© © 2017 Jason D McClain, World-Wide Rights Reserved.
© © 2017 Jason D McClain, World-Wide Rights Reserved.
A few days ago, a student of mine - a graduate of the Evolutionary Sales course -- asked me if fear could be useful.
Below is my response.
Of course fear *can* be useful. Anything is useful in *some* context.
And in any situation where we are discussing intra-personal matters (our relationship with ourselves) the question is: "do we need to use negative emotions for their usefulness-or is there a way to get the same outcome with a method that creates harmony rather than dissonance and dis-ease?
I think the answer is pretty obvious.
This does occasionally come up with clients around motivation; they are not sure how they will motivate themselves without anxiety. In that situation we have to work with their meta-program around motivation; are they motivated toward vision or away from pain. I have it that it is not a wiring thing (we are "just that way" but a matter of choice, training, and conditioning).
Having said that, if you remove fear and replace it with nothing in terms of motivation, then you will run into problems of ... well, "lethargy" is not quite it, but you get my meaning I trust.
Going into this deeper, let's distinguish what we mean by "fear". I see the following:
1) Fight or flight where your body is in physical danger (rational fear)
2) Fight or flight where we are not in physical danger (irrational fear)
3) Anxiety around not knowing how to do something and we are forced to do it (like land a plane when you are not a pilot and lives are at stake).
4) Anxiety or panic when we imagine some performance situation going poorly (presentations / public speaking, approaching someone we are attracted to, etc.)
#1 and #3 are fine. In fact, #1 is critical for our survival; it can be life saving.
#2 is an invention of our mind and is created by a combination of a lack of facility with self / lack of skill at navigating our interiors and insufficient self-esteem. It is also usually resulting from a gestalt of fear that can and should be cleared out of our past.
#4 is pretty straight forward: it is imagining a future event with a negative outcome. And since that future is a fantasy, imagining it not going well is ... well, silly. It may not be conscious- or it often is. If you imagine giving a presentation and having your notes fall to the floor or everybody scoffing at you, then you will have anxiety (and other emotions). However, if you imagine it going well -- that everything is going to be fine and you make that your internal representation of the event -- imagine that "movie" then you will feel much, much better.
I am not personally motivated away from pain - it has almost no impact on me because of the life I have had; I can deal with pretty much any level of pain. I have also systematically cleared out fear, anxiety, anger, etc., etc., etc. And having worked on my ego structures for nearly 25 years, there is almost nothing that I am not certain I can handle, so it is simply ineffective for me personally. In general, I am future oriented, vision oriented, and "toward" motivated.
I have often found though, that you have to resolve the fear, guilt, shame, etc., before you can take the necessary steps you need to take to get the thing done you need to get done, so how about we skip the negative vibrations in our nervous system, and find ways to motivate ourselves without the blunt instrument of fear? And as we imagine how much more spacious we feel, and how much cleaner and clearer our vessel / channel is, we can live our purpose even more fully because our vehicle (body/mind/spirit/nervous system) does not have dissonance in it that needs to be calmed.
When you realize that you are unborn; when you meet the face you had before your parents were born- the pure Witness, then life becomes lela or play and you can thrust yourself into it with full gusto because you realize that you can't really die.
At that point you have disidentified from that which you *think* is you, but is not really you and you have identified with the ever-present Witness. You have become God.
And in that space, not only do you not need fear for utility, you realize how silly it is to even feel it.
But that's a longer-term unfolding.
Right now, the task is to begin to build and strengthen your capacities to witness and to navigate your own interiors. As you continue to do that the rest will come as a natural evolution; a predictable unfolding. And like a rose in bloom opening to the sun, you will open to freedom.
Whatever you think you are -- you are more than that; whatever and however you identify yourself, you are far more than that. The problems with identification are many -- whether it is identification with/ as your gender, your nationality, your sexual orientation, your finances, your social reputation, your career, your role as a mother/father, your political affiliations, you religious beliefs, your competence or skill in a certain context, etc. -- to identify with any of those things will create problems if/when they are taken away or are shaken at their foundations as you will experience a very real identity crisis. But the "why" it creates problems is because it is not really who you are -- and to identify with it is *at least* selling yourself short.
In the face of such a crisis there are only two directions to move from an ego perspective -- expansion/evolution or contraction/regression. There is no neutral. You can expand to incorporate the new information/circumstances, or you can dig in, regress, and solidify (which requires engaging in some degree of self-deception).
Who you are is none of that. Who you are is Spirit. If you want to identify with something, identify with yourself as Spirit.
Which every breath - breath out your lack of self worth that has you play small and identify with something less than your full birthright and breathe in the fact that who you are is ... all of it.
Who you are is the Witness.
And rest in that, smilingly.
Nothing else really matters. Anything else is chatter. What remains are the ego and self-esteem practices to engage in that have you experiencing the gap between what you think you are (identification) and what you really are -- Spirit manifest.
Let go of the small you and become a full-time God/Goddess. It is your birthright.
This is taken from the Evolutionary Sales course materials. This is no ordinary sales training.
There is no greater core component to your degree of success or failure than the evolution, expansion, and strengthening of the above. There are several reasons for this, but as a refresher: there are two aspects to your self-esteem:
1) knowledge of your competence
2) The feeling you are "appropriate to life; deserve a good life”
1) Value in the marketplace
2) Your Divine worth as a settled matter
Most people have the two domains collapsed or confused. This will cause you to take things personally, deflect feedback, blame others when you have some area you can take responsibility and improve in, make it means something about you, rather than the work in the world (to the degree you are identified with it), and slow your learning and improvement. It will also lead you to attempt to dominate interactions in an unclean way.
There are endless pitfalls, but the path is clear.
The solution(s) is/are to be continually strengthening your capacity to witness -- and increasing your skill at navigating your own interiors --, separate out the personal and the practical, notice when you use leveraging tactics of fear or shame despite your cognitive understanding that it will produce negative results and increase your spaciousness. And ultimately, remember, it is not about you; it is about the work -- it is about service. It is about your purpose in the world, and while that may be deeply meaningful to you, it is not who you are.
Who you are is pure divinity. Who you are is Spirit manifest. Who you are is radical God/dess-ness.
If you want to identify with something, identity with that -- with the ultimate Witness.
Your emotional and ego development is your most important undertaking in your business. In doing so, the system you learned will come even easier to you and the results will follow -- to the degree you get out of your own way.
And remember, all of your results with clients is feedback. There is no result you can produce with another human that is *not* feedback -- both positive and critical/negative results. Even if that weren’t true (and it is) it is the powerful place to stand.
Your business will only grow to reach the limits you have within yourself. The more expansive you are, the more expansive your business and your reach -- and the more fully you will be able to live your purpose and prosper as a result.
You are on the right path. You are doing the right things. Step into your I-I and become.
Find out more about the course at the Evolutionary Sales website »here«.
Last week I had the honor and privilege of presenting to and for the NLP Cafe in Silicon Valley. What was covered and then demonstrated with a volunteer was how to resolve emotional reactions by a huge percentage. While this video does not show the client demo, it does over the general steps and theory of the how the process works.
May it serve you in realizing what is possible for yourself in the context of your own personal evolution and -- if you are a coach or practitioner -- what is available for your clients with these tools.
In Service and In Evolution,
Learn how to facilitate this process with your clients at Getting To Grace -- the weekend training November 15th, 16th, and 17th in San Francisco. Details here: http://getting2grace.com
A few weeks back I led an event titled The Myth of Self-Sabotage. If you were unable to attend, or if you came and just wanted the Clift Notes on it to remind yourself, or if you missed it entirely, here is a screen-cast for you.
It is 19 minutes and 30 seconds long. May you find it useful and valuable in your life.
Learn how to facilitate this process with your clients at Getting To Grace -- the weekend training November 15th, 16th, and 17th in San Francisco. Details here: http://getting2grace.com
If you need the iPad version, your video is »HERE«
"Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment."
― Eckhart Tolle
Often, we make the mistake of judging where we are at as wrong or bad. "I should already have _________ by now." "I am over 40 (or 50, or whatever age) and by now I thought I would have ___________ " or "I am still __________ ing! What's wrong with me?"
Nothing. Nothing is wrong. You know where you "should" be at this point in your life or in your development and personal evolution? That's right: exactly where you are. Do you know why? Because you can't be any other place. To think that you can be is to engage in a particular kind of self-invented torture.
Most of us know that comparing ourselves to others is not very useful. There will always be someone better than us and there will always be someone we are better than at any particular thing or in any area of development or in a chosen context.
It is a meaningless comparison.
But we often compare ourselves to another "other". That other is an ideal self. One we invented and then compare ourselves to, and shame ourselves for not being. Which is really pretty silly--because we made it up! We invented this "other" to torture ourselves.
This creates misery for us. And yet, how do we balance the reality of the gap between who we are and who we envision ourselves to be/come without doing so? If we truly accepted ourselves as "perfect as we are" wouldn't we simply stop developing and evolving ourselves?
The short answer is "no". The longer answer is that the very question points to a lack of understanding of what true self-acceptance is and what kind of experience it creates.
Self-acceptance leads to facing reality--good, bad, dark, light, ugly, beautiful as the reality as it is. In doing so--in building the capacity to stare into the mirror and gaze at ourselves with an objective and clear eye-we build the capacity to dance ...
It is a very delicate dance--seeing where we are and accepting that, and knowing where we want to be and having attention on closing that gap and doing so without moral judgment. But once that dance is engaged in, it allows for even more rapid evolution because we are no longer delusional or in avoidance, nor are we resisting nor are we driven by a compulsion to be a "better person".
Instead, we accept the reality as it is, allowing us to more rapidly see what needs to be done, and because we care about results, we do it--we step into the gap and the gap begins to get smaller and smaller.
We stop evolving to get something and we begin to evolve for the sake of evolution--to be engaged in the unfolding, creating a better world for all.
And it all begins with self-acceptance.
Details for the next Introduction to Advanced Personal Evolution can be found »here«
Some years ago I wrote some guidelines for an intentional community and what I felt would create the best convergence of wisdom and having a responsible "immune system" for a community for safety of those participating as well as the the most freedom of self-expression possible, all while trying to maintain it as Evolutionary -- with constant upward spirals, part of which would certainly include plateaus in that "constancy".
Blah blah, blah.
Anyway, one of the rules I had [and hold] is that in a community with individuals engaged in personal development, where Evolution is present, it is our duty and responsibility to update our interpretations of others.
This is not so unique, and the need is obvious: people have brief interactions with others. "Snap-shots" of that person if you will. But they are brief and contextual. And yet, people then extrapolate out and assess [or judge] this person as X. They then share this interpretation of this person with others. Perhaps out of genuine concern. Sometimes just to gossip.
And those who are careful and responsible in their sharing may even say "I only interacted whit them in XYZ situation and you may have another experience of them", blah, blah, blah.
They may even check in with the person/interact with them to see if their experience/assessment/interpretation was still valid.
And right there is where we can improve this process.
The Evolutionary would check in to see where their interpretation was *no longer* valid. Observe first where we were (or could be) wrong or out of date--looking for difference rather than for confirmation--of and about their assessment.
It is uncomfortable and against human nature's tendency to go for familiarity, confirmation bias, safety, etc. but it is more rigorous in our own evolution and more useful for true human connection and more aligned with what I consider to be Evolutionary principles.
And we will be relating more accurately with the dynamic being in front of us, rather than the stale and static caricature of them in our heads.
[Validation (V) ::: Worth | Referencing (R) ::: Efficacy]
Internal and external locus
If we combine Dr Nathaniel’s definition of self-esteem—that is that self-esteem has two integral and inseparable—yet equally important and parallel—components:
…with another multi-dimensional idea ::: that the “high self-esteem” and “low self-esteem” binary representation is inadequate to accurately explain some behaviors and behavioral choices, and we look at where the individual’s attention is, then we begin to create a richer and deeper—and therefore more accurate signifier—a more accurate representation of esteem for the self.
I prefer that phrase, that is: esteem for the self, to the more common phrase “self-esteem” for two reasons:
The sad part is that what most of the “experts” in academia call “self-esteem” is simply not self-esteem, but rather “other-esteem”. This can border on the absurd when supposed experts call for an end to competition. Or, an end to grades in school.
Given that our esteem for the self is our immune system for life, it must be tested, so it can grow, respond, and develop the metaphoric antibodies to the hardships of life. While I am far from competitive, I am glad it existed in my upbringing. Grades. Martial Arts training, science contests, spelling bees, etc.
Anyway … to bring a richer texture to the conversation … in the above figure we have 4 basic locations or orientations to esteem for the self. Internal / external and validation / referencing.
Below are some relatively raw notes on the quadrants above, but more importantly, below that is a table that lays out some of the misconceptions about what it means to have true esteem for the self. For those of you who know me to be a proponent of stage conceptions, this is not in conflict with an egoic stage conception, but it would overly complicate the conversation for mass consumption to add another dimension in this writing.
If you are curious about how this quadrant-based model would interact with a stage conception for egoic development, shoot me an email … ok:
With no further ado:
UPPER LEFT ::: If someone is Internally validated [VI] and they are externally referenced [RE] then we have the ideal situation; someone who is internally validated, and therefore “immune” at a core level from the opinions of others—yet also externally referenced, meaning they care about gathering feedback from the outside world and from others—so they can continually become more effective, and—if need be—adjust their behaviors. This quadrant is the healthiest of the quadrants. Those grounded in this quadrant will be happiest, more at ease with themselves, interact more effectively with others, and produce better results in the real world.
UPPER RIGHT ::: Internally validated and internally referenced. Not ideal. They truly do not care about the opinions of feelings of others—and do not need them, but simultaneously they do not notice their impact or care about their impact. You could call this person the empowered idiot. Unaware entirely.
LOWER LEFT ::: Externally validated and externally referenced. This person is constantly contorting themselves to whomever is around them, based on subtle or gross cues, but they are also dependent on the opinion of others to feel good about themselves. They try to be everything for and to everybody. I jokingly refer to this quadrant as “hell”. They will never feel good about themselves as they are never in touch with themselves—and do not even know who they are—and their feelings will shift like the wind upon the whims or preferences of others.
LOWER RIGHT ::: Externally validated but internally referenced. This person is desperate for people’s attention, their validation and praise, yet is inner-focused and not able to adjust to cues. Imagine them seeking approval, and constantly bumping into walls and people all the time. Desperate for approval. Never quite able to do the right thing to get it. Let's call this quadrant "purgatory".
Pseudo Self-Esteem; Myths Of Self-Esteem
True Esteem For The Self [The Truth About Self-Esteem]:
People with “high self esteem” are egotistical or arrogant. They are always proving something to others or to themselves. They talk about how great they are all the time
Have supreme, unshakeable, yet quiet confidence; they know when they are good at something and know they are fundamentally “OK” and have nothing to prove—not even to themselves. They have no need to talk about how good they are at what they do: for them it is simple fact.
People with high self-esteem do not admit their mistakes—or admit them more slowly than others, as they are unwilling to admit they screwed up.
People with his esteem for themselves can and do admit their wrongs and faults and their mistakes quickly as it “means” nothing about them. They are more concerned with efficacy than how they “look”.
Others can somehow “hurt” your self esteem
Are internally validated, so others opinions, while important for efficacy, has no effect on true esteem for the self [otherwise, it would be called “other-esteem” rather than “self-esteem”
People with high self-esteem do not care about what other people think or about others’ feelings
Want to know how they are impacting others-both positively and negatively-as they are willing to adjust their behaviors; efficacy above all
It’s bad for most children’s self esteem to “lose” in a competition [as there is always “winner” and a “loser” and far fewer [and often only one] “winner”.
Are just fine losing, but rather have the mind-set around acquiring more skill/developing further, and look forward to the next opportunity to “compete:” yet have no need or desire for competition as such
Need people to like them or need them
Are fundamentally at peace and love themselves absent any acknowledgement, praise, or need from others; they eschew dependency of others or idolization from others
Thrives on the praise of others
Have no desire for the praise of others, but takes note of what the other prefers for the practical purposes; for the sake of eficacy
Until next time ...
In Warmth and In Service ...
Over the years, I have written several several takes, applications, thoughts, and republished dialogues on ego and self-esteem.
In terms of personal development--irrespective of your motivations; no matter if the flashpoint is your inter-personal relationships or professional life--there is no single factor that is more important to the core of your happiness, your ease and flow, and your general thrival and expansion than your egoic development. From ego-centric to gender-centric or ethno-centric to world-centric to cosmo-centric.
Blah, blah, blah. Heh.
Below is a round-up of those articles to date.
Some are tailored to small business folk. Others are more abstract and theoretical. One is a dialogue about ego among me and my brilliant friends on facebook. All are important to you as you settle into the you that is expanding personally, professionally, financially, relationally...and yes, of course, Spiritually.
Where the rubber of possibility meets the road of reality [and sometimes leaves a mark] and whether it gains traction or not, is with this single point of access.
Yes, it will enable you to handle the crap life throws at you. Deal with the less visionary of the world. Regain your balance when you lose it, be able to draw boundaries, ask for what you know you deserve, and have the confidence in the truth that everything will be fine ... eventually. That you will learn, grow, develop, and thrive. Eventually.
And remember, while the distinctions are important, an ounce of integration is worth a pound of insight or knowledge. Build the muscle. Practice. Notice. Witness.
Okee-dokee. Enough of me waxing poetic. Here they are. From the divine to the practical. From the theoretical to the hard driving and direct. Have fun.
In Service and In Evolution,
One of the main challenges that small business people face—particularly solo practitioners or “solo-preneurs” in general--is the problem and the art of motivating oneself.
You are your own boss. If you have employees, then the game may be a little different for you as you have people depending on you. However, if it is just you, there are often no external forces telling you that you must do any particular “thing”. There are certainly exceptions to this—client deliverables, purchases that have been made, the general inertia of your business pulling you along at some point, but really, especially at first, it is an uphill battle for many on their own.
There are so many aspects to this problem of motivation that some never figure it out—or worse, they find solutions that compound the problem in the long-term because the “solutions” are ill-suited approaches. Ill-suited to them as individuals.
To really add fuel to the fire [or baking soda to the lack thereof] we have distractions, overwhelm, time management, prioritization, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
What works for one person in terms of motivation may or may not—and often does not—work for another. So it is with time management, goals, and the like. There is no one-size-fits-all or even a one-size-fits-most solution. Particularly for those who are more sensitive both emotionally and kinesthetically/energetically, many of the “take massive action” or “get present to the consequences if you do not” approaches create more internal dissonance, and if the tasks or milestones the individual is accountable for are not accomplished, this can lead to a build-up of that same internal dissonance, or worse, feelings of guilt or worse still, even shame, and with the principle of compound interest on the “debt” you have with yourself…well, we can see where it may and often does lead: overwhelm rather than accomplishment.
Even if it does not lead there for you, these levels of intense urgent styles of motivational techniques can cause a lack of balance at best, and at worst, hardcore burnout.
What is the solution? Custom design your own motivational strategy using a few basic principles and approaches.
Step 1: Discover Your Style
Find out what works for you at a base level. Since at least Aristotle was writing in the 300s B.C. we have known that humans are generally motivated in two basic ways or “directions” ::: away from pain or toward pleasure. Or both.
Stated in the context of goals and deliverables: away from consequences or toward a vision.
You will notice one creates leverage [and often contraction and internal dissonance] in your body—it pushes you. Compels you. Often uncomfortably. The other pulls you forward. It is expansive. It opens you and draws you toward it.
The danger is to judge one or the other. Urgency/away from/consequence driven motivation could be “bad” because it creates tension and dissonance. Vision is “good” because it is expansive. Or the reverse; vision/toward is “bad” because it does not create massive intense action, necessarily. Urgency/away from is “good” because it creates more instant [in some] results.
An additional component is style is how you like to be supported.
This is also a critical component. While I am not an "accountability coach" per se, and never have been, quite often, clients ask me to support them in getting stuff done. Before I even begin such an aspect of our relationship, and since I can assume almost any style of coaching to serve them at this point, I ask them ::: how do you like to be supported.
No this before asking for external help--or be prepared to explore that inquiry with your friend, guide, coach, or accountability partner.
The truth is, whichever style works for you, as you become more aware, even now, at how you have created results in the past for yourself—when you found yourself simply motivated to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish—is the “good” style for you.
If an “away from” strategy works best for you, then create externally supported consequences to propel you forward. Engage a coach professionally, who coaches in that style. Or have a friend be your accountability partner—and someone willing to enforce uncomfortable consequences for/on you.
If this kind of approach has you feel overwhelmed, or has you feel like running from your entire support system [missing phone calls, not emailing them when you said you would, unaccomplished tasks building up, etc.], then consider the other approach: an approach that has you moving toward a larger vision. Toward a future you are creating. An approach that has you stay constantly present to the deeper meaning in the work you are doing; what your purpose of mission is, so you stay in the game. Plainly put ::: remember why you are committed to doing what you are supposed to do, in the grand scheme of things.
As an example: you’re not simply “having a client session”. You are doing far more than that—you are helping someone have the life they have always dreamed of. And even greater or larger, you are contributing to the evolution of humanity itself—to a global vision of the Greater Good.
Mission. Vision. Life Purpose.
Whatever your style, be sure you use the one that best suits your sensibilities and produces the results for you, in your life, that you want produced.
Step 2: Make Your Tasks Bite-Sized.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” –Anonymous
It is not an "event" is an unfolding process.
Make sure your expectations are realistic, and that your goals and outcomes are in stages, and a palatable size. Often, people set these wild expectations for themselves or they have their goal of “building a business” be a one-step process, rather than what it is: a natural process of growth we see all around us.
First, we crawl. Then we walk. Then we run.
You would not expect to go to the gym for the very first time and lift 300 pounds would you? Of course not. You would go, do a little to stretch yourself—just get a little sore—and then do a little more until you are at the level—eventually—you want to be at.
Nothing happens in one step.
And make sure the chunks are an appropriate size for your sensibilities—again, not someone else’s no matter how much of a “motivational guru” they are.
Allow me to give you a personal example. Nearly a decade ago now, I used to make 200 cold calls a day. However, I did not last long when I tried to declare or commit to making that many phone calls. Too large of a chunk. So I tried blocks of 50. It was still daunting. Eventually, I got down to committing to simply doing blocks of 10. That was easy. In fact, it was so easy, I did another 10. And another. This little psychological game I played with myself made it easier and easier to consistently accomplish 200 calls a day.
Make sure your level of expectations (your workload, your milestones, and even your to-do list if you use one) are all designed to maintain balance, while consistently building and growing.
Slow, sustainable, constant growth and expansion is always preferable to short-term, over-the-top goals, as that is the sustainable, and more ecological [both emotionally and systemically] approach.
I will suggest one thing : make sure you always accomplish the most important or most pressing single task for that day. Just pick one. You know which one it is. If you want to do more, great. But commit to doing that one thing you know needs to be done today. If that “one thing” is too large a task, break it down into sub-tasks, and eat that elephant one bite at a time.
In sum, there are three major steps to “motivating” yourself.
Test. Adjust. Test again. Find out what work. Build on your successes. Harvest the lessons when you miss your target. Build upon that as well. Often, those lessons are even more valuable than accomplishing what you set out to do.
If you know where and how to examine the failures they are always more valuable than the successes and will lead to exponential success in the long run.
Have fun with it. Remember, it is your life. You get to live it as you choose.
Jason The McClain
somebody i met was asking me if NLP processes can change an identity layer as deep as sexual orientation.
Great question. Several ideas about it:
There are some aspects of sexual orientation that may extend into identity structures, but I am uncertain about the presupposition that there is where it lays--in fact, after seing hundreds of clients, for some people it creates tremendous internal dissonance when they finally admit to their desires because it is directly in conflict with their identity structures. In other words, I disagree with the presupposition in the question.
this guy is straight and very open-minded. i think he genuinely wanted to know about the range and reach of NLP. i did tell him that i did a training with richard bandler in 88 or 89 where he *claimed* that guys (terrified of aids) had begged him to "make them straight" AND he said that he did that!
Bandler may have in fact done that. Again, lots of "instant research" in the early days. But if Bandler did it and was bragging about it, I would be even more hesitant. Bandler once bragged in a video I watched about installing a phobia in someone so they would stop sitting in the front row. Ugh. However, there is a documented intervention [Laid out in "Heart of the Mind", I think] where a guy was effeminate, and supposedly gay, married, but did not enjoy sex with men [or something like that] and there was an event where he was going under anesthetic, struggled, and was put under. This was somehow tied to the effeminate-ness and cleared and his orientation "changed" to straight.
Again, not sure the guy was ever really homo-erotically driven.
NOW, i am open-minded, so i said i think that there are aspects of person's 'taste' for certain things could be altered and very likely even the cues for arousal. i am also aware that there is a big difference between chemistry/attraction and a constructed identity--so yes an 'identity' could be shifted. BUT I don't really know if the primary gender attraction could change.
Yeah. I agree with you here.
If someone came to me wanting to change their sexual orientation/gender attraction, I would probably decline to do so. But I would do it elegantly in this way ::: Get into communication wiht the part of them that feels like something is wrong with their desires [assuming consenting adults] and look at the guilt and shame that must be driving the desire to change and resolve that to make them okay with their mutually consensual, alternative, yet natural desires. Thereby sidestepping what I consider to be a questionable intervention.
To me, that is a more ethical approach, rippling out to areas in every aspect of their life, creating internal peace, and avoiding making change that is motivated in the ways this request for change likely would be.
It is not the thing itself [sexual orientation in this case] that is the problem, but the relationship to it the creates it as a problem.
And again, just because we can, does not mean we should.
Self-acceptance being one of the highest and deepest contributions we can make to our clients.
Your Self Worth is a Settled Matter
I wrote this to a client in an email and thought it may be useful for others to read:
The mountain we climb in Personal Evolution is a bit like a mirage while hiking/climbing a mountain. You could stop now and camp for the night--or say screw it and go back down the mountainside. You can also see there is a reachable summit. So you choose to go further--yet...when you reach what you thought would be the summit, there is yet another summit that materializes out of the mist. And this goes on forever. There is no omega point except when you choose to simply stop and rest.
Each of us have that choice every day. For some, we still consciously choose to continue to deepen our depths--and plumb just behind them. There is no end or bottom to the depth, there are only unplumbed depths. For others, they have achieved a high enough peak, that there is no motivation--no real life reason--to climb the next. And there are others I will not list in the interests of time. I choose--consciously--to evolve further when I should or must--that is when my business or financial or relational results are inhibited by some aspect of myself. Otherwise, I am pretty darned content with where I am at--BUT I still need to have constant attention on where I need to be for others in the context in which I want to move with greater velocity--or frankly, sometimes, ANY velocity.
"it's okay to lose, so long as you learn from every game you choose..."
“If there is no future, and there is no past; if all we’ve got is right now, then…let’s make it last.”
"Remember your dreams because your dreams become the life you lead..." --Prince Rogers Nelson
Human beings have a strange relationship to time. We sometimes get stuck in moments and replay them over and over again. We often fail to live in the "present"—not hearing the person right in front of us. Some of us are so focused on our goals in the future we often fail to enjoy them when we attain them—rather, setting new, bigger, more impressive or more challenging goals without ever pausing to enjoy the view from this new height.
Then there is this idea that there is only “the now”-- which is certainly one way to think about it. At the same time, while the past and future may only live in our minds, so do so many other things. Does that mean they do not exist? Memories? Fondness for someone? Plans for our future? They are indeed “real” even if they are strictly intra-subjective experiences.
If we declared they were not, we would have to say things like intentionality, compassion, hope, and love, were not “real”. Are you prepared to say compassion is not real? Aside from the most dogmatic of scientific materialists, I know very few who are willing to support that argument.
What then is the most appropriate and useful relationship to time that we could cultivate, such that we accelerating our personal evolution? How can we use our internal representation of time for emotional choice and ultimately, emotional freedom?
The past, in the context of accelerating our evolution, is really only useful for two things: learning, and the storage of emotional states. It is a treasure trove of opportunities for learnings and therefore evolutionary advancement.
If, while we review past events, we simply ask two questions:
1. How am I responsible?
2. What can I learn? (that is positive or empowering about yourself or about the world)
...then our relationship to the past is a healthy one.
That is, it is one that supports increasing our spiritual depth and emotional freedom while building on "mistakes" (less than optimal choices) in a useful way. The first question builds esteem for the self as all responsibility does, so long as we are taking responsibility responsibly—that is free of shame. If we use it instead as an opportunity to shame ourselves or judge ourselves, then we have been irresponsible in this exercise and defeated the very purpose of it. The questions must be answered with a positive or empowering forward look. In the case of a “failure” or a negative event, or perhaps in exhibiting behaviors that are out of alignment with our values: what can I learn such that this will not happen in the future? Or, What will I do differently in the future?
In the case of “successes”: what can I learn such that I can continue to model this behavior? How can I increase my effectiveness even further? The Present People often speak of “staying present” or “being present” or “being in the now” as if we were somehow absent. We are always present—the question is, “what are we present to?”
Often when people are not paying attention to what is in front of them, they are paying attention to their internal representations. Their internal thoughts, fantasies, imagery, or internal dialogue. Building the muscle of mastering our minds such that we are present to what is in front of us when we need to be—fully present without atemporal or past-related thoughts—is one of the critical components of the game of Personal Evolution. There are times when we are not even aware of our internal representations. We must bring these into consciousness so they can be managed appropriately and responsibly. Once we become conscious of them, it may be necessary to use certain mental shifts and practices to “shelve” these thoughts to be dealt with later when it is more appropriate for our lives. Sometimes it is a matter of learning to simply quiet the mind through meditation. Or both.
Often when I work with clients and they are in despair, I elicit their internal representation of time and find it compressed. They are seeing perhaps only two weeks into the future and the events that are occurring in their present are unpleasant--and then it just goes black.
When we extend their sense of time out to include another 100 years these feelings often turn into convictions about what needs to be done--or at the very least, increasing ease.
The truth is that regardless of what is occurring—everything has a nature: it arises and passes away. Nothing lasts forever. This is especially true for human beings. In the greater scheme of things, or in the larger view, or with an expanded sense of time, as we literally zoom out, we become more emotionally free from whatever may be troubling us at that one moment in time. Once the events become objects in our awareness and we are no longer identified with them, we are free form them and can use the events for learnings and make more appropriate choices.
This practice is especially useful for fear and anxiety. The structure of fear and anxiety is that we are imagining some future event with a negative result or outcome. However, since we know that the future exists only in our minds [although in our subjective experience it is very real] then we can bring that imagined future into consciousness and change it to a positive one. Given that neither is more “real” or “true” than the other, the evolutionary master of their own mind will change the imagined future to a positive one and “live into” that—thereby aligning their consciousness around it. While a high level of facility is required, we can all build the muscle of a more responsible and useful relationship to time. Just like all exercise, at first It may cause soreness.
So we start off light. We increase the frequency of our exercise gradually. Eventually, we are lifting heavy weight indeed and are excited about how are new habit is transforming the way we experience ourselves and how we feel. And it is then, that we are becoming free.