Today I am writing about something that has taken me almost a week to wrap my head around. See last week I saw my coach Brian Phillips, a co-founder of Your Hidden Mind -system.
Over the past two and a half years, he has become this person in my life, who can pinpoint the root questions of my life, and they tend to catch me off-guard.
I am a proud personal development fan. I practice what I preach. My favourite pass time is to dive into the tools and techniques of personal development. I continuously challenge my thinking and keep digging deeper - because if you are anything like me - you know it - we love digging deeper. The experience of always having something to heal and always something to fix, comes with the understanding, that we are a work in progress. To the point it has almost become a mantra of mine. I am never ready or complete. Always more to improve.
And that right there is the core of it. And of course, Brian caught it in our conversation.
So as I was again explaining something new I was investigating and spending my time with, Brian looked at me and asked:
What are you searching?
Now, I usually would explain something along the lines of aspiring to become a better person, but I knew right away, that was not going to suffice, in his mind, I am already a better person. So the question remains, what am I searching?
First off, nothing wrong with becoming a better person, whatever that means to you, but what is behind that? What drives you always to improve, get more knowledge, find a new tool or always dig deeper?
There are two options, really:
1) Curiosity is what helps humankind move forward. We are born with the need to aspire and expand. Again, nothing wrong with that, all good.
2) Something within you demands to look for that next thing, that next insight, a-ha, awareness of your behaviour and explanation, and not only that, you believe in finding that outside of yourself. You nurture a belief that someone else's (proprietary) experience on something could be the solution for you.
So which category do you fall?
As much as I would like to say I am in the first category, when Brian asked me that question, I realized, that is only a part of it. I know category two is where I have landed often too.
Let me take you back to Brian's question: So he already thinks I am a better person. In his mind, I am already there, yet here I am still getting on with the next program, and he still wants to know, what am I searching?
So without really giving him a response, my thoughts were relatively simple and straight forward: "If I want to be a better person - yet I am still searching, I clearly don't think I am that yet, right?"
Not quite good enough. Boom.
Damn, that logic annoys me. I have done everything humanly possible to "fix" the not good enough story of my life, and here I still am, dealing with the same stuff I dealt with when I first started with someone else's magic-pill-program decades ago, which was supposed to "fix" this.
Now, this can really mean one of two things: Either I am the thickest student there is, or that magic pills won't work. As much as I hate to say it, I am inclining towards magic pill's won't work. And as I know this to be true, simultaneously, I am still searching for the next magic pill. Sigh.
Let me make this ultra simple:
So when someone else's magic pill won't work and "fix" me - I automatically question myself. I assume there has to be something wrong with me.
Inevitably the question arises:
Why don't I question the magic pill?
So I love the information that is based on practice. I have said this before. My brain works from practice to theory. Not from theory to practice, like most of us have been taught to think in school.
What I love about the practice to theory approach is that it is really how we begin to process information at the beginning. We are in charge of the conclusions we draw. It starts even before we are born. We gather utterly unique experiences, and we then conclude that. By the time we are six years old, we have already set our mind about how life works. Imagine that for a moment. Six years old and we are already in the "know".
So basically the rest of our lives we are searching for ways to unlearn what we learned. We begin to look to other people to teach us how they "fixed" themselves, without a shred of evidence have they actually "fixed" anything. They merely seem as they have. We have no way of knowing what goes on in their brain.
I want to take this on another tangent before I bring it together.
So what is healing? What does it mean to "fix" something?
I use the example of smoking. So once you are an addicted smoker, it can be described as your brain has been pickled towards smoking.
If you can stop smoking:
Have you utilised your will power to quit smoking? Have you taught yourself new behaviours that take over, when you feel like having a smoke? Here, your brain is still pickled to smoking.
Have you healed the addiction to smoking and have no desire to smoke. Here you have managed to unpickle your brain, because the desire is simply no longer there. This unpickling is a process we have been taught that is not even possible for us.
So tell me, which one to you is healing? Which one do you believe is available to you? More importantly, how would your approach to healing change if you believed that this unpickling is available to you?
To me, in this example, the healing is to have no cellular memory of wanting to smoke.
If you manage the addiction with a vast array of tools, so you don't smoke, to me that is merely coping with the addiction.
Do you get the difference?
Now back to Brian's question: What am I searching?
For sure, I want to heal this not good enough -story from my life. Part of me is still clearly coping (not healed) because I am looking for the magic pill. Right?
Now take this in to your life, what kind of “pickling” is impacting your brain? What would you like to unpickle? What would healing then look like?
For me, it meant not having the constant need to "load my gun" with new stuff, new programs, new whatever to fill the need to "fix" myself. I have often used the word fulfilment to describe what my ultimate goal for life is. By using that word, I am actually describing the voids of my life — the voids which keep me looking outside of myself for the answers.
So here it is, the paradox of life. The more effort we put in applying ourselves to something – from the place of not being the way we desire to be – the more we are underlining the lack of that very thing. In spiritual learnings, it is described in multiple ways, for instance: What you resist persists or what you focus on grows.
In (not so scientific) brain health terms, you need to remove the pickle juice from your cellular memory. And here is the kicker: you cannot do that by following someone else's magic pill instructions, because your conclusions of that very thing are utterly unique to your circumstances.
In my case I was searching for the next thing to “fix” me, instead of learning from the point of view of being curious and interested in something new.
Here is an example of a bit more healthy approach to personal development:
I love to study ancient Creeks and Stoics about the way they lived their lives and approached personal development, but as I study and investigate, I don’t feel inadequate when I don’t live my life exactly like that.
See the difference between not being good enough and trying to “fix” me in oppose to learning and understanding more about how human kind has evolved and good life practices of the Stoics?
You have the choice to either cope with the issue impacting your life negatively - or you can heal it. Now, you may have already guessed that I am very much in the healing camp.
Let me know if you want support in getting started with your healing journey by dropping me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org