Have you had the experience of trying hard for
something, and it seems that the harder you try the more you can’t? I know this
happens so often in my life. When I find myself trying hard, I know that I am
forgetting a few basic principles of the subconscious mind.
One of these principles is, the harder you try
to do something, the less chance you have of doing it. This is called the Law
of Reverse Effect. Try is actually a negative word to the subconscious mind.
This was something I learned in my hypnosis training 18 years ago. When the
subconscious mind hears the word try, it actually interprets it as “do not” or
“cannot.” When you are “trying” to do something the subconscious knows you are
trying, because this is the language you are using when you speak and think
about what you want to accomplish. The deeper mind will work against your
“trying” efforts. This is because when you use the word try you are invoking
your imagination and the imagination will always win over the intellect. For
example, if I say to you, “try not to think about a pink dog.”… What just
happened? You could not help it, you thought about a pink dog.
It is also important to understand that there
really is no failure. If you set out to “try” something and it does not go as
planned then you may see it as a failure on your part. Failure is a word with a
negative connotation. If we fail then we have not reached a certain goal. If we
look at it as failure, and we believe it to be a failure, there is a high
probability that the next thought is, “I am a failure.” This can become a
belief system, or it may have already been a belief you held about yourself and
is now reinforced by this experience of not being successful in some area of
your life for this goal you wanted to reach.
We must be in flow. We must allow life to show
us the way and to show up for us. As much as we may want to, we cannot force
life into a certain direction. When we do attempt to force life, we create our
own stress. Instead, I invite you to follow the path life is giving you. Yet,
we find ourselves many times not even realizing the path is there or that, in
fact, we are already on the path. Instead we are frustrated because it feels as
if that things are not going our way, that we quite literally are lost and have
no idea what to do now. This happens because we have entered the path “trying” as opposed to entering the path
being open to receiving feedback.
As we enter this new path to feedback the ego
It will want to fight your growth and your
becoming. The ego does not want to “try,” the ego does not want to let go of
the old in order to embrace the new.
This is because the ego believes it is keeping
you safe in the old by not venturing into something new. Here is my question to
you, what if this belief is false?
What if keeping the old does not keep you safe
but instead keeps you stuck. This is exactly how try works against you and with your ego. The ego will not want to
change so it holds onto the negative language of the word try, which sets us up
to not accomplish.
Are you ready to explore why you are stuck?
Are you ready to look at your belief systems?
Are you ready to question yourself?
Most of all, are you ready to break free from
the trappings of your ego?
To break free from the belief if I stay where
I am, then I am safe.
To break free from the pain that keeps you
When you allow the waves of life to break over you, on the other side of the waves, the ocean is calm.
There is no going around a wave, is there?
We cannot swim around it, hide from it or
We have 3 choices:
- Allow it to take you down
- Allow it to break over you and
stand tall while it breaks
- You don’t enter the water at all
Which one of these choices offers you the
opportunity to grow?
Yes! You choose the crashing wave, you choose
to go through, you choose you! You are choosing at that moment to grow and
heal. Not to try to grow and heal but to enter in, to do the work and to come
out on the other side. You are committing to you.
The light is on the other side of the pain, on
the other side of the wave. In order to find the light, the healing and growth,
we must go through. When we go through,
we tell the ego that we are done trying, that we are done with the old belief
systems. That we are done playing small. We are done being in pain.
You are ready to embrace your authentic self.
Pause. Take a breath.
I want to offer you a reframe. Instead of
using the word failure, use the word feedback. When we take the word failure
and replace it with the word feedback, there is a shift. What if there was no
failure, but instead you viewed each opportunity as feedback to you and for
you. Feedback for your learning and as a way to refocus and redirect your
efforts toward your goal and intentions.
Putting both of these concepts together looks
like this. I am doing my best to accomplish a goal with the intention of a
successful outcome. If the outcome does not go as planned, I will accept the
feedback and use it as a catalyst to help me work toward the goal in a new way.
I can adjust the goal to be in better alignment with what I wish to achieve. In
doing so, I have not failed. I instead have set out to embark on working toward
an outcome based on my intentions. Can you feel the difference between this and trying? This reframe is empowering,
confidence building and supportive of you. This offers flexibility and kindness
to the self as you venture down the desired path.
Embark on the journey through the crashing
wave. Take it in. Do not tell yourself what you need to try to do. Just do it.
Do the thing, take action, make the commitment. Use action words with yourself like
I am going to, my intention is, I am moving forward.
The language must change. Here is how to
change your language and inner voice. I am going to eat healthy. Or my
intention is to eat healthy snacks and healthy meals. I will exercise in the
morning. I will take a walk; I will do yoga. As the famous ad says, “just do
it!” Find a way to do it, get rid of try. Step into your power. Own your
thoughts, own your actions. Allow for feedback. Learn about yourself. Grow, be,
Accept what is. This is perfect as it is.
Appreciate the present moment. See that it is this way for right now and know
it will change and shift as you flow with it. Acknowledge each experience.
Step forward, embrace the waves. You are able
and capable. Be clear with your words and your intentions. You will shift, your
ego will move to the side. It will have no choice as you will no longer be
trying, you will be doing and being.
Janet is available for in person and remote sessions. Janet is also available to come speak at your events. If you want to talk to her send an email to email@example.com for a free 30 minute consultation.
Strategies to bring yourself back into the present moment.
There have been many times in my life when it felt like I was losing my mind. Moments in time when the world feels overwhelming and I feel at a loss. Have you ever experienced this, a time or times where you feel like you are losing your mind? Times that the world feels like it is falling apart. Times where you just do not know who you are anymore and when you just feel lost and confused.
When moments of crisis hit and you find yourselves in a place of uncertainty you may even forget you have the tools in your very own emotional toolbox to fall back on. It is in those times, when you feel like you are losing your mind, that you go to your “go to’s”, in other words, you react. The reaction, most likely, comes from fear. Fear, many times, comes from uncertainty. This may be linked to the stories you have developed and believe about yourself based on your previous lived experiences. The fear may also come from a deep worry about how this event, which has caused you to lose your mind, is going to impact you in the future.
Essentially, you get pulled out of the present moment and into a reaction, which is a learned behavior from the past.
The present moment is the moment you are living now. This moment may be so painful, scary, raw, new or unknown to you that you do not want to stay there, in that moment. You forget to breathe; you start to tell yourself all sorts of stories and develop many doom and gloom scenarios of what “will” happen next based on what you have just experienced.
I want to take a moment and slow down here to deconstruct what is going on when you leave the present moment. In reality, what has just happened? Let’s look at these types of life crisis with a bit of neuroscience. The first thing that happens is you go into fight or flight mode. Your amygdala becomes activated, your adrenaline dramatically increases, cortisol is released and your brain tells you that if you do not fight for your life right now you will die. If you were truly in a life-threatening situation, this is exactly the response you want as it will give you the best chance of survival.
However, in “normal” everyday ups and downs these moments are not life threatening. In my experience, both personally and professionally, the big reaction occurs because the subconscious mind does not know the difference between the present and the past. If the feeling and/or emotion triggered is very similar or the same to something old, you react with the old learned coping skills. You react to the feeling you are experiencing in the present moment, in an old way, and the fight or flight response is activated. Once it is activated the neurochemicals kick in to do their job to save you. However, this big reaction is usually out of proportion to the situation at hand. When you finally do calm down, many times you feel badly about how you behaved or reacted and this just gives you more reason to feel lost.
are some steps you can take in these non-life-threatening situations to pull
you back into the present moment and out of reactivity.
- Slow down.
- Take a purposeful pause.
- Take 3-5 abdominal breaths.
- Talk yourself back into the
present moment by orienting yourself to your surroundings. For example, you can
say things like I am in my bedroom, the walls are gray, the carpet is blue, I
am wearing a red sweater, it is sunny out, it is 12:01 in the afternoon.
- You can get physical distance
from the trigger or upsetting stimuli.
- Place your hand on your heart
and feel your heartbeat.
- Go outside.
- Take a walk.
- Sit or lay down.
- Cry if you need to.
- Do not respond right away.
Doing some or all of these steps will give your nervous system a chance to calm down, recalibrate and get back into balance.
You have all you need inside of you to take good care of you.
There may be moments that are not pleasant or fun in life. This is the way life is. Every crisis you live through has the opportunity to bring growth if you allow for it. If you get stuck in the muck, if you let your anxiety and fear run the show it is like putting up roadblocks to your own growth potential. Those unpleasant moments may in fact be terrible times but usually they are not life threatening, they are not forever moments and in the end you will be ok.
you take the time to steady yourself, it is as if you are rescuing yourself
from going over the edge of a cliff into the abyss of the unknown. Coming back
to the present moment and being in present moment awareness allows you to
rescue yourself. When you do this, you are throwing yourself a lifeline and
pulling yourself back from the edge of a cliff. This is empowering. You empower
yourself every time you take steps to come back to the present and out of
reactivity. This is how growth and healing happen.
invite you to have compassion for yourself. Forgive yourself. In the end love
yourself, you are worth it and no one can ever love you more than your own
ability to love yourself.
Janet is available for in person and remote sessions. Janet is also available to come speak at your events. If you want to talk to her send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute consultation.
The ability to heal and grow is in each one of us.
My mom died. There is no other way to say it. Using euphemisms does not soften the blow. I sit here writing this fully able to accept the reality of her death. I knew it was coming. I have been doing anticipatory grieving for the last year and a half. In this time, I watched her decline, as she slowly and defiantly, was no longer able to fight the process her body was going through because of her disease. What I have come to understand is that the ability to accept the inevitability of someone’s death does not give you the sudden super power to not feel the intense grief that comes with the finality of that person no longer being a presence in your life. I write this article with the hope of helping others traverse their grief in a healthy way.
Grief comes in stages. I believe these stages do not happen in the particular order that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about in her iconic book “On Death and Dying.” We travel these stages one moment at a time, they cannot be rushed, denied or avoided. They must be experienced. No two people grieve in the exact same way or in the exact same order of stages of grief.
Here is my definition of grief. Grief: to be in the state of sitting still in the ebbs and flow of pain. When you are grieving you must allow the ebbs and flow of the waves of pain to wash over you and at the same time allow yourself to ride them out. Allow yourself to be in the flow of it but not be drowned by it.
The feelings that come with grief can become overwhelming. It is important to remember that those intense, stabbing feelings of grief are short and once that intense pain subsides the ache of it is still there. There is also uncertainty that comes with grief. The uncertainty of not knowing when the next ripple of stabbing pain will hit you.
When faced with uncertainty many people become anxious. Uncertainty leaves you feeling out of control and no one enjoys being out of control. There is something that is certain. What is certain about grief, and the accompanying pain, is that you will feel the pain again and again until you are done feeling it. That is just the way of it. When you are able to accept the reality and the certainty of the ongoing waves of pain then you have nothing to be anxious about. Nothing to worry about avoiding. Nothing to run from. It becomes the truth of your present moment reality.
We cannot run away from grief and also survive. When we attempt to do that we cause other emotional problems within us. We may become depressed, angry, or feel guilty. It is vital to accept that the waves of grief will continue to hit. Accepting that and not to trying to out swim, avoid or fight that wave of pain is actually what allows for healing. Healing comes from embracing the pain, not avoiding of it. Avoiding allows the pain to take hold deep within you. When emotional pain is held within, avoided, and not expressed you are at high risk for getting physically ill. Unexpressed grief and pain must go somewhere. So, if you do not let out, it goes in.
After the loss of a loved one life can never fully be the same again. How can it be? Our reality has changed. Your day to day life may change because of it. Who you call or text each day may be forever altered. These changes, sad as they are, are real. We cannot fight them. We are called to step forward, to step into them, to rise up, to lean in, to learn, to heal and to grow.
Life is an ever growing and transforming process of loss, change, healing and growth. Nature shows us how to do this beautifully. Think about the great oak tree at the height of summer. Its branches are full of big, beautiful green leaves. These leaves offer life every day, contribute to our environment and the life force energy of the air we breathe. In the Autumn, the leaves change colors and eventually fall to the ground allowing the tree time to rest and heal in the dormancy of winter. In the spring, new buds emerge, and new leaves once again grow. The tree still stands, and its cycle of life continues just as ours will, the same but forever different.
Our pain feels intense in the wake of the waves of a loved one’s death. This is the way of it. It cannot be any other way. We must go through it, we must live it and live through it. We must get beyond where the waves break and reach the shore again. It may at first feel like wet sand that does not give you much support. As you keep walking the sand becomes firmer offering you more support. Eventually you will reach the boardwalk which is steady and shows you a new way back home to yourself. You will be a new you, one who has been shaped by the loss you have experienced. One who has survived, who is healing and who is growing. Grief is a process and a journey. Allow me to leave you with this poem:
Being allowed to not know.
Flowing into the unknown with confidence and grace.
Holding onto the trust in yourself and the trust in the universe.
You will be guided to the exact right destination.
Allowing that destination to be your new being state until you are ready to travel again.
This article is dedicated with love to my mother, Jackie. She was beautiful inside and out. She taught my sisters and I strength and gave all of us of her never ending, non-judgmental, unconditional love. We all have a new angel now. Mom was an avid reader and wordsmith. There is no better way for me to honor her than with the written word.
A few weeks ago, I went to a sporting event with my husband and teenage daughter. My daughter had been on crutches for the past few weeks. She was feeling a bit worried about managing in the sporting arena with the crutches and was hesitant to go. My husband was able to secure handicapped seating and she agreed to attend the event.
In speaking with her about the upcoming event she had one request. She asked if we could, “please have a fun day”. When I asked her to clarify what she meant by the word fun she went on to share that a lot of the times the three of us (she, my husband and myself), get into “bickering” over nothing and it ruins our time together. Now, of course, this was not news to me. It is something that I find very upsetting myself and something that happens repeatedly. At my daughter’s suggestion we all agreed to not bicker.
The way she asked this particular day, how she approached it so calmly, rationally and conversationally allowed me to listen to her with my heart open and hear her at a different level.
One of my favorite authors is Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She writes and teaches about conscious parenting. She is a clinical psychologist and the author of 3 books. My favorite one is, “The Awakened Family.” One of the many things that Dr. Shefali teaches about conscious parenting is that our children are our greatest awakeners. And I have found this to be true time and time again. This was one of those Ah-Ha moments of awakening for me. A time when I really took notice of what happened within me. When my daughter asked if we “could just have fun”, it forced me to look at myself and see how I was co-creating the environment and energy of not having fun.
When we are able to pause and listen to our children, loved ones or anyone we are in relationship with, with an open heart we can learn much about our self as well as what our child really needs and is asking of us.
This day I heard her. I heard her in a way I had not before. I decided to step up to the plate and make a commitment to her, my husband and myself to follow through on this. Though I am writing this from the perspective of mother to child you can apply the power of pausing and this approach to all relationships in your life.
The way I decided to take action toward this goal was to pause before speaking. Sometimes, well a lot of the time, I talk too much. I realized that taking a pause would be a great idea. Not only would I pause before I responded to someone, but I was also going to pause before sharing my thoughts. In the pause I decided I would pay attention to the words that wanted to spill out of me. I decided I was going to pay attention to any feelings I experienced that were connected to the words in my mind.
Sometimes we use words to avoid feeling the feeling. The words we use are always connected to an internal feeling state.
I would take that moment to examine the words and examine if they even needed to be said at all. I needed to look at my thoughts and see if what I felt I had to say was coming up in reaction to another. In other words, is what I am saying coming from a place within me that has been triggered. And if it is in reaction then I know it is coming from a place inside of me that is wounded in some way. It is up to me to be responsible for my feelings and not to project my pain, wounds, or hurt onto others. Taking pause gives me the space to acknowledge what comes up for me. Once I pause and look at the thoughts I can decide if I am able to respond from a place of inner alignment. When I am in that place of inner peace and alignment I am less likely to project my emotions to the other.
Projection happen when we are reacting from an unconscious place.
Projection means that we are taking a feeling we hold inside and we put it onto the other person. This allows us to blame them for the issue, for how we are feeling and allows us the false belief that we are not part of the problem. That the problem is the other. That the problem is outside of the self and we falsely believe that we are not to blame and therefore have no responsibility in what is occurring. For me, projection was causing much of the bickering. I was often in an unconscious reactive state and the words would fly out without thinking through my response first and without tuning in to feel what was happening with in me. The other issue underlying the bickering was need for control. All three of us want control but my daughter and myself are definitely the worst offenders. Again, the need to control is coming from a place of an emotional need that needs attending to. It is up to me to uncover what this is, to do my own work and not project it onto another.
The pause gave me the opportunity to ask myself:
“Is it necessary to comment?”
“Can I let this go?”
“Can I just take a breath here and not say a word?”
“Can I take care of myself in this moment?”
These were all questions I asked myself. I spent the entire day following through on my commitment to pause before speaking. My husband and daughter also followed through, in their own way, and kept to their word not to bicker as well. In the end we had a fun day at this event. There was no bickering at all.
As we drove home I began to think about my part in all of this. You see, it is much easier to project and blame the other when something goes “wrong”. Since nothing went “wrong” and there was no need to project anything and it gave me space, and in a way, permission to examine myself and look at my part. I realized that I showed up differently all day. I brought a different energy with me when I showed up. I had a clear intention to keep a promise not only to my husband and daughter but to myself.
And in showing up all day in a calm, present way and pausing before speaking my energy shifted. And with the shift in my energy, I believe it helped to keep the energy we all brought to the day balanced, calm and peaceful. The end result was a fun day. The kind of day my daughter asked for and that all of us needed. A day of being and feeling connected to one another.
There is power in the pause.
The power is that you get to learn about yourself, you get to be in better connection to yourself and you get to be more genuinely connected to those around you. When you are connected to yourself, your heart and your inner emotional landscape then you can better connect to another. And don’t we all want to be connected and feel connected especially with our children and spouses?
Open yourself up to the power of pausing. I am going to commit to it again tomorrow and the days that follow. I want this to become a habit, a new way of being which will have the ability to help me be present, in tune and aware of my feelings. When I am in this place of equanimity then I feel whole and I can bring my true self into my relationships with others.
The commitment to self care must be a daily job. You would not blow off your work day and make excuses not to go, therefore, you can not blow off your commitment to yourself.
This idea was sparked after having a conversation with a friend of mine. She is a spin instructor, in addition to her regular 9-5 job. We were together on a Friday night and she said she had to be at work to teach spin at 8:30 the next morning. And my thought was her job is to exercise. She can’t decide not to go because she doesn’t feel like it, there are students who are counting on her, who specifically wake up early on a Saturday morning just to take spin class with her.
Exercise is something that I have never had a great love for. It is an aspect of my life that I do because I know my body needs it, it keeps me in shape, in less physical pain and allows me to enjoy yummy food without calorie counting(too much). Let me state this again, I actually do not like exercising. It is not something I feel compelled to do, most of the time my body does not crave it. Usually, if given a reason to miss my regular work out days I will easily let working out fall to the side for another activity, commitment or appointment somewhere.
I have been exercising regularly, a minimum of 3 times per week, at my gym for 15 years. So on the outside it looks like I am committed to myself and I suppose, in a sense, I am. Have there been weeks where getting to the gym has not happened at all? Yes. Have there been months at a time where I was not able to work out due to an injury and wound up in physical therapy instead? Yes. Have there been vacations when I did not make working out a daily priority? Yes. As I said I am good at finding reasons not to exercise and I am sure many of you can relate.
This conversation with my friend sparked a different perspective. This perspective is that my commitment to my self care must be made daily. I must renew it each day. A daily commitment to myself to exercise, as if I had to get up each day and go to my job to exercise because people are counting on me to be there. The person counting on me is me. And is one thing about my personality that you should know is that when I give someone else my word I stick to it. If I can stick to my word for someone else, I asked myself, aren’t I important enough to stick to my word for me?
Yes, I can honor my word to myself. I can make a commitment to myself. Then how do I approach this commitment to make it achievable. I do not want to sabotage myself and set myself up to fail. That only leads to a lot of negative self talk, I told you so’s, etc.
I decided to begin a silent experiment with myself that very evening when I spoke with my friend. I will share it with you and I invite you to do the experiment too. This experiment is about making a daily commitment to yourself for your own self care. For me it is exercise, for you it may be something else like; good food choices, meditation, journaling, practicing a craft, reading something up lifting. You get to pick.
Here is the catch. When you make the commitment it is decided on daily and only for the next day. Break it down. Your commitment to your own self care is the job you need to do for you. It is a daily practice.
If I say I will exercise every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next year I am bound to miss one of those days. When I do, I will view it as letting myself down and that can cause a spiral of letting go of the commitment all together because once we “screw” it up we have to start again and many of us don’t. It is like the New Year’s Eve resolution that lasts a week, month or even two. And we say, “I tried.” Try is a kill word to yourself. The deeper mind hears the word try and says to itself, “I don’t have to.” In hypnosis one of the laws of the deeper mind is the harder you try the more you can’t. You say, “I tried to get up early but I hit snooze 4 times and did not get up early, but I tried.” I say you did not try, you gave yourself an out by saying try. Try is a failure word to our deeper mind. It tells the deeper mind that you really don’t mean it, it really does not have to happen, you can actually skip it and fool yourself that you made an effort. Instead, we must use different words in our self talk vocabulary. Words and statements like; I will, I am going to, the effort I am putting into this is, my intention for the day is, my commitment to myself is, it is important to me to accomplish this task. Can you see how the energy and meaning of words and statements like these are different from, I’ll try?
Here are the daily commitment steps, and they are really very simple.
Step 1: Remember this is a daily practice.
Step 2: Everyday you pick what that self-care activity will be, for the next day only. It may be
the same thing each day or it may be something new.
Step 3: Everyday you pick the time for the next day that you will do your own self care.
Step 4: Say it out loud to yourself. When we do this we are stating our intention out loud not
only to our self but to the universe. We are then using more of our senses. Speaking
it lets us hear it. Everything we say has a vibration and we feel it. Saying it out loud to
yourself, or someone else, makes it real. When it is real we are less likely to blow it off.
Step 5: When you wake up the next day keep the commitment you made to yourself the day
before, at at the time you set, do it!. It is your job.
Step 6: Once you follow through and keep that commitment, thank yourself for for doing it, for
following through. Feel proud.
Step 7: Pick tomorrow’s commitment.
Life changes daily, if we are firm and inflexible we are bound to not take care of the self. That is why when you decide day to day about your commitment to yourself you set up a scenario where you can succeed. When we then follow through with the commitment we feel good. We tell our inner self that she/he is worthy, important and loved. It is your daily job to take good care of you physically, emotionally and spiritually. No one else can do this for you. Make it happen, you can do it, one day at a time you can accomplish anything.
There is no room for self doubt if there is to be growth. Doubt slows you down and gets in the way of growing into who you are truly meant to be. It is the false beliefs about self, based on programming from your life that takes over. First, we must understand what the false self is in order to see how it is influencing us. In eastern psychology the false self is our Ego. It is the part of us that has been telling us all the things we are not, for example: ”you are not smart enough, athletic enough, creative enough.” “You can never earn enough, or reach your dreams.”
These and many others thoughts like these(we all have different ones) are all the limiting beliefs we have internalized and have come to buy into and own as the truth of who we are. They are the voices of self-doubt that run through our mind daily. We learned these things based on different experiences in life and we bought into them as true. I am here to tell you these thoughts are not who you are. As Michael Singer says in his book, The Untethered Soul, “we are not our thoughts.” This is a very powerful concept to understand and begin to believe and embrace. If you wish to transform out of self doubt and lack based thinking and into abundant, expansive, limitless potential based feelings then you must pull the cover off of self doubt and expose it for what it really is. Self doubt is a thief of the true essence of the empowered and enlightened self. Do not be fooled or misled into believing the lies of the false self, they can be seductive at times, and seducing you into believing in them is a way to keep you feeling that you are safe, quite the opposite is true. Believing them keeps you stuck, in place, not growing, not expanding or becoming.
It is time to begin to look inside and find your voice, to find your true self, to get in touch with your essence and call the lies of the false self out, to reprogram them and to heal. As this happens you will find a decrease in anxiety, you will focus better, think clearer, won’t get frazzled as easily and when you do you will be able to come back to center more quickly. You will be more confident in yourself, your abilities and trust in your potential to create for yourself the life you want. I ask you to flow into it, flow with it, do not fight what is there inside of you. Nurture yourself to make space for that which is ready to break free. It is time for growth and transformation.
If you are inspired by this and are ready to begin your journey, reach out to me. Private sessions are now available. email@example.com or on my contact page of my website www.JanetPhilbin.com and we can set up some time to connect. I look forward to connecting and supporting you on your journey.