According to quantum physics the brain processes 400 billion bits of information per second. Apparently we are only consciously aware of 2,000 of these, which are processed and filtered at a conscious level.
When someone recently said to me “I don’t know how you can sit and listen to people’s problems day in and day out” I was ferocious in defence that my work isn’t like that at all! To the contrary, I explained it’s positively joyous! I help people to establish what they want to change, get rid of, or improve in their lives I then facilitate that change. As a result it is the most privileged, rewarding work, that I liken to watching a flower grow.
So when a friend asked me to help her I jumped at the opportunity. She was bored with her job as a civil servant. To counter the boredom over the years, she had retrained in a number of different skills and was extremely well qualified to make a shift and change her career. There was one problem, she was scared! She lacked the confidence and belief in herself to take the leap of faith required.
We did a small piece of work and the next thing my friend had handed in her notice and moved on. A year down the line she feels fulfilled in her new career, has met lots of people and made many new friendships. I didn’t really do anything. She did it all, by allowing her subconscious mind to create a perfect solution, in a way that only she could know and understand, a solution that resonated elegantly with every part of her on every level. Continue reading 1 Surprisingly Simple Mind Hack
Inner child work is an extremely profound way of empowering yourself, it is a way of re-writing your personal script, your story and enables you to make positive changes in the way that you think and feel.
Before I lose some of the more scientific among you, let me start with the logic and rationale as to how and why this type of work does work!
Your long-term memory, also known in hypnotherapy as the subconscious mind and in psychotherapy, the unconscious mind has many jobs to do. One of its main directives however is to store information, regardless of whether it’s true or false.
The subconscious mind has no understanding of past or future, so memories are held ‘in state’ i.e. in the way that you experienced them at that given moment in time, yet they are simultaneously in the here and now.
Clients often tell me how invalidating and annoying it is to be told “ but that happened years ago, why don’t you let it go and move on.” It may well be that something happened years ago, but as far as your subconscious mind is concerned itis still happening at an emotional level. The feelings from the memory are constantly replaying at a physiological level. Your body is still replaying the fear, the anxiety that the bullying caused. Get it?
The main filing system of the subconscious mind is symbols, pictures and images.
Therefore the best way to work with the subconscious mind is in imagery. Let me explain.
Let’s suppose you have a bad memory, something unpleasant that happened to you when you were twelve. Let’s say you were bullied at school. No matter how many times you look at that memory, you are the victim of the bullying. So why would you want to keep revisiting it? The only reason to revisit an unpleasant memory is to change it, rearrange it and put it back into the subconscious mind in a way that leaves you feeling empowered and if you like, the victor, as opposed to the victim. This works because the subconscious (unconscious mind) believes whatever it’s told!
So we might work with the twelve year old ‘victim’ by revisiting the memory, only this time imagining that your older self walks back into the school room and gives the bully a real talking to, maybe even incapacitates the bully (whatever feels right and justified to you). The adult you can then take the twelve year old by the hand and lead them out of the classroom and take them somewhere safe and secure.
Once there, your older self can engage with the twelve year old encouraging a two-way communication. This means asking the inner twelve year old a question and waiting to sense the response rather than assuming you as an adult knows what that younger you needs.
Often the younger part needs a hug, or to feel loved or heard. In your imagination give the younger you whatever it is they’re asking for, in the best way you can imagine.
Often, whilst in the process of reframing we may have an emotional release. It’s an opportunity to let go of the feelings bound up with that memory. This ‘clearing’ out of old emotions is what feels so healing. We are left with a sense of inner space and a deeper sense of peace.
This talking to yourself silently can feel a bit odd at first but you get better at it as time goes on.
So you might close your eyes simply stare at the floor.
Invite yourself to go back in time to that memory and begin to run it as I’ve suggested above or in whatever way feels like an appropriate positive reframe for you. The aim is to get the ‘stuck’ or ‘victim’ part of you out of that situation and move them to a better place (albeit in your mind/imagination).
I’ll say it again, this works because the subconscious (unconscious mind) believes whatever it’s told! Simples!
Please do not attempt to do this work with highly abusive memories. If you were subject to abuse or long-term neglect or bullying please find a professional therapist to work with.
As an aid to this technique I have made a download called Healing Your Inner Child, which will guide you to reframe negative memories. Again I add the caution that this it is not an appropriate tool for long term abuse or neglect in childhood. You will be better served to work one-to-one with a professional therapist or counsellor.
In last week’s post I talked about the shadow side of the personality, the place where we store all the aspects of ourselves that we don’t like or that we think might not be approved of. The shadow could be likened to a dark basement that has a ton of ‘stuff’ stored in it. Maybe hidden away right at the back are things that have gone untouched for years, by this I mean parts of ourselves that we’ve banished.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves”
This insightful statement by Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung, I’ve certainly found to be true. If we can take the time to explore the ‘mirror’ and investigate what it is that has pushed our buttons, we are likely to uncover a part of ourselves that we previously pushed into the darkness. By understanding and befriending these parts, we reclaim more of ourselves which leads to more self-acceptance and self-love.
It’s said that 10% of the mind is the conscious, logical, rational part (the short term memory) and the other 90% the shadow side (the long term memory). If this is true there’s a lot of self-examination to do in order to find more inner peace and a deeper meaning to life.
On her way to a session with me, Hayley was really irritated by someone’s music playing from their earphones whilst on the train. She ranted about their lack of consideration, ignorance and stupidity. Although I agreed in principle, it did seem that her anger was disproportionate to the incident. When I asked Hayley why she didn’t ask the person to turn their volume down a little and explain she was unable to read her kindle because of the intrusion. She didn’t know what stopped her from making that reasonable request and being more assertive.
When exploring her feelings of anger, Hayley instantly connected with the memory of a teenage part of her who was listening to music in her bedroom one evening, when suddenly her mother burst angrily into her room shouting at her to turn down her loud music. She told me her mother continued to remonstrate her for her thoughtlessness and lack of consideration for the other members of her household.
Triggered by the loud music on the train, the teenage part of Hayley felt angry, indignant and jealous that her fellow commuter could play his music without a concern while she had always felt inhibited and unable to listen to her music in a public area and even at home, she always had the volume turned really low.
Hayley was able to see her ‘projection’ onto the music playing passenger and some sessions later mentioned in passing that she no longer seemed bothered by other people’s music on the train.
She had reclaimed a small part of herself and gained some mastery over her emotional self.
So the next time someone ‘pushes your buttons’ try this exercise.
Close your eyes and go straight to that feeling and ask yourself “How old is the part of me that feels this way.” Go with your first answer. Ask the same kind of questions that you might of a friend who is asking for your support, such as, “why do you think you feel like that” Or “where are you and what’s happening the first time you feel like this. Use your common sense to have a chat with that part. You can ask, what this part wants or needs in order to feel better and then run an imaginary rescue/healing scenario to attend to the needs of that part.
When we shine the torchlight of self-enquiry into that dark basement and it settles on an aspect that we chose to bring out into the light. There’s a shift, an instant enlightenment and as a result a small part of the whole, feels better.
Those of you that take my online courses will know that I’m a bit of a dinosaur, insisting that you write everything longhand in your journals.
Because you are far more likely to be able to remember and recall that information. It has been a long-held belief of mine from my own personal development work, that writing longhand embeds the learning more fully into the brain.
My thinking is, that the way you make sense of information is personal and specific to you, therefore your notes are written in such a way that is totally unique to your learning style.
As a result you are far more likely to remember them.
Do you know what an analeptic cycle is? I bet you know what a vicious cycle is!
Do you ever doubt yourself? Wonder if you’re quite good enough as a mother, daughter, son, friend, employee, employer or in any of the other roles we take up in life? Do you ever hear that little nagging voice in the back of the mind, or wake up to a stream of negative thoughts?
Welcome to life!
It’s totally normal to feel like this – most people do at some time or another. But did you know that there are things that you can do to quieten the negative chatter, to silence the inner critic?
Here’s one technique for stopping that inner critic