Five Essential Skills for Transformation
by Julie Matheson
Just as I am saying goodbye from an introductory call with a prospective new client, they will often ask how best to prepare for our first session together. The skills that follow are necessary whether you are prepping for a first session with a new practitioner or wish to be more aware and in control of your thoughts, feelings and resulting behaviors.
First, the work I offer is meant for those who want to change negative thought patterns in a deep and lasting way. We do this by addressing one pattern at a time, in its entirety, all the way down to your root beliefs, regarding the issue at hand. I assist clients to outline the entire pattern in one sitting, with paper and pen, identifying all supporting thoughts, feelings and beliefs, so they can keep track of the breadth and depth of it. The goal is for clients to experience that pop-out-of-an-illusion feeling that happens when an entire pattern of false beliefs moves off at once.*
For this wake-up to occur, you need to be aware of how you talk to yourself about your issue. If a person has the following skills, it allows us to do our best work and to start at a higher level:
1. Keep the focus on yourself and your own beautiful life, and areas where you have choice and control. We can’t change a pattern of behavior in someone else, only in ourselves. Tune into how often you catch yourself obsessing about how someone else feels about you, treats you, or what he or she is doing, might do, or is not doing. To break this common habit, check in with yourself throughout the day to ask, “Where is my focus?” and then gently bring it back to yourself and your own life.
2. Name your feelings. Do a Google search for a “Feelings List” and keep it handy. Many people cannot name or say how they feel. Our feelings are a wealth of information and are generated by our own pre-conditioned filters, preferences and biases. No one makes us feel anything. All feelings are self-generated responses to how we perceive the world around us. Naming your feelings will help you gain insight into your subconscious self-talk. Stop periodically, and especially when experiencing something intense, breathe and ask, “What am I feeling right now?”.
3. Identify the thoughts that cause your feelings. Start by naming the feeling and then work backwards to identify the thought that generated it. Thoughts happen lightning fast, and often all we are left with is the resulting feeling. Catching full thoughts in action takes skill. Take a breath, stop and ask, “What did I just say to myself that caused this feeling?”. Knowing how you talk to yourself about your most troubling issue is important to clearing your pattern in its entirety, creating space for new thoughts and beliefs to take hold.
4. Know your issue well and be able to imagine life without it. Think about what you really want to experience instead of whatever current experience is troubling you. Really go for it. Imagine a better life. We’re not trying to block out the negative experience, because that’s real. While it may seem contradictory, start to tap into the possibility of something better, because that’s real, too. Get as clear as you can and let yourself get excited about the possibility of living in some new way. Your hopeful, committed excitement will lead the way.
5. Use the positive to illuminate the negative. When you reach into the All-Possible to grab a vision about how great life is going to be once this pattern is resolved, opposing thoughts will arise. This tension is good information; make note of it. Flipping back and forth between the two realities of ‘this is what I am experiencing now’ and ‘this is what I choose instead’ is how we flush out everything that has reinforced the old way of being. It’s also how we bring in new, life-giving beliefs. This technique also keeps our work streamlined and on-topic, and that’s how you get a good, thorough pop-out-of-an illusion pattern clearing.
The better you know your pattern, the easier it will be to address any potential blind spots and to do the more complex, next steps of the pattern clearing process. Clearing patterns in their entirety allows for faster transformation, less reactivity and more peace. In the meantime, practicing these skills will make you a better self-observer and soon you’ll be on your way to evolving any and every pattern you wish to change.
*Clearing an entire pattern usually takes more time than allotted in a single session. However, it is possible if the client comes prepared knowing their issue well.
Julie Matheson is a holistic mental health counselor and author. Her new book is
on Amazon in paperback, Kindle, Audible and in bookstores near you –
Lotus Flower Living: A Journaling Practice for Deep Discovery and
Lasting Peace: Untangle Your Mind and Heart Once and For All.
You may listen to the Introduction at LotusFlowerLiving.com/book.