Tag Archives: clarity

THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL; the madness of change

When profound changes occur in life, there is a crisis which creates inner madness. Most people who come to me are in the process of change and to most of them it is as if the rug was pulled out from under their feet. We all go about our lives believing that we know what tomorrow will bring, thinking we know ourselves and we form habits and patterns to ensure us of this safety. For some people the change comes in the disguise of illness, loosing a job, death or birth. For others it is something that creeps up over time; a sense of discontent or un-fulfillment. Whatever the reason, madness occurs. Not the kind where we lose control and run screaming through the streets, though we might like to, but a silent, inner confusion where we feel that we are traveling in unknown territory without a map.

A lot of people get scared and think they are “loosing it”; they’re not. Change is profound and for this to occur all our old habits and patterns are shattered to make place for the new Self. This is the dark night of the soul (The great mystics called the dark night of the soul a gift of grace), a moment of inner death. Once you pass through this madness you can reconstruct yourself on personal and spiritual values, finding clarity within. Life-changes may be dramatic but they are necessary for personal evolution, to find the true calling in life.

The same thing happens to anybody who trains for a therapeutic profession; every student I ever trained went through this process and they had to change their lives in some manner to fit with the truths they found within. When I did my own training my whole Self was ripped to pieces and I felt confused, scared and lost (the dark night of my soul). Over time, with guidance, I found my path in life and little by little I reconstructed myself from within – as opposed to being a product of my environment.

This process will happen as sure as night follows day. Every person who works with the development of others; therapists, coaches or teachers, need to be aware of this and have some kind of plan how to help people through it. If you don’t have the knowledge yourself, make sure that you have back-up from other professionals to whom you can refer.

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INTENTION BUILDS BRIDGES

Intention is the moving force of everything we do. It is the force that builds the bridge between where we are and where we are going. We might have a mental idea of what we want to create, but if it doesn’t fit with the intention, things will go wrong or they will not happen. We need to stop and scrutinize our intention in what we do, because it’s not always obvious. This is most important in goal-setting; not just what we want, but also why we want it.

I talked with a friend and she spoke of something she wanted to create. The idea was clear, but the format unclear. We realized that there could be no clear format, since what she wants to do has never been done. She has to allow the format to create itself from her intention. Sometimes the goal is not clear, and that is when intention will kick in to make it happen. Nobody wakes up one morning with amazing new ideas fully formed.

As you all know, I work also as a therapist and clients come to me for all kinds of reasons. The first thing I do is to listen to them and help them clarify their needs. Then I work with them. At this point I sort of “tune-out” my personal self. My intention is clear; do for this person the best I can. It has nothing to do with me, and by tuning out myself I become a much clearer channel for whatever is needed. If I get personally involved (with thoughts, ideas and emotions based on my experiences) I will influence the treatment to fit my wants, not what is best for the client. This, I might add, took quite some years to learn and accomplish.

We are almost constantly ruled by our emotions; think about it: If we feel good, we think positively and our intentions will be colored by this, the same goes for the opposite. My children used to sometimes pick fights with me, for no reason at all, just for the fun of it. I always fell into the trap and ended up feeling terrible, until one day when I realized that this was not necessary, so I just started to say no to these fights. The only thing that kept me from falling into their devious little traps was the intention that it was not going to happen. To this day (20 somewhat years later) my children still say that I can never be brought into a fight, no use even trying. My intention was stronger than theirs. Ha!

Try it out, my friends, and please tell me what you discover. I love hearing comments.

MOTIVATION

This is something that has been popping up a lot lately; for myself, my clients and also as a workshop I am doing with some other people.

So what is motivation? The most basic motivation is survival; we’re all genetically engineered to be motivated for that…and we are prepared to do anything it takes – even if we might not believe that from our comfort zones. But this is “cave-man-level”. What about motivation from a perfectly normal point? How do we find it, and more important; how do we keep it?

Habits are strong powers in our lives; how we eat, exercise (or not), smoking, drinking, sleeping… to change any of this takes a tremendous effort. Our thought-patterns are also part of our make-up but in a much more subtle way. Habit and thought-patterns are the biggest influencing powers when it comes to motivation and follow-through. The more comfortable we are, the harder it is to keep up motivation; but when something happens, such as a disease, suddenly nothing is to difficult to beat it – motivation is up and running 100% = survival motivation.

  • Set a goal.
  • Set a time-span. With larger goals it is important to break it down into smaller parts to ensure that you succeed by reaching these smaller parts. This spurs you forward to the next part-goal.
  • Find your motivation. WHY do you want this? Make this very clear to yourself and write it down so you can see it every day. Make it your mantra.
  • Motivation stays 2-7 days maximum, then you have to review it, tweak it, re-kindle it. If not, you will just quit here. This is the toughest part because this is where mind-set or thought-patterns kick in. And if they are negative, motivation is out the window.
  • Find somebody to hold you responsible. It is much easier to re-kindle motivation if you have somebody trusted to pep you and push you forward. When you feel motivation flagging, talk to this person.

When you are changing something or trying to reach a goal you need to be very clear and specific about what you want. This needs to be “larger than life” in your mind. Because you always start out enthusiastic and full of self-confidence, making some very powerful “feel-good-hormones” move in your system. But after a few days “normality” leaks in, negative thought-patterns make themselves heard and you feel low. At this point most people quit, this is the difference between winners and losers; winners just keep on working on their goal, no matter how bleak everything might seem, they dredge up their motivation from under the stone where it hid and kicks it into life again. The clearer your picture or idea is, the easier to get back on track and stay there.

There are always solutions.

Here are 2 movies to depict motivation, I find the first one horrible…it’s extreme and might have the total opposite effect – demotivation.The second one many of you have already seen. It is truly about motivation, Nick Vujicic is the man! This, of course, is my point of view, for some video #1 is truly motivating. Whatever makes you tick…

I would love to hear from you on motivation; ideas, experiences – anything – share!