I’m writing a book, but I am stuck, blocked, hideously procrastinating. I’m a good writer. I’ve read books about breaking through writer’s block, and I’ve tried a good number of techniques to free myself up, but I’m still blocked. You’re a writer – any suggestions? Thanks, BC
I completely understand what you’re struggling with. I’ve been writing professionally since the early 80’s, and although I don’t get blocked so much anymore, I have at times run into what I call a doubting or confusing fog when I attempt ‘creative’ writing specifically.
In fact, I even enrolled in a novel writing class recently, strictly for the structure and motivation in making progress with a book I’ve been planning for several years. The first assignment was to read the book, “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield. Before this, I heard about the book from other friends and colleagues who were highly recommending it, so I took the hint, purchased the Kindle version from Amazon, and started reading it right away. (Love my Kindle by the way!)
I highly recommend this book to you BC, and to all my readers who are artists or entrepreneurs, or to anyone who ever has the experience of feeling held back or stuck when it comes to doing what you would love to do!
From page 1, this book startled and excited me, as the author so simply and clearly spoke directly to my experiences with resistance and how to dissolve resistance so that I could get flowing creatively, and on a more powerful level than before.
“The War of Art” is a short and easy read! It’s presented in three parts: Resistance (Defining the Enemy), Combating Resistance (Turning Pro), & Beyond Resistance (Higher Realm). It’s forthright and full of useful wisdom, offering treatments for the disguised forms of procrastination, and plenty of strategies for overcoming them.
Here are several of my favorite quotes from Steven Pressfield in “The War of Art”:
“This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.”
“What finally convinced me to go ahead was simply that I was so unhappy not going ahead.”
“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are & become it.”
And so, dear BC, go easy on yourself, practice Self Forgiveness as outlined in my earlier blogs, and consider curling up with “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. May you find your flow!
Remember: If you're considering working with a Life Coach, be sure to check out the Spring Coaching Specials on my website, which end on June 19th.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
I’m in my early 50’s and noticing changes to my skin that I don’t like. Age spots, skin bumps, crepe paper skin, and more. Am I the only one? What should I do? Thanks, KR
Thanks for your question. First, you are not the only one! There are plenty of women and men who start noticing skin changes at midlife. The changes usually vary depending on factors such as skin type, history of sun exposure, genes, etc. There are ways to address this, and I’ll share some ideas in this blog.
Wrinkles, Spots, Bumps, and Aging
What I’ve learned from my dermatologist and through reading is that most visible signs of aging are due to cumulative sun exposure. Up to 90 percent of the visible changes in our skin that occur as we get older are from UV rays. This process is gradual, so don't expect to start noticing wrinkles from last week's sunburn. Instead, the damage gradually becomes visible with time.
Typically, it takes 30 years for sun damage to appear, so the damage we did in our 20’s will start showing up during our 50’s.
In fact, most skin damage will occur before the age of 20, so get kids to pay attention and use sun block now.
If you're one of those people who spent your younger years in the sun without wearing sun block, it's possible you'll end up with more of these signs. This is not at all unusual for those of us in our 50’s and older who were raised in the sun without sun block, which wasn’t introduced to the masses until the late 60’s. I don’t know about you KR, but my sisters and I, and my girlfriends all used to slather baby oil all over our bodies and bathe in the sun for hours! Baby oil is not a sun block, and in fact, is said to cause even more burning!
In my case, I have very fair skin, and even though I did not spend an excessive amount of time sun tanning as a child in Connecticut, I’ve been having similar skin changes to the ones you describe.
Make an appointment with a Dermatologist
I’ll share how I’ve been caring for myself in this area, and perhaps some of these ideas will work for you as well. The first thing I did when I started noticing skin changes was to get a recommendation for a dermatologist and make an appointment with this doctor for a complete skin check. In fact, I visited three different dermatologists before I decided on the one I felt was most competent and caring. But one good recommendation might be all that’s needed. If you have insurance, you can usually check the approved dermatologists for your plan and go that route as well.
Your dermatologist can examine you and give you a diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. For example, for the skin bumps known as actinic or solar keratosis, your doctor might recommend liquid nitrogen treatments. So, start with a visit to your dermatologist, and decide with your doctor on the best treatment plan.
Use high quality skin care products
The other way I care for my skin is by using non-prescription skin care products for the aging skin problems we’re discussing. My favorite brand is Skin Actives Scientific: http://www.skinactives.com/. Hannah Sivak, Ph.D. heads the Skin Actives Team. I recommend checking out their website, and strongly recommend joining the “Forum”. You can learn a lot in that forum, which includes categories such as “Recipes for mature skin”, “Lifting and firming”, “Rosacea resources”, “Acne resources”, “Melasma resources”, and much more. The company offers ready-made products and individual ingredients for making your own – all at very reasonable prices. I’ve been purchasing skin care products here for several years. Some of my favorite Skin Actives products include the anti-aging cream with resveratrol, collagen serum, UV repair cream, vitamin A cream, bright-I cream, and the sunscreen.
Consider high quality skin care treatments
My approach to skin care is more topical and natural, and less intrusive than some. For example, to reduce the signs of crepe paper skin, I use a loofah before each shower, and am trying something I read on the SkinActives Forum, which is to add their ascorbic acid crystals to the bath and follow by treating my skin with their rosehip oil or Dream cream. For cellulite reduction, Carole Maggio offers a deep massage treatment program called “No Lipo Lipo” at her day spa in Redondo Beach. Telephone: 310.316.1818. I’ll be trying that soon. Of course, the right diet, exercise, and drinking enough water is important too. And to tone and lift facial muscles, I definitely recommend Carole’s “Facercise” DVD program, which I’ve been doing for years. http://www.facercise.com/ We tone our bodies, why not our face and neck! It works.
And so, dear KR, I agree that watching the skin change with age may not always be a welcome sight, but these changes come with having a human body and living through all the human stages of a full life. Let’s be grateful to have a life and do our best to maintain healthy bodies. We’re very lucky to be living in a time when there are so many healthy and affordable ways to look vibrant and fit at every age.
If you're considering working with a Life Coach, be sure to check out my Spring Coaching Specials on my website.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
There are so many programs for losing weight. Do you have any favorites or recommendations? Thanks, MT
Yes, there are indeed so many programs for losing weight. I have followed a good number of plans over the years, mostly to maintain a slim, healthy, and toned body, and have always included exercise to support my goals.
This whole field of nutrition and maintaining a healthy body has evolved exponentially since I was in my 20’s, so I won’t get into too much detail about the programs I followed in the past. However, I’m happy to share my latest experiences.
Last year, I tried The Belly Fat Cure, which was highly recommended by a close friend. I purchased the book and started it right away. I didn’t have much to lose, but wanted to see if I could trim down that small estrogen-related midlife bulge! I had success in trimming down. However, I didn’t continue with this program because I felt too constrained by the daily sugar and carbohydrate limits. The creator Jorge Cruise is very dynamic and informative, and I believe this program can be very effective for those who stick with it. Here's a link: The Belly Fat Cure
Toward the end of last year, I noticed feeling a lack of energy, and seemed to be catching every flu/cold that was out there, so I suspected my immune system needed shoring up. At that point, I started hearing about Isagenix from several friends. They were mostly interested in the Isagenix cleanse programs for healthy weight loss, and everyone I talked to about it experienced great success with the 9 day and 30 day programs. That looked good to me, however, I was more interested in boosting my nutrition, so began researching their nutritional products, and listening to and watching their educational materials. What I learned about the nutritional quality of food grown today, for example, really convinced me to 1) purchase organic produce and foods as much as possible, and 2) supplement my meals with several of the Isagenix nutritional products. Here is the link if you’re interested in reading the transcript from Nutritional Educator Jim Rhoades’ talk on preventing degenerative diseases and the benefits of Isagenix: Preventing Degenerative Diseases
I started incorporating the Isagenix shakes and other super foods into my daily diet, and began feeling stronger and more vitally energized almost immediately. That was in December of last year, and I’m still a big fan and devoted user of the products. You can email me if you'd like more info.
I’ve always been a big believer in and major devotee of regular exercise. Most weight loss programs recommend accompanied exercise. I started running long distance in high school, and continued running for years. I loved being outside, the endorphin rushes, the high calorie burn, and how fit I stayed. Endorphins are brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. I no longer run long distance, however, I do perform 30 minutes of cardio on an elliptical trainer 3-5 times per week, which supports my physical and mental health and happiness. In addition, I work out at the gym with a trainer several times each week, building and maintaining my strength with weights and core exercises. This is probably good for everyone, and I believe it’s especially good for those of us in midlife who need to take extra steps to maintain strong bones and muscles. I take dance as well, which keeps me flexible and satisfies my love of music.
If you’re not sure how to build your exercise program, there are many books available on the topic and plenty of information on the internet. Also, most gyms and fitness clubs offer free or low cost consultations to help you create the best exercise program to support your goals.
And so dear MT, and all of my readers, I realize that time and more research may change existing programs and bring forward new and improved ones. I also believe that everyone is different and may be successful with different programs. There is a place for comments below, if others want to share what has worked for them. However, since you asked, I’m happy to share what’s been working for me, hope it gave you some ideas, and I wish you well in finding the best weight loss program for you. Whatever path you embark on, be patient and kind to yourself!
If you're considering working with a Life Coach, be sure to check out the Spring Coaching Specials on my website.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
My husband and I are going to divorce. It’s really tough. I’m afraid to bother my friends too much but I really need them now. I’m so afraid I’m going to lose them if I’m too needy. Help. AN
I understand you’re afraid of losing or turning off your friends by being too needy, but let’s face it, life has its ups and downs, and we all experience difficult times and serious meltdowns. If they are close friends, it’s more likely they will go out of their way to be even more present and supportive during this tough time.
Several years ago when my marriage hit the skids, it was one of the most difficult and painful experiences of my life. At first, I reached out timidly to my friends, so afraid to be the bearer of sad news and unhappy and confused emotions. But I was astonished at how my close friends responded in the most caring ways.
My friends planted hope where there was none, healed me with their steady calls, visits, infinite patience, listening, compassion, and wisdom, and stood close by as I learned to walk on my own again, without my former security blanket of marriage. They kept me sane, they kept me real, and they kept me positive. When I’d forget and dive into self pity and woe, they’d remind me that I was not a victim, and that I always had the freedom to choose my thoughts, my responses, and my actions. They supported my search for meaning and value in the situation, acknowledged my dedication to my well being, and celebrated my realizations and my growth through the entire journey – through the death of my former marriage and into the birth of the new and happier me. Through all this, our friendships grew stronger, deeper, and closer.
Since that major life transition, it has become powerfully clear to me just how important friends are, and how much I value, love, and respect mine. And my devotion to the support of their well being has increased dramatically. When my friends need support, I do my best to show up as fully as possible and love them unconditionally and honestly. We also make a point to spend more time together, even if it’s just to hang out, go to dinner, or go for a walk.
And so, dear SH and all my readers who may be going through something similar, I encourage you to set a clear intention to acknowledge and feel the hurt, while remaining open to the positive lessons and to growing in a positive direction through this situation. Reach out, let your close friends know what’s going on, and let them support you through this. Let your friendships heal you through the divorce and into your new life that awaits.
Let us all set the intention to sustain and nourish our special friendships and to not let them wither on the vine. Because if we let our friendships wither, most likely, so will we. I close with a few inspiring quotes about friendship.
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ― William Shakespeare
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It's not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.” ― Muhammad Ali
“Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” ― Elie Wiesel
“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer,” Pooh answered. ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
You talk about the importance of living our life purpose. I really feel like mine is acting, but it’s so hard. I wish we could list our great auditions, callbacks, and almost-bookings on our resumes. Otherwise, it looks like I’ve done so little, except for some B movies and a bunch of theater, and of course more acting classes than I could list or really afford. You were an actress right? Any words of wisdom for those of us who are too foolish to quit? Thanks, BW
Everything you state in your paragraph is full of brave honesty and wisdom. Let’s see if I can share some of my own foolish wisdom to soothe your frustrations.
I stumbled across acting in my 30’s, while making a good living as a writer, trainer, and project manager in the corporate world. I was successful in my line of work, but always feeling a creative void, a definite dissatisfaction that stirred sadness in me on a fairly regular basis.
When I say stumbled across acting, it really felt like that. I was looking for a creative hobby, and somehow signed up for a modeling class, which turned out to be a scam, and after threatening legal action and getting my money refunded, I stumbled next into an acting class with a commercial casting agent, and within a few weeks, booked my first national commercial. That was it, I was hooked. From there, I took a few more good acting classes, and then landed at Manhattan South Studio Theatre under the mentorship of John Peros, who would become a life-long friend. Playing Carol Brady in the musical comedy “The Brady Bunch: Uncensored” had to be one of the major highlights of my years working with John and our community of talented actors.
And there were plenty of frustrating times, including wooing agents, getting an agent who would remember me and send me out, long days of ‘extra’ work, finding the way into SAG, competing with other women of the same age and type, the unfairness of those who seemed lucky without the talent, pricey casting director workshops, lots of driving around town and sitting in hours of traffic and waiting rooms for auditions, sparse bookings, and the callbacks for TV series and films that did not lead to bookings, and always a lot of money to keep up training, headshots, and wardrobe. And what about that ‘callbacks and almost booked jobs’ resume you mentioned BW? You’re so right! Who knew about my callbacks, and reads for Producers of such shows as “Six Feet Under” and “The Closer”, or being considered for one of Jack Nicholson’s ex-girlfriends in “Something’s Gotta Give”? No one knew, except me and my cat. No one really cared about anything except what I booked!
My father was especially unhappy and disapproving of my acting career when he received a copy of “Femme Fatales” magazine in the mid-90’s, only to see his baby girl – me – featured in an article about a B movie I starred in, dressed in nothing but a large pumpkin head, which I hugged in the front of my otherwise very naked body! The pumpkin was a prop from the film, “Jack-O”, in which I play a Mom whose family is terrorized by a half-man/half pumpkin monster named Jack-O, of course! Nor was Dad too thrilled about the 40x70 foot billboard that I was featured on in Times Square, NYC, for Embassy Suites, in which I was also naked, except for the towel wrapped around my freshly showered body! (By the way, that billboard made it onto a postcard that was sold in NYC for some time.) Working on “Jack-O” with Fred Olen Ray and Steve Latshaw and a host of wonderful actors and crew was exhilarating and so darn fun. I did several B movies with these guys, including “Biohazard: The Alien Force”, and “Gator Babes”! And I experienced first-hand the family that is created when director, writers, producers, actors, and crew work together on multiple films over time. There’s nothing like it. Be proud of your B movies BW! There’s a huge fan base for them.
During my more than 13 years as a part-time actor, I continued my consulting work in the corporate world. And then something starting changing inside of me, and I felt a strong calling to go back to school and get my Master’s degree in counseling Psychology, and to launch my Life Coaching practice. Working as a Life Coach has very much become my labor of love. In fact, it is the most deeply rewarding work I have ever done.
I proudly admit that acting remains one of my favorite hobbies. A few years back, I was invited to join Kristin Stone’s interactive stage production, “Inside Private Lives”, and I remain on call as needed. The thrill of my lifetime was when we took the show Off Broadway in New York City a few summers ago.
I agree with Robert Byrne, that “The purpose of life is a life of purpose”. For example, one of my core life purposes has always been to inspire others to live theirs. My purpose has remained steady, but the ways in which I express it have changed over time. And it’s perfectly ok to have more than one thing you master and love to do!
And so, dear BW, if you’re not ready to quit, don’t. If you need to go for it all the way, go for it all the way. If you can only do it part-time, do it part-time. Whatever degree of commitment you choose, also commit to taking very good care of yourself as you do it. That means taking conscious and loving care of your physical, financial, mental, and spiritual health. Be a victor and not a victim of your choices and your actions, and be open to how the expression of your life purpose may change and evolve during the course of your life.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
For myself and for all of you who find yourself wasting precious moments of your lives worrying about negative future outcomes, I’m offering this suggestion in service of creating a new and healthier habit of looking at life with the optimism we are ALL capable of.
It’s time to declare this mantra: “Kiss Off! Negative Future Fantasies!“ And replace it with this new mantra: “Welcome! Positive Future Fantasies!”
Negative future fantasies keep us from achieving the life goals and daily outcomes we are here to experience. When we focus our thoughts and attention on what we do not want, guess what, that is what we tend to move toward and experience.
It’s one thing to be discreet and selective about not moving into situations that are not good for our well being and survival, however, it’s another practice all together to use our thoughts to fear and thus “expect” negative experiences and outcomes.
If we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, based on heartfelt desires which serve our highest good and the highest good of others, then we have the choice to anticipate and “expect” positive future results and experiences.
We have the freedom to choose what we think. Our thoughts shape our lives and our experiences.
Think about how this law works in the most simple of ways in our daily lives. You want to have clean and healthy gums, so your floss and brush your teeth. You’re hungry, so you eat. You want to see a movie with a friend, so you contact your friend and you go to the movie. You need a job, so you apply for jobs. You want to see “Dancing with the Stars”, so you watch it! We are constantly generating thoughts of things we want and then taking action to experience them. That which we focus on is what we tend to experience.
This is not meant to scare anyone, meaning it is also natural to experience fear or worry, and like I mentioned above, to be selective or cautious at times.
But let’s not make a habit of automatically kibashing (putting an end to) our healthy desires by projecting negative outcomes, by wasting our precious thought energy on fantasizing negative outcomes!
For at least the next week, be aware of the times when you are using your thoughts for negative future fantasies. Catch yourself in the act! And then give yourself a pat on the back for noticing how you are wasting your precious life fantasizing about the very thing you do not want.
Focus on what you DO WANT. Let yourself fantasize the positive outcome you wish for.
Set an intention for what you want. For example, “My intention is I am thinking about and picturing positive results.” Or, “My intention is I am here creating good for myself and others.” And if you’re really serious about creating your positive future desires, repeat your positive intention for 32 days. Start a new habit of positive future fantasies. And if and when you notice a negative future fantasy that you’d rather not feed, just acknowledge it, say goodbye to it, and then restate your desired intention in the positive.
You get the idea. For a really good belly laugh and instructions on how to stop a bad habit, watch this hilarious 6 minute classic clip from Mad TV with Bob Newhart.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
I know I’m lucky because I’m pretty healthy and I have work and good friends. But sometimes I get depressed, mostly when I’m unhappy with myself, and then I can’t stop the voices inside my head. It scares me and I feel so stuck. Any advice? Thanks TN
I think I choose women who don’t make me their #1. And I think I’ve done this for a long time. It’s like they’re with me, but longing for someone else. I’m tired of this. Why the heck would I choose this? I like making my girlfriend #1. How can I be my girl’s #1? Thanks, HF
That’s a great question and highly perceptive observation! I understand your challenge, and my intention is to offer clarity and a solution that supports you being in a loving relationship that is based on mutual respect and desire.
I believe that your past experience of attracting or selecting women who are not making you their #1 man, might be the result of a behavioral “projection”. Behaviors projecting at us from others can act as mirrors reflecting to us something about our own relationship to ourselves. Projections can be negative or positive, and all provide opportunities for growth. If this applies to you HF, it may mean that you have been attracting women who don’t make you their #1 man, to show you that you are NOT regarding YOURSELF as your #1 man or as worthy of being a woman’s #1 man.
To grow, and feel more of the joy of living, we bring people to us who have qualities that project or reflect qualities we might desire more OR less of in ourselves. Have you been hooking up with women who don’t make you #1 because you haven’t been treating yourself as #1? And I don’t mean this in an egocentric way, or ‘I’m first and screw everybody else’ kind of way. I’m saying – to fully love and be fully loved by our companion, we MUST love, honor, and care for ourselves first and foremost. From this place of self loving respect, we are then able to offer the same love and respect to others. Love and respect source from within the individual.
“We must be the home for love if we are to give and receive it.” – Maddisen K. Krown
So the goal is for you to claim yourself as your #1. Once you do this, there’s a very good chance you will no longer need that former negative projection, to place it on women, or to have it reflected back at you by anyone or in any situation.
This is a fantastic and huge opportunity for you to love yourself more than ever, and in doing so, make yourself the #1 bull’s-eye of love.
Try this simple process:
Step 1: Identify and Accept the Projections
Identify any past situations, starting from birth, when you felt or believed you were not #1 in yours or someone else’s life. For example, did you feel this with a parent or caretaker, friends, or any girlfriends along the way until now? Identify and accept that the projections existed. You may not like the projections – that’s ok. But it is important for you to identify them and simply accept they existed.
Step 2: Forgive Yourself
Move into self forgiveness for any judgments you’ve had about yourself or others related to the projection of you not feeling like the #1 person in your life. For example:
“I forgive myself for judging myself as not being my mom’s number 1 favorite”, or “I forgive myself for judging my mother for treating me like second best to my sister,” or “I forgive myself for judging myself as unimportant,” or “I forgive myself for judging myself as not worthy of a woman’s love and full attention,” or “I forgive myself for believing the lie that I am not worthy of mutual love,” etc.
Once you feel complete with the self forgiveness, take a few minutes to state the truth as you see it. For example, “Because the truth is I love fully and am worthy of full and mutual loving with my woman,” or “Because the truth is I am a dedicated boyfriend and my girlfriend will love that and be equally dedicated to me,” etc.
Step 3: Practice a 32 Day Affirmation Process
Bring forward an affirmation that is a powerful and positive reframing of the previous pattern that didn’t allow you to experience your birthright of mutual loving. Write down and repeat the positive affirmation 10 times a day for 32 days. For example, “I am #1,” or “I am the #1 choice,” or “I am my girlfriend’s #1 and only, and she is my #1 and only,” or “I love myself first and fully, so that I may love and be loved fully by my girlfriend,” etc. When possible, say your affirmation while looking into your own eyes in the mirror.
A song suggestion
In addition to reading your affirmation, consider downloading this song, and listen to it once a day for 32 days. The song is “I’m Amazing”, by Keb' Mo'. Here is the chorus from his song, but be sure to download and listen to the entire tune. It's very inspiring.
"I’m amazing; I’m incredible
I’m a miracle, a dream come true
I’m marvelous; I’m beautiful
So are you."
And so dear HF, I hope this process liberates you into the mutual loving you seek and deserve. May you be the #1 choice of yourself and your girlfriend. May you be positive projections for each other in your dance of love. Let us all be more aware of and grateful for the positive projections in our lives. And for those of you seeking a positive projection in the form of a life coach, please check out my website for more info about my Spring coaching package specials.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
I’m in my 50’s and honestly sometimes I’m real confused and afraid about getting older. It seems like such an unpopular thing to do, but unless something unforeseen happens, I might be around for another 20 or 30 years, and I really don’t want to spend my remaining time on this bummer. Any ideas? JE
I’m so tired of the pattern I have of feeling melancholy and sad and being too serious. With the exception of a few things I want to improve in my life, I consider myself really lucky and fortunate. I have a good job, good friends, a pretty close family, but I feel sad a lot. I don’t want to take anti-depressants. Do you have something in your toolbox for this? I want to feel better. Thanks, MB
What a great question – thank you for asking it here. Yes, I have something in my toolbox for you!
I often say this in response to my readers’ questions, and I’ll say it again – the answer resides in your question – you have been caught in a looping “pattern” that repeats itself over and over – an unconscious thought pattern of melancholy sadness and seriousness. This pattern is your direct line to the relief you seek.
Most likely, that particular pattern has been operating automatically and unconsciously in your life, making it difficult to see. In fact, you may have come to believe that these feelings are who you are. Here’s the good news: this pattern, these feelings, are NOT who you are, and you can interrupt and end this pattern with the help of a conscious and super simple tool called the Pattern Journal.
The Pattern Journal
I learned about pattern journaling at the University of Santa Monica, where I received my Masters in Spiritual Psychology, and I have been using this tool ever since, specifically when I start noticing a thought or behavioral pattern that I’m repeating AND that is causing me to suffer and feel unhappy or unbalanced. The pattern journal is where you identify and write about any pattern or patterns (mental, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, physical) that you are noticing in your own life. It is an excellent method for bringing your awareness to areas in your life that may need healing, improvement, or change.
32 Days to Freedom
Get a journal or notepad. Write in your pattern journal in the morning or at the end of each day. Either time is fine, as long as you write in your pattern journal once a day for 32 days in a row. I prefer to write in my pattern journal at the end of the day before sleep. That way I can review my day and write about when and how the pattern showed up, how I felt, etc., while it’s still fresh in my mind, instead of waiting until the next morning when I may forget the details. Do what works best for your schedule.
Identify the repeating pattern. Write about it in detail - how and when you noticie it operating in your current life. Jot down concrete instances from the day of the pattern in action, how you felt, how you feel now, and any insights or ideas coming forth as a result of this. Perhaps set an intention to release this pattern and replace it with thoughts and/or actions that align with your desired state.
The pattern journal is meant to serve your well being, and is not meant for criticism or blame. If you feel self judgment or criticism coming up, practice Self Forgiveness. I’ve talked about Self Forgiveness in previous blogs, and here are the basic steps: Start with the expression, "I forgive myself for judging myself for/as..." or “I forgive myself for believing the lie that...", and then add whatever the judgments are. Say the phrases aloud. For example, "I forgive myself for judging myself as unaware.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging myself for feeling sad and too serious.” Or, “I forgive myself for judging other people for not making me happy.” Or, “I forgive myself for believing the lie that there’s something wrong with me.” Next, follow with this phrasing: "Because the truth is...", and then add the positive traits you know or sense to be true about yourself and others. For example, "Because the truth is I feel better and am more productive when I like myself.” Or, "Because the truth is I want to feel happier.” Or, "Because the truth is my happiness is up to me and not the responsibility of others". To practice self forgiveness on-the-fly, anytime, anywhere, say the core phrase by itself, "I forgive myself for judging myself."
Why It Works
Pattern journaling has a high success rate for breaking non-supportive patterns because it’s a direct method for bringing awareness and consciousness to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that were previously unconscious and unseen. Pattern journaling is how we ‘out’ patterns! Identifying a pattern and then writing it down and describing it in detail, along with how it makes you feel or what you noticed, can be super empowering and enlightening, and can stop a pattern dead in its tracks. This is all because you bring your awareness to it, which supports you in then having conscious dominion over how you want to move forward in a more positive and life affirming way.
We know how identifying a problem can be half the battle, and that once we identify a problem, we’ve already begun solving it and setting the wheels of resolution and liberation into motion. Sometimes just identifying a problem causes it to disappear altogether.
Try It, You’ll Love It
I love pattern journaling. Sometimes I’m shocked at what I’ve been thinking or how I’ve been repeating negative patterns, and am always very relieved when I can say goodbye to a pattern that I was formerly a prisoner of. We can make ourselves happy. In fact, true happiness always begins inside of us. And when we stand in and express from this internally grounded place, we often inspire others to do the same.
And so MB, the tool I recommend is the pattern journal, and doing it for 32 days. There’s a good chance you’ll notice positive results sooner and possibly right away. In addition, consider reaching outside of your comfort zone to support new and healthy patterns of the joy and fulfillment that you know is your birthright. For example, take a stand-up comedy or comedy improv class, or enroll in a laughter yoga class. Yes, that’s correct – there is such a thing – Laughter Yoga! Google it to find a class or group near you. I know a woman who started taking laughter yoga for some of the same reasons you shared, MB, and I laugh just hearing about the exercises she does with her laughter yoga group. Here’s to our conscious liberation and joy!
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
I really like the guy I'm dating, but there is something bothering me that I just can't put my finger on. The only way I can describe it to you is it feels like he says 'no' a lot. We can never have a conversation that flows. He rejects ideas, and it feels like he's not listening. What is going on? Thanks, TS
Like you recommend, this past New Year’s weekend, I reviewed my 2011 accomplishments and areas of growth. Then I made a list of my goals for 2012. When I read some of my goals, it’s like I hear a belief that doubts what I want. Do you know what I’m talking about? Would love your help. Thanks, MG
I’m a midlifer, divorced, with 50% custody of two great teenagers, and in the dating circuit. I’m on a few dating websites, which at times keeps me busy, but most of all keeps me a bit boggled and confused. Why do I get the distinct impression that I’m attracting women who have my mother’s undesirable traits? Any sagely advice? Thanks, RB
This week, I’d like to share about my personal experience as a midlifer facing and caring for my physically declining elder parents.