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12 Keys to Shift Your Life
By Tracy Latz Marion Ross AuthorHouse
Copyright © 2008
Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. Marion Ross, Ph.D., Mh.D.
All right reserved.
Chapter One KEY 1. The Obstacle of Feeling Unloved
Remember that old childhood rhyming song: "Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I'll go eat worms ...?" We all have had one of those days where we felt utterly unloved and unlovable. It is so human. It may be because of something we did or something someone else did to us, or perhaps it may be due to life circumstances where we felt that no one recognized our accomplishments or abilities. Perhaps we are just feeling lonely and disconnected from everyone; or we feel guilty about something we did to someone else and, therefore, believe ourselves to be unworthy of love. We question how anyone could possibly love someone as awful as me?
When we feel this way, it appears that nothing will go right for us. We live with the perception of lack and futility. We can't see or experience anything but lack and futility in our lives when that is all that we open ourselves to perceive. There seems to be no joy in our life, and abundance escapes us when we harbor thoughts that we are not loved. There is no passion in our relationships, work, hobbies or activities that usually fulfill us. We feel empty. In essence, we are empty. We are stuck in our perception of emptiness, isolation, and lack of belonging or connectedness to someone or something.
What gets in the wayof feeling lovable?
- Negative life experiences both past and present (poor health, abusive relationships, traumatic experiences) - Negative parental influence (judgmental statements from childhood that have been internalized such as "You will never amount to anything", "You are bad", "You can't do anything right", "You ruined my life") - Grief and loss (of persons, pets, social status, occupation, power, relationships, health, or possessions) - Guilt (over past action or inaction imagined or real that is now regretted) - Abandonment (by parents/spouses through separation or divorce, by friends/loved ones through life circumstances or relocation, by God) - Unworthiness (sense of being "less than" others due to past experiences) - Shame (of what we perceive was done by us or to us in the past) - Embarrassment (of physical appearance, social status, actions, life experiences) - Loneliness (sense of isolation or lack of connection to anyone) - Rejection (in relationships, at work or school) - Culture or Creed creating separation (division by race, belief, sex, groups, teams, our competitive nature, socioeconomic status, education, preferences, religious dogma)
We are always creating separation by either thinking of ourselves as being included in or excluded from groups or situations. We judge our selves and others at times by what groups we associate ourselves with or what possessions we have or don't have. Think of how often we have met someone and asked: "Where do you live?" "What school did you go to?" "What team do you root for?" "What car do you drive?" Think of how often we strive to "keep up with the Joneses down the street" for fear of being judged or for how we judge ourselves if we do not have equal status symbols to those we admire. We essentially judge ourselves by how we believe we appear to others (physical appearance), our possessions, and our apparent attitudes (thoughts and feelings) rather than by whom we really are.
Many people perceive themselves to be nothing more than their physical body, thoughts and feelings. When we do this, we feel alone and isolated in handling our daily stresses and challenges in life. We do not understand that we are part of a greater whole and we take everything personally that occurs in our daily life. We begin to create a feedback loop (see Figure 1) based on how our body responds to stressors and the thoughts and emotions that are triggered by the stressors from our past experiences. It is easy to get lost in this repetitive pattern of our thoughts and feelings that get dredged up. We feel trapped with no exit.
Let's consider a scenario where we see this feedback loop in action. For example, something as simple as a trip to the store can rapidly trap us in a spiral of faulty thoughts that isolates us in a world of our own creation.
Imagine that you are driving to a major shopping center in the height of the holiday season to make some last minute purchases. You have somehow deluded yourself to believe that you will be the only person who will be making such a last minute visit to this store and that you will likely just breeze in and out in ten minutes. As you pull into the packed parking lot, you spy a parking space opening up just in the front of the store's entrance. What luck! You pull close to the space, turning on your blinker to indicate to the world that this space is YOURS. As you begin to contentedly hum a cheery tune, you wait patiently as the person currently occupying the space begins to back out. Everything is going according to plan and you will be home in time for dinner.
However, as you sit there imagining how good dinner will taste, a small green VW bug zips into your parking space before you can maneuver into it. The outrage of this injustice begins to boil within you. You feel your muscles getting tense as you tighten your grip on the steering wheel. As you clench your jaw, you begin to think "Why does this always happen to me?!" Feeling angry and like a victim, thoughts resurface from earlier in the day at work and begin to flood into your mind. "The boss overlooked me again for the promotion." "Someone else got the credit for the successful project that I did". "Nobody appreciates me!"
You begin to chew on the bones that have been buried in the recesses of your subconscious. "Nothing ever goes my way." "I am never good enough for anyone to notice." "I may as well be invisible!" "I will fail at everything I do!" The acid begins to churn in your stomach as your blood pressure rises, your head begins to pound and your jaw tightens further. "I think I am having a heart attack!!" "Wait until I find that jerk with the VW bug and give him a piece of my mind!" Your anxiety begins to turn into panic as you are becoming convinced that you are indeed experiencing symptoms of a heart attack since that does run in your family.
"Didn't Aunt Martha have a heart attack at age 46?!" Increasingly breathless, you look distractedly for another parking space as your mind chews more profoundly on the faulty thoughts from the past that are being unearthed at a frighteningly fast pace. After several minutes you finally find a space that is in the outermost edge of the parking lot. You can almost see in the distance the front of the store (if you had the binoculars you were planning on purchasing) from where you are now parked and you know that it will take ten minutes to make the trek to the entrance in the cold and now drizzly weather. As you trudge to the store cursing under your breath, you barely even notice the extremely pregnant, exhausted young woman with two toddlers trailing behind the brimming shopping cart that she is pushing in the rain. You are so lost in your own negative thoughts and feelings of anxiety, anger and resentment that you do not even notice the car heading for the last trailing child.
In the above scenario, you are feeling unlovable, terribly alone, disconnected, victimized, angry and panicked as you become adversely physically affected and isolated by your thoughts and feelings. You take everything going on around you personally. How could you have possibly dealt with the above scenario in a different manner? What is the key that will unlock the repetitive cycle of thoughts and emotions that results in physical symptoms and isolation? How can you create anew?
Imagine once again that you are headed to that major shopping center at the height of the holiday season, still searching for that convenient, close parking space and looking forward to returning home soon for dinner. You spot the space at the store entrance that is about to become available. Once again you indicate to the world that you are about to make this spot your very own. However, right on cue, here comes the green VW bug whipping into the space ahead of you while you dream of your scrumptious meal awaiting you at home.
You feel that all too human and ego-based flash of anger and resentment from the injustice of the situation, but this time you deal with it from an evolved mindset. This time you do not take it personally. When you get out of a victim mentality and become the observer of people and situations in the world around you, you take on a whole different perspective. Once you transform the anger and resentment (see Key 4) about losing the coveted parking space, you remind yourself that we are all part of a greater whole.
Perhaps the person driving the VW bug had a real need to be closer to the entrance; they might be handicapped or have a sick child at home or some other greater need for having that space. Or perhaps we are needed elsewhere at that moment. It is not always just about us. We drive on looking for another spot and finally find the one out in the nether regions of the lot. When we get out of the car, we are not caught in the loop of how we feel we are victims of circumstances or other people's actions, so instead of being caught in our own internal loop of faulty thoughts and emotional reactions, we are fully present and in the moment. We feel part of a greater whole.
That is when we notice the very pregnant, exhausted young mother and her two toddlers. We observe that she is not fully present to monitor her own children's safety as a car is rapidly approaching. This time we are no longer self-absorbed. We are fully present and available to quickly rescue her child from danger. From this perspective we become acutely aware that everything occurs for a reason even though we might not understand it fully in the moment. There is a reason for every circumstance and every person who crosses our paths. Every lost parking space and, in fact, every encounter becomes a new adventure and opportunity.
The missing piece from the first scenario is that there is no connection to spirit (which we define as god, source, universe, collective consciousness, higher power, chi) or unity with one another (see Figure 2). When you feel disconnected from a sense of a greater whole, everything that occurs in your life centers on you. You perceive that you are alone in the world and you are nothing more than your physical body, thoughts and emotions. This tends to breed the mentality that "whoever has the most toys in the end wins". It is "kill or be killed". There isn't enough for everyone. Competition is everywhere and you see everyone as a potential competitor.
When you add spirit or a sense of connectedness to others into the mix and feel the connection, your whole awareness and consciousness shift. You focus your attention on being part of a greater whole in which you play a vital role. You become aware that you are important and have a purpose in this great experience of life. It is not about being a victim. What is going on around you transcends you as an individual at every moment and yet involves your participation.
It is important to recall and be aware daily that you are loved and lovable at all times no matter what is going on in your life: You are never alone or abandoned. There is never an actual separation between us and any other person or thing. When you consider that each of us are energetic or spiritual beings residing in and expressing through a physical body, then you understand that there is no separation between energy/spirit and matter. When you have this awareness, there is never a sense of abandonment. You experience a sense of connectedness in knowing that All are One, and One are Many. We are all part of the bigger whole.
For instance, have you ever had the experience of suddenly thinking of someone and then they call you on the phone, show up on your doorstep, or you run into them at the most unlikely place soon thereafter? Have you ever had a strong feeling that a child or loved one was in trouble or in great need only to find out later that your intuition was correct? We are energetically connected to our loved ones at all times.... And they are connected to us as well. You just need to tune in. Your loved ones are constantly sending you love every moment, and all you need do is to take the time to be mindfully aware of and experience their love flowing to you in order to feel it.
What about those times where you have had a falling out with a loved one? Even though we become angry at one another over situations at times, there is still a deeper, underlying connection and love for that person that remains. Do you recall that, perhaps even after a breakup or a misunderstanding that causes the end of a close relationship, you might sense that there will always be a place in your heart beyond the hurt for that person even though you may not choose to have an on-going intimate relationship with them? This is because we are energetically connected to one another and when we can transform our anger, resentment, or shame, we can allow ourselves to feel love and compassion, become aware, and shift our perceptions. The following meditation and exercises will assist you with becoming aware of and experiencing this love and connectedness to others.
Exercises for When You Feel Alone, Unloved or Unlovable:
1. Loved Ones Meditation:
Hint-This meditation will be more effective if you have a friend read it with feeling to you or you record yourself reading it with heart on an audio tape and play it back to follow as you meditate in a quiet private space. This meditation can also be found on a companion CD that accompanies this book (for details see www.12keystoshift.com).
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and as you exhale feel all of your tension releasing from your body. Take two more slow deep breaths and each time you exhale, feel your muscles relaxing more and more.
Feel yourself walking on a soft, green mossy path in the countryside. It's an enjoyable spring day filled with the sounds of nature. The warmth of the radiant sun fills the air and your eyes delight in the beauty of nature. You are on your own special journey and it feels so nurturing to have some time for yourself. As you walk on the path, you are guided to a gently sloping field with wildflowers and every imaginable variety of colorful, vibrant butterflies. They are everywhere, fluttering, floating and alighting on the wildflowers. Feel the perfection of all this beauty.
Stop for a moment and allow yourself to fully absorb the scene. Allow it to permeate all of your senses. As you observe the scene more closely, one special butterfly will draw your attention. (Pause) Focus on this one butterfly. Take in its brilliant form and color. As you marvel at its beauty, the butterfly begins to transform. While you continue to watch the butterfly, it transforms into one of your loved ones. Your loved one is now standing there in the field surrounded by beautiful butterflies. Feel your love gently streaming towards your loved one and feel their love flowing toward you. The gentle peace of their love embraces you and feels so good. Be aware of the love flowing back and forth between you healing and dissolving any and all past relationship strife, which has come between you.
As you remain focused on the field and all of its vibrant beauty, the butterflies begin to transform into all of those people dear to your heart. There are so many butterflies and they continue to transform. Now they are transforming into all of the special people in your past that have brought inspiration into your life. Watch in wonder as they appear before you. Express your love and gratitude to them all for enriching your life. Feel your love expanding outward and enveloping them all, and feel their love flowing toward you.
Know that your loved ones are constantly sending you love at every moment. You may return to this field at any time to feel the warmth of love and to spend time with or communicate with those who are dear to your heart. When you are ready to return from this beautiful meadow filled with loved ones, feel yourself slowly returning to your body and gently open your eyes.
2. Loving Benefactor Exercise:
Find a comfortable, seated position on a chair or cushion and allow your body to settle into position. Close your eyes and begin to focus your attention on your breath, following your cycles of inhalation and exhalation. Notice the rising and falling sensations on your belly as you breathe in and out and follow this for a few cycles.
Now try to bring to mind a heartfelt sense or visual image of someone whom you believe embodies the qualities of unconditional love and compassion. This person can be a friend or relative, a religious or historical figure, a spiritual being or just someone who embodies these qualities. Picture this person as if they were sitting or standing right in front of you.
<%TOC%> Contents 1. Introduction....................1
Excerpted from SHIFT by Tracy Latz Marion Ross Copyright © 2008 by Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. Marion Ross, Ph.D., Mh.D.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
2. Key 1. The Obstacle of Feeling Unloved....................13
3. Key 2. The Obstacle of Guilt and Shame....................39
4. Key 3. The Obstacle of Abandonment....................55
5. Key 4. The Obstacle of Anger and Resentment....................69
6. Key 5: The Obstacle of How We Define Our Self....................83
7. Key 6. The Obstacle of Lack of Self-Love....................97
8. Key 7. The Obstacle of Inadequacy and Powerlessness....................111
9. Key 8. The Obstacle of Heartache....................121
10. Key 9: The Obstacle of the Unknown....................135
11. Key 10: The Obstacle of Stress....................147
12. Key 11: The Obstacle of Habit: Create Yourself and Your Life Anew Every Day....................161
13. Key 12: The Obstacle of Self-Discipline: Stay Connected Every Day....................179
14. Beyond the Keys....................187