I have worked with a number of people , especially recently, who have said something like: “Every time I start to get happy or things are going right, I do or say something that sabotages my happiness, and life comes crashing down around me again. It is as if some part of me is afraid to be happy and it thinks that my feeling good is a signal that something bad is about to happen. Maybe it is trying to protect me?”
What makes us sabotage our happiness?
For some people the trigger was a traumatic event. “Everything was good in my life and then I got hit by a truck. Literally. Nothing seemed to work for me after that.” “I was a happy go lucky kid, not a care in the world. My mom caught me swearing, sent me to my room, and my dad died that night. I thought it must be my fault. I’ve been unconsciously punishing myself ever since.” For lots of people it is a family belief—”Don’t let things get too good, better to be a pessimist and then you won’t be disappointed.” For others it is constantly being told as a child that you are too loud, too smart, too energetic, too much—the implication was “be less and we will like you better.” The consequences are that we live in fear, hyper-vigilant, accepting less rather than seeking more.
Whatever the cause, sabotage in us seems to stem from a conflict between inner parts of us. Both sides want to keep us safe from our fears, but they have very different strategies. The most common strategy is to curl up, close down, back off, shut the door, tighten up, preserve what we have, constrict, lower expectations, hunker down, soldier on, circle the wagons, put up the fists…those are just the first phrases that come to my mind. You know how that feels in your body.
There is another strategy though, that leads in an opposite direction: opening, expanding, flowing, embracing, transforming, wondering, exploring, being curious, experimenting, hoping, trusting. This feels much better, but being unfamiliar, seems scarier. The good feeling can trigger the downward spiral of sabotage.
Every person and every human event has the potential to move toward either of these directions in every moment. When we choose to constrict and shut down in the face of fear, we lose touch with our resources of spirit and creativity just when we need them the most. In order to survive and prosper in hard times, and return to good times, we need our energy to be clear, open and flowing.
We are all living through some tough times right now, globally, nationally and personally. I believe that we are being asked to make big changes. Fear is always a signal that says: “Change direction!!”
EFT can help us to BE the change we want to see.
(Remember Gandhi’s phrase?)
Remember a time when you did something that you love to do and you handled it well. Or maybe you made a difficult choice and it turned out for the good. Or better yet, choose a time when you changed direction and it was really hard, but looking back you realize that you were deepened and strengthened and en-joyed by the process.
Write a paragraph or a page, or jot down ideas, or record yourself talking about this time. Or tell a friend and have them take notes. However you do it, end up with a storehouse of your own words about yourself that you can turn into EFT set-up phrases.
Create your own deep and powerful affirmations about yourself. Tell, in your EFT set-up phrases, the story about you that you want to affirm and continue to turn toward. Turn yourself away from fear!
I would love it if you would send me your stories or notes with the set-up affirmations that you have pulled from them! I will share some of them in this space.
Here are some phrases that will help you to navigate these difficult times. Tap along. Create these statements into stories for yourself about what is possible.
Tap for these statements (and add any ideas that they spark in you):
Even though everything seems so scary and uncertain, and I find myself filling with fearful thoughts all the time, I accept my fear and I want to know if it has a message for me.
Even though I am afraid about __________, I am choosing to listen deeply to my fear, and defuse its charge. It could lead to change that will leave me stronger than before.
Even though I am worried, I accept myself anyway. I want to listen to the content of the fear—the actual facts of the situation and their potential consequences—and not just to the emotional and imaginal drama and energy it may project.
Even though it seems like everything is spiraling out of control, I accept my fears, and I want to remember to pay attention to the possibilities and the positive outcomes as well as the potentially negative ones.
Even though it feels like everything is falling apart, I accept my self anyway, I forgive myself for feeling that way, and I want to remind myself that only some things are falling apart!
Even though it still feels like everything is falling apart, I want to remember that other things are most likely holding together quite nicely, or even improving.
Even though everything seems so uncertain, I notice that fear focuses my attention down onto what is frightening me, causing me to lose my larger, more holistic awareness, and my energy tightens up. I want to broaden my vision again and restore perspective.
Even though in the past fear could collapse my world into a small bubble of disaster, and I admit that yes, some things are going wrong, I want to take time to look around and see. I choose to reclaim my citizenship as part of a larger world in which things do work and are working well.
Even though people around me are tending to falling into drama, I remember that drama for its own sake, like in the news, just keeps people’s energy turbulent, not flowing. I choose to remember that Life reads my deepest needs in the clear pool of my being, but it can’t read my needs if my surface is constantly churning.
Even though I am so angry and upset with myself for being so fearful and weak, I want to remember that this negative talk about myself is even further constricting my energy. It comes from a place in me that wants me to be better, and somehow it got the idea that beating myself up will make me improve. I invite myself to notice that beating myself up has NEVER made me better! It just makes me feel worse!
Even though I beat myself up for slipping into negativity yet again, in spite of knowing better, I choose to remember that positive thinking is not a club to hold over my head! I want to remember that paying attention to what is right in my life and in our world can restore a sense of balance and positivity.
Even though I am upset with myself, I understand, and I forgive myself. It doesn’t mean that I am a bad person! I am always doing my best.
Even though maybe I should be feeling gratefulness and appreciation for the time we live in and the challenges it presents, part of me thinks it is too hard to do that!! There is so much that is scary—financial crisis, global climate change, terrorism, wars, energy depletion, and any other disasters looming on the horizon…. But still I know that thinking of joyous memories, experiences, and thoughts can shift my mood and trigger a flood of my brain’s “happy chemicals.” I have endorphins inside that are just waiting to generate a happy body chemistry for me that is more clear and flowing.
Even though I am so worried and frightened and afraid of change, I want to remember that resisting the flow of the times is always futile; we live in this moment of history facing these challenges. The future will unfold based on our present decisions and actions.
Even though I can feel my body tightening up and trying to resist and defend myself from what I think might happen, I am choosing now to remind myself that if I retreat, my energy will constrict, my creative input will be lost— and the future will come anyway, and even more likely in a form I don’t like.
Especially because I deserve to take good care of myself, I choose to remember that the times are challenging but they are also creative and open to new birth, new potentials, and new possibilities.
Especially because I am creative and I am so dedicated to bringing peace and harmony to the world, I choose to align myself with the goodness in life so that I can feel my energy flowing and opening again.
Especially because more people need to know how to do this, I can help! I can heal the future by doing my best to make this moment a peaceful one.
and bright possibility.
Joy and happiness is our human birthright.
But…it is up to us to take responsibility for it.
The recent election in the US captured the imagination of people around the world for exactly these reasons. No matter what our politics or the land of our citizenship, it seems clear that this election went far deeper than the US every-four-years-political-drama. We are global citizens. We are being asked by the spirit of our humanity to reach deep inside to create a change that we all can embrace, a change that also embraces us.
I want to share with you some words about this from author, educator and spiritual teacher David Spangler:
Watching the election returns Tuesday night was like watching the moon landing forty years ago. Then a man took a step onto a new world and all humanity took a step with him. Tuesday night, the voters of the United States of America took a step and because of that, a man took us all into a new world of possibility and hope. Watching President-Elect Barack Obama, I felt like I’d been waiting for this moment most of my life. As tears of joy and exclamations of wonder and delight burst forth from Americans of all color and race, I felt for this evening I was seeing the true America, the United States that can rise to be a planetary nation, a place of blessing for all peoples and all life. This was echoed in Senator McCain’s gracious concession speech and in President Bush’s marvelous and graceful statement of appreciation for the significance of Obama’s victory at a news conference the next morning from the Rose Garden.
Obama decreed that no fireworks be set off as a victory celebration over Grant Park in Chicago because he felt it was inappropriate to the solemn tasks ahead of us and because this was not a triumph over an opponent but an opening to working together as a community to meet those tasks. But the fireworks were still there in our hearts and you could see the light of their explosions in the eyes of those who watched the returns and saw a black man—a family man, a loving man—step forth to take on the burden of our common future.
There is hard work and sacrifice ahead for all of us; the promise of the election will not be realized overnight, nor even, as the President-Elect said, in four years. The challenges ahead are immense. But for a shining moment the best in us rose to the surface and said to those challenges and to our future, “Yes, we can!” It was a truly spiritual moment, a moment transcending politics, a moment that all the world has joined with us in rejoicing. It was—and is—a moment of hope.
And now we all move forward, not into utopia but into the bright freshness that each day always brings every day of our lives, vibrant with promise even when filled with challenge. The spirit within us is inexhaustible, and to it, each day is like the first day of creation. Possibilities abound, and love is but a choice away from being the radiant power of our lives. We forget this, and when we do, life can press down upon us and we feel shadowed. But then there are those moments, precious and empowering, when we remember. We remember who we are and what we can do and the promise of the light within us.
Tuesday night, when a black man of a minority population and of global ancestry was voted into the most powerful office in the world on a wave of transformation and hope, was one of those moments. Tuesday night, we all remembered.
Finally, here is a little ending bit of inspiration: nine minutes of a similar message in a very different context. The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2008. Its theme was “The Power of Collaborative Innovation.” Conductor Ben Zander ended the forum week with a spirited talk about leadership and the art of possibility.
(The song he teaches and conducts at the end is the “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony) More about Ben Zander at http://www.benjaminzander.com
With my love and blessings all around, at this time and always –