If you have been following this workshop, I hope that you now feel in touch with your power to choose in every moment between the positive possibilities and the impossibilities. As a reminder, the positive possibilities feel rooted, vital and expansive, in alignment with Nature and your highest good. We have now laid the foundation to look at how we can let go of unhealthy habits and find inner peace.
Have you ever found yourself feeling stuck, holding on to a belief or tendency that makes you unhealthy and unhappy, yet you feel unsure how to let it go? Following the three steps of understanding, witnessing and releasing will help you address this issue with clarity and compassion.
This three-step practice has brought me greater meaning, purpose and joy. I have also seen immense transformation in countless others who have taken it to heart. The subject is so rich that I have dedicated an entire upcoming book to it. I give you here a summary of its power so that you can right away begin to apply the three steps to your life.
Any unhealthy or painful pattern is an expression of impossibilities. It is rooted in a limited sense of reality that short-changes you of the fullness of this moment. Through the lens of impossibilities, you can only see clouds in the sky that temporarily obscure the sun.
The first step, understanding, is to come to terms with the reality that the sun is always there, and that the only reason you don’t see it is because your perception is limited and skewed. When you are in a cloudy mood, you tend to only see clouds. Once you begin to understand this, you are on the road to freedom.
Then, you can witness the way your painful habit tends to continue. When you simply witness the tendency—that is, when you are free from judging, revelling in or trying to hide from it—you will find that the release happens automatically because you no longer give it any power.
The Missing Steps to Change
Where most of us get stuck when we wish to overcome impossibilities tendencies is in wanting to jump straight into releasing, without first understanding our core misperception. Once rooted in clarity, we can witness our attachments to the tendency and choose to let it go. Here is an example of what I mean.
Suppose you have a habit of going into the kitchen in the middle of the night to eat chocolate cake, even though you had more than enough food during the day. It may bring a momentary feeling of giddy delight or satisfaction, even freedom. In your heart, however, you don’t feel good about doing this. If you look deeper and are honest with yourself, you realize you actually feel ashamed about it. Maybe you are getting heavier from your cake habit. Maybe you feel in a perpetual fog because of the sugar. Maybe the bingeing is increasing your grocery bills. You have many logical reasons to stop eating the chocolate cake, but you still keep doing it. How come?
STEP ONE: Understanding
The first step is to take a moment to look deeper at what is really going on. Why are you gravitating to the chocolate cake? When you become quiet and ask yourself sincerely, you might begin to see that you are feeling a deep sense of unease or lack within yourself. Maybe you are stressed at work. Maybe there is a family conflict, or you are experiencing restlessness in a relationship. Whatever the unhappiness may be, your perception is that the hit of sweetness makes you feel better, even just for a while. You are approaching the cake in the hope that it will fill you up and nourish you in a way it actually cannot. Eating it may give you a fleeting feeling of connecting to something other than yourself. For that moment, you feel you belong and are a part of a whole. But soon, the sugar rush dies and the same feelings of malaise return. Rather than immersing yourself into the ocean of life, it is as though you have jumped into an eddy.
Eddies are not the ocean. They can never give us the fullness we truly crave. We need to learn to understand when we are mistaking an eddy for the ocean, because in so doing we are causing ourselves pain. Life in an eddy is neither in alignment with Nature nor our highest purpose. As such, it is not sustainable. Maybe some broken part of us thinks it is what we deserve. But in this moment of quiet, when we go deeper beneath any shame, self-doubt, or disconnection, we can come to the fundamental truth that it is not who we are meant to be.
STEP TWO: Witnessing
Understanding is the foundation upon which our lives of inner peace are built. Once you are clear on the ways an unhealthy habit is based on misperception and leads to suffering, then you can begin the process of noticing its tendency to continue. The voice that niggles at midnight and says, “I need chocolate cake”, may remain, even after you understand why it is there and that it is a lie. You witness its tenacity in trying to capture your attention. You see it in a neutral light, without any emotional charge. To get tied up in it would be to resist change. The tendency for chocolate cake simply is, and you choose to no longer give it any energy. You can see that it is just an illusion playing out, and you no longer need to play along.
STEP THREE: Releasing
The third step of releasing the impossibilities habit then is automatic. You naturally let the tendency go, because you no longer see value in it. Instead, you can choose to do something that supports you feeling loved and connected—be it speaking with a friend, doing some journaling, or simply sitting quietly to cultivate a sense of rooted, vital expansion. You release, because you witness. You witness, because you understand.
Practicing the Steps
Next week, we will look more deeply into what it understanding truly means. Between now and then, here is a potent exercise to help you begin the process.
- Make a list of some impossibilities tendencies in your life.
- Then for each one, gently inquire:
- What is this painful tendency doing in my life?
- If I truly believed I was unconditionally loved and connected, would I engage it?
- What do I get out of this unhealthy tendency that keeps me wanting to do it?
- If I am compassionate with myself, how can I see this tendency differently?
From my heart to yours,