But I thought I was being true to myself (Stage 4 or is it?)

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For many people who are on the self-development/ awakening path, the situation I’m about to describe is all too familiar and can be very painful.

Here’s the scenario. We observe a pattern that we don’t like, that has been doing us harm. A common one is to always try and please the people we love by compromising what we actually want and do. And we make a decision. Enough of this, I take my power back, I’m going to do what serves me.

And then we take this new way of being into our life, with the same people we’ve always been giving all our power away to. And we wonder why they get angry and aggressive towards us. Because we’ve been allowing them to walk all over us for such a long time, that when we say no - however gently (and it rarely is gently believe me), they will react.

So there are several things that could be goin on and I’m going to discuss a few of them.

The most common one is that we still have a lot of unresolved patterns going on, beliefs, emotions that we have not yet seen or dealt with. Let me give you an example.

Andrea is a succesful business woman, she owns her own company, is well thought of profressionally yet her in her personal relationship she does everything she can to keep the peace and make her husband feel good. He lacks self-belief and has a habit of putting her down, often subtley but regularly. She starts to realize he is doing this and it’s both knocking her confidence and buidling his up. She has had enough. So next time he tells her that she’s “doing it wrong”, even though her way is working she get’s angry with him and tells him not to speak to her like that. And even though the thing she was “doing wrong” was a small thing, they end up having a huge row because all her resentment from years of being put down, told she is not enough and not given the respect she believes she deserves comes out of her in that moment. Do you recognize this situation?

By the time they have stormed off and cooled down, neither of them really know what the argument was about, they just know they love each other and WTF was this about?

So Andrea has some work to do on herself. The first step to stepping into your power is deciding to do it, but often there is a need following this to go back and revisit the parts of you that still expect to be put down, still feel they should be looking after everyone else even when it’s painful to do so, and the parts of you that don’t have a voice and have little idea how to communicate their needs in a way that don’t sound angry and resentful.

If something like this is happening to you, it’s a great time to revisit stage 2. Find the place on your body that you feel powerful and ready to step forward and put one hand there. Then find the place that is angry/resentful/emotional (there may be more than one so you may need to repeat this a few times) and put your other hand there. Pay attention to each position in turn and say out loud how you feel in each area. See what emotions, thoughts, physical sensations are coming up when you really focus on your body. When you’ve really felt what is happening in both positions, imagine that they are now going to speak to each other and share how each one is feeling. I do this my connection to one position and as I breathe out I imagine all the information going down into my spine and along my spine to the other position, and then back and forth. And there comes a point when there is nothing left to say and a feeling of peace or release or even laughter will be achieved.

It’s always important to remember, if you are triggered, even if the other person has done things wrong and you know it, if you’re reacting the only person you can work on is yours truly, and owning that is the real path to improving your relationship and communication with the other person.

Assuming we have connected to the parts of us that were fueling the argument, it is also very useful to try and look at the bigger picture. When Andrea looked at this, she could see that she’d had the same dynamic with her previous partner. So the common factor was her. She was repeating a pattern over and over with all the men she became intimate with. Just being able to see this is a valuable step, so do step back and see if you can see patterns.

The Stage I would visit at this point would be Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern. The primary emotion is often frustration - frustration that this is happening again and again and again, despite your efforts to change. Where in your body do you feel stuck? Put your hands there, find the stuck feeling and breathe into this area to amplify the connection to it. When you truly feel how stuck you are declare it out loud and really feel it.

To explore the embodied patterns that rule our lives, attend a live SRI workshop, details can be found on the Events Page. Make sure if you have no experience that you attend a Discover workshop first. Alternatively Rachael offers a limited number of private sessions, either in person or over skype. Ask for details.

12 Stages of Human Consciousness - a map to growth and evolution

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We all like to think of ourselves as conscious. As knowing what we do and why we do it. We are wired to be conscious after all.

I have found through years of self-study and working with clients, that we are capable of being so much more conscious that we think, and the missing link for many people is the body. We tend to think of consciousness as something that comes through the mind, through meditation and self-exploration. I agree that these are great tools, but if your body doesn’t support your mind, you will regularly find yourself dropping to lower levels of thought, emotion, behaviour and yes, consciousness.

In his book, The !2 Stages of Healing, Donny Epstein introduces his thoughts on human consciousness. The book is great, but written 30 years ago, I find that the language doesn’t always meet our current experiences… and humanity is evolving and changing.

So I’m going to summarise, in my words, how I experience the 12 Stages and how connecting to each of these stages can benefit each and everyone of us to grow and heal.

Stage 1: Suffering and Disconnection

We don’t feel our bodies unless they hurt. We do everything to disconnect. We feel numb. Suffering comes because we have lost the ability to listen to the subtle messages and rely on loud messages like pain.

Through Stage 1 exercises we start to reconnect to our body, to find ease, to find resources we had forgotten we had. This starts our journey of healing.

Stage 2: Polarity

Although we are healthier than in Stage 1, we are still not fully connecting to our body. We tend to look for solutions or things to blame outside of us. Things can be very black and white, wrong or right. It supports a blame culture, where we don’t really take responsibility for our body, but instead look for someone else to fix us, or something to blame for our problems.

We need to start to recognise that we have different parts, with different needs and emotions. In Stage 2 we start to connect to the parts of us we like and the ones we don’t. This brings us more into our body and less dependent on what happens outside of us. It starts to move us forwards towards wholeness. It is often the parts of us that we have disconnected from that contain the seeds that will heal us, if only we would listen.

Stage 3: Stuck in Perspective

Here we feel like we have done everything, seen every therapist, tried every diet, done all different exercise plans, yet we are still not where we want to. We are running out of idea. We are stuck in a repeating pattern.

Here we need to really connect to our body and observe how “we” hold ourselves in a pattern. The common factor in every thing we have tried is us. Maybe we have something to do with it. But we are frustrated and often angry.

Stage 4: Reclaiming your Power

Enough of this. I take back my power. Because I deserve so much more than this.

This is actually about taking responsibility, personal power is about taking action and owning the consequences and learning from them. It’s about thinking for yourself, not relying on external forces to tell you what to do.

Stage 5: Merging with the Illusion

We are products of society. We have learnt rules, created beliefs and ways of being from those who love us and all around us. Some of the rules work for us, many don’t. Many of these beliefs limit our progress and keep us small and dismpowered.

Here we merge with all the parts of us we have disowned, we embrace the energy we have used to keep us separate from our wholeness. It is an important step towards authenticity.

Stage 6: I’m Ready

I’m so ready for change. I’m so ready to step up. I’m so ready to resolve this.

The energy is building, we can see the finish line. We know that we have done the work. Now we must go deeper again and prepare to clear out the patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us, so we can step into ourselves.

Stage 7: Resolution

We release our patterns. It could be through sound, emotions, some people even throw up. Whatever is necessary it feels healthy and our bodies clear out what no longer serves.

Stage 8: Emptiness in Connection

Peaceful waiting.

There are no voices telling us what we must do, what we should do. We no longer feel obligated to meet everyone elses needs. We are peaceful. There is space, space to wait and observe and see what unfolds. Space for opportunity to fill, when the time is ready. Be still, wait, experience the peace. Emotions of this stage include grace, peace, expansion, love.

Stage 9: Light beyond the Form

We become aware that we are more than our physical bodies and that there is an energy that surrounds and connects us all.

Our hearts open. We feel so much more than we thought possible. We feel connected beyond ourself. We can often read the energy in others and in situations. We experience love, gratitude, hope, so much more.

Stage 10: Being the Light / Receiving your Gifts

We are not separate. We have unique gifts that contribute to the collective.

Here we connect to our own uniqueness and potential whilst experiencing that we are not separate from others but part of something so much bigger than us.

Stage 11: Sharing your Gifts

I have gifts to give and to share. I give these gifts because I can, not to make me feel special or better than, but because that is what I do. Serendipity becomes part of are daily experience. We experience joy and gratitude

Stage 12: Community

Our smallest community it the cells that make up our body. We then expand this to our family, friends, colleagues, then our village, our county, our country, the world, the universe? How big your community is depends on your consciousness.

As we connect to this stage we start to see where we sit in relation to humanity. We see how our actions, thoughts, emotions affect more and more people. And depending on our capacity to connect to a bigger and bigger community this will change how we act, think and feel so that we can positively influence the biggest possible community.

There is so much more depth to each stage than I have shared here. But we all need a starting point and a flavour to work with. I find as I work through the stages over and over, each time I visit I get more depth, more insight. I discover where I naturally connect and where my body does not support this consciousness. Any stage that cannot be fully experienced can limit my capacity to grow and contribute. I see the 12 stages as a spiral and as Stage 12 ends, I realise that I am still not fully integrated, I am separate. Yet each time I visit Stage 1 I do so with more insight and more knowing, because of the journey I have taken up to this point.

Ask yourself:

  • which stages do I recognise in myself?

  • where do I feel challenged?

  • where are my natural gifts?

  • which stages do I want to avoid?

We all have a choice as to how much work we do on our own bodymind. The associated exercises with the Stages provide powerful tools to connect to your body, transform how you act and awaken to so much more of yourself.

12 Stages of Personal Power - Part 2 (of 3) - Taking Action and Making Progress

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Stage 4: Enough of this. I take my power back. I deserve so much more than this.

This is the turning point where we start to realise that only we can change. We are almost always working with a practitioner or coach at this stage, but we need them to reflect back to us what is going on, and to support us in our journey of growth or healing. But as we say “enough of this” it’s like a statement of “I am worth it, I’m doing this because I know I need to change, I need to be responsible for my body, my life, my world” and you start to believe that you can do it. You can make the changes you need to make to be the person you are capable of being.

I have found that men often find it easier than women to claim their power. My personal view is that the stages were designed by a man, so they had a male flavour to them. When I teach Stage 4 I teach it as taught by Donny Epstein, but also from my experience. I find the female experience of personal power is different to the male experience, and have heard the same from many client. It’s good to ask - what does reclaiming your power mean to you.

Stage 5: I accept and embrace my power. I can see the rules that have driven me, that have shaped my life and I am starting to see how and where I have given my power away or taken power from others.

In Stage 5, I recognise that power is about me being true to myself, not holding power over others or circumstances. I see that my beliefs around personal power or responsibility came from outside of me and it’s time to merge with the parts of me that have used/misused power. So many of us are limited in how we express personal power by our parents, by society, by beliefs we have picked up over the years. Stage 5 can be about merging with the parts of us that were scared and had to stay small, and also the parts of us that want to control and have power over others.

Stage 6: I’m so ready, I’m just done with not being in my power, I have so much energy and drive to resolve this, I’m bursting with the energy for resolution and change. I’m so ready to fully step into my authentic nature.

We come to the point where resolution is almost inevitable. But to fully resolve we just check in for any more resources, parts of us that need to be cleaned up, parts that can be utilised to clear the patterns that no longer serve. There is an overwhelming sense of readiness and this is the last preparation to really build the energy up to make the shift we know we are going to make

Stage 7: I recognise how everything up to now has serve me. I’m ready to resolve/I am resolving. I’m letting go of that which no longer serves me. I’m coming into my authentic nature. I am me.

12 Stages of Personal Power - Part 1 (of 3) - How we avoid power?

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In the 12 Stages of Healing we explore different aspects of human consciousness, which gives us insights into what we think and feel, and how we behave and respond to situations. Depending on our default responses, we may have a healthy, rewarding life or a life of struggle to name but two.

How we stay in our personal power seems to be a hot topic currently. There is so much negative press and polarisation out there, we are constantly told what to think, how to respond and what to believe in the media, that it can take us away from ourselves.

So I was called to explore the 12 stages in terms of my own journey and how I relate to personal power and responsibility for self, and this is part of the end result I want to share with you.

I’ve split this into three seasons - Discover, Transform and Awaken (for those of you familiar with Network Spinal Analysis and the work of Donny Epstein).

In Discover we work out how we avoid things, how we move away from pain and discomfort.

In Transform we take action. We are in our power and will do whatever it takes to grow and make progress.

In Awaken, we know that we have a bigger purpose than merely our own life and we explore how we serve and contribute and awaken to the higher vibrational emotions

Stage 1: I am powerless, nothing works, I’m doomed, there is nothing to be done. I am so helpless. I have no power at all.

In stage 1, we disconnect. It can be hard to stay present with your body, your mind races, you are everywhere but deep inside because it is either numb or just too much to bear.

Stage 2: He has taken my power. She is so much more powerful than me. If only this would change, then I could be in my power. I can’t do anything unless xyz change. It’s her fault. I blame my mother.

In Stage 2 we have more resources but we are looking for a solution to our powerlessness outside of ourselves. Or someone or something to blame. We still cannot go deep inside and own our power. This stage is fed by the media, and we are often sold “magic pills” that will make everything ok, only to find that even if we get temporary relief, nothing really changes.

Stage 3: I’ve been here before. Why do I always feel like I make progress and then hit a brick wall. I’m doing so much and I’m still not feeling empowered. I feel so stuck.

I find when this stage shows up that it’s easy to drop back into stage 1 or 2. It’s common for people who have done a lot of work on themselves, looked at their health challenges from many different perspectives to feel pain in this stage. What I remind you to do is if you feel this to remember, you are going deeper. You are only revisiting this stage from a deeper, more aware perspective each time you get here. As you move through different stages you learn so much about yourself. Most of us have wounds that cannot be totally fixed and transformed in one go. Each time I visit stage 3 I remember what I have already learnt and achieved and I know this is a doorway to progress.

Stage 4: How do you Give Your Power Away?

You’ve probably already read the article on Taking Back My Power, but in case you haven’t check it out as there is some useful stuff there.

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What does being in My Power look like?

For me, this is one of the first steps to authenticity. It’s saying Yes when you mean Yes, and saying No when you mean No. It’s knowing your own value system, your ethics, your tolerations and being prepared to stand by them. Sometimes it’s easier to look at what it’s not first though.

How do I give away My Power?

A common example I see on a regular basis is people will say “but my Dr said this….” like their Dr is God. Yes, Dr’s are very well qualified but they are experts in disease and in the pharmaceutical or surgical solutions to those disease. They are not experts in nutrition, in fact most Drs have never studied nutrition, and they are certainly not experts in alternative approaches.

But let’s look at some more day to day examples, because these are often so habitual we don’t even notice that we do them.

If you are in the habit of “people pleasing”, which is a very common way of giving away your power, you will probably have at least one close friend like this. This friend will always want to dictate where you meet, what you do together and it will be very much on their timescale. They may regularly let you down and expect that to be totally acceptable. And you will find yourself making excuses for them, rather than raising your standards and saying “no, I’m worth more than this”.

Another common situation is the friend or partner who constantly puts you down. Often in very subtle ways, almost so subtle that it would take someone else to notice, but it chips away at your self-confidence and you start to believe that you are nothing, that you are not enough, that you are less than worthy. As long as you allow it, you are not in your personal power. You are not being true to yourself.

An example that is more pertinent to women than men is regarding salary. One of my female friends recently discovered that a male colleague who was not performing as well as her was being paid 25% more than she was. Her male boss had made a big thing of how grateful she should be for the salary she was getting a few weeks before this discovery. How she is choosing to deal with this is not something I can share here. The point is, this happens a lot, and many women feel totally powerless to deal with it because it’s “normal” in the workplace and they often can’t afford the risk of losing their job or being branded a trouble maker. Societal norms often make us feel that there is no way through situations like this, so we suffer in silence.

Another example of giving away your power is to always let someone else decide for you. I once dated a man who would not make a decision as to what we did in our free time. He always wanted me to decide. Not only is that very frustrating to be on the receiving end of, it made him far less attractive and was a big reason as to why I ended the relationship. It was like dating a little boy, who needed his hand holding all the time. Had he not been so physically attractive and so much fun to be with, I doubt he would have lasted at all. The question is - do you defer decisions that you should make to other people. And when you do, how does it leave you feeling?

What makes us Give Our Power Away?

I think there are only a few fundamental reasons why we do it. The emotion is often fear, though sometimes it can be shame. Many people are fearful of speaking their truth in case they lose face, lose money, lose friends or lose social standing. We do a lot to maintain the status quo.

It is definitely a case of “pick your battles”. You may decide in certain circumstances that it is acceptable and you will continue to do it. But this often leads to a build up of resentment which often results in a bigger, more uncontrolled outburst (see Stage 2) than is necessary if things were clarified and owned at an earlier date.

Be observant. See where you give away your power, and evaluate the cost to you. And if the cost is unacceptable it’s time to step into your power and speak your truth.

Stage 4 - Taking Back My Power

When we talk about SRI, we are really talking about the 12 Stages of Human Consciousness.

Stage 1: I am helpless, nothing works, I’m so alone

 Stage 2: She’s going to fix me, it’s his fault, I’m not to blame – it’s because of xyz

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 Stage 3: I’ve tried everything yet I still feel like I’m not making progress, I’m so stuck, Yeuch, why wont this change? I’m so frustrated!

 Stage 4: Enough of this, I’ve had enough of this, I take back my power! Because I deserve so much more than this…

 If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced all of these stages at some point. Most of us are very, if not over familiar with stages 1, 2 and 3. Even the most enlightened, conscious, health focused, switched on people experience moments of feeling helpless, wanting someone else to take their pain away or sort out their problems. And many people live almost all of their lives going round and round the first 3 stages.

 Stage 4 is sometimes an entry point for starting NSA or for starting personal growth work (though more commonly it’s stage 2 or 3) . The frustration builds so much that we find energy to start to move forwards. There has to be a different way and I’m going to find it and walk that path.

 Stepping into our power is not the end point, it’s the true beginning of wellness. It’s when we state – I will find a way. I will achieve my goals. I will get healthier, more adaptable, more flexible, more energized, more emotionally aware, more switched on. This list goes on and on and it is different for each and every one of us.

 But in itself it’s also progress. As you make that declaration – Enough of This, your posture will change, your energy will rise, there is something inside of you that knows – I’m going to do this. I’m going to become more of xyz.

 Most of us settle for stage 2 – power over or in relation to someone else, and it often means giving our power to someone else and relying on them to sort us out. In Stage 4, we work with someone else to achieve our goals. We own our part in the journey. We own that the diet of chocolates and biscuits is having a detrimental effect on our body and we replace it with fruit and veg, because we know that we have to take part if we want to be more.

Power Over vs Power Through

In Stage 4 we start to truly own our power. Our results are no longer because of our circumstances, our results our because of our choices, our actions, our perceptions. We own our wins as much as we own our losses. We learn from mistakes rather than returning to blame or giving others credit.

It’s often a journey that at least in the beginning requires many visits to the earlier stages, as we revert to habits, especially those or blame or lack of responsibility. But don’t beat yourself up. Celebrate that you notice and celebrate that you have the courage to step into your power at all. Because a life led through Stage 2 means letting other people control your destiny, your health, your finances, in fact everything. As long as you don’t fully own your mistakes, your choices, your actions it is very hard to feel truly good.

So enjoy the journey, because from Stage 4 onwards that’s where there fun really starts.

When is Honesty not appropriate?

This seems to have been a theme for me recently, so it feels good to share. Because innately we all want to speak the truth, yet when the truth might hurt someone else? What do we do, how do we handle it?

So what does this have to do with body awakening anyway?

Does it hurt me if I don’t tell the truth?

When it comes down to it, I want to be the best version of me possible. If I’m not true to me, there is always going to be a cost.

So one situation I’ve been in for a while now is about 2 years ago I made the decision to stop eating gluten. There is a growing body of research that shows that gluten is inflammatory, and different people respond to a differing degree to it. Well I’m not coeliac, but I seem to be pretty sensitive. I swell slightly when I eat gluten, my joints feel still and sometimes painful and it affects my energy and my mood. So pretty good reasons not to eat it.

How does that make me feel? Well on one level it makes me feel ashamed, ashamed that I’m different, ashamed that my body is letting me down and some fear comes up around being ill if I eat it and being outcast if I don’t. I have a need to fit in. So I play it down, don’t make a fuss, go pretty British - I’m fine.

But my body pays for that. I know I’m not being true to myself, I don’t like that in myself. I lose a bit of respect for myself, for being weak, for not being strong enough to say what I need. And I find my posture collapses when I do that. I feel smaller than I want to. I feel bad. My body contracts a bit. I don’t like these feelings.

So it’s always a good question to ask - when I’m not totally true to myself, what happens in my body? How do I feel? Or even more important - how do I check out and dissociate from these feelings (often we eat sugar or we drink alcohol as a distraction….).

So for me the first thing I need to do is check back in with my body (stage 1 is a great starting point or just some simple deep breathing if you don’t know the exercise). And I own it. I own the fact I’m not being true to myself. Because hurting me is not great.

But how do I avoid hurting the other person?

Well firstly, if it’s someone who loves me, they are potentially going to be more angry if I don’t tell them what I need, than if I just try and fit in. Because they care about me - yes?

And if it’s someone I don’t know so well, well maybe I just need to get over myself. Being honest about something like this is no big deal. Gluten free is so easy nowadays - for example potatoes, meat and vegetables are all gluten free naturally, as is rice. It’s not a hard diet to follow, so why get so worried about it?

So I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m hurting myself, honesty is the only option. And as a Brit, I am trained to be nice, to be polite, to not rock the boat, yet not doing costs me.

You may say - but this is about you, but there must be situations when you should stay quiet?

You know, I’m sure there are. Only you can evaluate what happens in your own body when you either withhold information or truth, or when you consciously tell and untruth? It’s your choice.

I recently felt compelled to tell a fellow therapist why I didn’t want to be treated by her. For me that was quite a big thing to do, because I hold so much respect for anyone who is committed to a healing profession and helping others. But frankly her ego was way bigger than her ability. She assured me that there was no one local good enough to treat her, and then proceded to deliver what I would describe as a beginner level treatment. So what did I do? Well initially I was set to do nothing, just never book another appointment with her and leave her to it. But after conversation with a colleague I thought - you know, if everyone votes with their feet, she will never grow, she wont reach her potential - because her potential was great - so i very gently explained why I wasn’t going to return because my needs were not being met by her expertise at this point in time. Sadly she didn’t take it well, was very cold and shut down emotionally. Whilst I’m sad about that, I also know that standing in my truth served both me and her. No one likes to be told that they are not giving the service they think they are. If I sound arrogant here, it’s not my intention. My intention is to say that we all need feedback, and I know professionally getting feedback can be really hard because most therapists are doing everything they can to be the best they can.

So how do you feel when you don’t speak your truth?

I find I can explore this through so many different stages of SRI.

Stage 1 when I disconnect

Stage 2 when I’m more concerned about how people perceive me and how they will respond me

Stage 3 when I’m stuck in the pattern of being nice, of not saying what I need

Stage 4 when I don’t stand in my power

Stage 5 when I let the voices around me tell me what to do, when I don’t own parts of me that are playing small

Stage 11 when I need to share my gifts

Stage 12 when I need to be in community, in line with what serves the collective….

We all have choices, what serves you?



Christmas is a time for Forgiveness

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I was struck by post that talked about apologizing and what it really meant. Because it’s easy to say I’m sorry, but to go deep and ask “why did I hurt that person” is a different question.

The first thing to do is check your own body. Is there somewhere that feels tight, or you want to avoid? Or do you feel numb? That’s not uncommon and it that’s the case, I suggest you check in with the three positions of Stage One (Upper Chest, Mid Chest and Navel).

What happens when you check in with your body? How can you become more embodied, so that your body can help you solve why you have to hurt others, rather than connect to your own pain. People don’t do hurtful things to the people they love because they want to hurt them. We often operate from a place of shame and hurt, and we are only trying to protect ourselves from feeling more pain and hurt.

I’m not saying Stage 1 is the solution, I’m saying it’s a starting point. You can explore your body from so many different perspectives. If you are more experienced at bodywork and SRI, I’d checkout Stages 2 and 3, and maybe ask the bigger questions - What did I get from doing that? How come I thought it was OK? Did you feel helpless (stage 1) or did you feel angry (maybe stage 2 or 3)? What triggered you?

Enjoy the exploration. You may be surprised by what you find out about yourself.

Happy Christmas, and may your journey towards deeper connection and authenticity be a rewarding one.



Stages 1 (plus stage 4)

This video brings me to tears every time I watch it. I remember it happening. From the pure pain and suffering of the injury, to the glorious moment with his Dad just over the finish line, I defy anyone not to be moved by this…

It’s one of the best examples I can find of Stage 1 Suffering - the loss of hopes and dreams, all over in a moment. What no one expected was the courage and determination (stage 4) that he would then show to complete the race


Stage 3 - Stuck - Making it Real

Words say a lot, but a video can say so much more. If this triggers you, there is some Stage 3 in your body at this moment. I remember showing in a workshop once and one lady literally couldn’t watch it because it brought up so much pain, because it mirrored back to her where she was in life.



Stage 3 - Stuck in a Pattern

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Have ever been at the point when you feel like you’ve tried EVERYTHING and you still haven’t got the results you wanted?

You feel like you’ve been working away at a problem or challenge, yet nothing is coming together. You may have changed your diet, increased your exercise, consulted numerous experts, yet you are still not where you want to be?

You feel stuck and it sucks. It’s just so frustrating and you don’t know what to do about it.

Your Choices

Most people at this point dissolve back into a state of helplessness (Stage 1) or go deeper into Stage 2 (polarity) and keep searching for the answer somewhere out there.

However there comes a moment when you know that both the problem and the solution lie within you. And that’s the recognition point to stage 3. You know that you are stuck and you start to own it. Because “stuck” shows up in the body, just like polarity (Stage 2) and helplessness (Stage 1) do.

Usually it’s the mind that is contributing to the stuck. It can limit how we approach a problem and our beliefs can keep us in a holding pattern that goes around and around. The over riding emotion is frustration, though some people express it more as “yeuch”!

When you can truly connect to the embodied experience of Stage 3 and feel how your body is also stuck in a pattern, you get to the point where you are ready to reclaim your power, reclaim the part of you that knows the answer and knows how to move forwards.

Experiment with the Stage 3 exercise. How many areas of your body feel stuck? Where do you feel stuck? How does it feel to connect into it.

You may need to revisit Stages 1 and 2 again before you are ready to resolve Stage 3.

The Secret Life of Stage 2 Polarities

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Yes, some people literally live their lives from Stage 2 and it’s easy to spot, but for many of us it’s harder to spot. It’s like a minor program but it’s pretty much always running, but without the obvious charge of a full blown stage 2.

Here are some tips and things I’ve noticed that show that using the Stage 2 exercise may be of benefit….

  • you secretly believe you are always right, you just don’t say

  • you are looking to blame

  • you try and hide your emotions a lot

  • you don’t like your emotions or internal dialogue and don’t want others to know about it

  • you are much harder on yourself than you are on others

  • you don’t like admitting when you are wrong

  • you have to be right

  • EVERYONE else is Angry/Nasty/Selfish - doesn’t matter what the emotion is, if it’s all around you and not within you, you need to look deeper

I personally believe that even when we’re not conscious of it, Stage 2 is running in the background for almost everyone. After all, there are very few enlightened beings around, and we all have aspects of ourselves that we could benefit from exploring.

Incentives for doing Stage 2 for me at least, it there is always a lot of energy in a stage 2, because we often use a lot of energy to deny the parts of us we are dissociating from. So once the Stage 2 resolves, we have way more available energy…

Stage 2 - Polarity

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Do you ever feel like you have a problem in your life, it could be a health challenge, a difficult person, a situation at work and it drives you crazy because you can’t change it? You almost have a charge on the situation or get revved up and emotional about it. And it doesn’t matter how hard you try, nothing seems to work.

Let’s take a real example….

You may be in a challenging relationship, but everyone is telling you to be happy about what you have, the house, the car, the job, whatever. But you are still regularly wound up by what your partner does or doesn’t do. And your words become along the lines of…. “if only he were like that then everything would be ok and I’d be great”. You put your happiness, your sense of self and make it totally dependent on someone else.

Or it could be you have an injury, you’ve hurt your neck for example. You’ve tried massage, you’ve tried phyio, you’ve tried chiropractic, you’ve been to the shamanic healer, and nothing works. They are all useless and it’s their fault you’re not better.

Equally, you may have an injury and you’ve found the most amazing chiropractor (this was me 20 years ago by the way), and he can fix anything. So every time you do something stupid or injure yourself, he puts you back together and you carry on with your life. No impact on you, other than the time and money you part with.

So what is going on?

I could give countless examples, but there is a common thread here. There is a problem, it’s affecting you at a physical or emotional/mental level, and you are searching for a solution outside of yourself. Whether you are blaming someone else for how you are, or are searching for a solution outside of you be it a healer, money (which rarely solves anything by the way, just amplifies the situation), a person or a change of circumstance, the solution is always dependent on something outside of you.

What happens without, happens within…

I still hear people who don’t believe this, they don’t believe that your outer world reflects your inner world. And I must confess I wasn’t a believer for many years. Yet I’ve come to see that our internal state is almost always mirrored around us and vice versa.

Stages of Healing

So in Stage 1 we are pretty helpless and not much is going to change. In Stage 2, we know we need to heal but we are not yet resourced enough to do it ourselves. Whilst I believe that much healing and/or does require outside input, we also have to play a role in it. If you are in this stage you are usually putting almost or all of your focus outside of you and giving the responsibility for your wellbeing and your state to an outside force.

One of the personal benefits of this is it’s much easier to put the onus on someone else to change, because then it’s not our fault. We don’t have to take responsibility. The problem with that, is often the person we are putting it all upon either doesn’t want to change, can’t change or doesn’t know that you’re relying on them to do someone. Or in the case of a healthcare professional, they may be brilliant at what they do, but it’s still you that has to heal and change.

So it’s quite a skill to recognize when you are not taking responsibility, because it’s not something we like admitting to.

Some tips to help you recognize this stage include:

·       You are charged emotionally about the situation

·       You are alternating between helpless and I’ve found the perfect solution

·       You are blaming a lot

·       You are over praising someone else

·       You are relying on circumstance to change and feel like you’re waiting and in limbo

·       It’s never your fault or it’s always your fault (absolutist language)

So What’s Actually Going on?

When we polarize outwardly, we are actually separating from a part of us. And these are usually the parts of our persona that we don’t like, don’t own or are ashamed of. It’s much easier to blame someone or something else, than to admit we feel scared, or inadequate or that we are angry, ungrateful or just nasty. But it’s not just the negative emotions and states we avoid, some people are just as challenged in admitting that they are talented, gifted or capable. Instead they play small, deferring to others.

Stage 2 is a great way of avoiding responsibility and our society runs on it. The media feeds it. I challenge anyone to watch the news and there not be at least one reference to who’s fault it was. Because it’s there in every aspect of our lives. If someone get’s sick, we look for why, if someone is not performing at work we blame them or someone else. There is so much in our culture, do be kind to yourself when you see it in you. And being British myself and knowing how to do the “stiff upper lip”, the Brits are expert at cutting themselves off from the parts of themselves that hurt and don’t feel good enough.

What to do about it

The first step of moving through stage 2 is to recognize that you are at least partly in this stage. So it’s good to observe when do you give your power away? When do you say “if only it were like this or if he did this, I’d be fine…” and to catch yourself blaming and ask – do I have a part in this? Is it really 100% their fault?

Once you’ve recognized it, I suggest doing a Stage 2 on your body and observing what changes

Stage 1 Exercises - Introduction

Before I even do Stage 1 I want to check in with my body. There are several ways you can do this, and this is one of my favourites.

Stand up, ideally without shoes on. Put your feet about a shoulder width apart, and if you can - close your eyes (if your balance is bad you can either do this with your eyes open, or stand in the corner of a room with the walls behind you, so that if you wobble forwards your feet will automatically step out, and if you go backwards or sidewards the wall catches you)

Pay attention to the relationship between your feet and the floor. Where is your balance. Are you standing on both feet? Are you swaying side to side, or forwards backwards? Is your weight forwards, backwards or to the side of one/both feet. Observe your feet and see if you can get balance in how you stand - somewhere in the middle of your feet.

Then shift your attention to your ankles and just observe them. You are going to slowly work your way up your whole body as follows:

  • ankles

  • shins and calves

  • knees

  • thighs/quads

  • hips/pelvis

  • low back

  • belly

  • up the middle of your torso, front and back

  • chest/upper back

  • shoulders/arms

  • throat/neck

  • head - jaw, face, forehead, skull

And then you are going to trace all the way through these until you are refocused on the soles of your feet. It only takes a few minutes, but I find it an excellent way of observing your body. You can also do this sitting or lying down.

What did you notice? For some people it’s very physical, they become aware of tension, where they hold muscles tight, or pain in the body. Others notice their breathing or how they move or how energy is moving in their body. Some find it very hard (initially) to notice anything. Whatever you notice is right, because when it comes to your own body it’s impossible to be wrong.

Stage 1 - Suffering and Disconnection

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Why would anyone want to do an exercise that connects you to suffering and/or disconnection? It’s an interesting concept. Don’t stop reading. This information is probably amongst the most important I have to share.

We can all benefit from more connection to our body. Why would I say that?

I, like most of you, skipped the lessons on how to listen to my body. I am British, I was brought up to pull myself together and get on with things. And before you think I have a beef with my parents over that I don’t. I know they have always done what they believed was best for me.

However, our culture supports ignoring the subtle signals, or even the less subtle signals from our body. And the problem with this is that it always ultimately leads to a state of suffering. Just some people are so disconnected they don’t even recognize that.

So what do I mean by subtle connection?

If you can listen to your body it’s a bit like listening the lion in the distance, before he attacks, whereas most of wait until the symptom - be it physical, emotional or mental - shouts so loudly it’s like the lion is on our shoulder and about to eat us.

Developing subtle awareness takes time. And each time you become more aware of your body, your potential unlocks just a bit.

How do you know you’re in Stage 1?

I rarely see people who are totally and wholly immersed in stage 1 because they are usually on the lounge floor or in bed, in a state of total helplessness because nothing works, there is no hope, nothing is ever going to change and no-one would understand if they spoke about it anyway. This is your friend who is totally isolating herself and not even able to ask for help. It’s a horrible state to be in, and one I have luckily only experienced fully a handful of times.

But most of us have some stage 1 consciousness most of the time. There are messages from our body we are not listening to and consequently we are not responding to until symptoms show up.

Symptoms can be anything from low back pain, neck pain, headaches or repressed emotions, difficulty expressing how we feel or destructive mental chatter, to name a few. Any message we are not listening to can have a component of stage 1.

For example, this morning I was tuning into my body and I became aware of tension in my left hip. It was uncomfortable and I wanted to get rid of it (classic stage 1 response). But cutting my hip off is not an option, so instead I used the stage 1 exercise to tune into my hip and listen to it. I was holding emotions in there and after a few minutes of listening to and feeling those emotions I was done. My hip relaxed and I felt more energy in my body.

Energy and Stage 1

When we are in a full or partial stage 1 we lack energy. We lack resources and resourcefulness. We need help and often don’t even have the energy to ask for it. Anything that raises your energy will help - for example going for a walk get’s your body moving, or some gentle stretching. The challenge is often finding the energy to start.

Increasing Our Internal Resources

When we are in a state of helplessness or don’t know what to do, this exercise helps you to find internal resources and increase your available energy. When we feel low or helpless, we need more energy to get out of the state. We all know that our energy levels massively impact on what we are able to do or achieve.

Personally I believe I can always be more resourceful, so Stage 1 is part of my daily routing. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t spend at least a few minutes using this exercise to improve my state.

Use the blog on how to do Stage 1 to learn the basics of this exercise. And if you’re lucky enough to either live near an SRI Practitioner, book in and do a workshop or personal session with them to refine your skills.

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Posture 5: The Victim / Living in Lack

Do you know someone who everything seems to go wrong for? It maybe at work, in relationship, in their health, but they always seem to be the victim of something or someone.

It’s a bit like the bullied child at school. You sort of know who is going to get bullied and often you also know who is going to bully, because of how they walk, how they stand, how they behave and how they talk. It’s in our posture and we already know who the victim is.

Another way this posture shows up is the person who never seems to get what they want. They may try hard, they may work hard, but someone else always wins or get’s the girl. They are the one who is always lacking and missing out.

The can stem from events that were seemingly unfair and the individual felt that they were a victim of circumstance, sometimes the event was big, sometimes small. But none the less it sets up a pattern of lack or victimhood that can run a life.

And that can lead to different responses - the “given up” state or the “internally angry but never saying” state, or a mix of both.

So their internal dialogue may be along the lines of:

1.      It’s doesn’t matter what I do, nothing seems to work out(

2.      (Why does) It always happen to me (?)

3.      I really tried, honest…..

4.      What’s wrong with me?

5.      I’m going to make them suffer

6.      I’m never angry / I’m always angry / It’s not fair

7.      There is never enough to go around

8.      I’ll show them, whatever it takes I will make it happen

Some people with this posture are actually incredibly successful in aspects of their life, but rarely happy. It may drive them to achieve, to show others what is possible, but the internal dialogue is often destructive.

So what happens as this pattern resolves and becomes a source of growth?

The answer is that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. This can lead to a live of riches and abundance. Because so much energy is embedded in this posture, when turned around and owned it can be a massive source of growth, transformation and joy.

The solution lies in recognizing that this pattern is there, and in feeling it in the body, truly feeling it. Because once you feel something it becomes a resource, a starting point for change.

Again, I suggest standing up and observing your feet on the ground. Often in this pattern the weight is forward, or the weight is almost collapsed into the feet, but still a tendency to forward. Observe your feet on the ground and aim to balance out the contact. What changes in your body? Can you do it?

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Posture 4: I'm Fine

In his original work, this pattern was referred to as Passion, or lack of. The more I’ve worked with these postures and patterns, I think the best way of summing up this person is “I’m Fine”. Because that is what they say, even when things are totally horrendous, their partner is sick, their job in on the line, they can’t get pregnant, they hate their life or whatever it is. They still say when asked how they are that they are just fine thank you very much.

There seem to be two key variations on this posture.

  1. Their inner dialogue is often one of overwhelm, too many thoughts, too many choices or decision. They have too much to think about, so making a choice or decision is often a big challenge. They may be talented and capable and feel that they just have too many options and want life to be more simple. They may talk of not being able to sleep because they just can’t turn their mind off. Their mind is often delivering a list of criticisms and ideas that get in the way of moving forwards. This state can be exhausting.

  2. The second way this presents is someone who is often very sensitive and has become overwhelmed with emotions and just feels too much. To cope with this, they try to turn the feelings off and often become very rational and logical. Life becomes about not feeling, and often over the years these people become very disconnected from their body and may find it hard to feel many sensations other than pain or discomfort. When asked what they feel, they will tell you what they think instead, and it’s not that they are consciously avoiding answering you, this is just their survival strategy to avoid overwhelm.

And then someone who is expressing this posture in a truly positive way, will be the person who lights you up at a party because they are so passionate about their subject. Even if it’s something that holds no interest for you, you are attracted by their passion, their aliveness, their commitment. These people feel their emotions and are happy to express them. They don’t have the constant voices in their head, instead they live very in their body. They often feel very alive and people are very drawn to be with them.

So if this is a strong pattern for you, you may not have the best body awareness. When I ask you to pay attention to your posture, you may dismiss this as nonsense, because actually not being able to feel what is going on in your body is judged as a failure or problem and that creates some of the pain you are trying so hard to avoid.

Bare with me. I had a very strong “I’m Fine” in my body, and it did take some work to get reconnected to my body and out of my head, but it’s been more than worth it. And as I continue on this journey, it’s like finding sea shells on the beach. There are loads of them, and they are endless and each one more beautiful than the last. They just take a bit of work and commitment to uncover.

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Posture 3: Who am I?

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This is all about the roles we play in life. We have many role - daughter, son, wife, husband, teacher, lover, sister, brother. We have professional roles, some of us identify with what we do - I’m a Doctor, I’m an Engineer, I’m a Scientist and so many more.

The thing is, often we play out the roles we were expected to. We behave like the good child and go to university, even though we really wanted to go to Art School. Or we follow our families wishes and become a Doctor, when we really don’t like people very much and would have preferred to be an academic. Or we marry young because it’s expected, or have children because it’s expected of us. We never stop and think - who am I? What do I really want? Instead we do what our conditioning says we should. Some people get lucky, turns out that they are carry out roles that are totally authentic for them. But when people feel trapped in a version of them that is not authentic, and this version doesn’t chime with who they are, it can be distressing on many levels - physically it often shows up as back pain. But there are many levels of pain, and this can be physical, emotional, mental or even spiritual.

Common signs of someone who is showing this posture type are that they may be the job hoppers, who change careers every few years. Or the people who attend course after course, getting more and more educated yet never really using any of it.

Or they may be very easily swayed. They never really know what they want and so will jump on every bandwagon that comes along. They lack the ability to say no, and often say yes through fear of missing out. Their will power to carry anything through can be lacking and decision making around what serves them can be a big challenge.

Questions they may ask or statements they may say or think include:

  1. Who am I?

  2. What is my purpose?

  3. What job / career would be best for me?

  4. Do I want to be a parent? Have kids?

  5. Why is everyone else settling down and getting married?

  6. I just don’t seem to have a purpose. What’s wrong with me?

  7. I don’t know what I want from life

  8. I don’t know

  9. I’m grateful for whatever life gives me, as long as I don’t have to make a decision

What is the flip side of this? This is when someone is totally congruent with who they are, the choices they have made, the decisions they make and how they lead their life. They may be a teacher and it lights them up. They know they are doing something that is totally authentic for them. And they are doing it well because it comes naturally, even if they had to study and learn, they still know in their soul that this is who they are and why they are here.

If you recognize this pattern as being strong in you, take a moment and stand, ideally without shoes. Where is the natural balance on your feet? Do you favour one leg over the other? Do you constantly stand on one leg, even if you are balanced in this moment? If you are out of balance, try to bring your feet into balance so that you have even pressure on both feet. What happens in your body when you do this?

Some people will find this easy to do. Great. If you don’t, that’s also great because now you know that your body awareness could probably do with some work. Don’t worry, lots of people start here, and it’s amazing what you can notice when you start to practice.

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Posture 2: Stuck in the Future

Do you know someone who is always worried about what might never happen? They manage to worry about things that may never happen and probably never will. They are also the catastrophizers of this world, seeing things that may go wrong even though the chances are very low. The emotion that runs their life is FEAR. And being fearful becomes their way of approaching almost everything. Sometimes it’s so bad, they’d rather not engage with life, but remain hidden and small, to stay safe.

Medically these are often the hypochrondriacs, the people who think that they have every disease known to man. They worry about what they may never get, to the point they can make themselves sick.

In the extreme, they may worry about themselves, or their children, or their parents, or their partner, and failing that, they will find something else to worry about.

Others expressing this pattern may have a strong sense of betrayal. They believe that everyone is going to let them down at some point, and can’t trust anyone, often not even themselves. And there is often a lot of unexpressed anger or grief around this. They know they feel let down and betrayed, yet unable to do anything about changing the pattern. You often recognize this as unexpressed anger and/or unreasonable behaviour. And they expect to be let down again, and again, and again!

The problem with worrying about anything we cannot influence is it takes us out of the present moment, often so much that we forget to be. And one of the purposes of life is about being in the moment and experiencing whatever is going on just now.

The kind of things you hear if this is a strong pattern (or think, because you may be internalizing this and never verbalizing it) are:

  1. I can’t do that because xyz might happen

  2. I have to stay home, just in case x calls by

  3. I’m calling to check you’re ok (when there is no reason to call)

  4. I know she’ll let me down in the end, people always do

  5. People are only out for themselves, they don’t care about me

or internalizing

  1. it’s just not possible, I can’t do that

  2. I’m worried I’ll make a mess of it so I wont try

  3. It’s all going to go wrong

These are just examples. Many people with this as a dominant pattern will be seeing scenarios of doom and gloom on a fairly regular basis, or will be frozen and unable to make decisions… just in case of xyz.

So how would someone look if they’re expressing a positive Posture 2? What would they say?

  1. I trust that everything will work out fine

  2. I have faith in him

  3. I’ve done all that I can, I know it will work out

  4. I know that what needs to happen will happen

  5. I only sweat the big stuff, the small stuff is not worth worrying about

  6. People are innately good, I know I can rely on him/her

  7. I have confidence in you

In this modern age, everyone has things they could worry about. The difference is where you put your focus and not spending time worrying about things that you just can’t influence or change.

So if you recognize this as a dominant pattern, what can you do? When you catch yourself worrying, start by coming back to your body. Notice your feet on the ground or your bum on the seat. Find a reference point that is in your body, not in your head. Direct your breath into that area or if you have a sense of energy in your body, become aware of the energy in that area. Some people find stamping their feet or jumping around brings them back into the current moment.

You can use Stages 1, 2 and 3 to explore this further (all the stages will add value as you get more connected to your body, but start with the first three so that you can discover how you really do this pattern)


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Posture 1: Stuck in the Past

Have you ever have a conversation with someone who is asking for help, but every time you suggest something to you they go “but that won’t work, I’ve tried it before”. It doesn’t matter what you say, their belief is that it wont work because they’ve already done it. It may even be that what they tried wasn’t exactly what you are proposing, but their beliefs and perceptions are stopping them from moving forwards.

Or maybe they were bullied at school. And then they get bullied at work, so they change jobs and it happens again. They start to believe that this is normal, this is how life is, and it can never change because it has always been this way.

Of when you challenge a behaviour they have, or something they are struggling they always answer “but that’s because of xyz”

The classic person who is “Stuck in the Past” will make comments on the lines of:

  1. It’s because of the car crash I had when I was 9

  2. It’s because my mother never loved me

  3. I’ve never been right since xyz happened

  4. It’s not possible to heal, I’ve been like this for x years

  5. I’ve tried everything and nothing works, nothing changes

  6. It always happens to me

Notice when you do this. Is it in reference to specific events or to specific symptoms.

So how do you recognise someone who is showing a positive Posture 1?

They make comments like this:

  1. I have a really challenging childhood, but it made me who I am today

  2. The accident/illness stopped me in my tracks. It made me realise what mattered and I’ve changed in so many ways. Although it was tough, I’m so grateful it happened

  3. I learnt so much about how to manage people through the bully incident. I vowed I will never do that to someone else, and I’ve been true to my word

So do you see the difference. We all have tough things to deal with, it’s how we deal with them that makes the difference. And some people naturally take a challenge and work with it, but others get overwhelmed and go into a defence coping strategy, which means they survive, which is great, but then they need to find a way through it.

So if you recognize this as a dominant pattern, what can you do? When you catch yourself worrying, start by coming back to your body. Notice your feet on the ground or your bum on the seat. Find a reference point that is in your body, not in your head. Direct your breath into that area or if you have a sense of energy in your body, become aware of the energy in that area. Some people find stamping their feet or jumping around brings them back into the current moment.

You can use Stages 1, 2 and 3 to explore this further (all the stages will add value as you get more connected to your body, but start with the first three so that you can discover how you really do this pattern)

To join our online community click here