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newstasis :: a blog about improving wellness » 2012 » April

Archive for April, 2012

Breakdowns Become Breakthroughs - But It May Take A Moment

We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us
so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid,
or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder.
We always have the choice.

Dalai Lama

A Facebook friend posted that quote early Monday morning. I “liked” it because I do, thought about commenting and realized that what I was going to say was more than a few lines, so here it is.

I immediately thought about my skin. When I’m under a lot of stress - psychological or physical - I develop dry patches that seem to flake off. They aren’t ugly per-say, but I’m aware of them and since I talk to people face to face for a living it is important that they feel free to open-up and not fixated on something that is unrelated to the conversation.

I moisturize, up my fish oil, make sure I’m well hydrated and have even more veggies, but this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the flaky skin needs to come off and that will leave parts of my face extremely red.

So back to the Dalai Lama’s comment that my friend posted. Experiences can either rub your skin and make it blister, or they can exfoliate the skin and bring forth new life. Either way, there is going to be some redness that isn’t exactly what everyone would consider youthful or beauty. But give it a moment in time and you’ll soon see what comes of it.

Life is suffering, dangerous and scary, but through the challenges we are given the opportunity to grow. We either grow stronger or weaker, but we never grow the same. Those who have breakthroughs exfoliate their life with the circumstances they are dealt or select. Those who remain stuck let life blister their life, leaving the scars that stop the new life from growing straight out.

My Strongest Trait - Analysis - Why My Relationships Breakdown

My interpersonal relationships began to go wrong when I started to suffer depression a year after Natalie died. My analytical strong trait developed as a way to cope with the feeling of being alone after Natalie broke-up with me and then died. It didn’t take hold until about a year later when my depression faded. I had been working diligently to uncover a solution to my grief and confusion and found that everything could be altered by changing the context. Life was then simple because all I needed to do was understand enough to change the context.

My relationship with Natalie was normal for a first relationship. Fun, passionate and fearless. The first part of it with Leigh was the same, along with spontaneous. But after the depression, I started to analyze things in a way to fix them. It’s a truism that a human being will stop what they are doing spontaneously EACH AND EVERY time something goes wrong. Most of our coping strategies are attempts to fix or avoid the things that we judge to be wrong.

I became and remain effective at identifying the things that aren’t working. This isn’t a problem for the most part, it made me an effective manager and trainer, and now serves me well as a performance coach, but it creates challenges that many people do not face with their relationships given that I’ll usually try to fix as opposed to accept my partners for who and what they are or graciously part ways with them. I work aggressively to correct the things I judge to be wrong; and with an alienating intensity that makes people back away. It will be even worse when someone mentions that they like to be challenged because I’m immediately enrolled in the process of their future optimization.

I LOVE the analysis! Human beings are programmed to find being right to be rewarding - we get jolt of neuro-transmitters with every right answer we get or with every pattern we match. It stands to reason why I do this because I’m able to identify things that are wrong and get rewarded. But there is one major flaw in this which makes it unworkable in my interpersonal relationships - there is nothing wrong with the girls I date. All of them are amazing, highly intelligent people and are very highly functioning. Some optimization may be possible, but it isn’t needed. The types of people who are drawn to me tend to be fairly self aware, bright, articulate and passionate. They are looking for spontaneous partnerships and NOT a tune-up.

It’s clear that my strongest trait, the one that developed to keep me alive and reorganize my life after the almost unmanageable trauma of the premature and unexpected death of a loved one, served its purpose well. I’ve used it countless time to manage lesser traumas, a number of tough break-ups, and, ironically, it seems to be the cause of a greater amount of pain in my relationships than it now prevents. It’s a fantastic tool for work, I can uncover the things that aren’t working for my clients quickly and almost effortlessly. Efficient service and exceptional value are two things that clients deserve, but they are things that girl friends tend not to be in the market for.

My future is loaded with possibilities that didn’t exist before and in many ways they exist because of my strongest trait of analysis. My career has started and I’m closer to fulfilling my purpose. The quality of my relationships can improve with the expression of this trait outside of the context of them. For this piece of knowledge, I am grateful!

3 Months Later

My father has been gone for 3 months today. I didn’t notice it until I was eating dinner with mom and she mentioned it. It’s an easy thing to forget I suppose. It was kind of cold outside at the end of January, nothing like the glorious day today has been.

I went running with Leesa today. We’re doing a run in a couple of weeks down Young street and I haven’t been keeping up with my training so we go out each Sunday. I really enjoy running with her because she is like family to me - we are completely honest with each other and she calls me on the stuff I say that doesn’t make much sense. She is one of the few people who constantly challenges me and doesn’t feel bad about it. She is as analytic as I am and a true pragmatist.

I went climbing with Leesa a few days before I gave-up my compulsive life and her comment that I was really insecure stuck with me for a very long time. In my post Goal Oriented Action - A Great Proxy For Confidence I spoke with little personal experience about setting and working hard to achieve goals being a fantastic substitute for confidence and if you do it for long enough you will eventually build confidence. 2 months later I can say with personal experience that working towards goals is an effective way to eliminate the need for confidence.

It is kind of funny because I can’t say it builds confidence; not yet anyway. What it does is take your mind out of past and places it temporarily into the future to set the goal and then directs your attention into the present moment. This focusing on the moment is peaceful because there is no depression based on memories or anxiety based on the future. All you have is future / present time that allows you to work towards a future by just being.

I miss my dad a lot, but I don’t think about it much. Memories of his laughing still float in and out of my mind each day. I touch his urn and say “good morning” or “I love you dad” when I’m up really early to go to work. I don’t push the thoughts of him out of my head, they just aren’t there as much as they were in the month following his death. I took the time to grieve my ass off and then took responsibility for my actions moving forward. I can’t undo any of the things in my past so I made amends a well as I could and created the possibility of being better than I was in February 2012 for the rest of my life.

I think about my mom more than anything. She’s doing a lot better, but for her the loss is a lot greater. She doesn’t really have the goals that I do to keep her going and lose herself in. I’ve got a couple of business to build, my health and spirit to stabilize, friendships and relationships to cultivate, books to write and people to mentor. Her action list doesn’t have those things on it. I’m not sure what is on there to be completely honest because we don’t talk about that stuff. I like it when she laughs and jokes around with me, Des and Sarah, and when the neighbors brings over their two children and my mom talk to them.

It almost pains me to say this, but my life is better now than it was 6 months ago. My dad’s passing was a wake-up call to me, and he gave me a stern warning about life a week before he died. He didn’t do many of the things that I was doing, he preferred life and experiences that were not clouded in compulsive escapist behavior and he was hopeful that I would stop. I think he’d be happy with the choices I’ve made in the last 2 months and I don’t think there would be much he would say I should change. I love myself unconditionally for the first time in my life because I am being integrity and living an authentic existence, and that is good because without these or the unconditional love of my father, I’m not sure what the last 3 months would have been like.

My LandMark Forum Part 5 - Day Two, Part Two

On the way back from lunch I saw the walking dead guy. He looked the same, different clothes, but same hat and look of not giving a toss about anything. I say to him “hi, is this making anymore sense to you?” and he replies “no, not really.” He wasn’t dead, he was actually very engaging in his 3 word reply so I asked him if he wanted to chat a little because it was making some sense to me. To my surprise he said “yeah, that’d be cool.” We’ve got about 20 minutes before the next session begins so we head upstairs to chat.

I had no idea what was about to happen, I had little concept of what was capable of coming out of my mouth or my mind or that I was about to be changed. Friendly small talk on the way up in the elevator and we go into one of the big conference rooms were a lot of people are talking, eating and being all LandMarky.

“So, what’s going on” I say as I turn my chair to face him. He turns his to face me - this is odd, no one else this weekend had done this. I have a way of leaning into people when I’m trying to open them up and they almost end-up wearing me like a bulky Irish sweater. He did almost the same thing and begins to talk. He was born in a different country and moved to Canada when he was 9 with his mom. At 13 he gets HIV from blood because of an illness and the lack of appropriate testing at the time. His mom dies a few months before they would have become Canadians citizen (I believe they were refuges), he goes to live with is uncle who make the decision to not adopt him. The principle of his school outs his HIV status with gets him effectively kicked out of school. Not being a citizen or permanent resident the government denies his health care but allows him to stay in the country because is HIV wasn’t his fault. The doctors tell him that, without treatment, he will be dead in a few years and that there’s no way he’ll see 30.

I can hardly believe what I’m hearing and ask “how old are you?” “37″ and he continues. He didn’t know what else to do so he got a job, an apartment, some junky friends and got wickedly high to ride out life. Not point in doing anything because the doctors have told him he’s going to be dead before he can make something of himself.

Well, I don’t know what else to do but listen, analyze and try to figure-out when I can do my thing. Keep him talking is my first notion. He’s still alive so that’s something.

“That’s fu(ked-up.” Not my shining moment in coaching, but honestly, I couldn’t say “check please” and walk away so I went blue. “Yeah, but then I turned 30 and I wasn’t dead and I didn’t seem like I was going to die so I stopped getting high and just sort of wondered what do to next.”

“And?”

“Well, I met a girl, we feel in love and, not having a problem with my status she married me.” They moved to BC to get away from his junky friends and to get him the chance to clean-up. But his immune system was beginning to dip and when he ended-up in hospital with pneumonia, it looked like HIV was going to take him down. But it didn’t, and was he was recovering, a doctor asked him about ARV medication stating that he was “the one in 100000″ that caught a break and lived long enough to get a chance to get them.” His viral load is non-existent, he and his wife had a child and they moved back to Ontario.

This is my opening so I launch, “can I say something?” “Sure.”

“I’m talking to a corpse. You are dead and this is overtime. The doctors gave you till 30 and you lived until 30. But your body wouldn’t die so here you are. You are a god damn miracle, except you didn’t plan on being here and you have no idea how to enjoy life. You moved from a different country, had your mom died, got poisoned by the government, neglected by your uncle, outed by the school and lied to my the very institution that killed you when they said you would be dead a decade ago. Your so messed-up because you’ve started act two of your life and never learned how to live at all.”

Pause, it was registering, but not enough for him to break the silence so I re-up and go again. “You did the very thing that anyone would do in your situation, you packed in as much fun as you could because it didn’t matter, you were dead anyway. But you didn’t die and when it got boring you stopped. But what skills do you have, what method for enjoying live did you find other than getting high?”

“Nothing.”

“So that’s why you are here. You are here to learn that you have lived a perfect live, done the perfect things based on the information you had. Created the perfect future based on what you knew. But it was all bullshit because your body didn’t do what it was supposed to do in-spite of the fact that you worked it over. You have no purpose because you are dead. This is all screwed-up because you were supposed to be gone a long time ago and your brain hasn’t been able to figure stuff out.” This got him, there was a change in everything about him. It started with a smile, then his posture changed, then he became excited. “You just need to figure-out what you want to do with your life and then do it. Do you cook, exercise, have you hiked, can you start a support group, can you have this conversation that we have just had with other people, …”

It was on him now. He was awake and alive again and, frankly, I had a hand in it and for that I took out of it that I am special. Not because I am particularly amazing, I am, but that’s not what it is. I am special because I see the possibilities in a way that most other people won’t aggressive attack people with. I didn’t give him sympathy, I didn’t set out to make him feel better, I set out to make this Landmark Forum weekend work. I didn’t have an idea what I was going to get into and, if I had, I don’t think I would had started the conversation. I was scared to death once it got going because it was scary. I wasn’t afraid of HIV, I was afraid of the conversation. Frankly, he is a bigger person than I am, he is a greater person than will ever be. I am a simple general in the battle for human potential who is naked, bold and fearlessly authentic in their quest.

We hugged, he thanked me for his rebirth, I thanked him because he had let me run my game and been open enough to the coaching, feedback, and thought and emotional manipulation that seems to come very easily to me. We parted ways and I felt pretty good about the universe. There was a moment when I thought to myself “you need to leave now, this weekend is complete. Performance coaching is something you have been doing for a long time.”

I stayed, stuff continued, and when I went out to my car for dinner, I noticed glass around on of the tires and it looked like it was going flat. This was a pisser that I couldn’t shake as I went back for the final couple of hours. Thoughts of me leaving at 10 to a car with a flat tire stayed with me until about 9:15 when my world got vaporized.

How To Get Past Loss

The last few months have been a real challenge. I’ve watched my father get sick and die from a brain tumor, I’ve had some special relationships end, a few friendship erode and disappear, and some of my work goals vanish. I take responsibility for most of it - my dad getting sick notwithstanding.

In the same period of time, I have seen some big improvements and the creation of a new future has emerged. Greater work possibilities presented themselves the day after the other ones disappeared, I was given forgiveness and allowed to complete everything in my past that was holding me in it, I became friends again with the two most challenging break-up partners I’ve had, I discovered my nature and uncovered my purpose, I got rid of most of my compulsive behaviors and I took a few huge steps towards enlightenment.

How is it possible to find such progress in a time of total upheaval? There is an approach that makes it all possible and it is relatively straight forward:

1) Understand the power of context in altering your experience of reality. I finally realized and accepted that life if meaningless. If it had meaning, most people would know it and be living it. But they aren’t. Trying to continue to live is basically the only thing that all human being do, so if you want to say that the meaning of life is to keep it going, fine. But anything more than that is a fabrication. Since it is meaningless we’re free to do whatever we want with it. Find or create your purpose, update as required and fearlessly start being it.

2) Keep your blood sugar level in an appropriate range. If this level drops too much, the prefrontal cortex will begin to shut down and logical thinking will become impaired. Once logic disappears, you are left with emotional thinking which is only concerned with keeping you alive. You’ll stay alive, but you aren’t going to be much use in recovering from loss.

3) Stop altering your consciousness with chemicals - smoke, alcohol, whatever. Your brain does its best everything when it is fueled with natural food and very few chemicals. Alcohol impairs your ability to process and assimilate information, so the grieving you do when you’re drunk (or have had a few drinks) is pointless. The lessons and realizations are lost and you just suffer; there is no plus to speak of. It doesn’t take much booze to waste the opportunity - a single glass of wine or beer is often enough to render the brain incapable doing what it does to move you through a challenging experience. If you are looking to change your life, don’t drink, smoke or get high.

4) Reduce your stress as much as you can. This means in all areas - reduce exercise, work schedule, social commitments, relationship obligations, oxidative stress associated with poor food choices and inadequate hydration and get as much sleep as you can. Your body has a finite ability to recover from stress and the loss of a loved one is tremendously draining. You will transition through this period of your life much more quickly if you focus on dealing with as few things as possible.

5) Accept that processing loss needs to happen and that it will be a lot easier to deal with sooner rather than later. People will support you a lot very early on, they tend to withdraw and assume you have an adjustment disorder if things aren’t improving after a few months - spouses and parent will take longer than friends, siblings or adult children. The key is to allocate time to recover and take it to mend.

Our species has been dealing with loss for its entire existence, so the proper coping strategies are written into our generic code. Take the time and let the body, brain and spirit do its thing. The end is near, just so long as you take the time you need to located and move towards it.

Responding To Criticism

There is a saying “to escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing,” but I have a feeling that you’ll still have your critics because people are outstanding at taking their critical eye off of themselves and casting their judgmental gaze upon others. It’s what a lot of people do.

There are a number of different approaches when it comes to these people shelling out their opinion but how you engage their words will be basically the same. You hear what is said, you consider the words without allowing the tone to taint your understanding, consider the information that is being given to you and the actions it helps you take or avoid, you then consider the source of the criticism to determine the amount of value their words should be given and then you make whatever changes you need to based on the merit of the criticism. And if you don’t know what to do or what you think, you simply just wait until you do know what to do.

This approach is effective because it makes the initial assumption that what the person is saying *may be* valid so you do not waste good feedback because of the source; good advice or criticism is good regardless of who says it. Don’t miss out on a gem of wisdom simply because it came out of the mouth of someone who doesn’t like you.

Some examples:

“You are a complete asshole” - this type of criticism isn’t helpful because it reveals nothing about WHY the sayer believes you to be an asshole. There are no clear actions to come out of it. They are likely trying to hurt you for something or number of things they believe you have done. It doesn’t matter who says this, it’s not worth engaging. Probably the best reply is “thanks, I’m lots of things!”

“When you raised your voice, I thought you were going to hurt me” - this is very helpful because it reveals the emotional state of the sayer (fear) and it introduces the catalyst for their emotional state (your action of raising your voice). It is reasonable, regardless of who says this to you, that you can avoid this person becoming fearful by not raising your voice. It reveals a lot about their past, likely that they’ve been exposed to yelling in a caring environment that was supposed to be safe and nurturing.

“When I was with you, you never knew what you wanted” - this isn’t very helpful or actionable because it reveals opinion and it is passively blaming. This isn’t the type of criticism that is very useful on it’s own and, given that it is reports about something in the past, it isn’t actionable. Your options here are to engage the person in a conversation to find out what they are trying to say or just thank them for their opinion and move on. It may be worth considering off-line, but if they are in your past consider just leaving them there.

“Well, I wouldn’t have done X if you didn’t do Y” - this is fantastic criticism because it reveals a lot about the sayer and it provides you with the framework for preventing X in the future by avoiding Y. All is well until we consider the source, then it should be rather scary. If you doing Y makes someone do X, you have a surprising amount of control over them; you don’t actually so there’s a very good chance that you are talking to someone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their actions.

Now, the best part about criticism is that when you have some for someone else, you can be very confident that you have the same criticism of yourself.

My LandMark Forum Part 4 - Day Two, Part One

I did not sleep well, which is to say, I had the most magnificent dreams and was so excited and glowy all night that I didn’t really get more than 30 minutes of sleep in a row. The alarm when off and sprang-up, showered, got dressed, did more of my homework, made lunch, went shopping for food and drove into Toronto.

I was tired, but not drained. The truth is, I had found a source of energy that I couldn’t adequately explain. It was a contained, calm but focused energy that hasn’t left me and that I have come to describe as the vitality of living in the moment - I get very little sleep now yet have this same energy when I am in the moment and feel as tired as I am when I’m off purpose or out of the moment.

Admittedly I was a little cocky. I felt fantastic and completely connected to most of the people. I was beaming, smiling and saying hi to people and, with each person who said hi back I felt more alive and with each one that didn’t I instantly saw their past, the life they had lived and the fact that I was either scary, dangerous, both or they were afraid. I cared enough to feel sad that they were not as happy as I was, but knew that I could help them if they were open to it. I said hi to the leader asked him a question which is answered with one word and turned away.

I felt sick, put right off. “What the hell was that?” I thought. It was kind of rude and since my cheque had cleared I had been anticipating something different. “I really don’t like that guy at all” was my thought as I took my seat.

Things began and I honestly have very little recollection of what was going on for the first part of it. I had been gamed or something and was wildly unsettled. We reviewed our homework and it was about making peace with someone in our past with whom we had allowed our lack of authenticity or a racket to leave things incomplete. At it turns out, most of the people in the room had issues with their parents or an ex. Okay, that’s bull crap, they had issues with themselves, specifically their lack of responsibility and their need to blame others for their place in life. This was a decent section for me, I had made peace with everyone in my life and all but one person had accepted my apology and given me forgiveness. Des has encouraged me to consider steps 8 and 9 of AA Twelve Step Program at the beginning of March to help me move on from an slightly tangled past. I accepted that rejecting forgiveness is a keen way to say locked in the past and made the decision to leave them there.

The sharing during this portion was me thinking stuff that was almost completely over the top. Still ringing in my head was the “I don’t want to make you feel better, I want to set you free” comment from the night before. I listened openly to what the people were saying an instantly heard the child in each of them. It was sickening the lack of responsibility that some of these people were taking for their own lives. This is common so the leader asked everyone who was 23 or younger to stand-up. There rest of us were then asked to look at them and, as we did, the leader said “this is what most of your parents looked like when you were born.” I broke-down. I’m almost 20 years older than my mom was when she became a mom, am 15 years older than my dad was, and I have been a complete asshole in some of the things I have thought about my parents. A complete judgmental asshole. I’ve had the luxury of spending 15 years reading, learning, and living life while my folks would have been raising Des and me. He sealed the moment with “if you are here it is because your parents were successful. Their job is to keep you alive until you are an adult.”

The sharing with partners began and I listened to someone bitch about their mother and younger sister for 2 minutes, when it was my turn I asked her to continue, which they did and, with about 30 seconds left I said “can I tell you want I’m hearing?” With their permission I unloaded the truth and did not make someone feel better. I told them that ignoring her mother for 3 months is the best way to let a parent know that they did a shittie job, that her younger sibling mistreating her mother was likely learned from the older sibling (her) and that, if she really wanted to feel good about herself that maybe she should call her mom, and apologize for acting like ungrateful child, poisoning the families sense of love and having the nerve to blame it on her. “You’ll be free the very minute you ask her for forgiveness, say I have no idea what it would be like to have your oldest daughter ignore you and then listen to her tell you what it was like. You’ve screwed up pretty bad here and if your first call at lunch isn’t to your mother it’s now on you because this is the way the world is.”

At lunch I called my mom and asked her when was the last time I told her that she and my father had done a great job with me and my brother. “The other morning” was her reply. We were both smiling and she told me she loved me and hoped I was having a good weekend. I didn’t call my old friend because I had already talked to her and didn’t see any value in repeating myself.

LandMark Forum Letter To Who I’ve Been Inauthentic With

Having made amends to everyone I crossed during my chaotic journey the only person remaining to ask for forgiveness was myself. Part of the homework was to write a letter to this person. The goal was to complete the past and let them know about the possibility I have created for myself and my life in a way that leaves them touched, moved or inspired for having gotten that possibility. This letter was written on Friday evening and reviewed on Saturday morning.

I didn’t say it out loud in front of the group; it would have been unfair given that most of the people there hadn’t attempted to complete their past and needed the coaching a lot more than I did. Des, Adam, Leigh, Kinga, Kate, my dad, Sean, Jeff, Lisa, Christine, Brett, Chris, Heather, Rachel, Mau, my mom, Tony, Deb, Glenn, Kim, Leta, Steve, Ryan, Sarah, Sara, Mirella, Mandy, Sharyl, Andrea, Ben, Kristian, Jeff, Elaine, Rebecca, Rosa, Lauren, Gary, Dr. Gilbert, Jackie, Melissa, Brenda, Dr. S, Dr. H, and many that I’m forgetting, didn’t get their names or didn’t realize helped me while it was happening have been beside me to remind me that in my living of life is the being great, inspiring and unstoppable.

Hi Pat,

As you know I am attending the LMF this weekend with the intention of reconciling the difference between how others see you and how you see your self.

The truth is that these things haven’t been that far apart. They view you as great, awesome, capable, smart and loveable. The key issues is that you haven’t been authentic in accepting that you are these things and your desire to be right about how wrong they may be.

It is meaningless when all is said and done, but you’ve been laying meaning onto in order to maintain anxiety and remain small so you can complain and not risk.

Your romantic relations have been to serve this need so you seek out girls to fix without realizing that they are not the broken ones and that you are in no position to judge them anyway.

You’ve delayed the start of your second act of your live and found yourself staying away from people who treat you well. This has hurt you as it is inauthentic, you suffer when you are lie. It has caused you to engage in a lot of compulsive escapist behaviors and seek out distraction.

The possibility I have invented for myself and my life is the possibility of being naked, bold and fearlessly authentic in my quest to help create order in living and non living things. To this end, I am starting with you and your potential and am committed to give you the time, energy and focus needed to move your towards being Patrick William McKinney in all that you are, all that you do and in what others see you as being.

With love and adoration, be well,

Patrick

My LandMark Forum Part 3 - Day One, Part Two

As the session begins, we’re asked to consider what we are thinking about, how we feel and what our impressions are of the first few hours. I’m feeling very impressed with the day so far. I’m well fed, have drank a few coffees and I’m feeling good about the exchange at lunch. People give different answers, most are what you would expect - running from satisfaction to confusion. The member of the walking dead in front of me raises his hand and when call upon says that he’s “not getting it.” “That doesn’t surprise me” is my thought and the leaders comment is “good, keep trying it on.”

It doesn’t surprise me because the walking dead doesn’t look like anyone I’ve ever seen before other than one of those fellows from the Thriller video. His frustrated response is silent body language that screams WTF?!?!?!?

The next session covers something called Rackets which are persistent complaints or fixed ways of being, the notion of “already always listening” (AAL) which is the internal self talk that seems to narrate everything and the notion that human beings existence is in language. These are lumped together because they are the foundation for reflective human experience.

I consider the scripts that we run to be the same sort of thing as AAL in that we enter into every interaction with a lot of knowledge about the world and a strong desire to predict / win every interaction. Given that we have notions in our heads already, we perceive everything from the stand point of what we know. When all you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail covers this. The rackets are related in that they are the outcome of the AAL. For example, every relationship I have had ends and it is usually the girl who ends them so my AAL would tend to direct me to perceive anything that isn’t positive about an interaction with a GF to mean it is about to fall apart. The racket is that I’m unlovable, not worthy of the love of a female, etc…. It’s some BS I’ve made-up based on my small sample size of maybe 15-25 relationships.

These rackets are noisy in our heads and they taint the perception of anything we believe is related to what what we’re presently experiencing. The language component is critical because without language we don’t really have a way to keep things going - experiences become memories which we can recall but tend to engage linguistically to created useful / accessible lessons.

It was pretty heavy, but my psychology degree, conversations with Des, experience with therapists / life coaches and independent learning had created most of the understanding I needed to accept the lessons quickly.

There was some sharing with the people beside us, I asked a bunch of questions to my partner and kept them talking because it was both interesting and what I like doing. It was fun to push the rackets back onto my partner as my observation of what they had told me. Their awareness of themselves was improved and it was good practice for the performance coaching I planned on doing.

My mind got completely blown again about 45 minutes before dinner when we covered actual impact of and cause of rackets; the stories we tell ourselves about what happened. For a while I had been holding considerable anger towards one of my best friends for something that she did. What happened was she made the decision to spend more time with her children and less time with me. The meaning I applied to it was that she had abandoned me. It’s silly to look at now because I really respect her decision to focus on her children but since our experiences linger on in language (the stories we tell) I had scripted a meaning that was great at maintaining the racket.

It was at this point that a lot of my past just disappeared. First off, I stopped feeling really crappy about my dad dying. My dad got cancer, he died, I was sad and grieved. That is what happened. The story I was telling myself that I had lost the 33% of my support structure, my primary male roll model etc… just ended. It’s fine to be sad, but he was content with his life and our family had lived our hearts out for the time between his diagnosis and death. It was actually the best 6 weeks of my life to date; or at least 6 of the best weeks spent living. The same applied to my friend. I loved her, she couldn’t continue the intensity of our connection, I was sad. I still love her, I always will, not because of anything to do with her, but because of how I feel. It’s fine and actually only appropriate for my love to be unconditional.

Dinner break.

The final thing we covered was context, and it seemed to be the icing on the cake made of icing about language. Change the context, change the meaning. This went hand in hand with the Cognitive behavioral therapy that I have been doing - change the thought, change the feeling, change the action. My friend is building adults with her children, not taking time away from me. My father returned to the earth, the very earth he had been eating for his entire life. The same earth we are all a part of, have all been eating and will all eventually return to. I was floating in a strange sense of contentment. No, I was drowning in the bliss of freedom.

The leader gave us our homework and sent us on our way. As I flowed down the stairs, across the road to my car something the leader said before dinner was thumping almost orgasmically in my awareness in a way that committed me to the possibility of a new purpose in my life - “I don’t want to make you feel better, I want to set you free.”

NOTE - what is covered in these blogs is based on my experience and is available on the Wikipedia Landmark Eduction page or available publicly with a Google search.

Changes To Eating For Fatloss Optimal Health

The approach to eating is very simple and it doesn’t require that you change much about the way you eat. In fact, you’ll probably like it get because I ask you to eat more and change a few things about the way you currently eat.

Knowledge, Nutrition, Protein, Timing, Hydration, Recovery

Step one – keep a detailed food journal for 7 days. It should include the time of each feeding, what the meal consisted of, the number of hours of sleep you get each night and the amount and type of fluids you drink.

The purpose of this is to give you and your coach a good idea of what you are eating and your eating habits.

Step two – eat 3 green leafy salads each day before your larger meals. This will be made up of LOTS of dark green vegetables such as spinach, green and red leaf lettuce, asparagus, broccoli along with other garden vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, celery, etc… Avoid carrots and other root vegetables and corn and other field vegetables. Eat these salads at least 15 minutes before you eat your meal along with a 1-2 glasses of water.

The purpose of this is to make sure you are getting sufficient vitamins and nutrients in your diet as poor nutrition is NOT just about eating the wrong things and is often about not eating some of the right things. Also, the vegetables and water before your meal will decrease the amount of food that you eat.

Step three – eat more protein at each feeding - around 0.65-1 gram per pound of body weight each day.

The purpose of eating more protein stems from the fact that protein is used in almost every body process, it requires more energy to process, and it supplies very little energy to the body.

Step four – eat smaller meals every 2.5-3 hours.

The purpose of eating small meals more consistently is to supply your body with nutrient and energy BEFORE the body runs out of them as this promotes fat metabolism.

Step five – drink 2-4 liters of water per day and more when you are exercising / sweating.

The purpose of drinking this much water is that it is somewhat filling and it helps the body function at an optimal level.

Step six – reduce the amount of stress you experience and get sufficient amounts of deep sleep each night.

The purpose of reducing stress and getting enough sleep each night is that they allow the body to recover more completely as stress impairs recovery and a lack of sleep is very stressful to the body.

That’s it, that is all there is to it. I have come up with this approach through years of working with hundreds of people and seeing / hearing most of them claim that it is too hard to eat for optimal health. While I haven’t found this to be the case, the fact remains that many do so the approach needed to change. Frankly, it someone has a tough time eating a few salads before they eat their normal food they don’t really want to change. The same goes for not eating a little more protein and eating more consistently throughout the day.  If these things seem like too much work are you really all that unhappy with the way you look and feel?