In my ongoing exploration of paths of transformation, I’ve tried a lot of different things. Some have been pretty good, some of been wrong-thing or wrong-time; a few have been life-changing. I wanted to share the top four of the life-changing variety.
I’m not including things like “getting married” or “having kids,” though they certainly are game-changers in every way. I’m listing things that don’t necessarily involve or require specific other people in order to experience them. Totally selfish processes, these.
In no particular order:
1. Energy -based psychotherapy techniques.
This was a total game-changer at every level. The first one I learned about was Thought Field Therapy (TFT), about 20 years ago. Soon after I learned about Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and then a whole slew of other tools and techniques that utilize the body’s energy system (Yes, we have one. Everything is energy) to facilitate change.
It shifted my internal work. I was frustrated with understanding why I did what I did or felt what I felt – but the understanding was never enough for me to stop doing or feeling it. The energy techniques got to things at a whole other level, shifting things really quickly. At first I was offended at the notion that tapping on my face and torso could impact my own very important and serious issues in any way, but I was curious. And then I had that experience with my son…
It helped cure my son of his stuttering. This was the miracle that made me a believer. It seemed completely ridiculous that tapping on his face and torso could cure him of an inherited, obviously neurological issue that confounded the very learned medical community. But then I thought, what the hell, and within 6 weeks my son went from not being able to get a sentence out at all to talking fluently without a thought. I was now a fanatical convert, and every day since that experience I’ve been amazed and humbled by the miracles energy psych techniques facilitate.
It shifted my psychotherapy practice into a whole other gear. It helped people get out of just talking endlessly about their problems, and into feeling seriously better, making real changes right away. Insight alone is never enough. Energy psych shifts the energetic or emotional charge that keeps us stuck where we are. And it does it really fast. Now we can get a ton of stuff cleared in an hour that used to take months of slogging through by more traditional means. So fun!
2. Neurofeedback, especially the NeurOptimal system I use.
I didn’t know anything about neurofeedback until a colleague invited me to use it in her clinic as I was opening my office there. “If I love it, I’ll do it,” is what I said. I did, and I do. The NeurOptimal system I use doesn’t push or pull your brain in any particular direction, it just informs your brain what it’s doing moment to moment, letting it do its own re-wiring. Turns out that given the right information, our brain knows exactly what to do to maximize its own functioning.
It’s been amazing on its own, and a total game-changer for people with depression, anxiety, ADD and ADHD, and other “brain things.” It can resolve issues that other modalities – even the energy psych stuff – can’t.
The additional and even bigger game-changer for me with neurofeedback was the twice-a-day-for-30-days thing I did a few months ago. WOWWWW. It cleared old mental patterns that had been a part of my mental landscape all my life, that had been part of it for so long I was hardly aware of their existence, until they were gone and I realized how much energy they had actually been absorbing. Endless mental noise, gone. Thoughts, feelings, all still there – but so many of the annoying mental loops went away and have stayed away. With so much of that background noise gone, other parts of myself have emerged – clearer intuition, more creativity, broader perspectives….hard to describe all the differences but Oh My God. One of the best things I’ve done for myself in years. I want to do it again, see what else happens…..
3. Human Design
Human Design is a system that integrates modern science (quantum physics, genetics, biochemistry) with ancient traditions (astrology, the I-Ching, the Kabballah, the chakras) to give you a blueprint of your wiring in this lifetime. If energy psych helped “save” my life, then Human Design helped “explain” my life – which actually helped to save it in a whole other way. It articulated for me in the most powerful way imaginable why I felt different, what all those quirky things about me were really about. Human Design not only explains that there is nothing wrong with the way you are, but why there is nothing wrong with the way you are, and not only that, but how those very things that you thought were problems you needed to fix were actually part of your treasure trove of gifts that enable you to share your unique genius with the world.
Like the energy psych, Human Design has had an impact at every level of my life. It gave me a completely different lens with which to interpret my past and experience my life going forward. It helped give my husband and me a language and structure with which to understand the nature of our differences and ways of navigating them, helping us to avoid blame and judgment (mostly). It helped me to understand my kids at a much deeper and specific level, so I could support them knowing, trusting, and being themselves.
And it has changed how I work with my clients – it helps me to know what of their issues are things they think are wrong but aren’t, and what issues come from trying to adapt to other ways of being that they aren’t meant to be. It helps me to understand in a whole other way the nature of their traumas, and helps me connect them to their gifts and strengths in a way that is profoundly powerful for them. It resonates deeply when we are seen for who we are, when the truth of our true nature is articulated. We awaken in a way that is unstoppable and inarguable.
4. Martial Arts
Ninjitsu or To Shin Do, in my case. I got into it sideways, as I ended up enrolling my kids in a brand new dojo while I thought I was looking for a gymnastics place for them. After a few months, a casual comment from a friend triggered a “bing!” moment in my brain, and I started taking classes that day.
What it taught me was that I can do things I thought I couldn’t do. It taught me that there was a useful way of channeling my intensity, a former source of guilt, shame and fear. I had a breakthrough moment when my teacher, dressed in a padded suit, had me go after him with no holds barred – and the harder I went, the more he laughed. Not in a make-fun of way, but in a “this is awesome!” way. It changed everything.
It also taught me that my body responds to things I do. I got strong. I got muscles! I could do things! This all happened in my 40’s, when I was thinking there was a downward slide coming toward me. Nope! I got in the best shape of my life, and while I stopped doing the martial training after my first degree black belt, I continue the fitness and conditioning training there even now.
It’s an incredible community – and that’s another thing. After feeling most of my life that it’s better for me if I do things alone, it turns out I can do some things much better when there are people if not cheering me on, then at least trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do. We encourage each other as we struggle through, sweating, shouting, grinding. We all agree we would never make ourselves to do things we do there if we were by ourselves. There is power in numbers, in so many ways.
And – I did get my black belt, after years of training, after years of suffering through debilitating panic before very single belt test. I kept wanting to quit – “Life is too short, why am I putting myself through this?” – but I couldn’t think of a way to spin it to my kids that didn’t involve my admitting that I would be quitting because I was afraid. I couldn’t do it. Shit. So I stuck with it, dealt with the fear in all kinds of ungraceful ways, and ended up achieving more than I ever thought I could.
So there you have it. Four things I encountered, experienced, learned about, that changed my life in deep and profound ways. Everyone has those life-changing opportunities and experiences in different ways – what have yours been?