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Anger #22 Knowing Your Own Truths

Comment: The skills suggested in this email are subtle and if developed, they are very powerful as a means of sorting how to respond to life.
MacQuarrie Email Program #22 — Knowing Your Own Truths

Angry#22a-ActionModelWhen I first introduced the Blowing Out process (Email #07), I alluded to the Action Model, a second way of looking at The Pot (Email #06). Here I present more details. Something happens (a Stimulus, a spoon), and we respond (action). (The difference between a response and a reaction is speed and awareness — we talk about people reacting when the response is rapid and other-than-conscious.)

Between stimulus and response are a series of complex sophisticated inter-related neurological functions. Sensory organs register the various stimuli, filtering (at F1) external data in complex ways. The earliest of which we can be aware are the initial perceptions we call sight, hearing, touch, et cetera (we can never truly know the outer world — but only what is known at F1).

We then evaluate the F1 perception on the basis of our values, beliefs, memories, and expectations (our VBMEs — additional F2 filters), to create a story of the stimulus, called meaning. Then, on the basis of our story, we plan a response (intention), and begin the movement into action, our energetic response or emotion. From there, finally, we move into action (our response).

This processing cycles repeatedly (rapidly, in milliseconds, and in many ways) through our body-brain-mind, almost all of which is out-of-consciousness. We act. Then we register new stimuli in response to our actions, cycling between the inner world of story and the outer world of matter-energy.

There are two fundamental areas of which we must develop awareness:

  • the earliest sensory data, that revealed at the F1 level, and
  • the story we generate in response, the basis of our intentions and our actions.

I call the story The Ghost, it being a complex interaction of the stimuli of the outer world, the filtering at the F1 level, and the filtering by our VBMEs (F2). We never respond to the outer world; we respond solely to our Ghosts (see the previous email as example).

Angry#22b-AwarenessThis activity can be considered as three zones of awareness:

  • the outside world (F1 sensations that we interpret as being external to the bodies)
  • the inside world of the body (F1 sensations of pressure, position, tension, et cetera in our bodies)
  • the middle world of story, the Ghosts

Somewhere I have read that in general people spend about 95% of the time in Story, and only 5% actually aware of Data. The skill of Awareness (Email #03) is that of increasing Data and decreasing Story — even small shifts create major changes, and even the best people spend much of life in Story (perhaps 80% of the time).

The tasks of this email are to expand those skills:

Task #1: Continue practicing of Now I Am Aware Of …  exercise. (I suggest re-reading Email #03 for details, at the very least continuing to explore internal visual, external visual, internal auditory, external auditory, internal kinesthetic, external kinesthetic, et cetera.)

Task #2: Develop your awareness of recognizing Ghosts. Question: Given the complexity of this whole process, how can you reliably know when you are in story, particularly caught in your past experiences superimposed on the present, versus when you are actually dealing with the present moment? — I maintain that you can develop this skill.

How? It is difficult to describe in an email, but the next time you are with a group of strangers, find someone who reminds you of a person you already know. As you look at them, question yourself as to whether you are actually seeing this stranger, or are you actually seeing the person you know. Notice the sharpness, the clarity, of the current sensory details of the stranger as you think of the person you already know versus the clarity you can achieve when you actually see the stranger. I maintain that this clarity allows me to know if I am dealing with present reality (the stranger) versus the slight fuzziness that occurs when I recall the person I know.

For me, the data of the stranger is always sharp, crisp; the data of the Ghost is slightly fuzzy.

Task #3: How to know your own truths. Question: When have you questioned yourself as to how you should behave, or whether you are certain about some decision? How do you sort this so as to know your own truth? There is the skill to be learned here, at various levels.

The first level is that of resonance. Somehow the decision just feels right!

The second level is sensory testing of consistency — make a series of simple true statements (at least three, e.g., “my car is red,” “I have one sister”), and find the consistent sensation common to all the statements as your Yes response. Do the same for a No response.

The third level is to access other-than-conscious (OOC) sensory signals. Ask, and be patient — this process requires practice and discernment, but is invaluable. I suggest it is Wisdom!

  1. Ask your OOC: “Will you communicate with me?” Wait passively, focused on body sensations to detect the response from the unconscious. Thank your OOC.
  2. Ask: “If the signal just offered means ‘Yes,’ please repeat it.” Wait. Thank OOC.
  3. Ask: “Please give me a signal that means ‘No.’” Wait. Thank OOC.
  4. Ask: “If this second signal means ‘No,’ please repeat it.” Wait. Thank OOC.
  5. Request OOC to remain inactive.
  6. Attempt to reproduce the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ signals. If able to do so, return to #1, and request OOC to provide alternative signals, ones that you will not be able to reproduce.
  7. Repeat this process until reliable signals, not consciously reproducible, are achieved.

These signals can then be used in various ways, and are especially useful when consciously you are indecisive of understanding or appropriate action. For example, suppose you are anxious, and you do not know why (or how to respond), but you suspect it could be due to A or B or C, and a friend also suggest D. Test each by calibrating “x% of my anxiety is due to ‘A,’” varying x until you have a clear Yes signal for a particular x%. Repeat with B, C, and D, seeking to account for at least 95% of the mechanism. (Because of overlap, the total may exceed 100% — what you are seeking is relative proportionality.) If one of A/B/C/D is clearly more than the rest, then undertake appropriate action to deal with the appropriate issue.

Coming next: Managing Yourself While Angry

Anger #21 Perspective

Comment: If you can truly utilize the information of this email, you will have come a long way in the management of any emotional issues, especially those of anger.

Angry#21-3MacQuarrie Email Program #21 — Perspective

This email is about how you create your reality, and some options to do life differently.

First task, look at this accompanying diagram. What do you see in each of the four blocks? Likely you see four different images: a 3, a W, a E, a M. Now, to the extent possible, rotate the diagram. Notice that the images are identical; they have simply been rotated. So which interpretation (3, W, E, M) is right? They all are — it simply depends on how you look at it. It always depends on how you look at it!

Second task: Read the following story, and then answer the questions that follow.

A business man had just turned off the lights in the store when a man appeared, and demanded money. The owner opened the cash register. The contents of the cash register were scooped up, and the man sped away. A member of the police force was notified promptly.

Choose your response (yes-true, no-false, or not sure) to each of these statements about the story.

 

Yes

No

Not Sure

1.  A man appeared after the owner had turned off the lights.      
2.  The robber was a man.      
3.  The man who opened the cash register was the owner.      
4.  After the man had scooped up the contents of the cash register, he ran away.      
5.  While the cash register contained money, the story does not state how much.      
6.  The story concerns a series of events in which only three persons are referred to: the owner of the store, a man who demanded money and a member of the police force.      

Now see the end of this document for my answers, and compare them with your answers.

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Third task: Take a sheet of paper and place a vertical line down the center of the page. On one side, at the top of the page, write STORY. Write out a description of a recent conflict that you have had with someone — in as much detail as you wish, describe what happened.

On the other side, at the top, write WHAT I KNOW. Then on this same side, list in point form, specific sensory-based details of what you actually know: time of day, words you actually said, words the other person actually said, facial expression (without interpretation), voice tone (without interpretation), body sensations you felt, internal dialogue you had, movements the other made, et cetera. Be as detailed as possible.

Now, go back to the Story side, and write out two other (different) stories, each of which uses each and every self-same sensory detail as you listed on the What I Know side. For example, in one story, make yourself the total victim; in the second, make yourself the hero. Be imaginative, but use all the sensory details.

Finally, examine all three stories. Ideally each one uses all the sensory details available to you. Ideally each story could be true. Question: How did you spontaneously arrive at the first story? What underlying beliefs (values, expectations, memories) were present such that you gave preference to the first story?

Do this activity with as many conflicts as you wish, until you are clear that you never have all the data, especially in the heat of the moment (or argument).

Reflect therefore on how you will manage your conflicts in future.

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My answers to The Story. Please note that my answers are not right (nor are yours’ wrong if they differ from mine). My answers are simply my best attempt to respond to the data presented (I explain my reasoning below).

  1. A man appeared after the owner had turned off the lights. NOT SURE. A business man turned off the lights. Where does it say that the business man and the owner are the same person? It doesn’t, but alternatively it does not specify. Therefore, for me, not sure.
  2. The robber was a man. NOT SURE. Where does it say there was a robbery? (see below).
  3. The man who opened the cash register was the owner. NOT SURE. Where does it say the owner was a man? Perhaps a woman, or …
  4. After the man had scooped up the contents of the cash register, he ran away. NOT SURE. Two issues. Who scooped up the money? We do not know. He sped away — he ran, he drove, he bicycled?
  5. While the cash register contained money, the story does not state how much. NOT SURE. The contents were scooped up — keys, cheques, money? Where does it say there was money?
  6. The story concerns a series of events in which only three persons are referred to: the owner of the store, a man who demanded money and a member of the police force. The word only limits the answer to true or false; not sure is not an option here. Since there could be three or more people, the answer I choose is false.

I suggest that to the degree that your answers differed from mine, you were adding information that was not part of the story, information that came from your imagination, your expectations. To what extent do you do this in the situations where you become angry with others or yourself? And to what extent does this contaminate the responses you make?

Here is the same story with the blanks filled in with specific possibilities:

A business man had just turned off the lights in the store when a man (a credit collector) appeared and demanded money (owed for outstanding purchases). The owner (a woman, also in the store for closing) opened the cash register (to get the letter of receipts paid, the only remaining contents of the register, normally emptied for the night). The contents of the cash register were scooped up (by the owner and handed to the man) and the man sped away (angrily, in his car). A member of the police force was notified promptly (that the man appeared drunk, and was driving dangerously).

Now what are your answers? It is easy to be clear when you have all the data — but we almost never have all the data! The skill is to know that is the case — we do not have the necessary data.

Coming next: Knowing your own truths.

Anger #20 What Gets You Angry? (Values and Beliefs)

Comment: Values and beliefs, especially values, are what drive responses.

MacQuarrie Email Program #20 — What gets you angry? (Values and Beliefs)

In this email, I want to explore what drives your anger, and your conflicts.

angry06a-thepotIn Email #06 The Pot, I indicated that the pot is filled with energetic experience based on values, beliefs, memories and expectations (VBMEs). All four processes are linked to each other in complex ways. For lack of a better term, I designate the entire process of my (or your) anger and conflict as an emotional experience, an experience to which I give meaning (much of which is other-than-conscious) and behavioral direction (matter-energy). It manifests as meaning, emotion, and behavioral expression.

Such experience, especially that of meaning, is driven by my values and my beliefs. My values refer to any concept that I consider important. My beliefs refer to the generalized linkages I make between my experiences. For example, if I have red hair and every person I meet has red hair (my experiences), I am likely to believe (a belief subject to further experience) that “people have red hair.” I may not value this belief, but it will be part of my belief system, one of the thousands of beliefs that influence my behaviors.

I may then meet someone with black hair, and perhaps feel abhorrence—somehow I have unconsciously valued red hair as “normal” or “healthy” or “appropriate,” and the person with black hair has stepped outside my value system, because I value red hair, and they have black.

It is important to realize that both my values and my beliefs are useful fictions—there is no way to prove their validity, although it is possible to disconfirm false beliefs. I can, as well, make agreements with others that certain beliefs or values are more important than others, and that there are consequences to certain beliefs and values. I then have an ethical system by which I choose to live my life, based on what I consider important, and whereby I develop emotional experience. Frequently, when applied to a group, we call this a society based on law or social convention.

But as individuals, we are not uniform. We all have differing values and beliefs, most of which we have learned from parents and family (rather than “society”). Amongst our beliefs and values are many that are self-contradictory and/or dysfunctional — they do not serve us in health.

The task for this email is to explore your values by doing the following exercise created by my wife, a gifted trainer in NeuroLinguistic Programming. (NLP is a very sophisticated exploration of consciousness, and provides many skills to allow therapeutic change.)

  1. Make a list of the values that are important to you. (up to ten values, e.g., respect, kindness, understanding, et cetera), values that you want to maintain concerning your own behaviors, in major relationships. They describe how you would like to be when in relationship with others, not how you would like others to treat you.
  2. Copy these separately onto slips of paper, one per slip. Add two extra (blank) slips of paper to the pile. Thus you will have twelve small pieces of paper. [You could do the exercise with many more values; ten is a practical number for the exercise.]

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  1. Remember a time you had a conflict (an argument or fight) wherein you created stress within yourself. Recreate and act out that scene again while holding your slips of paper in your hands. While doing so, consider your values, and drop any value that you yourself do not maintain in the conflict. (Acting out the conflict in an associated mode will give you much more information than doing the task from a dissociated position.)
  2. Take up the position of the other person in the conflict (if any). Act out the conflict again. Explore what you have done from their perspective. Continue to drop any more values that you find you yourself did not maintain (from their perspective).
  3. Stand on a chair and look down at yourself in the scene, from the perspective on a neutral observer. Continue to drop any more values that you did not maintain.
  4. Return to the floor, and leave the values you dropped on the floor. Discover how you feel without them. (NB: On first doing this exercise, most people drop all their values!)

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  1. Now, take the two blank pieces of paper, and write down the life values you held (safety, need to be right, et cetera) that allowed you to drop any of the other values. (These will be the values you were holding onto via your other-than-conscious mind, and are probably more important to you than the values you originally wrote down! These values are usually so deep in the other-than-conscious that we do not consider them because in some fashion we want our list of values to “look good,” rather than real.)
  2. Again, leave all values you dropped on the floor. Discover how you feel without them.

==========

  1. Now explore. What needs to happen for you to start dropping your values. I suggest you explore in two ways:
    1. First, re-enact the conflict in an associated position, but this time very slowly, almost millisecond by millisecond. Explore as in the John James Game Plan of Email #10: what happened first? What happened next? Et cetera.
    2. Now question yourself: “I get angry. What needs to happen for me to get angry? What do I see or hear?” Continue to ask until you find the tiniest detail ‘x’ that is the trigger. Test by asking “If this detail ‘x’ was different, would I get angry and drop my values?”
  2. Trace all this back in your life by taking the feeling that the ‘trigger’ gives you, and find out if it is connected with someone or something in your childhood or youth.
  3. Explore this question: “What needs to happen for me to maintain my values? What do I need to change about myself so as to change my triggers?”
  4. Re-enact the scene, this time taking whatever steps necessary to hold onto your values. How does the situation change?

What do you need to change in your life so as to live according to your values?

Coming next: Perspective

Anger #19 Why We Avoid

Comment: In terms of understanding, this is probably the most important section of the program. The basic difficulty is to turn the understanding into action.

MacQuarrie Email Program #19 — Why We Avoid

AcediaEvolutionFor a number of emails, we have been looking at the ways we avoid, and some of the tools for better choice, but the question remains as to why we avoid. For me, the question is important because it gets at the nature of change in our society. Your task for this email is to explore your own process of avoidance, to investigate what stops you from engaging in growth work.

I was a physician-psychotherapist for almost twenty-five years, mainly doing weekend workshops on anger management together with group therapy — the groups were for those individuals who wanted to work with me in more depth.

From extended feedback, I came to believe the workshops were very powerful for inducing change, yet they were only a single weekend. (For example, over the years, a probation officer sent me more than sixty clients, and of those, he was aware of only two individuals who re-offended — an incredible statistic. A senior police officer told me that my program was the most powerful program he had ever experienced: “Through Dave’s approach, a permanent solution is available; through other approaches, the solution is temporary.” Powerful praise, indeed!)

The individuals in the therapy groups met weekly, and spontaneously divided into two streams. One part (about 50%) worked hard; at least every month, each person would identify an issue, and work on it. The other individuals were much more passive; seldom would they do in-depth processing, yet they showed up every week, often for several years. If I gave them small tasks, they would often do them half-heartedly; if I challenged them (albeit gently), they would talk about how afraid they were of the risks of change.

Without intending criticism, I came to think of them as lazy or fearful, and that these issues were spiritual or existential processes, not therapy issues. Gradually I decided that my only option of working with them was passive challenge. When eventually they decided to fully engage with therapy, the work went well, but often it was a waiting game, sometimes for years.

When I was finally considering retirement, the opportunity arose for me to do my PhD, and as a consequence, I decided to research laziness and fearfulness as my dissertation project. By this point, I also came to believe that laziness and fearfulness were underlying issues in global warming. As I proceeded, I became aware of the ancient process called acedia (named by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the 4th century), and I came to believe that modern acedia was any combination of laziness, fearfulness, and self-righteousness, all actions that block the individual from engaging in the processes of emotional maturity (therapy by any other name).

So what is acedia? Imagine that something painful happens to you. If you have enough wisdom (known as sophia — effective knowledge), you will resolve the issue (via phronesis — practical wisdom or judgment), and move on. If not, likely you will have an internal conflict amongst the sailors. If you have enough discipline, you will work through the issues, and move on. If not, you will tend to avoid the pain — but with enough hope, you will continue to explore options, and find resolution. All this will be easier to accomplish if you can remain playful and non-anxious as you explore awareness.

If all this fails, you will move into acedia, and get stuck in a loop of blocking awareness, as well as chronic pain, which you are likely to push below awareness, repressing or denying the pain. Unfortunately, in our technological culture, there is little validation of the processes of wisdom (knowledge per se is not wisdom), discipline (except in sports), hope (except wishful thinking), and playfulness (competitive games per se are not playful). Thus acedia predominates.

Complex mechanisms support acedia; these arise from the centuries of becoming this fast-paced society. From my perspective, society has promised many dreams, but failed to deliver “the good life.” Considering trauma to be “hurt (pain) that overwhelms,” I believe that the chronic irritation of the many hassles of daily life is a form of low-grade trauma, and has accumulated to the extent that now almost everyone in our Western world is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet denial remains the major but surface issue.

AcediaDeterminants
A balance of forces, heavily weighted to acedia

When you consider your own anger, what underlies it? How and why are you caught such that you want to engage in this program? Why is there so much divorce in our marital relationships? What is there so much domestic violation? What is happening to our sense of community?

This cultural angst is then fed into our personal lives, both in the ways in which dysfunctional family dynamics further traumatize us, and in the ways in which we individually traumatize ourselves with self-criticism, especially not living up to the shoulds and fantasies of our society.

All this perpetuates a vicious cycle of acedia in response to the hassle and denial of our culture. Is it any wonder then that we are so angry, individually and as a culture? We have trapped ourselves in this cycle, the exit of which requires that we find ways to engage in therapy, perhaps then being labelled as “mentally ill” or somehow emotionally unstable, because we are in therapy. Wow! What a trap we have created.

Having a Captain

So what is the exit. I call it “having a Captain.” For me, an effective captain is a firm compassionate leader of the sailors. I was deeply influenced by two sources: 1) Ed Friedman with his teachings of emotional triangles, and 2) the book Leaders: Strategies For Taking Charge. The Captain is a leader of the sailors, and thus the Captain:

  • has a clear vision of where the ship needs to go, and how to get there.
  • establishes followership, the sailors, who want to cooperate in running the ship.
  • listens to, and negotiates with, the sailors to do the necessary work of cooperation.
  • sets firm boundaries within the functioning of the sailors so as to minimize mutiny.
  • leads the sailors, but attends strongly to self-care as the basis of responding to others.

How do you find your Captain? It is not easy to do so, and it is not easy to describe how to do so. Most important — be a participant-observer of your own internal conflicts, watching for those sailors who demonstrate wisdom. Risk going beyond your normal behaviours (especially beyond your acedia), while making wise choices of these behaviors. You will make mis-takes! Study and learn from them. Learn your own truths! Over time, and trial, your Captain emerges.

Coming next: Living Your Values

Anger #18 Blocks To Awareness, Part 2

Comment: As human beings, we have multiple ways in which to block ourselves from the work of living effectively, of living peacefully while honoring each other.

MacQuarrie Email Program #18 — Blocks To Awareness, Part 2

Angry#17-PatternsThe principal task in this email will be for you to expand your knowledge of your patterns.

In Email #14 The Rules, I noted that the task is to “name the rules! Make them conscious, and make a clean choice as to whether or not you wish to live your life based on this rule. Of importance, the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing said that: “Until you can see through the rules, you can only see through the rules” — a very astute observation.

Learning and unlearning the rules — this is an important aspect of what life is all about, especially as regards anger. In so doing, you learn how to recognize the sources of anger. The real need is to grasp the patterns emotionally, especially the emotional significance of introjects.

Introjects are undigested attitudes, the SHOULDSs and MUSTs and OUGHT TO’s absorbed from parents and other childhood caretakers, now expressed in a manner that indicate the individual does not know what he or she actually wants, or who he or she actually is. Because introjects are imposed on children, usually in circumstances of criticism, they are painful, and become the basis of blocking awareness.

So this email will expand upon the blocks to awareness in order to gain better access to the rules. To begin, I will repeat some information from Part 1:

  • Everybody does all four patterns, but when a pattern is prominent. it becomes troublesome.
  • Two patterns (Projection and Retroflection) lead to Top Dog behavior of domination; the other two (Introjection and Confluence) lead to Under Dog victim behavior.
  • Two patterns (Projection and Introjection) are heavily invested in responding to shoulds (introjects), whereas (Retroflection and Confluence) avoid emotional experience.
  • The chronic behaviors present themselves as patterns wherein the individual is resistant to doing the work necessary for healthy living. Of note, Fearfulness is not Fear. Fear is a healthy response to danger; fearfulness is a pattern of catastrophizing about the future, refusing to do the work because it is perceived as too painful. Laziness is a form of malignant boredom: “I can’t be bothered,” “It’s too much,” “Who cares, anyway.” Self-righteousness means “I’m Right!” (And everyone else is wrong.)

I also mentioned I would describe the patterns in order of ease of identification!

The introjector is relatively easy to identify — he or she is trapped in shoulds. The introjector is repeatedly languaging his or her experience as should (must, have to, et cetera). When he or she uses the pronoun “I,” the real meaning is “everybody.”

The primary skill for responding is that of listening to oneself (see the Checkbox of Change, Email #11), hearing the many times of saying should, either aloud or silently to oneself. The primary tool is the Will I or Won’t I process described earlier (Email #15).

The retroflector is also relatively easy to self-identify; he or she is disconnected from his or her body, although the emotional energy is displayed by some body process. Self-identification by the retroflector is more difficult because the primary need of the retroflector is to avoid emotional contact; the retroflector will usually engage intellectually, but not emotionally.

A major question is thus: When you are stressed, where does it show up in your body (an aching shoulder, a twitch of your leg, et cetera)? The retroflector also shows up in language, in the use of the reflective “myself,” saying such as, “I am ashamed of myself,” or “I have to force myself to do this job.” He or she makes an almost endless series of statements of this sort, all of them suggesting that he and himself (or she and herself) are two different people.

When you identify either of these features (body stress or this language pattern), the primary tool is to engage as if dealing with separate sailors (Email #13). If a body stress, imagine that your body is a sailor, and have an actual conversation with this sailor to explore what is the nature of the stress; if an existing conversation already (e.g., I am ashamed of myself), have a conversation between “I” and “myself.” Who are these two “people?” What are their characteristics? Explore what is being avoided, and what is the underlying need.

The projector is somewhat more difficult to self-identify, basically because the projector dissociates by focusing on the outer world, avoiding self. (Projectors do not often show up in therapy — it is the recipients of their projections who come to therapists!)

The projector is usually speaking of others, in either positive or negative terms, interpreting the behaviors and/or mind-reading the thoughts of others. Projection displays itself in the use of the pronouns “you,” “it,” or “they,” when the real meaning is “I.”

The primary tool for dealing with projection is that of the Pointing Finger (Email #09), reflecting on the possibility that one is talking about oneself when describing others.

The distractor, the person who uses confluence as a primary defense, is the most difficult to self-identify — a master of shifting the focus away from self, usually in a variety of ways. Confluence displays itself in the use of the pronoun “we,” when the real meaning is in question. (Like the projector, the distractor does not often attend therapy. However, the use of distraction is a very common pattern if one observes closely.)

The skill required here is that of tracking the pattern when it occurs, using such as the Checkbox of Change. Once identified, the primary tool is that of identifying what is being avoided, using such as the John James Game Plan to dive deeper into the avoidance.

The fundamental skill in all of these blocks is that of being present to what is actually happening right now, identifying the pattern, identifying what is being avoided, and making a better choice of how to respond. With practice the response can be immediate, but in the beginning, it is often necessary to simply note the pattern, study it at a later time, and then return to the original situation with new resources (all parts of the Checkbox of Change).

As a final note, all of the patterns are useful, when not used as blocks of awareness. Introjects contain the social rules — they are useful to know, and to follow on occasion. Projection is necessary for compassion, for relating to others. (And mind-reading, a type of projection, is both useful and often accurate.) Retroflection is either an example of spontaneously recognizing sailors, or an extreme of the mind-body connection. Confluence is the basis of playfulness, creatively interacting with what life is offering at the moment.

So the goal is not that of eliminating the patterns, but of bringing the patterns to consciousness, making better choices (and having a better relationship with the other-than-conscious mind).

Coming next: Why We Avoid

Anger #17 Blocks To Awareness, Part 1

Comment: As human beings, we have multiple ways in which to block ourselves from the work of living effectively, of living peacefully while honoring each other.

MacQuarrie Email Program #17 — Blocks To Awareness, Part 1

Angry#17-PatternsAt various times in the past, I have asked individuals if they are aware of what is happening right now. If pressed, most people will tell me what they are thinking; this is specifically NOT what I am seeking as an answer. I am referring to being attentive to the ongoing sensory experience of the moment.

Since the only time I can do something different is right now, then the more I can be present to the moment, the more opportunity I have for change (on any issue, but especially with issues of anger). From my perspective, one of the ways I know I am present right now is that my sensory data is crisp — visual data is clear, sounds are bright, touch is detailed, et cetera. When the data is fuzzy, I am also certainly into my story of the experience, thus somewhat caught in either the past or the future — I am certainly not fully present to the moment.

So, for the next two emails, we are going to explore the various ways in which people block their own awareness (usually as a result of various traumas in childhood) so as to avoid the pain of present experience. These traumas vary from relatively minor (but repeated) criticisms as a child to the horrendous abuse that sometimes occurs. Note: Everyone avoids! We are pain avoiders.

The major blocks are such that the individual then has difficulty maintaining a healthy balance between self and the environment, both in acute and in chronic behaviors. Such improper boundaries then predispose the individual to additional stress that presents itself in a multitude of way: as addictive behaviors, as aches and pains, as chronic diseases, et cetera.

The principal task in this email is for you to identify your own patterns.

There are essentially four patterns, for each of which I will describe (in broad brush strokes):

  • the acute behavior pattern (what happens when in a conflict),
  • the chronic behavior pattern (the overall behavior outside of conflict), and
  • the primary underlying process (the mind-body process).

Please note: Since these patterns are blocks to awareness, you may have difficulty recognizing yourself; if there is someone you trust, sit with them and reflect together on the descriptions that I offer. (We all block in many ways, and we each have our favorites. Hint — the stronger the pattern, the more difficult it will be for you to recognize yourself. It is a block, remember!)

To work with this information, I suggest you associate into a conflict that you have had, and compare what you were feeling and thinking then with the descriptors I am using here. Especially, pretend-act the conflict out. Feel/think which description, which pattern, seems to fit what you were experiencing in this conflict. Do this with several conflicts that you have had. Most people have a favorite pattern amongst the four, and then use a second pattern as a fallback.

When you have a sense of your own pattern(s), consider the other descriptions, and imagine what the other patterns might be like. When might you be in this pattern? Under what circumstances?

I will describe the patterns in the order I consider as reflecting the ease of self-recognition: Introjection, Retroflection, Projection, and Confluence (please see the diagram at the top).

The setting for the descriptions: any conflict. The conflict can be depicted as an Emotional Triangle (Email #12), the apices being any two people and a situation. As well, it can be represented as the Pointing Finger described in Email #09, the thumb and pointing finger being the third limb. And the behaviors can also illustrate the Pressure Cooker effect described in Email #06.

In blocking awareness, the individual generally makes one component (one apex) most important (MP), and the other two of much less importance. In two of the patterns (left side: Projection and Retroflection), the individual functions as if in a position of strength (a dominator — the so-called Top Dog: Blamer and Computer); in the other two (Introjection and Confluence), the person seems much less powerful (the Underdog: Victim and Distractor) — but appearances can be deceiving (more in a future email on intimacy)! Also, the patterns of Projection and Introjection (top patterns) are both heavily invested in responding to shoulds, whereas Retroflection and Distraction (bottom patterns) are both attempting to avoid emotional experience.

Pattern #1: Introjection. In any conflict, the introjector tends to behave as the Victim, acting sad, expressing self-pity (poor me!); on the surface the victim gives power away to the other, disowning self and the situation. He or she catastrophizes about the future, thus Fearfulness is the dominant character. Essentially all of this occurs because the introjector is caught internally with how he or she should be (I should have done better/different/…). The lid of the pressure cooker is very secure, and when stressed, the introjector tends to become depressed (d’pressure is high) as a way to avoid.

Pattern #2:Retroflection. In conflict, the Retroflector is generally calm, cool, and collected, the neutral analyst of the situation, disowning the feelings of both self and other, a good example of a Computer. Stressed, the Retroflector will stonewall or function from Laziness (“Who cares?”). Further stressed, he or she is a Time Bomb, possibly exploding on others, but more likely exploding on self via a heart attack or suicide. Here the avoided pain (the internal conflict, the should) is turned against self, and shows up as nervous tics, headaches, back pain, et cetera. The Retroflector does to self what he or she would like to do to others.

Pattern #3: Projection: The projector makes the environment responsible for what originates in self, becoming the Blamer or the Tyrant or the Boss, disavowing and disowning one’s own contribution, emphasizing the faults of the other. Since story-making of others is a prime characteristic of projection, gossip is a prime place for the projector to function. Stressed, projectors are frequently explosive, potentially violating others, and usually not amenable to rational considerations. Self-righteousness is the arena of the projector. Avoiding the inner pain that characterizes the introjector, the projector shifts the focus to others, in a pattern of suspicion and blame. As a time bomb, the projector explodes.

Pattern #4: Confluence: In the process of confluence, the individual has no boundaries, no separate identity, and uses any form of Distraction so as to avoid contact with others. He or she then appears inappropriate or silly, frequently in a panic, or fully into panic attacks when stressed. Conflict is avoided at all cost. As a time bomb, this is the place of panic attacks.

In the next email, I’ll add more details. And in addition, I’ll give some suggestions that perhaps allow better choices when you recognize yourself as using one or several of these patterns.

Coming next: Blocks To Awareness, Part 2

Anger #16r The Second Eight Emails

Comment: This is the second review email, focusing on the nature of therapy. In essence, therapy is the only modern process that emphasizes the skills of emotional maturity.

MacQuarrie Email Review #2 — The Second Eight Emails

You are now half-way through this email program. How are you doing?

Violence2
So sad.

I hope you are finding the program to be beneficial.

In the past eight emails, we have covered a lot of ground. In all of them, I have emphasized the development of awareness of what you are actually doing. I operate from the assumption that greater awareness gives you greater choice, and that your other-than-conscious mind will automatically choose more healthy responses — there is more to you than conscious control.

In this, I am attempting to give you relatively simple (but sophisticated) concepts, such as the Sailors On A Ship and Emotional Triangles, as well as inviting you to attend to how you create your reality with the rules. I have also emphasized the importance of how you language your experience to yourself, this being a major place of choice.

It may seem like I am wandering all over the map. And to a certain extent, you are right.

Imagine I’ve given you a roadmap. If you don’t know where you want to go, I can only describe the map to you. I cannot describe how to get “there” because I don’t know where “there” is for you. Eventually when you do know where you want to go, I could be a guide for you to get “there,” even though I have not been there myself — I’m very familiar with the map.

The map provides a lot of information, but it’s just a map — it’s not the territory. If, when you decide where you want to go, and then we work together, that’s called therapy. (What we are doing in these emails is a limited form of therapy, albeit without direct personal contact, and thus strongly dependent by your engagement. If you want more from me, please see my website.)

One of my major mentors Ed Friedman said that there are three things that are important in a therapist.

  1. having a grounding in a theoretical foundation,
  2. having practical experience in guiding others, and
  3. having done one’s own emotional work.

He also clearly believed that #3 was most important. If a therapist has not done his or her own work, all he or she can do is tell the client what they should be doing (the Rules!) — not generally a useful option.

For the client, good therapy is an active process of being in relationship with a second human being, someone who hopefully has a degree of maturity (having done their own emotional work, and having practical experience). The theoretical foundation is actually not of much value in the actual encounter — it mainly gives a way to frame the encounter afterwards, especially if the therapist is himself or herself working with a colleague to review difficult situations (so-called supervision, always useful).

Often it does not matter what theoretical foundation the therapist is using. Most important is the relationship between client and therapist. Thus, these emails are not therapy, although they may well have a powerful impact on your life.

That said, therapy essentially comes in two forms (a good therapist will move back and forth as needed between the two):

  • in one, the deductive therapies, the therapist attempts to instruct the client in how to manage the difficulties. In that sense, the therapist is providing a map, and instructing the client as to where to go. (But, from my perspective, that may not be the best place for the client to go. It is not up to me to choose how the client is to live life.)
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the therapy currently most popular in medical circles, is a deductive therapy. (The reason the deductive therapies are so praised is because they are measurable — modern medicine is so in love with scientific materialism and its need to measure!)
    • The essential problem is that not everything is measurable, and especially consciousness is not measurable.
  • in the second group of therapies, the inductive therapies, the therapist attempts to set the stage for the client to explore (as in exploring a swamp), and then works with the client as difficulties arise (providing shovels, or pointing out quicksand, as examples).
    • The exploration is much more open-ended, and for me, much richer in the possibilities of better outcomes.
    • As a Gestalt Therapist, I am much more in this category (as I would be if I called myself a practitioner of Neurolinguistics Programming or Bowenian Family Systems, two therapies which I also use).

Another useful metaphor here is that the client is trying to get off a merry-go-round, the merry-go-round of life, one that is going far too fast (sound familiar?). We keep hoping that there is someone at the controls who will slow it down (unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case).

I can help you get off the merry-go-round, but there are limitations:

  • I can guide you to be careful. As you jump off, you need to avoid hitting hit a brick wall. Safety is paramount, but risk is essential.
  • I don’t know what you will find when you get off. (It is not for me to tell you how you should live life. I can provide some skills for management of what is found, and I can also continue to assist you when you are off.)

All of the above is a round-about way of saying that I am actually wandering over the map. I am attempting to describe the map, but like any map, there are many features. What I am describing is what I believe are consistent, individual, useful features. And in the end, I hope it will all come together in a way that is useful to you.

Anger #16 More Sloppy Language

Comment: The more common ways in which we display reduced awareness, and also trap ourselves in pain.

MacQuarrie Email Program #16 — More Sloppy Language

Confusion3
Much truth in this!

In Email #15 — Sloppy Language, I suggested that the major language indicator that demonstrates that people are functioning from reduced awareness (and hence more likely to be angry) is the word should. There are a number of other indicators.

There are six more areas that I consider especially important:

1) I don’t know,                 2) I can’t,                           3) I’ll try,

4) maybe,                          5) Why,?           and            6) I wish.

As with the previous email, your task in this email is to pay detailed attention to your language for a few days (you might want to do it for six months). You could, for example, choose one area (of the six to be covered) as a focus for the day. Please use the Checkbox of Change (Email #11) or some other tool to do so. Once a day, pick an example and journal about it. Again, play with the suggestions I am making in this email, and explore what differences occur.

As noted also, I have long maintained that if an individual will give meticulous attention to his or her language for six months, that individual will dramatically change his or her life for the better. By meticulous attention, I mean that the individual will listen closely to both his or her spoken and internal language, changing the necessary wording to more accurate statements (examples below). Warning: changing your language will radically change your life — amongst many other aspects, you may find you need to change many of your friends.

I don’t know: As applied to the external world, there are many things I don’t know, and there are a lot of things about which I know only a little. However, most of the time when I say “I don’t know,” I am referring to my inner thoughts or experience (e.g., “I don’t know what I am going to do today”) — and when “I don’t know,” I often stop thinking about the subject.

If I don’t know what is happening to me, no one else does either! And no one else can determine what is happening to me — it is my responsibility to know myself! If I want power-strength-wisdom-freedom, it is also essential that I know myself! I know of no other way to obtain these, but to find out. So, when you hear yourself answer “I don’t know,” you need to pay attention to the (possibly) hidden truth of the underlying answer.

I can’t: With rare exceptions, the word “can’t” is a misnomer; what I am really saying is that, if I were to do the action (which I most likely can), then I would … (be afraid, be hurt, be angry, lose money, et cetera), and I don’t want this outcome.

I “won’t” is a more accurate word for this choice. Sometimes the word “can’t” is accurate. I can’t live on a planet in another star system — we don’t have the technology for me to get there and still be alive. In contrast, I can live on the planet Mars; we do have the technology, but I do not wish to spend my life attempting to make this possible (therefore I won’t).

I’ll try: “I’ll try” is also a misnomer in that it frequently becomes an excuse for ‘not doing,’ not making a commitment (that I will keep!). If I have never done something before, my attempt is an experiment ,and still a doing; I may not succeed at my expectation, and yet I will gain valuable feedback in my attempt. If I have done the task before, even without success, I know what to expect (perhaps how difficult the task is).

‘Trying’ (without proper preparation and action) is an excuse. As noted by Yoda in Star Wars: There is no try!

Maybe: Maybe — do I want to? My energy goes to what I want, not what I should (which activates that part of me that says “I don’t want to!”) “Maybe” as applied to my inner world simply means I am too lazy to take the time to know myself! And I also disconnect from my own authentic experience, my truth-testing. If I give attention to my actual experience, I can know myself!

Again, I pay attention to the hidden truth. “Maybe” as applied to the external world means I am too lazy, perhaps not willing to take time to know myself, or more commonly not willing to be engaged in commitment. Neither lead to effectiveness in my life.

So — I have choice! I need to choose! I should choose!! Maybe!! I don’t know if I can!! I can’t!! But I’ll try.

Why?: “Why?” can be a very important question; the answer may allow me to change my actions to obtain a better outcome. But many times, it is a trap — it can be an endless question, as young children often demonstrate. In addition, the answer that one receives is often an excuse. Excuses are not useful in getting better outcomes — such excuses rarely offer practical options for getting what I want; they rarely address my needs.

I have also known people who were so caught in “why?” that they would not move forward in their lives until they found the answer that they wanted, an endless question. I remember one person who repeatedly asked “Why do I abuse my children the way I do?” The answer was obvious: he (the individual could have been ‘she’) was simply copying the pattern he learned from his father. When I told him this, he recognized it as true — but he could not really hear the answer (it would require that he change), and he continued to treat his children the same way as was his pattern, still asking “why?” —sad, and stuck.

The authentic answer to “why?” is not in the answer, but in: “When will I be satisfied with the answer?” If, when I ask, the answer I receive is practical and addresses my needs, I will usually be satisfied. If the answer is not practical and/or does not address my needs, then I need to ask a more practical question, usually preceded by “how” or “what.” Personally, when I ask “Why?,” and after the second asking I have not received a practical answer, I stop asking. I then move on to seek more effective resolution in some other fashion.

I wish: There is a major difference between wishes and goals. Wishes are exciting, generally vague, and usually I can tell you why I don’t have “it” in my life, perhaps with excuses or explanations. I may also regret, or somehow create, a negative experience from this.

Goals are planned directions, planned in that I know what I want and how to get it, what I have to do and when. The RPMs of goals are realistic, practical, measurable and specific (Email #1)! When I am living a goal, it is likely that I am also excited and looking forward, able to celebrate when I am finished (or having reached a significant milestone on the path). I can also change direction when necessary.

A basic question is: To what extent do I live my life as wishes compared to goals? Both are useful at times.

  • Question: Given all the sloppy language in your life, your own and that of others, how do you wish to live your life? You have choice.

Coming next: Blocks To Awareness

Anger #15 Sloppy Language

Comment: I have long maintained that one of the major ways in which you can change your life for the better is to give meticulous attention to your language for six months. The results will be dramatic! You will automatically correct many of the major difficulties you encounter.

MacQuarrie Email Program #15 — Sloppy Language

I’ve suggested in a variety of ways that the primary skill of dealing with anger (and life) is being aware of what is happening right now, in the present. [Please note: the word present is a triple entendre; it refers to now, here, and a gift to be opened. Question: Are you a gift to be opened?]

CrabTrapAt various times in the past, I have asked individuals if they are aware of what is happening right now. If pressed, most people will tell me what they are thinking; this is specifically NOT what I am seeking as an answer. I am referring to being attentive to the ongoing sensory experience of the moment. From my perspective, one of the ways I know I am present right now is that my sensory data is crisp — visual data is clear, sounds are bright, touch is detailed, et cetera.

Furthermore, one of the primary ways in which my awareness is demonstrated, to myself and to others, is in how I language my experience. Consider: Fish swim in water. (Weird statement for an email on anger.) Well, if fish could think like human beings, they probably don’t think much about water (unless it is very polluted). Yet water determines their very existence.

Consider: Human beings swim in language. I suggest that if you will pay meticulous attention to your language for six months, you will dramatically improve your life in many unexpected ways.

Task: In this and the next email, I’m going to ask you to pay detailed attention to your language for a few days (you might want to do it for six months). Please use the Checkbox of Change (Email #11) or some other tool to do so. Once a day, pick an example and journal about it. Play with the suggestions I am making in this email, and explore what differences occur.

Consider: The most important word related to awareness (and anger) is the word should. Before reading on, please make a quick list of the many things you should do today, or in the next week. (If you get past twenty, please stop.) How do you feel about this list?

Why are they shoulds? What happens if you change them to want to’s?

On the positive side, shoulds are the rules of social boundaries. They contain information — the rules of the social network. But they are an investment in the third limb of an emotional triangle (me, society, and the task), and are usually dysfunctional. I mentioned in the last email that, as children, we swallowed the rules of the family, and if healthy, we digested them, coming to our own acceptance of the rules we want to follow. But if undigested (and from childhood to now is a long period of time for something to be undigested), the rules contaminate us. Consider: The Rules are shoulds (especially the undigested rules)! They always represent an internal conflict.

One of my major mentors, Ed Friedman, used to tell a story about how to catch crabs in the Atlantic ocean; he claimed the story was true, although I have never been able to verify it from independent sources (hints, yes, but verification, no). Anyway, imagine a big box, maybe 6’*6’*3’, with a chicken wire bottom, and no top. Attach some ropes and a float. The fisherman rows it out to where he thinks the crabs will be, puts a lot of bait in the box, and pushes it over the side to sit on the floor of the ocean in maybe 10-12’ depth of water; then he (or she) comes back the next day. Meanwhile, crabs smell the bait, climb in, and soon there are 20 or so crabs munching away. When the bait is all gone, they are trapped.

But how? There is no top, and they climbed in without difficulty, so why can they not simply climb back out. Because they will not let each other leave! Crabs are social animals. When they are in the box, they somehow recognize themselves as a group, and will not let others leave (on the ocean floor, there are normally no walls, and hence no confinement to leaving). If a crab attempts to leave the crab trap, the others will pull it back into the box; if a crab insists on leaving, the others will kill it — they will tear off its claws. So when the fisherman comes back 24 hours later, here are 20 crabs, 2 dead, 18 alive. Off to market!

Human beings are social animals also. The word should, and its euphemisms, (must, have to, et cetera), is our crab trap. And we will kill to protect this word, to keep others in line. You only need remember the wars of the 20th century to recognize how much we will kill!

angry15b-noshouldsSo, what can you do about shoulds. What do I do? (The following are suggestions for you.)

  • First of all, I digest them! I identify the social rules that are being expressed within the should, and decide to what extent I want this rule to be part of my life. Under what circumstances will I choose to act according to this rule? Or not?
  • Second, when I hear myself give voice (externally or internally) to should, I bring the conflict into awareness. I respond to myself with: Will I or Won’t I? What is the worst that will happen? (WIWI) What is the worst if I do? What is the worst if I don’t?
    • I don’t bother with the nuances — they just cloud the issue. If I can live with the worst, the nuances don’t matter — life will unfold.
    • If I can live with both ends of the spectrum, I simply choose whichever seems like the most fun.
  • Sometimes, I don’t like either option. What then?
    • If there is no time pressure for me to respond, I engage with the issues while in meditation. Often my other-than-conscious mind will present fascinating options.
    • If there is time pressure, I play with the energy. I choose to respond to life, so I may as well have as much fun as possible. To what extent can I be in a state of wonder concerning the issues? Again, when in a state of wonder, my other-than-conscious mind will present me with fascinating options.

[Sidebar: On my blog The Human Side of Global Warming, I have a number of posts on both shoulds and other types of sloppy language.]

Coming next: More Sloppy Language

Anger #14 The Rules

angry14-rulesComment: If you understand the rules, you will know when to follow them, and when to break them — a very powerful tool at your disposal.

MacQuarrie Email Program #14 — The Rules

Question: Why do you get angry? Please sit with this question for a few minutes, and give serious attention to the question. Why do you get angry?

The task for this email is to write down some examples of when you have had specific emotions, and then to examine the underlying mechanisms. Specifically, and without reading further, briefly write down one or two examples of when you have been: 1) angry, 2) guilty, 3) resentful, 4) embarrassed, and 5) ashamed. For each example, write down the belief that contributed to the emotional experience. Question: What are the common features of the experiences?

Now, work your way through the rest of this email, and check out whether (or not) my explanations fit the above experiences. Other instructions follow.

———————————————————-

I said in Email #1 What is Anger? that emotions are “energy to which I give meaning and direction.” Emotions describe what is happening in your body; feelings describe what is happening in your relationships. From my perspective, the above energetic words (anger, guilt, …, all of which are emotions or feelings) are anger words, and the meaning is that someone has broken the rules. In each experience, you are pushing against something — the rules.

[A sidebar that will become important later. In each example, you are likely pushing against the third limb of the emotional triangle (external or internal) that characterizes the situation.]

But what are the rules? In each example that you wrote down, you can possibly identify what specifically you were angry about in that specific example. However, I want to go deeper; I want to explore the general characteristics of the rules that were being broken.

How do you know the rules? How did you learn the rules? What are the rules?

Imagine you are a two-year-old, playing with mommy or daddy. As a two-year-old, you are now in the Why?Why?Why? stage, repeatedly asking Why. for every experience, and when answered, returning with another Why?. Essentially you are attempting to make sense of your world, and to learn the rules of how to interact with others, specifically your parents (or your other major caretakers).

If mommy or daddy are in a good mood, they answer you, and perhaps chuckle at your persistence in asking Why. But what happens if they are not in a good mood (“a bad day at the office,” et cetera, as we all have). Then it gets tricky. Mommy and daddy are likely to be impatient, if not irritated, and at the extreme, highly critical, or worse. (The closer to worse, the more the following becomes important.)

You are a two-year-old. You are vitally dependent on mommy and daddy for security, and as a human being, you are also a pain avoider. You need to avoid mommy and daddy being critical! But how? The simplest way is to stop asking Why. But then what? How do you learn the rules?

And anyway, you are a spontaneous two-year-old; asking Why is deeply engrained. To cope with this, you bury the need to ask below consciousness, so that you indeed stop asking — you stop thinking about the rules. So, Rule #1: Don’t think about the rules!

But you still need to learn the rules! Therefore, in order not to break rule #1, you make up a second rule. Rule #2: Everybody has the same rules!

Everybody has the same rules, don’t they? It makes sense to the two-year-old. He or she looks around the family and sees that everybody is acting out the same rules, more or less, so “Everybody has the same rules!” In the family, it works.

But what happens when baby grows up, and finds a new somebody so as to form a new family, or when baby meets people from other families? Well, they have the same rules, don’t they?

No! But in order to really grasp this, baby has to break Rule #1 and think about the rules. Tricky!

But this is fundamentally how we function. And the more pain we have had in childhood, the harder for us to think, especially to think about the rules. Because it lead us into our pain. It is far easier to avoid awareness, and thus avoid pain. (Somewhat! It creates another kind of pain!)

So, now on to the emotions I asked about: anger, guilt, embarrassment, resentment, shame.

When angry, you are relatively conscious of what rules has been broken. Relatively!

Next, imagine the following conversation. Sailor #1 (S1) does something, or wants to do something. Sailor #2 (S2) says “Don’t do that!” S1: “Why?” S2: “You’re breaking the rules.” S1: “What rules?” S2: “Don’t ask! You’re breaking the rules again!” There is no exit from this — an exit requires that the rules be broken, which breaks the rules. Crazy, eh! This conflict between S1 and S2 is called guilt.

If instead, I imagine that you are going to criticize me (S1), I then displace S2 onto you, and again there is no exit. This conflict is called embarrassment.

As well, if you break the rules (my rules), I cannot tell you that you are breaking the rules. That would break the rules! And besides, you know you broke the rules — we have the same rules, don’t we? But I can’t ask — that breaks the rules! This conflict is called resentment.

And if in all this, I make myself bad for breaking the rules, I call the experience shame.

———————————————————-

The exit from all of these states is to name the rules! Make them conscious, and make a clean choice as to whether or not you wish to live your life based on this rule. If you want this, make a clean choice as to whether or not you will break the rule on this occasion. It is a choice.

I maintain than anger, guilt, embarrassment, resentment, and shame are useful for ten minutes. In ten minutes, I can identify that I am in the state, that I have broken a rule, and that I can make a choice about the rule. It takes practice. With time, it becomes easier, almost automatic.

[A sidebar. Imagine that you have swallowed the rules, and they are sitting in your gut, undigested. And you don’t want to think about them. What then would you do with them? This is called introjection, one of the primary blocks of awareness. Otherwise, the fermenting mass can contaminate your body (retroflection), it can contaminate your mind (confluence), or you can vomit them out onto someone else (projection). Or you can digest them! It’s a choice. Incidentally, it was my experience in my own work that on occasion I actually needed to vomit.]

Coming next: Sloppy Language