Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Interactive Awareness is the overarching umbrella for the many wake-up tools you are learning. In the last chapter you worked with mental biofeedback, also known as body scanning. Now that you have experience with cell manager communication, you are ready for your next “containment”, that of emotional and thought management. You will also meet up with the emotional crayons that color your experiences.
These are powerful mind and body tools that allow you to manage disorderly eating and addictions, right in the moment, as well as in every other nook and cranny of your life. Remind yourself that your problems are not singular entities. They have many facets, all needing management. Learning to work interactive awareness will move right you out of automatic pilot and into the moment where new choices are always available in your subconscious filing system.
There are many benefits to working with mind tools. For example, the skill of interactive awareness allows you to practice the art of detachment from the presenting moment and emotions. In detachment you are no longer participating in the moment, but you are coming to it as an observer. As an observer, you are able to look very closely at what is unfolding, just as if you were the producer/director of this very moment in time. You are no longer the actor who is participating in the momentary event.
It is key to understand that your subconscious mind responds very differently to this mental/physiological shift. For a start, stress chemicals are turned down as the physiology waits for emotional direction. From the position of producer/director, it is much easier to take off your self-judging eyeglasses. You can choose to see this moment in time through clearer, more beneficial lenses. The producer/director’s job is to see all the details, so changes can be made and the production will be successful.
And just like the producer/director you cannot change things you cannot see. As you observe closely without judging, your own subconscious mind will send up the necessary details. Once you learn to work with "interactive self-hypnosis", you will find that these very details hold powerful creative ideas for taking you towards your goals. Learning to live in the moment is very beneficial, and just like anything else the more your practice, the higher your level of mind and body functioning.
Adults tend to learn mind management tools best with small spoonfuls. Begin by choosing a chair for your interactive awareness work. You might like to try out a few chairs. Be certain that it is comfortable and located in a place where you can have quiet and privacy. As you sit in each chair, close your eyes gently and take in a big yawn breath allowing your body to sink into the surface of the chair. How does it feel to you? Your subconscious mind will let you know if it’s a good choice. You might think about having one chair at home, and another at work. You may even choose somewhere outside of your home and workplace. Some people have a particular park bench, or even their car. I know one man who parks his car in a beautiful spot and then gets in the back seat. So open your mind and look around for what suits you best.
The actual physical practice of interactive awareness is very simple, but the inner happenings are very complex. You are actually changing your internal body chemistry, thereby altering your heart function, blood pressure, hormonal and neurological system balance, immune system function, not to mention the memory storage of your own subconscious mind. In the actual moments of practicing, you are etching new mind programs, teaching your mind and body how to work together in new ways. Some of these new ways will be placed in an automatic pilot program, keeping your body in balance or homeostasis. There is no right or wrong way to do the practice. Each time you practice, the experience will be different because you are involved in a living process.
I’m going to ask you to read through this material in small chunks and then close your eyes, doing the small exercise right now. Later on you can re-read this as you work to build your skills. Just as you did when practicing mental biofeedback, make yourself comfortable in your chair, sitting up straight, head nicely positioned on your neck, and feet flat on the floor. You might like to take in a big yawn breath, letting it out slowly as you learned earlier. This is always a good beginning for interactive awareness practice. You are centering, or settling in.
Now it’s time to slow the brain waves a bit more. Remember that the faster the brain waves, the faster the thoughts, the more stress chemicals produced. There are many great ways to slow the brain waves. I call these deepening tools. I’ll give you some here, and as you continue through the book you will obtain more of them. You already learned a few in the earlier chapter. Calling in the numbers is one of these. In fact, practice that again now. With your eyes closed, tilt them up about twenty-degrees, just as if you were sitting in the second row of a movie theater, focusing your attention on your mind screen.
Start with the number four, having it come in slowly towards you, remembering that imaging is different than seeing with your eyes opened. Follow the arrival of the four with the three coming in gently, and work with the following numbers.
I like to use other senses as well for deepening. Take a moment, locating the sound of silence. It has a particular resonance. Even if there is noise all around you, silence is there in-between the noises. This is a particularly powerful tool for mothers with young children, as well as for those working in a noisy environment. Once you have located the silence, stay with it for a few minutes. Your mind will wander, so gently bring it back to the silence. Think of silence as an object. Each time you bring your wandering attention back, allow your body to go deeper into the chair where you are sitting.
You can also deepen by doing a body scan. Start at the top of your head and work your way down, noticing what body parts have something to say. As you go downwards, invite your body to go deeper into the chair, as if magnets were pulling you down. Remember you are not looking to become unconscious. Your goal is to quiet your mind and body. Then you will move to position of observer of thoughts, emotions and connected body sensations.
"I get so relaxed when I do this work that I fall asleep and then I get annoyed with myself for messing up my practice. How can I stop this from happening?
This reader is self-judging because he hasn’t been perfect! Later on, as you begin your work with emotional crayons, you will be able to spot these little offenders with ease. Meanwhile, let’s address the main issue. It’s best to practice interactive awareness in a sitting position. If you find yourself dozing off, lighten the depth of your trance by placing a higher number on the mind screen. You can also open your eyes for a moment, re-center, going back down again. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to do interactive awareness. It is the doing, or action, that is important.
In the practice of Interactive Awareness you will need a focus. I like to work with my lower belly breath. It’s convenient, having the additional advantage of deepening the trance state simply by observing it. Place your fingers gently on your lower abdomen, below your navel, inviting it to become full and round with your breath. You can use the image of a merry-go-round horse going up and down, or a balloon that inflates and deflates. After you have practiced for a few weeks, just thinking of the image will slow your brain waves and release stress.
Continue to observe your focus as if each breath, or rising of the ball was a completely new event. Each time you breathe it is a new breath! Observe it. Remember you are the producer/director, wanting to experience the details. Your mind will wander. That is a part of the process. Your work is stay detached, out of the way. I like to use the image of a parade going by. You are the observer, standing on the curbside. You are not part of the parade. Whenever you find yourself involved in your thought processes
( the parade), return to the position of observer by bringing your attention back to your focus breath or ball. Your mind will continue to show you a thought, you will notice, returning then to the focus. It’s not uncommon to get lost in thoughts. This is because your mind is not well disciplined. In the future, you will begin to notice much earlier, allowing you to return to the focus.
The process of breathing, noticing a thought, and then returning to the focus is a full release cycle. Releasing is also called “letting go.” If someone has ever told you to let something go, this is the actual process of doing just that.
There are three general classifications of what the mind will present to you. First are the thoughts. Some of these are presented in the form of pictures, and others as sound bytes or inner mind audio tapes. They can be with or without video. There are many classifications of thoughts, and later on in your work with your Inner Coach, you will be identifying some of your major thought areas, learning to work with them to profit you and your goals.
Your mind may also show you the body communications. These are sensations representing body tension. The more stress, the more body tension. When practicing interactive awareness, place flowers on the body sensation, then open the flowers as you did earlier in your mental biofeedback work. Next, return to your focus breath. Do not be tempted to stay in the sensation and examine it. That is not the purpose of this practice. This is simply awareness of what is, providing you with an opportunity to observe your mind in action.
The third area includes the emotional states. In our work emotions will be viewed as images of children wearing tee shirts with their names on them. Identifying and separating emotions allows for easier release. If you are working with this image, notice that the children have crayons for coloring your experiences. Later on you will be identifying some of your most frequent emotions and their crayons.
Just as with mental biofeedback, it is important to make nteractive awareness part of your daily living. This is achieved through a self-discipline I call banking and fractionation. This self-discipline will prepare you for working “in the moment” in the workshop of your world.
The term “banking” is a metaphor for making valuable deposits in your mind and body bank. The more you practice the discipline, the more value you have to utilize in other areas of your life, be it managing addiction or anything else. For example, your body will become more stress-resistant, your cognitive functioning enhanced. You will be designing a doable self-discipline, but one that expands your current boundaries.
Few of us work to our potential, so this is a good opportunity to practice moving from mediocre to excellence. The steps that you are climbing to manage your addiction and disorderly eating, are the very same steps for accelerating learning and high level achievement. It is ironic that your addiction and disorder are becoming catalysts for optimum health and high level performance.
In the practice of banking your mind is set free, with you in the position as observer. This type of heightened awareness is an actual living meditation, but it is more than that. It is the opportunity for you to see clearly without judgment. You are now privy to your subtle stresses, the thoughts that are attached to them and the emotions that carry the thoughts to your mind. Remember, you cannot change what your cannot see. Now you are seeing much more than ever before. You are a detached observer, free from judgment. Your subconscious librarian is now willing to show you much more. Later on you will be able to work with your observations, having the opportunity to change them completely or edit them to meet your current goals.
Here we will fractionate the banking practice. This simply means breaking your day into segments. This is like taking out the garbage several times a day. It’s a great stress reducer, allowing for quality emotional and thought managing throughout a long day. I fractionate my day in this way. I sit for five minutes before work, and again before lunch. After returning from lunch I do so again, and then before I head for home at the end of my workday. I then sit again before going to sleep, especially because this is an excellent time to program the subconscious mind for dream work. You will learn more about dream programming in a later chapter. If my day is very stressful, or if I have need for heightened creativity, I may fractionate even more frequently.
Harry: I’m getting quite good at fractionating and wonder if I can do this at other times to help my stress from building up. Right now I’m doing this more as a stress release, but I’d like to prevent the stress from coming at all. Is that possible?
Of course you can do that and even more! The world is like an enormous workshop for interactive awareness practice. At this level of skill building you are working only with interactive awareness and not with interactive self-hypnosis. That is the fourth step. It will allow you to edit and change what you see, but remember that adults learn best in small spoonfuls, so practice patience. You will truly benefit from managing this particular emotion!
Moments are very small fragments of time, each holding automatic mind programs in the form of thoughts and emotions. The emotions color the moments with their crayons. The body is also involved as it responds to whatever is passing through the moment. Keep in mind that every moment is valuable. You already know that you can only catch a small number of them. Later on you will learn how to program your subconscious mind for waking up to genres of thoughts of your choosing. For now the goal is simply to practice waking up and releasing.
It helps to set some triggers to help you wake up, just like little alarm clocks. Sticky notes work well for this. No one else needs to know what you are doing. It’s not necessary to write anything on them. You already know what they are for. When I’m working to improve this skill for myself, I place a sticky note just to the right on my telephone, one in the car, one on left wall in my office. At home I like the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, the head of my bed. Move the notes occasionally so that your automatic pilot doesn’t set up a program to ignore them.
Each time you notice a sticky note, check the moment. Pay attention to your thought processes, noticing the type of thought, the emotional states and crayons that are being utilized. Next, scan your body, noticing the stressors present, gently placing flowers on the bigger areas. This entire exercise takes less than thirty seconds, but provides tremendous benefits, immediate and in the future. You are building awareness about who you are, your automatic program, your emotional terrain and what crayons you allow to color your life without deciding if they work for you or not.
There are many other tools for building Interactive Awareness skills that you will receive throughout the book. Later on when you meet your Inner Coach, you will have the opportunity to practice skill building on your road to addictions management and the practice of excellence.
A NOTE TO NEW READERS:
This experiential blog/workshop is based on my new book, "How Many Cookies Will It Take to Make Me Happy?" This book is not published as yet, but you have the opportunity to read it in it's unpublished state. If you are new to my writing, you might want to read the earlier mini-chapters. They are available on FaceBook, The PublishersMarketPlace & at the following link. Remember to scan down to find the earliest chapters & work your way up. http://beyonddisorderlyeating.blogspot.com/
A bit of background.... we are working with creative Interactive Self-Hypnosis imagery, planting suggestions directly into the creative subconscious mind as you read along. What appears like a story is a series of self-hypnotic sessions, designed to bring about desired lifestyle changes. The inner mind is creative & rather child-like, loving to play with images, especially when they are emotionalized. Just like the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words", well-planted mind images, can be worth hours of therapy. We can actually change or motivate in 1/200th of a second. So come along & look forward to some lifestyle-changing events.
Copyright 2009 Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht
May not be copied or reproduced without permission of the author.
Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht is author of Sugar...the Hidden Eating Disorder & How to Lick It. She is also the writer/producer of over 350 mp3/CD programs in the areas of medicine, health, prevention, addictions, self-development & sports for adults & children.