Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breakout to Inner Kindness

I stubbed my toe yesterday, the little one. It really hurt.

I exclaimed right out loud. "Whoa-oo, that really hurts."
My inner meanie voice said "Oh, you are such a sissy."

Filled with doubt about my very senses, I wondered if
I am a big sissy. Pain is so subjective, you know.

Marshalling my sensory and intellectual faculties, I realized
My poor toe did hurt. I also wondered why I would say
such a mean thing to myself.

Can you imagine seeing a friend in pain and the best thing
you can come up with is "Oh, you are such a sissy!"?

I like this example. It is a short and clear(albeit mild)version
of the cruelty people inflict on themselves every day.It surprised me, because I thought I had left those self-chiding remarks in the dust long ago.

I remember a time, when I set out to teach that mean old voice a lesson in inner kindness. I consciously corrected it when I caught it saying "You stupid bitch!"--which it actually used to say fairly often. I would say out loud, "I am not." Sometimes I would follow that with "I'm actually
quite bright."

This little private practice did not require discipline. As
I became more conscious of the inner meanie voice, I
simply wanted to set things straight. It was fun. The voice
quieted down. I enjoyed noticing how ridiculous the meanie
judgments were.

I am grateful for the first glimmer of consciousness that
made me aware of the meanie voice and alerted me to
the common practice of self-chastisement.

My clients often say "I beat myself up" when they
want to change something or disapprove of themselves
in some way.

I'm an inward bound explorer so I ask them what they
mean and how they do it. Their answers often shock me.

It turns out that what goes on inside a lot of us makes my
meanie voice sound like a kindly kindergarten teacher.

They describe lying in bed at night raging at themselves.
They walk around cursing themselves, damning themselves,
threatening themselves.

The really weird thing is that they cannot imagine
not 'beating themselves up.' It often seems justified
by some mistake or failure they detect in themselves. They
see it as motivating themselves to do better.

I've never seen it work once. Cruelty is debilitating and demoralizing. It crushes desire and creativity.

I am on a crusade to stop cruel and unusual punishment
of the self and others. I have worked with lots of people.
I wrote two books and lots of articles discouraging the
practice of attempted motivation by misery.

If you suspect you are the victim and perpetrator of misery
motivation, what to do? Listen, listen, listen to that voice
inside. The one that just said "What voice?"

Be firm, but gentle with it. Tell it that it may not speak to you that way. Refuse to accept it. If the beat-you-up voice points out something you do want to change or improve, let it know you do not respond well to cruelty.

I'll bet you will have more happy times and fewer painful ones.

Oh, and about that sissy business? My toe is black now
and I didn't even cry! Pretty brave, huh?It is getting better quickly,
thank you.

To your inner kindness!


There are 10 spaces open in the October BREAKOUT Coach Training
and lots of kindly happiness resources in the Breakout Store

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Betty Ford Helped Me Make Peace with My Past

When I signed on to speak about "Making Peace with the Past" at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage I had no idea what I was in for. The large audience at the free "Alcohol and Addiction Awareness Hour" ranges from professionals in the field to folks who have only a few days clean and sober. They can be a twitchy group.

I had been warned that many people would leave during the hour and a half I was supposed to fill. The room is wide and shallow so when they get up and go they have to push past a whole lot of people to get out of their row. Right in front of me!

I knew all of that going in. What I didn't know was how hard it would be to share intimate details of my life  as an adult child of an alcoholic with a room full of alcoholics. Talk about deja vue!

I guess it always takes courage to reveal yourself for the benefit of people who do not welcome the information. Imagine what it was like for our First Lady to say "My name is Betty Ford and I am an alcoholic."

There were a couple of moments as my past seemed to blend with the present when I just wanted to walk off the stage. But I didn't.

Toward the end I shared a story about when I graduated from high school and my mother sent my father away because he was drunk.

When it was finally over, I was amazed at the crowd around the book table eagerly lining up to have me sign their copies of "Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs." A large man approached me. "That was for me," he said. "That was me at my son's graduation from high school, looking through a chain link fence with a bottle in my hand."

We hugged each other and held on for a long time. Sharing some tears, we both made peace with the past in a way we never dreamed of.

I will always be grateful to the courage and contribution of Betty Ford and the support of my friends Catherine Rush and Debra Lux who helped through that wonderful day!

The audio, "Making Peace with the Past: Recorded Live at the Betty Ford Center" and Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs" are available at http://mandyevans.com/the-breakout-store

Cheering you on to peace with your past and present!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Join Me In Palm Springs

Join Me in Palm Springs?

Who will get the most from the October Breakout
Coach Training in Palm Springs? The ones who come!

Learn how to open doors you did not know you closed
and walk through to miracles. The next door you open
may be the one that brings you to the Breakout Coach

There are 12 spaces open. The discount deadline looms!
You have until this Friday, 7/15 to take $100 off the already
(some say too low) low tuition.

See you in Palm Springs?


Cheering you on to open doors wherever you are!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Courage and Conviction of Betty Ford

Remembering the courage and contribution of Betty Ford who died today at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. The Betty Ford Center is located there. It has helped addicts get clean and sober, "one step at a time" since 1982.

I had the honor of speaking there about the importance of making "Peace with the Past: Recorded Live at the Betty Ford Center" The man who introduced me was part of the intervention team who dared to confront the First Lady about her drinking.

It always takes courage to "come out of the closet" as someone society judges harshly. Can you imagine what it would be like to say "My name is Betty Ford and I am an alcoholic?"

The audio of my talk is available in the Breakout Store at my website. www.mandyevans.com.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Unblock the Strongest Motivation

Desire marks the path! I'm pretty sure desire functions as a sense of direction that will lead us perfectly through life. We just have to correct our course as new information becomes available.

I saw a video of my 11 month old granddaughter's triumphant climbing of a steep flight of stairs on her way to bed. If I had not been convinced before, it erased
all doubt; desire is the strongest form of motivation! That little girl just wanted to get to the top.

What governs desire? Warps it? Impedes its natural function? The limiting and life-extinguishing beliefs we form as we climb the stairs of life keep us from reaching the top.. Limiting beliefs about relationships, money, and other important areas of life like these:
  • I need to feel ashamed or I will do things I do not want to do. Do not want to do is the operative here!
  • If I don't feel bad, it means I don't care.
  • I won't have any money to put in an IRA anyway.
  • If I make a lot of money and lose it I'll feel really bad for a long, long time.
  • Nobody in this family is ever going to get anywhere.
  • If you loved me you would ______ (basically do whatever I think is a measure of love).
These beliefs and ones like them will crush the desire from you own heart and cripple your motivation. Break out from them and you enter the space of miracles.

Another enemy of desire is our own disapproval. Sometimes our true desire is not to achieve some lofty goal. Maybe just in this moment all you want is to curl up and give up. Instead of something on your ought-to-do list you may want to learn something you are intensely curious about that does not seem practical. Sometimes you want to reach out to someone for no apparent reason.

 The belief based fear is that it would be a permanent choice. It would mean that we would never get out of bed again, never stop reading about that new subject or make a foolish phone call we would regret later. The exact opposite is usually true! When we follow those right now desires, we can nurture and revitalize ourselves in a few hours or days. 

Helping someone to open a door he never knew he closed thrills me every time. When desire kicks in despite all odds against it, people light up with inspiration from within.

I am, by nature, much more of an explorer than a lecturer. I like to find the questions that open doors. One of my favorite questions is, what might you be concerned would happen if you do what you want to do? And do not do what you do not want to do?

Try it for a day, an hour, whatever you dare. Include wanting in order to get a result, like wanting to finish a job so you can get paid. Or do the dishes so the kitchen will be clean. See what happens. I'd love to hear.