si dawson

experiments in self-improvement

Month: June, 2011

Bad Morning

This morning I woke up feeling bad.

How bad? Really bad. The worst I’ve felt in… months?

Kinda like this:

(Years back I used to sing this to myself every day at work… but that’s a whole other story)

In fact, I distinctly remember thinking “God, I feel so crap even a blowjob wouldn’t cheer me up today.”

Which is pretty damn bad.

I have no idea why I felt so bad. I hadn’t had a bad dream. Best guess was that I’d eaten too much licorice the night before and was suffering an extreme sugar crash. But, you know, if you don’t know immediately, trying to figure out never helps (your brain just gets all tied up in knots).

I noticed my brain was just circling. Thoughts like “Holy fuckballs I’m in a shitastic mood” kept echoing in my head.

So, what to do?

  1. First, I made a choice to think about something else, other than how bad I was feeling (repeating the same negative thought only makes you feel shitty. Changing that thought also reiterated that I’m the boss of my thoughts, not the other way around)
  2. I consciously decided to be ok with the crappy mood (not beat myself up about it).
  3. I asked myself “Could I choose to be 100% happy, even if was feeling crappy?” (pro tip, the answer is always “Yes”. This didn’t shift things completely, but it sure as hell helped. More on this later)
  4. I ate, took multivitams and omega 3’s (to stabilise my blood sugar)
  5. I hid the licorice in the cupboard (take immediate, concrete action to remove negative influences from your environment)
  6. I noticed & relaxed tension in my face (simple, but definitely helped me relax)
  7. I emailed a friend for encouragement (Create an emotional support network. Help them. Let them help you)
  8. I did a mindmap on whatever came to mind (nothing like a sugar crash to get you questioning the core of your existence). A little tapping, a little releasing.
  9. I did some tapping on one of my CAP lists (always ensures I have a better day. More on those here)
  10. I went to aikido (exercise, socialising with people I love, doing something I enjoy)
  11. I rolled around on the grass with those beautiful trees (connection to nature)
  12. I listened to loud, upbeat music (music has a strong effect on mood)
  13. I basked in the sunshine, feeling warm concrete through my socks & the sun on my face (vitamin d elevates mood)

What helped? Maybe all of it. Maybe none of it. Maybe it’s all bullshit. It doesn’t really matter. I’m a huge fan of – if you have a problem, throw every possible solution at it. There’s a million things you can try. Just do what feels right at the time. Trust your intuition.

After that, I listened to this:

And you know what? It felt pretty true.

I’m slowly learning, this journey isn’t about being perfect. It’s just about the highs slowly getting higher and more common. It’s about when the lows do hit, how quickly you pull out of them. Over time, it gets faster & faster.

Not perfect; just more perfect, more often.


    Dealing To Fear

    Fear is very simple.

    Our usual reaction to fear, anxiety, in fact any “negative” or “unpleasant” emotion is to avoid it. To either push it down or try to escape it (booze, sex, TV etc).

    And this works!

    Well, kinda.

    All it really does is push that emotion back down again, but, like an unkillable hydra, it will in time rear itself up to bite us on our proverbial asses.

    So, what’s a better way to deal with fear?

    Well, there’s a super easy way, but you’ve gotta be willing to try something different.

    In fact, you’ve got to be willing to do the exact opposite (If what you’re doing isn’t working for you, why the hell not give it a shot? Worst case and it doesn’t work, you’re exactly where you are already)

    Here’s what you do: Rather than push it down, welcome it up.

    Of course, this goes against our natural instincts (“Our hand hurts, we take it off the stove”). But maybe something unobvious is what’s needed here.

    It’s actually very simple (aren’t most Truths?)

    Rather than saying “No” to the fear or other negative emotion, say “Yes” to it. Literally.

    1. Address the fear and say “Yes” to it, out loud.
    2. Welcome that feeling up
    3. Feel it (in your stomach or chest)
    4. Then, open a door or window (whatever works for you) right over that feeling, and just let the emotion leave.

    It’s the funny thing with emotions, the only reason they appear in the first place is because they want to leave.

    All emotions want to leave.

    Our instinct-to-avoid thus prevents this.

    You can send the feeling love “I love you, and it’s time for you to leave.” You can just allow it to leave “I allow you to leave.” You can ask it if it wants to leave “Fear, do you want to leave?” Tap along with it. All of these work.

    The key is just that you stop resisting the feeling. Stop saying “No” to it and say “Yes” instead. Send the feeling love instead of hate.

    Much like learning to drive – when we see oncoming lights, our instinct is to swerve towards the lights – which is why we need to be taught to steer towards the side of the road. Sometimes our instincts do steer us wrong.

    The answer is so incredibly simple. The opposite of our instincts, not always easy, but simple.

    Say yes to all non-loving feelings, and just let them go.

    What do you have to lose. You’re already in pain anyway*, right?

    Just say yes.

    * You’re not in pain? You have no fear? Awesome. Then keep saying yes. Say yes to love, to happiness, to joy! Say yes to being The Most Amazing You Ever!


      Map’n’Tap, Version 2

      I originally wrote about the Map N Tap a loooong time ago.

      The basic gist goes like this: Most issues (particularly core or long-held beliefs) are like little spiderwebs. There are lots of things tied in around them – both positive & negative (ie, both attachments and aversions).

      So, to clear out anything significant:

      1. Get yourself in a chilled space
      2. Focus on the issue
      3. Do a mindmap of everything that pops into mind around it (negative and positive), no matter how trivial
      4. Tap it out (bitch!) starting from the outside and working your way in

      Earlier this week, I discovered a neat way to amp that up, and really clear things out, super powerfully. Huge thanks to Leslie for this one.

      In short, watch the vid (fullscreen is best), tap along, but focus on your mindmap.

      The great thing is, the words David is saying are all aimed at letting stuff go, so even though you may be focussing your attention on something that’s been difficult to shift in the past, he (more or less) programs your brain to just chuck it out. Because your conscious attention is on your issue, his verbal instructions side step your resistance. It’s sneaky but awesome.

      He also focuses pretty heavily on sending positive energy to you (the viewer) as you’re watching. Whether you believe that or not really doesn’t matter. What he’s doing works.

      Interestingly, the exercise also becomes something of an EFT/Releasing hybrid. You’re tapping, but really, you’re just letting go of it all.

      Perhaps as a result, I’ve found myself shifting stuff super fast with this.

      Simple stick with each item on your map, continue tapping along until it feels clear and you’re not bothered by it any more (you feel hootless!). Then move to the next item, working your way from the outside in.

      Once you’ve watched the whole video once, you can prolly skip forward to 03:55, that’s where the tapping really starts. Thus, from there to the end of the tapping is only about 8 minutes. So yes, you can do two sessions in quarter of an hour. Amazing. I’ve managed to clear full page mindmaps, with more than 40 items on them, down the point where none of it bothers me any more in one single viewing/tapping session.

      Also interestingly, while I’ve been tapping for, wow, maybe 5 years now (and anywhere from 5-50 things a day, pretty much every day), it’s pretty rare that I have strong physical reactions any more. Except when I’ve been using this approach. Doing this, pretty much every time I end up over-heating like crazy, in tears, snotty-nosed and/or burping loudly (yes, delightful I know). These are all signs that it’s going super deep & really ripping stuff (lovingly!) out.

      Over the last few days I’ve managed to clear out a ton of super deep programs (negative beliefs). Fear of failure, fear of success, a ton of stuff about women (amazed I’ve ever had a date, with all that junk floating around in my noodle), being not good enough, not worthy, a ton of stuff around money, you name it.

      I feel different. I’m thinking differently. The world feels different than it did even a few days ago. The efficacy of this technique is simply mindblowing, in terms of bang-per-minute spent.

      If you have a particularly chunky map, or something that feels like there’s a lot to it, it’s a good idea to give it another bash the next day. Create a brand new map and then tap on that. You’ll be amazed how different successive maps become, as you wade down through the layers, clearing out the accumulated detritus of life. I did three maps on women (ie, intimate relationships) three days running, and there was basically zero overlap between any of them. Amazing!

      How To

      Here’s an example (one I did). You can see that really, you’re just brain dumping, in a semi-structured way. Just scribble (or draw) stuff down in any manner that feels useful to you. There’s no right or wrong approach.

      click for an easier to read (ie, large) version

      The primary advantage, I think, of writing it all down is that it frees up space in your brain to focus on the one specific tiny subsection you’re working on, at any one time. Of course, this is something that the Getting Things Done crowd have known forever. Empty brain = easier to be mindful & focused.

      Some suggestions to get started (if they resonate with you):

      • I must suffer
      • Life is hard
      • I don’t deserve to be happy
      • Women (or Men, if you’re female)
      • Your partner (if you have one)
      • Family
      • Parents
      • Making money
      • Having money

      Just take it from there. Don’t be afraid to do them on seemingly trivial issues too. I’ve found & removed some super deep, super hardcore life stuff when the map itself started with an utter triviality. Everything is connected, you’ll be amazed what pops up.


      Extra For Experts
      Since everything comes back to either wanting (ie, lacking) Control, Safety or Approval, try writing a note next to each item on your map (I just jot down -C, -A or -S), then, rather than focusing so much on the specific issue, focus on letting go of wanting/lacking Control, Safety or Approval about that issue. Things don’t have to be only one of course, they can be any combination or all three.Once you’ve cleared the A/C/S, then tap/release on the issue itself (usually by then this will have already gone).

      Doing this is more intense, and slightly more work while you get used to it, but really does seem to clear deeper, and faster. An additional benefit is that it more thoroughly clears you out in general, since letting go of a little wanting control in one area lets go of it from everywhere in your life, and so on.

      Once you’ve worked all the way in to the centre on any specific branch of the map, then quickly scan back out to the edge again. This’ll pick up anything that may not have cleared completely.


        Simpler EFT

        I’ve been using EFT daily for a long time. The commonest confusion I’ve heard in that time is “What do I say?”

        Generally speaking, what you say is more or less irrelevant. It serves primarily to keep you focused on the situation or issue you’re tapping out.

        Understandably then, I was pretty excited to discover the other day a neat side step around the whole damn pickle.

        I have @InspiringAlways to thank for this. She pointed me to Robert Smith’s EFT videos on youtube, and since I was having a “Let’s not code today” day, I gave a bunch of them a watch.

        Here’s what he recommends:

        1. Tap the karate chop point (side of hand) while describing the issue (just say a short descriptive phrase three times).
        2. Then tap on each point (5-10 times) and say “Let it go.”

        That’s it.

        And by “short descriptive phrase”, the easiest way to think of one is this: Imagine what you’re tapping on is a movie. What’s the title of that movie? Right, that is your phrase.

        Interestingly, this is a sort-of intersection between releasing and tapping. Releasing, in essence, is about welcoming up all feelings & letting them go. In other words, say “yes” to them, instead of (our more usual, avoidant, escapist) “no.”

        Whatever. It works, really well.

        I have found if I write the short phrase down in front of me I can keep my eyes on that, which helps keep my brain from dancing off elsewhere (down monkey, sit down!).

        Also useful is to vary the phrase a little, depending on how you feel, and what feels best at the time:

        • Letting it go
        • I choose to let it go
        • It’s safe to let it go
        • I choose to let it go completely
        • Letting it all go

        [edit: update a month later. These are SUPER powerful]

        • I love you (or this)
        • I choose to love you (this, it, etc)

        (you get the idea. Just remember, you’re the boss. Reassert that and (lovingly) allow this stuff to get the hell out)

        This, combined with mind-mapping has enabled me to have quite possibly the most productive healing weekend of my life. I feel like I’m floating on a sea of endless, effortless love. I don’t know how long it’ll last (maybe 5 mins, maybe till tomorrow, maybe forever? It doesn’t matter), but while it’s here, I’m loving it (and everything else that pops in my my mind).


        Extra for experts

        A good way to ensure you’ve cleared things completely is to first of all measure (0-10) how much emotional resonance there is with the issue (“How much does it hurt?”). Then tap, then measure again. Rinse, wash, repeat until you’re at zero. It’s also good to take a few deep breaths and let it all out afterwards.


          This Is The Fun Bit!

          Positive reframing is an interesting thing.

          In case you haven’t heard of reframing (or can’t be bothered reading the wiki page), I’ll quickly explain it.

          Reframing is the act of taking something shitty, and spinning it to emphasise the (to you) positive aspects.

          Here’s a classic example:

          Why yes, I have seen someone wearing this. Oh boy.

          So really, it’s just choosing to look at things from a better angle.

          Here’s another great example:

          saying "Oh captain my captain" is optional

          Often something as simple as standing on your desks can be enough to shift your entire viewpoint.

          So, other than the myriad of cheap laughs, why bother reframing?

          Because oftentimes dissolving a problem, or seeing your way past a situation can be as simple as changing how you look at it.

          Audiences know what they expect and that is all they are prepared to believe in.

          Unsurprisingly, it’s like Shakespeare said “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so (Hamlet to Rosencrantz, how awesome is that?).

          In other words, no situation makes things as difficult for us as how we think about that situation.

          So, to reframing.

          Until now, I’ve never really been convinced about reframing. What am I going to do? Just say something differently (lie to myself?) & hope it sticks?

          Yeah, that never gelled.

          Until I stumbled across this particular phrase:

          “This is the fun bit”

          I’ve got some pretty hairy stuff going down in my life right now (long, boring story – but also why I haven’t posted much). And yep, it’s been crazy stressful at times. A lot of uncertainty, a lot of confusion, a lot of what-the-eff?!?!

          And yet every time I say that phrase to myself, everything instantly shifts.

          “This is the fun bit”

          • Things stop being crazy and out of control; they start being crazy and fun (like being attacked by 4 ukes at once in Aikido).

          “This is the fun bit”

          • Things stop being scary; they start being exhilarating (like a rollercoaster).

          “This is the fun bit”

          • Things stop being unpredictable; they start being thrilling (like an exciting movie).

          “This is the fun bit”

          • I stop freezing up because things are overwhelming; I start rolling with it all instead (like flowing effortlessly through a bustling crowd)

          .. and as an added bonus, I’ve found that quite as a side effect, I instinctively & effortlessly dump a huge amount of negative energy around whatever-it-was that was bothering me in the first place.

          It’s the single most powerful thing I’ve found to say to myself in times of strife & difficulty.. and so, I pass it to you.