Maddisen Krown

Maddisen Krown

Frozen By Fear & Worry? Here’s How To Break Free.

Dear Maddisen:
I was laid off from my job. I have some savings, and a solid idea for a small business that I already started. Problem is I can’t stop worrying about everything, especially money and my survival. And this fear is paralyzing me. I’ve been just stuck. I need to get off my butt! Help! TC

Dear TC:
I’m glad you are reaching out for assistance. I understand that frozen feeling, and will outline a few simple steps to help you get moving and back into constructive action.

As you read this article, refer to the “Ladder of Conscious Living” diagram, which is inspired by Steve Chander’s Mindshift Ultimate Success CD Course. Feel free to print it out and keep it handy.

Fear and Worry can paralyze us
Fear can freeze our mind and our ability to take constructive actions. As TC described, fear and worry can make us feel paralyzed or stuck. When we’re in this state, we may also have lowered confidence and self esteem. Fear tends to get us stuck on the question – what can I get? – which is desperate and usually not productive. Some people can use anger to motivate themselves into action, but unfortunately that doesn’t work for everyone. And worry is simply a waste of our imagination.

When we shift gears and move into Concern, we can take action
First, it makes a positive difference when we choose to believe and trust that we’re here for a reason – that our lives have value and purpose, and that all life is a gift to be cherished and respected. If and when we find ourselves stuck and frozen on the rungs of fear and worry, the easiest thing we can do is “shift gears” and move up the ladder into Concern, caring concern about our welfare and wellbeing. From the place of concern, it’s much easier to move and take action. Concern also shifts us from asking “what can I get?” into asking “what can I give?” – which is a productive stance. When we ask, “what can I give?”, this frees our minds to generate constructive ideas and inspires us to take life-supporting actions.

Three Steps to Freedom
If you are feeling frozen or paralyzed by fear and worry, follow these steps to break free and start moving and taking constructive and caring actions.

Step 1
Look at and review the “Ladder of Conscious Living”. Trust that you are here for a reason, and that your life has value and purpose, and that all life is a gift to be cherished and respected.

Step 2
Move up the ladder into Concern. Feel caring concern about your life and wellbeing. Think of any small steps you can take to support your wellbeing and progress in your current situation. If it helps, also ask, “What can I give?” On paper or electronically, write a log of 2-5 actions you can take today to support your movement forward. And begin taking them. Write in your log daily, writing 2-5 actions you can take each day, and do this for at least 32 days. If it helps, do this exercise with a friend or loved one, and share your lists with each other once a week.

Step 3
Continue to explore and practice the higher rungs on the ladder. Also, notice the difference between ‘trying’ and ‘committing’ to your wellbeing. Notice the difference between neutral observation without judgment vs. reacting to things as good or bad, or right and wrong. And if you find yourself moving down into fear or worry, picture yourself climbing up the ladder to Concern, and take caring actions that support your welfare.

Live Consciously
This Ladder of Conscious Living reminds me of a painting I’ve seen of Jacob’s Ladder, with its ascending and descending angels. My view of this is that we are ALL the ascending and descending angels, in constant motion on the ladder of life – evolving and succeeding in our life’s purpose as we ascend or climb up the ladder, and then descending or going back down the ladder with our new empowered and caring awareness to help others learn how do the same in their own lives. Ascending to evolve, descending to serve, ascending to evolve, descending to serve. Helping yourself and helping others.

And so, dear TC and all my readers, now that you are aware of this Ladder of Conscious Living, you have the choice to live more consciously and with more self responsibility. When you’re in a safe state of operation, consider showing others how to do the same climb from frozen fear to concerned and caring action. May we all become pro’s at living successfully, taking concerned and caring actions that support our wellbeing and the wellbeing of all life.

“The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon B. Hinkley

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barack Obama

From the heart,
your Life Coach Maddisen

Copyright 2013 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Monday, 06 May 2013 22:43

Your Self Concept Is Your Destiny

Dear Maddisen:
When it comes to my career success, I find myself comparing myself to friends, colleagues, my family members – just about everyone! I criticize myself and how I’m not as smart or capable, I don’t belong in the game, blah, blah, blah. They think I’m an equal. Why don’t I? How do I get this elephant off my chest? Help! SJ

Dear SJ,
Great question, thanks for asking it. Self criticism is common, and I’m confident there are many, including myself, who can relate to what you are sharing.  Self criticism can constrict and shut off our creative thinking, and paralyze us from moving forward and taking constructive actions in our lives.  Self criticism is a waste of precious time.  Let’s talk more about all of this.

Our Thinking Habits
We each interpret our personal life experiences differently and in our own unique way, deciding and choosing, consciously and unconsciously – to be responsible or a victim, or to become better or bitter – as a result of our experiences.

How we view and evaluate our selves is largely influenced and established when we are very young and under the care and supervision of our parents and family members or adopted caregivers.  Therefore SJ, there’s a good chance the formerly unconscious habit of thinking that you are not as smart or capable as others, or don’t belong – began when you were a child based on your unique experiences and interactions.

Good News
The really good news: It is never too late for us to identify patterns of debilitating self criticism and transform them into patterns of empowering self esteem!  We always have the freedom to choose better thoughts.

We take the first step to ending self criticism simply by catching ourselves when we’re having self critical thoughts – as demonstrated here by SJ.  From here, the next step is to move into a new practice of self respecting and self empowering thoughts.

Your Positive Self Concept – Claim It Now
More really good news: There are many straightforward and effective tools available to all of us who are ready to take the next step in claiming our true nature – our positive self concept. Here are a few recommendations.

-- Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Transformation, by Nathaniel Branden
-- The Self-Esteem Companion: Simple Exercises to Help You Challenge Your Inner Critic and Celebrate Your Personal Strengths, by McKay, Fanning, Honeychurch, Sutker
-- Loyalty To Your Soul: The Heart of Spiritual Psychology, by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick
(I have learned a great deal from the Hulnicks, including Self Forgiveness, which is also taught in this uplifting book.)

CD Audio Books:
-- Maximum Confidence: Ten Secrets of Extreme Self Esteem, by Jack Canfield
-- Self Esteem: Your Fundamental Power, by Caroline Myss

Related specifically to career success, here are two of my recent favorites, both by Coach Steve Chandler: Our brains are goal achievement mechanisms, and Steve teaches how to use our thoughts and actions to live our lives of heartfelt purpose in ways that serve our wellbeing and the wellbeing of all life.
-- The Steve Chandler Ultimate Success Course (10 CD set)
-- 100 Ways to Create Wealth (Hardcover)

Life Coaches:
Another highly effective way to create lasting positive change in your life is to work with a personal life coach. I work with clients in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S., and internationally. Or if you already know of a Life Coach who you believe can help you make a lasting transition into your positive self concept, contact them for information.  Very often, coaches including myself, offer an initial complimentary session to discuss the areas you wish to improve, working together, and fees.

We Have the Freedom To Choose Our Thoughts
The simple truth is this: our self concept is our destiny. So if we want to change our destiny for the better, we need to change our concept and beliefs about our selves also for the better. We always have the freedom to choose better thoughts.

And so SJ and all my readers, if you are ready to honor and express your special skills and gifts, and your birthright to be an equal player in this miraculous game of life – take your destiny in your own hands and start Your Positive Self Concept training, so that your positive self concept becomes your positive destiny.  For the highest good of all.

For good or for ill, self-concept is destiny. – Nathaniel Branden

In life, we do what we believe we can do. No more than that. – Steve Chandler

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Siddhartha Gautama

From the heart,
your Life Coach Maddisen

Copyright 2013 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Dear Maddisen:
I’ve done my share of workshops. I’m looking for something that has deep and lasting results, and that involves fresh air and the outdoors. Any suggestions?  Best, JW

Dear JW,
Thanks for your question, which is perfect and perfectly timed! I am currently contemplating such a workshop for myself – a guided “vision fast” in the great outdoors.

A vision fast, which is also sometimes referred to as a vision quest, is a rite of passage – a self initiated ceremony or ritual that is done outdoors, facilitated by experienced guides, and which gives the individual time to pause, time to mark significant life transitions, and time to initiate desired new life changes.

Such rite of passage ceremonies are as old as dirt, found in almost every tradition, culture, and religion throughout the world, and continue to be a powerful way for teenagers and adults to acknowledge, mourn, release, welcome, or celebrate important life transitions of any kind, such as actual or symbolic births and deaths, major life changes, career changes, divorce, marriage, menopause, birthdays, successes and achievements, children leaving home, recovery from addiction, etc.

Taking the time to give ourselves something like this is a highly conscious way of taking stock of and honoring our lives, and being deliberate about how we want to live our lives going forward.

There are groups around the world that facilitate rite of passage programs such as the vision fast. I have participated in this work for more than a decade with the School of Lost Borders in Big Pine, CA. Check out their website for schedules and lots more information.

In addition to other trainings at the school, I've done six vision fasts with them to date -- marking two significant birthdays, a career change, two key life changes, and a relationship change. And I've participated in these programs with all types of interesting people of all ages and from all over the world, including artists, doctors, grandmothers, teens, moms, dads, CEOs, therapists, you name it -- all embarking on a vision fast to mark their own unique transitions.

The Vision Fast: Preparation, Solo, Return
The format and length of vision fasts may vary, but typically the ceremony involves 4 days of preparation, 3-4 days and nights of fasting alone in a wilderness place, and several days of incorporation.

Intent and Preparation
A key step in preparing for your ceremony is to deeply engage the question, “What is my intent for my upcoming ceremony?” In other words, right now, and from the deepest place in your psyche, what can you say about that which is compelling you to embark on this vision fast?  
During the four days preceding your fasting/solo time, your guides will help you further clarify your intent, which can be a process as powerful and profound as the actual fast itself. You will also be educated and readied to physically, mentally, and spiritually benefit from the experience of fasting alone in the wilderness.

Solo Experience in Nature
The solo experience involves time alone in a natural place (solitude), fasting (emptiness), exposure to the elements (vulnerability), and self-reliance (self-trust). During solo time, the guides maintain a safe perimeter around the area and make sure you have sufficient provisions. I liken solo time to being inside a cocoon, where within the illusory sheath of dormancy, new life percolates, just waiting for its time to explode into full potential. The experience of solo time is somewhat indescribable, different for everyone, and guaranteed to create memories that stay with you for a lifetime!

Return and Incorporation
Upon return, you join together with the other fasters and guides for the sharing of personal stories. The guides support you by listening and reflecting the significant lessons of your story, and then challenge you to give your vision practical feet -- to live the life and change(s) you have rightfully claimed as your own!

To read more about the exact stages of a vision fast and how to prepare, read this article on the School of Lost Borders website:

And so, dear JW and all my readers, I hope this answers some of your questions. If you are being called to honor yourself, your life, and your people in this way, perhaps you are ready for this deep and lasting initiation in nature. The truth of nature is what will make your solo time real, mysterious, and meaningful.

"My soul is striving to remember who I am, to make who I am compatible with who I was born to be, to bring who I am into synch with who I will be." – Stephen Foster and Meredith Little, founders of the School of Lost Borders

Initiation causes a funeral and a birth; a mourning appropriate to death and a joyous celebration for the restoration of a full life.” – Michael Meade

"Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

From the heart,
your Life Coach Maddisen

Copyright 2013 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Saturday, 20 October 2012 22:40

Women, Men, and Sexual Polarity

Dear Maddisen:
Can you explain ‘sexual polarity’ and how my husband and I can practice it to ignite passion in our marriage?  Thank you, SH

Dear SH:
Yes, I’m glad to support you both in experiencing more loving passion in your marriage.

First, what is polarity? When two magnets with the same poles come near each other, the magnetic fields move in opposite directions. However, when two opposite poles face each other, the fields, and the atoms inside the magnet, line up, thus pulling the magnets toward each other.

Sexual Polarity
Sexual polarity is based on the same concept, except it pertains to the sexual attraction that is naturally created between the two opposite poles – the feminine and masculine poles. Opposite poles attract!

In his wonderful book, It’s a Guy Thing, An Owner’s Manual for Women, intimacy expert David Deida provides his definition of sexual polarity:

“What is Sexual Polarity? How do we maintain love and passion in our intimate relationships for more than a few months? How do we regenerate love and desire for one another year after year? Relationships are great at the beginning. Almost all new relationships are incredibly exciting and passionate. But over time something seems to happen. Things change.
There is a secret to maintaining the passion in emotional, sexual relationships. In moments of attraction and passion, there is an active principle called ‘sexual polarity.’ One individual plays the strong masculine pole and one individual plays the strong feminine pole. This creates sexual polarity – an almost irresistible attraction between two people.
The principle of polarity is true in all emotional and sexual relationships, homosexual as well as heterosexual. In fact, we find polarity in all nature. The masculine and feminine energies are like positive and negative electrical or magnetic qualities. If you have two magnets and put their north and south poles together, they attract each other. Opposite poles attract. But when you flip one magnet around and try to push the poles together, they repel. Like poles repel. This same principle of polarity also applies to intimate relationships.”

I couldn’t say it better than David! And highly recommend that women (and men) read this book. I also recommend his book, The Way of the Superior Man, which is written for men, and a very informative read for women. In his teachings, David also talks about how we all possess both masculine and feminine essences, and how we move in and out of both depending on our nature, our upbringing, and the life situations we're in that may require more or less of the feminine and masculine behaviors.

Women and Men Are Not Alike – Let’s Embrace Our Differences!
You see, it’s actually very healthy that women and men are opposite or very different from each other. That is what creates the attraction between us, and the sexual passion.

And so, SH, if this makes sense to you, take a closer look at how you and your husband do your dance of relationship with each other. Have you become too much the same as one another? Do you need to reclaim and express more of your feminine essence qualities, and he more of his masculine essence qualities?  

The feminine is the force of life and source of inspiration. The feminine moves in all directions while the masculine moves in one direction. The feminine needs the masculine to give it direction, focus and purpose. The masculine needs the energy of the feminine to give it drive and passion. The masculine and the feminine need each other. And the oneness we create is like the yin and yang that represent duality forming a whole.

If you both truly want to get your passion back, and you feel you can do it on your own without coaching assistance, read David Deida’s books, and check out his website to see if he’s doing any workshops. I’ve attended one of his workshops, and it was life-changing for me in a very positive way. It helped me to get into a practice of honoring and expressing more of my feminine essence qualities, and has definitely added snap, crackle, and pop to my loving relationships.

I may not always understand men (!), but I now get how important it is that we honor our differences, and ultimately enjoy the healthy electricity caused by them. In accepting our core differences, it has helped me to feel the bliss of oneness in relationship with the masculine, which was missing for me in the past when I insisted on treating men more like girlfriends!  Here’s to the snap, crackle, and pop of healthy and passionate sexual polarity in our loving relationships!

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Dear Readers:
Have you been feeling exhausted, discouraged, or confused about love? Or like you’re on an endless road of seeking love, approval, and appreciation – but not receiving what your heart seems to long for and what you are ready to give? If any of this is true for you, I have a tool I’d like to share.

First, know that you are not alone. I hear this story often from clients and friends. And I’ve had the same experience myself. In fact, I was feeling a bit stuck in this area recently, and then reminded myself to practice a simple but very powerful process that I came across several years ago when I was going through divorce.

Repeat after me – I AM LOVE
Love is such a strong force. We all need love. But the truth is – we ARE love, and love sources from within us.

Nonetheless, we’re not alone here on the planet! We’re here with family, friends, lovers, colleagues, people we don’t understand, people we don’t like, etc. So how do we do the dance of love with those we like and those we don’t like, without getting confused, angry, bitter, hurt, and discouraged? How can we do the dance of love in this world in a way that feels wonderful and fulfilling?

By starting with the basic premise that YOU ARE LOVE. And that LOVE sources from within you.

Read Byron Katie’s book – “I Need Your Love – Is That True?”
This book is an easy read, yet packed with the best advice available about love, and how to give and receive love in a very healthy and satisfying way. Think of it as a user’s guide to love.

Here are two excerpts from Katie’s introduction:
“Everyone agrees that love is wonderful, except when it’s terrible. People spend their whole lives tantalized by love – seeking it, trying to hold on to it, or trying to get over it. Not far behind love, as major preoccupations, come approval and appreciation…”

“This book takes a close look at what works and what doesn’t in the quest for love and approval. It will help you find a way to be happier in love and more effective in all your relationships without being manipulative or deceptive in any way.”

All true.

Practice Byron Katie’s process – “The Work”
In her book, Byron Katie teaches how to do “The Work”, which is her simple process of inquiry that shows you how to identify, question, and reframe thoughts that are causing you to suffer.

The Work consists of 4 questions and a ‘turnaround’. I also refer to the turnaround as a way of reframing thoughts into empowering beliefs.

Question 1: Is it true?
Question 2: Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
Question 3: How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around. Find at least 3 specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.

The thought causing suffering: “I need a man to feel complete.”

Is it true?
It feels true. Because when I’m with a man I feel complete, and when I’m alone, I feel lonely and sad, and like a misfit.

Can you absolutely know it’s true?
Well, it seems natural that we’re here to be in partnership, to experience blissful love, for reproductive reasons, and to support each other in life and share life’s experiences.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I feel lonely, and like I’m doing something wrong.

Who would you be without the thought?
I’d feel more free, and whole, and complete - as me. Empowered by and expressing my own talents, knowledge, and resourcefulness.

Turn the thought around:
1. A man needs me to feel complete.
2. I can choose to feel anything I want.
3. I need Me to feel complete. When I feel complete, then nothing is missing. I am whole. I really enjoy the company of a good man, but on my own – I am complete.

Try this on your own now. Pick a thought or belief in your own life that’s causing you to suffer, and do The Work step-by-step.

If you want more examples, Byron’s book is filled with relevant examples from her clients’ lives.
In addition to the book, you can visit her website:

Love is different from need, and this book along with “The Work” process may greatly support you in moving into feeling more wonderful and fulfilled with love – in every area of your life. Start repeating your daily mantra, “I am love.”

Your Life Coach,

Quotes from Byron’s book:

“It’s not your job to understand me – it’s mine.”

“The voice within is what I’m married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes or no comes from. That’s my true partner. It’s always there. And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.”

“Thinking that people are supposed to do anything other than what they are is like saying that the tree over there should be the sky. I investigated that and found freedom.”

Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Friday, 31 August 2012 12:46

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:09

Mom's Scrumptious Birthday Cake Recipe!

Dear Readers:
My Mom had a birthday this week – 85 orbits around the sun. She’s always been very special to me. Since I was a young girl, Mom always supported my healthy pursuits, learning, creativity, and my overall well-being. And in my teens, she strongly encouraged me to stay on my path of higher education. I did just that, and have dedicated both my B.S. and M.A. degrees to her. The Ph.D. will be dedicated to Mom as well.

Mom grew up in greater NYC, and was studying opera at Julliard in the 1940’s until she met my Dad. Once he proposed marriage, Mom left school and settled into her long life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. She continued to sing in the local choir in CT where we eventually lived, played piano, became a full-time librarian, was an avid reader, and continued her education in the evenings, all while being a super engaged and busy mom, and my confidante. She was also a great cook and an award-winning baker, and very talented as a seamstress and with all types of needlework.

The photo above is Mom at her wedding in 1947 in NYC, singing at her reception - a woman of beauty, style, and grace.

With the dementia deepening, Mom isn’t as active as she used to be, but still has one of the sunniest dispositions on Earth, and is always happy to hear from me and my sisters. She and I had a fantastic time dancing together at my sister’s wedding last June. She didn’t miss a step.

One of Mom’s yummiest cake recipes, and a favorite for her birthday (and mine), is her Filigree Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake. So, I’m sharing it with you!

Mom’s Filigree Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
Dry ingredients:
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cream of tarter
2/3 cup shortening (I use half butter & half shortening)

Wet ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla flavoring
2 eggs, unbeaten


Sift the dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Drop in the shortening, and about 2/3 of the milk, then vanilla, and beat.  Scrape the bowl often. Add the eggs, beat again, then add remaining milk, beat again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Cool on cake racks.

Mom’s Sugar Icing
Beat together:
¾ box confectioner’s sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp. almond flavoring
Slowly adding whole milk until you get the right thickness.

Ice the cake and decorate! Happy Birthday!

Bon appétit!

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Dear Readers:
This week, I have a new challenge for everyone. I challenge you to use “I” language. If you’re not sure what the heck I’m talking about, read on – this is good stuff.

What does it mean to use “I” language?  Simply, it means when we talk to others we use “I” when speaking about ourselves, and not “you”.

Benefits of “I” Language
For example, here’s someone sharing about their divorce before learning to use “I” language:
“Divorce is so difficult. You give so much, and then you find out it wasn’t appreciated. It makes you feel hopeless and like you don’t want to trust anyone again.”

In this case, “you” language can be a way of denying or not owning our own experience. And it takes away the deeper benefits, the healing and life lessons that “I” language directly provides.

Here’s the same person sharing the same story, using “I” language:
“My divorce was so difficult. I gave so much, and then I found out it wasn’t appreciated. It makes me feel hopeless and like I don’t want to trust anyone again.”

“I” language allows the person to more fully experience the truth of their situation, which can lead to faster healing.

Plus, if you’re speaking about your own experience, you should refer to yourself and not the other person! It’s your experience, not theirs! Using “I” language is a way of facing our own experiences.

Here’s another example. Read the “you” and “I” statements out loud.

“You” language:
“When you respect and honor and take care of yourself, you are more able to do the same for others.”

“I” language:
“When I respect and honor and take care of myself, I am more able to do the same for others.”

Using “I” Language in Conflicts
Another great use of “I” language is in conflicts, especially in business or marriage partnerships.

For example, here’s a couple in conflict using “you” language.
“You said we’d do this together, but you never take out the garbage or clean up around here. Can’t you just do what you say you’ll do? You are just like my ex.”

This type of “you” language can put your partner on the defensive immediately, and be hurtful. Not the best way to resolve the issue.

Here’s the same person using “I” language:
“I’m the only one whose been cleaning and taking out the garbage. I thought we agreed to do this together. I love you and I wish we could work this out.”

“I” Language Empowers Us
“I” language is ownership language. It reinforces our responsibility for our inner choices and outer actions, and reinforces that we have dominion over what we feel and how we respond, especially in challenging emotional situations. In summary, it empowers us and can even heal us.

Try stating the previous paragraph using “I” language!
“I” language is ownership language. It reinforces my responsibility for my inner choices and outer actions and reinforces that I have dominion over what I feel and how I respond, especially in challenging emotional situations. In summary, it empowers me and can even heal me.

That’s your challenge this week! Start using “I” language instead of “you” language when you are talking about yourself and your own experiences.

As the poet Robert Frost wisely stated, “The best way out is always through.” And “I” language is a direct way of getting us through.

Your Life Coach,

Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.

Dear Maddisen,

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

Monday, 20 February 2012 10:53

Do You Have a Pattern You’d Like to Break?

Dear Maddisen,
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

Dear 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.


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