Lately I am beyond fascinated by the ways in which we live out scripts and stories that we have internalized from our childhood.
Dr. James Lipton’s breakthrough resesearch in cell biology and consciousness drove home a key point: we are in a semi-hypnotic state as children and we are programmed by our environment subconsciously. 95 % of the time the average person lives out that program- or story- and 5% of the time is conscious and creative thought.
He also stresses that we are not victims of this programming nor are we a slave to our genetic code- we have the ability to consciously change anything in this regard.
This is a fact, albeit one that many people find hard to swallow when they are deep in their own story of life, an unconscious and somewhat slippery slope of beliefs and ideas that have been absorbed from our personal cosmology.
Jim Carrey has talked about his use of comedy to alchemically tranfsorm the negative in his life into gold for the world of entertainment. Art is one of the alchemical tools we can all access.
If you wonder why I talk of creativity in an unending stream- this is it!
If you are thinking that you are ready to make a big change, you may want to actually, literally, write your way to greater conscious self-awareness!
I am a giant fan of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way , a 12-week course of a book that features writing in a journal, freehand, for three big pages, non-stop, every morning as its most profound tool for self-discovery and creative awakening. In those pages of sometimes scrawl and sometimes inspired insight, many discoveries emerge. I feel more balanced. I have a more organized mind. I am full of ideas. Frustrations melt. Excitement builds.
There are also many researchers who have studied the effects of Creative Writing- stories and memoirs- as a means of helping to heal trauma and actual illness. (you can read much more on this HERE) Here the idea is to gain insight into the world of your own unconscious stories by telling them and in the telling, you, in a sense, set yourself free.
Dr. James Pennebaker, Chair of the Department of Psychology at The University Of Texas, Austin, has done extensive research on the effects of writing on health. His suggestions can be found HERE, but I wanted to share the core of his instruction to students:
” In our research, we generally give people the following instructions for writing:
Over the next four days, I want you to write about your deepest emotions and thoughts about the most upsetting experience in your life. Really let go and explore your feelings and thoughts about it. In your writing, you might tie this experience to your childhood, your relationship with your parents, people you have loved or love now, or even your career. How is this experience related to who you would like to become, who you have been in the past, or who you are now?
Many people have not had a single traumatic experience but all of us have had major conflicts or stressors in our lives and you can write about them as well. You can write about the same issue every day or a series of different issues. Whatever you choose to write about, however, it is critical that you really let go and explore your very deepest emotions and thoughts.
Warning: Many people report that after writing, they sometimes feel somewhat sad or depressed. Like seeing a sad movie, this typically goes away in a couple of hours. If you find that you are getting extremely upset about a writing topic, simply stop writing or change topics.”
I was given the same “warning” by my memoir me not, a Best-Selling and quite brilliant author who re-lived his memoir in the telling of his story but, the difference was that the whole time it was cathartic rather than crazy-making.
I have talked often about the chaos that can bubble up when you decide to organize your life. That chaos is a momentary thing to move through. The key is to keep moving to the other side of the mess into order. You can’t walk around the mess and expect it to resolve. The same happens in telling stories, writing in journals and becoming more conscious, I feel, in general. Its a great awakenening where chaos boils up and then- somewhat suddenly- life is more purified and peaceful.
Everyone has their own ways of telling stories, confronting or avoiding messes and accepting or grappling with the scripts that are playing out in the background- and forefront- of every day.
Idea for the week: Even in a non-scientific, unstructured way, grab a few pieces of paper and write. Try it for a few days. See if it moves you to insight, lightness, happiness, or greater peace. Grab yourself a journal if you are feeling the momentum build. Use it. Enjoy it.
P.S.: In time for Spring Cleaning (!) the Catalyst Camp FREE video series is coming to walk you through my feng shuid de-cluttering methods that have sparked manys a life revolution! You can sign up HERE to watch them as soon as they arrive!
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