“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~ Thomas Merton
“I know I have to make a decision, but I’m really conflicted about this. On one hand I feel this way, but on the other hand I feel like this.” Have you ever felt or said something similar to this?
In my recent newsletter (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, you can click here to sign up), I discussed how this inner conflict is the result of our subconscious parts not working harmoniously together.
The good news is that you can teach your parts to holistically work together so you can achieve your desired outcomes in life. I’ve discovered an effective way that I use personally and that has helped my clients, too. I call it the “Tea Time” exercise.
The “Tea Time” exercise is my version of NLP’s (Neuro Linguistic Programming) popular Parts Integration technique. It’s a very useful skill to overcome ‘bad habits’, indecision, procrastination and all sorts of internal conflicts. It’s so helpful because it creates a non-judgmental space where all internal parts can be heard and expressed with the outcome of fostering understanding.
How do you do the “Tea Time” exercise?
Imagine that you’re sitting down to have tea with your Parts that are in conflict. For example, perhaps you are considering a new business venture and there are some risks involved. You feel conflicted internally and this is keeping your from moving forward. One the one hand, your safety-minded part wants to keep you safe. The wants-to-be-challenged part wants you to grow. You can invite both parts to participate.
Remember the following rules:
- Begin with a brief centering exercise to deliberately set the stage.
- Make a commitment to suspend all judgment and to listen with curiosity.
- Let each Part explain what it wants, needs, acknowledging its values, beliefs and positive intention.
- Act as a witness that, from a higher perspective, observes and perceives the different positive intentions.
- The two Parts previously in conflict can now understand the other’s intention.
- This understanding creates harmony between the Parts of the unconscious mind, so that their values are more in alignment.
By following this exercise you will have ‘Integrated Parts’ and this will lead to feeling more congruent, empowered and clear in your decisions and actions. In my next blog post, I’ll share how you can specifically use this technique for various outcomes and the specific benefits your can derive from doing so.
NLP is one of the best models for understanding the ways we communicate not only with others, but even more importantly with ourselves. It’s great for identifying what’s holding you back. If you’d like some guidance on how to use NLP to address an internal conflict please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“A certain harmony should be kept between actions and ideas if we want to fully develop the effects they can produce.” ~ François de La Rochefoucauld
Do you struggle with making decisions? Part of you wants to do it, but part of you doesn’t? Emotional experiences throughout life, especially during the early imprint years, results in the creation of “Parts” in your unconscious mind. (I blogged earlier about this in a post about your Shadow Self.) These Parts have their own values and beliefs, and they’re responsible for certain behaviors.
I believe that overwhelming feelings and reactions, as well as, out of control behaviors are the result of these “Parts” feeling conflicted. Internal conflicts occur when two or more “Parts” of a person are at odds about a particular situation and exhibit behaviors that are seemingly incongruous (out of harmony).
The most problematic conflicts occur when the opposing Parts have negative judgments about each other. To resolve this inner conflict, you must identify a common positive intention. It’s important to know what YOUR purpose or desired outcome is.
Sadly, many of your outcomes for career, family, romance, and health may be based on the requests, desires or expectations of others. You may try to please your parents, spouse, teachers, religious leaders, boss and society. Yet these are not your personal outcomes. It’s not really the life you’ve always wanted to live.
As a result, you probably won’t have the energy that propels you forward to make good decisions that help you achieve your highest potential. When you struggle with your outcomes, almost always there’s some hidden inner conflict that needs resolution. You won’t feel fully alive until these inner conflicts are resolved.
Sometimes you may have an internal conflict or incongruence about some aspect of yourself – you feel as if you’re of “two minds” on the issue. These Parts can each appear to have different intentions and can be functioning independently of the other.
Here are some of the conflicts you may be experiencing:
- your job vs. spending time with your family;
- your career vs. your health;
- being entrepreneurial vs. playing it safe;
- freedom vs. settling down with someone special.
An internal conflict is often revealed through the words you use. Phrases such as “on the one hand,” “I feel torn about this,” or “a part of me agrees with you.”
Your behaviors may suggest different attitudes, and these attitudes may vary in different contexts. You may have one set of behaviors at work and a different set at home. Do you ever find yourself saying the following?
- “I really want to stop procrastinating, but Part of me just keeps doing it.”
- “Part of me really likes him, but Part of me is scared.”
- “Part of me wants to go to law school, but another Part wants to travel.”
We often use this language without knowing that it represents a deeper conflict inside.
However, when you take a closer glance, you’ll discover a dozen of sub-personalities inside. Some may disagree quite passionately with each other about who you really are or what you’re capable of being or doing.
Some of your Parts may be brassy and dominant. Others are fully formed, but quiet and waiting to be engaged. Some Parts are distressing. Some are good at hiding.
My personal view is that it’s okay to have Parts, if the Parts are working in a holistic sense. For example, it’s nice to know that I have a creative Part, a compassionate Part, a safety-minded Part, and a wants-to-be-challenged Part. These Parts express different aspects of my nature that I’m able to access when I need specific assistance. When my Parts learn to cooperate with each other, I experience internal peace, harmony and equanimity. So can you.
Parts Integration is a NLP (neuro linguistic programming) technique for internal conflict resolution. NLP is one of the best, if not the best, models for understanding human communication. It has proven techniques to help you address what’s holding you back.
I’ve been using NLP for years to help my clients excel. Now I’m thinking about developing a NLP training online. Are you interested? Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward completing the course. I’d love to hear from you.
“If you want to choose the pleasure of growth, prepare yourself for some pain.” – Ritu Ghatourey
Do you remember having growing pains when you were young? They weren’t pleasant were they, but who would want to stay the size of a baby? That’s just part of growing up.
However, what most people don’t recognize is that we continue to have growing pains – emotional, mental and spiritual ones – throughout our lives. However, discomfort now becomes our choice – we can avoid it, endure it, or embrace it. It’s no longer automatic.
Since our brains are hardwired to avoid pain, we often choose to avoid discomforts rather than embrace them. As a result, our personal and professional growth can become stunted.
What are some attitudes that people adopt to avoid the discomfort of growing?
- I’m happy where I’m at.
- I want to take it easy.
- I want to be comfortable.
- I don’t want to do that because it makes me uncomfortable.
- It’s too hard.
The trouble with staying in your comfort zone is that you can become self-absorbed, complacent, or easily bored. And if you have a creative nature, you’re going to be miserable.
Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is one of the most important skills you can develop. It’s how you’ll live a full and purposeful life. As Jean Shinoda Bolen said, “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”
But why is growing emotionally, mentally, or spiritually so uncomfortable? Because it involves taking a risk. Letting go of control. Venturing into the unknown. But that’s okay. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.
When you regularly seek out fresh experiences, you become more creative and emotionally resilient. It makes you stronger and more confident as you see each success and conquer each hurtle. Can’t you look back and remember things that used to make you uncomfortable, but you can now do with ease?
How do you embrace discomfort?
- Develop a craving for something more in your life.
- Resist the pride of perfectionism.
- Be willing to make “mistakes” and see them as learning experiences instead.
- Deliberately seek out things that push your limits.
- Stop avoiding what’s hard.
Oftentimes you have to expand your understanding to overcome obstacles in front of you – understanding yourself, others, or how things work. It challenges your mental skills. But your brain is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Conversely if you don’t stretch it, it will become flabby.
Make time for continual learning. Try a new language. Take a mindfulness course. Start a new hobby. You can tackle any project you set your mind to. As Calvin Coolidge said, “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”
If you make a practice of welcoming discomfort, your comfort zone will expand to include and embrace discomfort as a natural part of living. Then you can have a similar attitude to American writer Jonathan Lethem, “Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.”
Most things seem impossible until you do them. Remember that others have felt just as you do and they were able to push beyond that feeling. So can you.
Sometimes it helps to have someone coach you through a big growth spurt. If that’s where you’re at, I’d love to partner with you so you can more easily embrace discomfort. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Have you ever come home from a vacation more exhausted than when you went? Usually this happens when you try to cram in too many activities. Or to the other extreme, you laze around the pool, doing absolutely nothing except eating and drinking too much.
Either way, you may be missing the whole point of vacation – to refresh and reinvigorate yourself. As soon as you get back to “the real world”, stress piles up again. Plus you may have the added burdens of detoxing and getting rid of the extra pounds.
Instead, why not try a women’s retreat that balances your mind, body, spirit? This is something that I love to do! And here are five reasons why I think you’ll love a body wisdom women’s retreat too…
- Women’s retreats produce long-term benefits.
Retreats are designed to help you connect with your body’s wisdom so you can lead a more balanced lifestyle. You’ll experience emotional release and physical rejuvenation. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these feelings stay with you and improve your health once you return home. Choose a retreat that gives you the time and space to reconnect with yourself and center by aligning your emotions, beliefs, values, goals and intentions.
- Women’s retreats are designed for introspection and reflection.
Visiting a beautiful and tranquil location puts you in a contemplative frame of mind. It’s important to quiet outside “noises” so you can “hear” what your body, mind and spirit are communicating.
- Women’s retreats help you connect with nature.
Being close to nature is very healing. It reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Filling your lungs and soul on the clean air and peaceful surroundings lets your body, mind and spirit calm, giving you a fresh start.
- Retreats surround you with like-minded people – your guide and fellow attendees.
There are so many types of retreats. You get to pick a retreat where the guide leads sessions in what you desire to improve the most – health & wellness retreats, fitness retreats, meditation retreats, and body wisdom retreats to name a few possibilities. Look for techniques that will enhance your life long-term.
Group retreats bring together women who have similar concerns or interests. Because you have similar goals and intentions, you can build a support system. The others can act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you can’t clearly see by yourself. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, that others are on the same path. Women’s retreats are also a fantastic way to find new life-long intimate friendships.
- Women’s retreats are managed for you. You don’t have to worry about planning or finding places to eat and sleep. Your retreat facilitator takes care of all those stressful things. You just have your well-being to focus on. Another perk is that you’re more likely to receive exclusive features and discounts because of being in a group.
This year I’m leading a Body’s Wisdom Women’s Retreat through Italy. We’ll discover beautiful Sicily while learning to connect with the body’s untapped wisdom and practice centering, rejuvenating and mindfulness techniques. I plan on making this an annual event. Want to join me? Contact me with any questions.
“Get more done.” That seems to be the mantra of many productivity gurus. They advise, “Schedule your day, your week, the next six months, the next five years, and you’ll get more done.” The problem with this approach is that it leaves little time for tapping into the transformative power of continuous learning.
While there are many benefits to schedules and to-do lists, if you’re not careful you can get stuck in just getting through the day, getting stuff done. And when “life” happens it blows your well-ordered life to pieces.
On the other hand, if you focus on living mindfully, and you adopt a continuous learning mindset, you’ll be able to savor each moment, squeezing the very essence out of every day. When you practice embodied learning in a way that extracts the things, emotions, nuggets of wisdom that really matter, that’s when you gain richness and meaning in your life.
Here’s the key to successfully embracing a lifelong, continuous learning lifestyle…
Instead of striving for the maximum productivity, purposely create slack in your day so you have room for curiosity, creativity, doing quality work and really mastering a skill. It might seem counter intuitive to take slack time out of your busy schedule. And you might feel resistance against the idea. Yet I assure you, it works!
Adding slack to your day supports continuous learning because…
1. You get to focus on what you really want to learn. You stop thinking only about accomplishments (which leads to perfectionism). Instead, you start enjoying the process of trial and error, with the goal of becoming competent. This approach builds in the acceptance that you don’t have to, nor want to, do things perfectly, because what you want is to learn.
2. You get to switch from doing things automatically to doing things deliberately. You reclaim your power by accepting responsibility. You make the choices. You don’t blame yourself or others if something doesn’t work as you expected. You look for opportunities to make improvements.
3. You get to accept honest feedback. It’s one thing to ask for feedback and another to accept it graciously. Being a lifelong learner gives you the strength of character to embrace it, not viewing it as criticism but as a learning experience that makes you better.
4.You get to develop insight. You’ll understand “why” something is as it is. You’ll have a better perspective on the lessons involved, seeing the reasons why you or someone else feels, thinks and acts as they do. This takes your understanding to a much deeper level and helps you create stronger connections with yourself and others.
5. You get to create solutions as problems arise. When you’re on a tight schedule, it’s tempting to put problems on the back burner, but that makes them simmer and grow into crises. Having slack gives you the space to address problems while they’re small.
Become a lifelong learner by making time for continuous learning. Please set aside time for learning activities and experiences. Read a book each week, engage in deep conversations, take classes, and cultivate your power of observation.
Learn something new every day. For example, the next time an “automatic” activity and response arises, stop yourself and think about which skill you can practice. Do you want to communicate more effectively? Practice that. Do you want to influence others for the good? Then practice that. Do you want to find joy and happiness? Practice that.
In this way, you retrain yourself to view every event as an opportunity to learn and improve. By focusing on continuous learning, you’ll feel more satisfied because what you do brings you pleasure, a sense of accomplishment and knowledge that you’re living up to your full potential.
If you’d like specific pointers on how you can implement these suggestions as you live a more intentional life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).