You have a wonderful goal – writing your book, finally losing weight, having a great relationship, finishing school, or buying your forever home. But despite clearly understanding the benefits of realizing your dream, despite feeling how much you truly want it, and despite trying repeatedly to achieve it, you’re still stuck. Worse yet, with every failure you feel more frustrated and hopeless.
Having maintained a 150-pound weight loss for 18 years after weighing 300-pounds twice and finally publishing the book I’ve spent 20 years writing, I both understand your frustration and want to offer a way out. Even though the goals above appear to be very different, what I’ve discovered in my 20 years of teaching permanent transformation is that the core of what keeps us stuck is the same.
Sophie’s experience provides a great example. After reading my guest article in Christine’s newsletter last Christmas, Sophie contacted me for help resolving her second biggest challenge – difficulties with food and weight. Despite being an award-winning playwright and poet, Sophie’s number one struggle was feeling paralyzed with anxiety when it came time to work on her book. As with food, she’d worked with a variety of very fine therapists along with way, but nothing she learned prevented her from sabotaging her success. She discovered in our work together that addressing the core of herself freed her from both her difficulties with food and writing.
Here are three steps I guided Sophie through, in the form of questions, guaranteed to help you unlock the patterns and beliefs that have kept you from fulfilling your most heartfelt goals.
Step 1. Who are you taking yourself to be?
Years ago Louie Anderson did a hysterical bit about calling work to say he couldn’t come in because he was three years old. We laugh because, even if we work very hard to hide it, we all feel that way sometimes – young, small, vulnerable, and scared. Other times we can feel rebellious, defiant, anti-authority, and impulsively free to do whatever we want no matter the cost. Or we may feel controlling, critical, rigid, and self-righteous about ourselves or others and what should or shouldn’t be done.
As you can see, our sense of ourselves, who we take ourselves to be, is not constant. In fact, there is cast of players inside, that until we bring transformative attention to them, run a game of power struggles and in-fighting that is actually the secret source of self-sabotage and failure to succeed.
The first thing I taught Sophie was how this outdated inner management system works, how to recognize it in herself, and how to transform these players into the beautiful qualities she needed to live her optimal expression – like true strength, power, compassion, and will. In addition, she discovered the core of her trouble – her false personality style. Like many of us, continuing to take herself to be what she genuinely experienced as a child would have forever kept her trapped in an identity of a helpless victim. However, she learned to separate the truth of her past from the truth of her present and, in the process, discovered who she truly is.
The key to this step is learning about the inner players and your false personality by asking, ‘Who am I taking myself to be in this moment?’ Allow the answers to flow without judging or rejecting them. Which bring us to the next step.
Step 2. Where are you looking for inner guidance?
Do you know the single biggest obstacle to your success? No, it’s not laziness, lack of willpower, or your significant other or lack of significant other. It’s actually a natural part of your personality that has one very specific – but drastically outdated job – to make sure you stay exactly the same as you needed to be in order to survive or thrive in your family of origin. Because it once served an essential purpose (telling us what we should and should not do and be to succeed at home) we tend to think of it as the voice of reason inside us and faithfully listen to it as our primary source of guidance toward our goals. This is a huge mistake. This part, the inner critic or superego, can only do one thing: keep things the same and familiar even if what’s familiar is failure and suffering.
Like many of us, Sophie’s inner critic was vicious and out of control. Very quickly Sophie learned to recognize the sure signs that she was turning to her inner critic for guidance – feelings of low energy, depression, anxiety, deficiency, helplessness, and futility. Over time she mastered the skill of regaining her life force energy by disengaging from this negative aspect of herself. She also learned to source her inner guidance from a new, caring, objective place within that always knows exactly how best to guide her to take her true shape in life. However, this new development required her to shift her focus from being committed to her goal to being committed to the truth of her experience in the moment.
To make this shift for yourself, asking ‘Where am I looking for inner guidance?’ will help you discern your usual source of inner support. If you hear shoulda’s, woulda’s or coulda’s, stop. And instead ask your deeper nature, the Universe or God to show you the truth about this situation and allow the answer to unfold over time. This is a sure way to welcome true guidance into your struggle and is what is meant by the biblical phrase “the truth shall set you free.”
Step 3. What are you committed to in this moment?
When we start paying attention to what’s happening inside us in the moment we realize how much of our focus is both outward and outside of the present moment – in the future or past. Nearly everything in our culture and educational system teaches us to look outside for answers and keep our eyes on the prize. But true, lasting transformation doesn’t happen outside of you nor does it happen in the future or the past. It happens within you, now, in the present moment. Outer changes and fulfillment of your goals are actually by-products of your deep inner change. It can be hard to trust that focusing on what’s happening now will lead us to our optimal expression.
It was for Sophie too. But she learned to be patient with herself as she kept guiding herself back to explore what’s happening in her direct experience in the present moment. No longer limited to just hearing the conflicting thoughts in her head and feeling the familiar ache of sadness in her heart, she discovered the music of her soul – a symphony of thoughts, emotions, body sensations, beliefs, and even deeper experiences of the perfection of her true nature. This is what allowed her to experientially know the truth about herself rather than mentally combatting old beliefs from the past with things she wanted to believe were true now.
Practice this step by asking, ‘What am I committed to in this moment?’ and see if your focus is inside, now, or outside and in the future or past. Follow up by exploring your inner experience more deeply by noticing or journaling the thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and beliefs you are experiencing in the moment.
Today Sophie is preparing for the first production of one of her plays in over 12 years and completing two manuscripts that have been stuck for the last three years. And, now more than ever, her relationship with food is grounded in self-love and compassion. Rather than fighting against old beliefs and her false personality from the past, she experiences herself more and more as the strong, exquisitely talented, beautiful woman she truly is.
With time, you can experience the same freedom from your stuck places by practicing these three steps. However, since it’s impossible in just 1000 words to teach you everything about this totally new way of guiding yourself to your optimal expression, I’m offering a special teleseminar – just for Christine’s people – to fill in the rest of the details and answer your questions. Simply register here [link to: http:// http://o-c-e-a-n.com/freedom] for this complementary call. I hope you’ll put these questions into practice and let me know what you discover about the true and wonderful you.
Dr. Rebecca Ocean is a highly sought after specialist in permanent transformation. She is the creator of Taking Your True Shape®, a compassionate, comprehensive, “No Fail” transformation system that teaches women and men how to take their true shape in body, relationships, creativity, and life. www.o-c-e-a-n.com