Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Run, Make it a Home Run!

It's normal and human, when difficult feelings arise, to want to run from the discomfort or to strike out and blame someone else. Either of these responses only reinforces the pattern that caused the distress in the first place.

When you allow yourself to fully experience your typical reactions, you'll discover a new meaning for the baseball phrase, sweet spot ("When you hit a ball just right, you've hit it on one of the three 'sweet spots' of the bat").

Years ago I learned from Arnold Mindell that we receive signals about unconscious patterns through one of three channels: physical, auditory, or visual. These are our sweet spots. Stop right now, think of a recent situation where you felt upset, and ask yourself, "Was my first clue...
a) a physical sensation such as a headache, backache, or tense shoulders?"
b) an auditory conversation (self-talk) such as 'OK, now I've really gotten myself into something'?"
c) a visual image (could be literally 'seeing red' or another image)?"
Whether your recent experience was predominantly physical, auditory, or visual, now switch to another channel by asking one of these questions:
a) "If I could sense this [problem] physically, where would it be?"
b) "If this [problem] could speak to me, what would it say?"
c) "If I could see this [problem], what would it look like?"
The first time I tried this, I was having severe neck pain, so I asked the pain, "If you could speak to me, what would you say?" To my astonishment, I heard the phrase "Yoke of oppression." Not surprisingly, when I then asked to "see" the pain, I saw two yoked oxen being driven with a whip. 

It's also not surprising that my unconscious responded in metaphor. When logic doesn't work ("I think I'll just have my neck quit hurting"), that's an invitation to involve your more holistic, creative, spontaneous, nonverbal self. 

I hadn't realized how much I felt pushed around, yoked by something I didn't want for myself. I eventually became familiar with a deeply programmed pattern of allowing others to influence the direction of my life, and learned to clarify what I wanted for myself.

Working with the yoke metaphor was life-changing for me. Find the sweet spot that changes your game. 

More in my Self-Coaching Workbook.

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