unconsciously (of course)   transferring and projecting the experiences, emotions and interpersonal dynamics from this first “picture” on to the experiences I am having right now.   Our mind is like an analog computer constantly searching the data base for similarities to past hurts, threats and fears causing us to see and react to the present in similar ways we learned and reacted  to the past.

The good news is; when we become aware of this,  we are able to have choices in how we respond to what is presently happening.    When unaware, it is as if we are on  autopilot tending to create and recreate similar patterns from our past – resisting the role we are playing  in our current situations,  believing that what we are living is created outside of ourselves.  Feeling like a victim is a good example of this.

Psychologist Harvel Hendricks wrote;  “Everywhere I go and everywhere I may be, I see mommy and daddy and they see me!”  If we choose to stay unaware, we often recreate and carry into our relationships very similar dynamics as we experienced from our family of origin.  Cruel isn’t it?   We can fall deeper  into  self deception by making assumptions like:  he makes me feel this way or if I wasn’t married to her I would be happy.  Unfortunately while half of marriages end up in divorce; second marriages have around a 60%  plus divorce rate.  We often marry the same person as our ex – just different hair color eye color etc.  Same  person basically just different packaging.  If you think some magical other will make you happy, then guess what?  That “special” person may then become the cause of your unhappiness once the honeymoon is  over!   Just because you have a different partner doesn’t mean that you have learned to dance.

If there are some areas of your life in which you are feeling stuck or are not to your liking; here are some questions to consider.

Is what I am experiencing a familiar or recurring dynamic? 

When did  I first experience this ?

What other  recurring patterns I am experiencing or recreating in my life?

When and with who did these patterns start?

What is the story or belief about myself  that is behind my being stuck in these repetitive situations?

  What role did or am I  playing  in this or these relationships not being as healthy or supportive as I would like?  (Could be career  relationships as well.)

Answering these questions truthfully can be a great journal exercise and enlightening as well.

Once we become more aware and are responsible for our situations we have choices.  We are able to intentionally create and live more closely to our authentic self, needs and values.    If I realize I am attracted to needy people who will take advantage of my generosity;  and realize an unconscious need to create dependencies (rescuing) so I feel accepted;  I can make  better and healthier choices. I might want to consider; In what ways do I need rescuing?   It can be painful to recognize that I have set myself up – that  it why it is easier to blame others  for my conditions.  However, this won’t change anything except fuel  co- dependent or conflicted relationships. Co-dependency we can define as a  hostile dependency.   Often we stay in unhealthy relationships – painful as they are because they either fill an unconscious need; affirm a limiting belief about ourselves  or allow us to play a life script that we unconsciously living. (Like the good boy/girl  or caretaker)   The discomfort of this realization can be very painful but it can set one on the path to having needs met in conscious and healthier ways.   Awareness sets the stage in which  the healing can take place and helps identify what needs to be done to have  more fulfilling relationships as well as a meaningful career or vocation.

The list of ways we recreate our past can be exhausting :  Like a thermostat setting,  we often made up a stories about ourselves  based on  early prior experiences from our family of origin.  This “setting” is often unconscious and thus more powerful in directing us to experience  over and over again the emotionally charged core ideas  we adopted about who we are and what is real.  It could be words from an angry parent, a sibling or bullies from school that we accepted as true.   Being so young,  we simply didn’t know any better.

When our needs are not met or we feel we are not understood, are shamed, neglected, abused or abandoned or feel stuck ;  some of the more common, emotionally charged core ideas are:

I am: 

Not lovable

Good enough

Smart enough

Pretty or handsome enough

Deserving or capable

Can’t trust

Needing  to be perfect (to be accepted or acceptable) 

Something happened long ago ,  we made up a story;  something else happened,  and we made up an assumption about ourselves.    These stories we made up then “set” or became a part of our identity and the template in which we view the world. They became a part of “scripts” we started operating from.   Unknowingly, the thermostat became set – before we could be aware that the setting can be changed.   We took it for granted, co-created relationships, experiences, emotional states and engaged the world in ways that are congruent with these assumptions; constantly finding evidence for these self limiting beliefs and associated pain.   Believing is seeing.   Tony Robbins states  “The mind sees what the heart feels”.  Psychologist Eric Berne found, ” We act in ways to make others behave in order to justify how we  feel”.  Even if the feelings are unconscious.

Since the “outer” world conforms to our inner experience;  we often don’t challenge the stories we made up from these early experiences.    It is like shooting an arrow into a wall and then drawing a bulls eye around it.  We think that this is simply the way it is.

Our self esteem, self image and expectations align themselves to this reality that we have unwittingly co-created yet so often resist.   Otherwise highly intelligent, creative and talented people are stuck or trapped by these unconscious self limiting beliefs.   The outer world that is experienced on a daily basis mirrors these beliefs and the illusion appears as real.  How about that for magic!   You thought only magicians could make illusions appear as real.   You/ we have unconsciously been powerful magicians making illusions or delusions appear as real as the sky is blue.   Yorum Kaufman writes:  ‘”Our capacity for self deception is truly monumental”.   If you want to see what is going on in your inner world take a look at the outer and you will see a perfect match.

The encouraging news is: these made up stories based on interpretations from childhood pain can be adjusted.  We need to realize that as children and for that matter as teenagers we were “Ego Centric and Narcissistic”.  This means it is all about me.  The world revolves around me, the sun rises and sets because of me and the reason Dad drank or left or Mom hit me is because of me.  If these assumptions are not challenged they can become integrated into our identity, often suppressed or repressed because they are painful. Resulting fear and anxiety often comes from:  “I don’t want to feel the pain and hurt I am trying to block” or  “I am afraid I will be left or hurt again”.

Depending on the severity of the empathy deficits , emotional, or physical pain experienced:  Anger and rage simmer, (suppressed or repressed)  fester and can erupt and leak out in very destructive ways.  We can also become emotionally insulated and detached as well – so as not get hurt again.        We  perceive the world through these lenses of beliefs and or pain– focus on the data that supports these assumptions even when they are unconscious.  “Whether we know it or not we steer the ship of our experiences based on the prevailing beliefs of who we are and what is real”  (Fielding Institute) Almost like being on autopilot with faulty programming!

For example,  with mistrust the story usually is “You can’t trust anyone – they leave you!”  Or people take advantage (never mind that I have been training them to do so.)  To change these beliefs, first we need to be aware that they are there.  Our unconscious beliefs, attitudes and emotions can and often sabotage our prized endeavors. ( Jim Farr ) Once we are conscious and aware we have choices; for “what we are unaware of manifest itself as fate”  Carl Jung.  We need to do our work!

What to do about it

First, notice how the false self stories you may have adopted are playing out in your life.  Like a scientist and without judging,  observe  how your experiences may be a mirror for these emotionally charged self limiting beliefs.

What does fear make you do? What does fear keep you from doing?    Now imagine what your life will be like as you let go of any of these self limiting beliefs and fears.  What would you do? Who would you be with?     If you let go of fear, imagine what you could do!

When you are aware,  calm, self forgiving, accepting  and open; you are  less likely to be hostage to reliving the past and stories you’ve made up about who you are.   You are more able to live from your true self and create more affirming beliefs.   (If we make it all up.. why not make up something that works better?)     You are now ready to start answering  deeper questions like:  “Whose life have I been living?”;   How do I start living my life and answer the summons of  my soul?  How do I embark on my hero’s journey? What actions do I need to start taking.. Now!