Why are you reading this blog on this site? I started reading blogs on this site two years ago because I was trying to get from there to here—”there” being stuck and “here” being happy with myself. Since attending my first Live Conscious Retreat last summer I have transformed myself.
I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the absolute truth. The teachings and the exercises I participate in at a Lab (that’s what we call these retreats) are designed to help me discover myself, see myself clearly and then transform myself into the person I want to be.
Am I here yet?
Mostly I am. Not 100%, but who I am today, or in Perception Language, how I do myself today compared to how I did myself last year demonstrates the incredible transforming power of two things:
- Assuming personal responsibility, and
- The power of using language to transform myself.
In the Live Conscious practice we use language more actively, we verb ourselves—and by using Perception Language I remind myself that I am the Captain of my ship, I am the master of my fate—I, and I alone can determine how I respond to stimuli and when I do this on a regular basis I discover my own power.
I’m no longer hiding
Not only do I find my own power, but I also find everything else I’ve carefully hid from myself over the years. Here’s a list of some of the things I hid from myself: gratitude, sense of wonder, joy, playfulness, love, sense of belonging, sadness, pain, loneliness, desire, intuition, creativity and sense of adventure.
I don’t know where you are in your life, but before I began working with Jake and Hannah Eagle, the co-creators and stewards of Live Conscious, I was mostly just stuck. I didn’t know how to get from there to here. I had spent much of my life reading self-help books and “working on myself,” but fundamentally I was still stuck. I still felt unhappy and I still labeled myself a victim—I had low self-esteem, trust issues, a fear of abandonment, fear of success, anxiety, depression and numerous behaviors that I couldn’t control.
I over ate, fought with myself to give up gluten and sugar and I struggled to exercise. I fell into long periods of doubt and depression and then would recover by fits of manic willfulness to do better. I hated the imbalance and the mood swings. I spent very little time in the present moment and most of my time I was either fretting about the future or being remorseful and filled with self-pity about my past.
I had tried a million cures—read the books, done the 12 steps, meditated, gone to Findhorn, read Seth and Don Juan but nothing seemed to make a permanent change in me. Regardless of what practice I tried, I inevitably fell off the wagon and slipped back into my old behavioral and emotional patterns.
The magic sauce of Living Consciously is using Perception Language
I define myself and the world using language. Before learning Perception Language, this is how I sounded: “I get so angry when the subway is late.” Or, “My boss really frustrates me when she whines about how hard her life is.” Or, “I wish my parents had been more loving,” or “I wish my kid appreciated me more,” or “I’ll feel so much better when I have more money.”
When I repeat these sentences I imply that I am powerless. I express the idea that in order for me to feel better circumstances around me have to change, which means, in common language—I am screwed. But in Perception Language—I screw myself.
The late subway doesn’t make me angry. I make myself angry when the subway is late. I could instead choose to travel another way or I could accept that I live in a city of 4.5 million people and the subway is almost always late—why let it get to me? Bring a book. Leave earlier. Play some delightful music on my iPod. Ride my bike to work.
Same thing with my boss—if I work for a whiny boss I have several options: quit my job, accept that she whines and when she starts whining, excuse myself and get back to work or I can ask her to whine somewhere else, in a kind and loving way. When I worked for a dentist I kindly and humorously reminded him that when he whined about money to me I found it absurd. He made in one month what I made in a year—he got it and stopped whining in front of me.
Part of what we do in a Lab is discover how we hurt, frustrate, anger, scare and depress ourselves and then we find creative ways to do ourselves differently. We find ways to love, enjoy, delight, encourage, support, enlighten and trust ourselves and when I am loving myself I am always kinder and more loving with you.
In a Lab we connect—we connect with ourselves and we connect with each other and we learn to communicate more honestly, clearly and responsibly and we remember how to play.
My suggestion to those who have just attended a lab or are considering the next lab
For those of you who were at the last lab or are booked for the next one there is one suggestion I want to offer—stay in touch with your Lab mates. Like any intensive retreat I found instant and lifelong friends at my first lab. I fell in love every day—with myself and with my Lab mates. Upon leaving we exchanged contact information and many of us signed up to do the continuing connection that the Eagles offer—we’d have phone conferences for 3 months, as a way to continue and deepen our connection to ourselves, each other and the work.
But, like many others, after a few months I found myself drifting away—from myself, from the work and from my Lab mates. And I consider myself one of the more fortunate people, because although I am single and do not have a partner or friends in Toronto who have been to labs, I continue to work with Jake and Hannah privately. But even with my connection to the Eagles, I still found myself forgetting how to use Perception Language and struggling with my old habitual patterns of powerlessness.
What’s the solution?
Find a buddy at the Lab—someone you connect to—and call them or email them on a regular basis. As I said, I fell in love with many of my Lab mates and in the beginning I felt close to several of them because we did make an effort to stay in touch via email, but one by one they drifted off and I didn’t make enough of an effort to reconnect—except for one person.
When I was at my first lab, I found a friend who was as hungry for change and permanent transformation as I was and throughout that entire year following the lab we stayed in touch. We have drifted at times, but never for very long—inevitably after a dry spell we would reach out and reconnect ourselves—by the simple act of a phone call we would remember ourselves, the work and the love we have for each other and for the Live Conscious orientation.
So, if you are planning on attending the next lab, I look forward to meeting you and I hope you will make the effort to establish a connection with someone that you can rely on to help keep you plugged in to the work and to yourself. Jake and Hannah do everything they can to help us along, but in the end it is my responsibility to stay connected to myself and the funny thing is I can’t do that alone. I need you guys and gals to remember who I am and how I want to do myself. I need you in my life in order to remember myself. Isn’t that divine?