Stages Of Grief

Most people believe that the ‘Stages of Grief’ apply only to the death of a loved one, but this is far from true. It’s also a misnomer to think that the stages go in order, are progressive, or that you will ever actually be done.

We grieve for lost dreams, for job changes, relationship changes. We even grieve for changes in life that we deem a good thing. Graduating is a great word as well as a great example of a change that holds both the long sought goal of finishing something, but also the sadness that it is over. Done.

As a therapist, I cannot emphasize more strongly that each gain carries with it, losses.

To complete these transitions successfully, I believe that it’s essential to acknowledge the loss as well as the gain. In fact societies have created what are often called “Rites Of Passage” to assist us through these complex transitions. Examples include birthdays, graduations, wedding ceremonies, and of course funerals. These Rites of Passage are usually a public event, and have the potential of using the strength of a community to assist us through the change.
Some transitions, though, seem more isolating – divorce, a miscarriage, cancer, a break-up. With no cultural “Rite of Passage” in place, it often feels like we are alone

Yet, with knowledge of the grief steps, we can at least name the stage we’re going through as a way to help us make sense of the tumultuousness of our experiences. For example, I was diagnosed with breast cancer twmonth ago. My first response was shock (denial) followed by sadness and tears (depression). I felt like everything was going to fall apart. I didn’t want this to be my reality (anger)… “no…no no no…”, but alas, reality said “ cancer.” My mind argued with the next steps (bargaining), being mastectomy. I argued with the entire medical field! I said, “why do people jump to mastectomy with out checking lymph nodes first!” As if I were an expert they forgot about.

The next day I woke up ok! Sort of happy even. (Acceptance). I joked with myself, husband and friends that, “ yay! My boobies were too big anyway! Now I get a makeover!” Ha Ha Ha. Not true acceptance, more like another layer of denial.

Sadness isn’t the only stage of grief

The Stages of Grief

  • Denial/shock
    Most people report an almost out-of-body response to traumatic losses (shock). They also report speaking in the present tense about someone who is gone (denial).
  • Bargaining – Bargaining is when we plead with our God to back- up so the truth of the loss can change. It can sound like, “take me instead…”, or, “what if I…” I always envision the Superman movie, where Superman is capable of going backwards and saving Louise Lane, despite the fact that she was killed.
  • Anger – The anger stage can be towards self, others, even God. “why me/ him/ her??“; “This isn’t fair/ not the way it’s supposed to go!”. It can also show up randomly, like being mad at society, the internet, the utility bill.
  • Depression – This describes the feeling of hopelessness after a loss. Questions like “can I go on”, “I don’t know how I can get through this”, or even, “I KNOW I can’t get through this “.
  • Acceptance – acceptance doesn’t mean everything is ok in your world regarding the loss, or that you are now happy. It’s an amazing acknowledgment that you CAN get through this, and somehow you WILL get through it.

These stages are not necessarily experienced in order. In fact, you can triple-cycle through all of them in a matter of minutes. The thing to know, however, is that whatever craziness you feel in this intense process will change. And if you accept the experience, you will flow from one stage to another, even if over and over, until your process is willing to let you go. We can’t force it though. Observe it for a bit of sanctuary.

Where Do We Know?

Where are our beliefs? And, how do we know if we even believe them? For example, I know the word “purple”, but is my purple the same as yours? Just because society agrees on a word to represent the color, where is this story?

At first, it’s in the mind, labeled FACT. But to really know – to own it – is on a different level.

If we intentionally reshape the stories in our mind, we can experience our authentic selves (“Authentic” in this article refers primarily to being free of imposed identities).

Studies in neuroplastcity (The brain’s ability to form new neural connections) suggest we can actually CHANGE the results of earlier experiences – even when trauma has occurred.

Neuroplastcity is a fairly recent discovery. It means, basically, that our brain is malleable. It can be taught to override experiences and create new connections.

This is an exciting discovery! It wasn’t that long ago that we thought the brain had a limited number of neurons and cells, and that they each were assigned a specific role. For example, one might hold a memory, another recognizes the color red. We now know,however, that all of this is just the beginners guide to the brain! There’s so much more!

Methods That Are Useful to Rewire the Brain

Research has shown that just writing for a few minutes each day about anything can dramatically boost your happiness and sense of wellbeing.

Try This:

On a deeper level, try writing about an event that truly hurt you in some way. After venting (on paper), take a break. Then, re-write your story with the title “A Heroes Journey“. Notice that a change in perspective is a change in reality.

Crazy, right?

But all of our “truths”, our perceptions, are malleable. They are NOT factual.

My friend and trusted “guru”, Byron Katie, says it this way:

” In this world “I” is always you. I never cease to love what I create and give life to, which is you, me, everything.

How is it okay that children suffer? Look to your own suffering and ask yourself. End the suffering of one child in the world: you.

If you are suffering, you are a child, a child in awareness, innocently suffering your own lack of enlightenment, your own immaturity. As a child, the only possible way to suffer is to believe the thoughts arising in the mind.

The only way to suffer is to believe that you really believe what you think you believe.

Discovering your true self is the beginning of the end of suffering in your world. You have the power to end fear, and the end of fear is the end of war.

I invite you to take yourself to the paradigm-shift that is possible right here, right now.

Take a little walk into you and change the whole world!

Isn’t that what you really want?”

Discover your own innocent story, and give yourself the compassion you deserve.

BRAIN POWER — Deciphering the Subconscious  

Worth reading – From Off The Web!

Our thoughts have the power to determine our reality.

To understand the working of the mind, we interviewed Dr. Bruce Lipton, the stem cell biologist known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA can be manipulated by a person’s beliefs. He talks about the connection between the conscious and the subconscious mind –and its significance in our daily lives.

Explaining the Difference Between the Conscious and the Subconscious Mind

The two minds exist as interdependent elements. Each is a separate mind but they work and collaborate together. Some people think the conscious mind and the subconscious mind are directly connected with each other, so if I change the conscious mind I will change the subconscious program. This is totally incorrect and actually causes a lot of problems in people because the conscious mind learns differently than the subconscious.

The conscious mind is the latest evolution of the brain, located in the pre-frontal cortex. It represents you as a unique individual entity.

The Subconscious has programs in it, but it’s not much of a creative mind. Its creativity is a bit like that of a 5-year old child. The subconscious learns in two fundamental ways. In the first 7 years of our life the brain is predominantly in a EEG frequency called Theta. A mind in Theta is not in a level of consciousness. It’s their imaginative mind and that’s why children below 7 have great creative power (Theta is also the frequency needed in hypnosis). During the first 7 years of a child’s brain development the subconscious is downloading behavior, but it doesn’t download from itself.  It acquires behavioral programs by observing other people like the mother, father, family or community. Those observations are essentially recorded just as on a videotape.

The conscious mind is not working at this time so whatever recordings are coming in during the first 7 years of life are not being critically reviewed by the conscious mind. When a child passes age 7, s/he can add new programs to the subconscious mind, but it does it through the process of habituation.

Conscious mind changes easily, and is where the mind holds your personal wishes, desires, and aspirations for life. If I ask, “what do you want out of your life”, the answer will come from the creative conscious mind.

Lower forms of life are just reactive or reflexive, meaning input/output, stimulus/response. The conscious mind can do one amazing special thing and that is: To think. It can pay attention to what’s going on in the world, but if the conscious mind is thinking, the behavior is automatically switched to subconscious programs. For example, you are driving the car and you are imagining something, you don’t stop driving or miss out on what’s going on the road. The moment you have a thought the driving is taken over by the subconscious mind.

Interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton –

Questions and Answers

  1.  How can you use the power of your subconscious mind?

First thing is recognizing this: I am running my life 95% of the time with the subconscious mind, which means that 95% of the time you are operating through the subconscious programs. The conscious mind being you and your wishes and desires work only 5% of the time.

If you can rewrite the negative programs in your life and change it to positive behaviors, then  95% of the day you will not be sabotaging yourself with negative programs.

Reprogramming the subconscious mind is a long process because the conscious and the subconscious mind is a separate entity, not one. The assumptions used to be that, if I can make you aware of something or bring consciousness back into your life then, this new awareness or understanding will automatically change the programs in your subconscious mind. This is not true at all. You have to repeat the new behavior all the time as an exercise, and then it will ultimately work.

By having the belief that you want to change your childhood (subconscious) program does not change the program. It’s the conscious mind’s thoughts about that, and this does not translate into subconscious programming.

Some believe that if you repeat a behavior for a long period of time, it might change, but in most cases, it doesn’t change unless you do the proper exercises to make it change.

The 3 ways of changing the subconscious mind to give you the power back is:

1) Reprogram it using hypnosis

2) Reprogram it using a repetition of a behavior so you get a new habit, and

3) You can use Energy Psychology modalities to rapidly change existing programs.

If you understand how to create changes in the programs then it will take relatively short period of time. If I use hypnosis I can rewrite programs directly in the subconscious mind through a hypnotherapy session. If I want to learn something or change the programming then I make a new behavior and I have to repeat that new behavior everyday, and the significance is that every time I repeat the same behavior, the subconscious mind learns.

And there is a new psychology program called Energy Psychology or belief change modifications. These processes are like pushing the record button on a recording device – if you engage in these processes by creating a new script, these processes allow individuals to download a new behavior within minutes that will last forever.

  1.  Is the Subconscious mind a link between the finite mind and the collective consciousness?

Simply put, the subconscious mind is a database of programs and the conscious mind is connected to the collective consciousness of the world. The conscious mind can create but it creates through the filter of subconscious programming. Subconscious is a link, a resource of behavior, a program to facilitate life – once you learn how to walk, it’s a habit and you don’t need to learn it again. If there was no subconscious mind, you’d have to relearn everything evry time you woke up in the morning No other individuals have access to your subconscious mind. It is directly connected to the conscious mind and the conscious mind is you selecting the programs and creating behaviors.

  1. What is the power of intuition, or listening to your inner-self? 

People might be aware of that intuitive voice or listening to their inner-self, but they discount it as not being valuable. They discount it because we are programmed to follow programs. We are taught to do this and this & if the person listens to their inner self, their conscious mind and information coming into them from the source, they don’t give it much value as compared to the programs.

Personally, I think the inner self is fascinating. For example, you get a wonderful thought and you can feel it in your heart or head, that I want to do this or don’t want to do this. People ignore that because we have been programmed not to pay attention to these wandering thoughts. This is because of our childhood development. We give more power to the programs that we learned than to our own beliefs about those programs.

This is why so many people have problems in their lives, because their inner selves gives them answers to issues they are dealing with that would help them, but the belief of the individual is they shouldn’t listen to that inner voice.

Most people ignore it and one of the reasons is as children we are never really given a program or told by teachers that listening to your inner voice is very valuable. If we had learned that as children then we would be much more effective in our lives today and we would pay more attention. If we change that and listen to it then lives will change for the positive.

  1. How can thoughts heal you physically?

When I put embryonic cells in a culture and I change the composition in a culture medium, I can change the fate of the cell. This was one of my experiments – I had genetically identical cells in 3 petri dishes and I change the composition, the chemistry of the culture medium, in each of the dishes. In one dish the cells formed bone, in another dish the cells formed muscle and in the third dish they formed fat cells.

What’s the point of this research? The answer is that all the cells were genetically identical, so the fate of the cells couldn’t have been controlled by the genes, because they all have the same genes. Rather, fate of the cells was determined by the chemistry of the culture. In the human body the cells are like skin-covered culture dishes, with 50 trillion cells, the culture medium is called the blood. If I change the composition of the blood, how I changed the composition of the culture medium, then I affect the fate of the cells.

The brain is what controls the chemistry of the blood, but the mind(unconscious) determines what chemistry is going to be released. For example – if you have feeling of being in love, your thoughts are” I am in love”, the chemistry released by a brain in love includes hormones like dopamine for pleasure. This causes you to become healthy and happy. The chemistry also releases growth hormone, which supports the growth of the cells.

This is why when people are in love have a glow, and this is because the brain is creating culture medium, blood with elements that affect the genetics and activity of the cells.

What’s interesting is if I change my thoughts then I change my cells. So if you are in love and all of a sudden you become afraid that something is going to happen, then love is replaced by fear. The thought of fear releases different chemicals, which are stress chemicals or inflammatory chemicals that affect the immune system of a healthy body.

If I have negative thoughts such as fear and stress, I am releasing chemicals from my brain that will shut down the growth of the cells. However, if I maintain thoughts of health, harmony and love, it will lead to growth of the cells. Thoughts can heal you physically because thoughts can change the chemistry of the culture medium and the culture medium, blood, is what feeds and organizes the behavior of the cells.

Thoughts can heal you physically because thoughts can change the chemistry

that organizes your behavior on a cellular level

  1.  How do you convey the idea of perfect health or ‘everything will be ok’ to your subconscious?

You have to see the world as being ok and healthy, because when you see the world that way, then the subconscious behavioral programs will complement those behaviors. The cells will see oh life is beautiful and remember if we believe that, the idea of oh I see perfect health, the brain translates the idea into chemistry.

“Love is an idea translated into one chemistry  

and fear as an idea translated into another chemistry”

Therefore when you are visualizing or thinking that everything will be ok, you are sending signals via the brain of harmony, happiness to the cells. This is how simply you can convey the idea to the subconscious.

Now if you repeat this behavior consistently, remember repetition is creating new habits, then without even thinking about it you will end up seeing the world as everything is ok, and seeing yourself in perfect health and that will make the brain continually release the chemistry of that vision.

  1. In your book ‘The Honeymoon Effect”, what are the important aspects for a couple to sustain it?

In the movie, Matrix, most likely everyone has seen that, everyone is programmed and if they take a blue pill, everyone stays the same way and if they take a red pill they get out of the program. The interesting thing about it is this, as I said in the beginning, most of our life, 95% of the day is controlled by the subconscious programs which are other people’s behaviors, and these behaviors are often dis-empowering and self destructive. But then you would say, if I saw these behavior I wouldn’t do them.

This is the problem that people have to understand, when you are thinking you are not paying attention; you default to the programs in the subconscious, so you are not seeing the behavior.  In fact the ones that do see the behavior are other people who are watching us. Every now and then does a behavior get observed and we are like, “Oh my gosh, I was just behaving like my father, or I was behaving like my mother.” This is where we got the programs from, and this is what’s going on 95% of the day, whether you see it or not.

So the Honeymoon effect is just like the movie The Matrix – its when we unconsciously took the red pill and got out of the programs of the subconscious, and how did that happen? The answer is this – when you fall in love, what were your life’s wishes, your ambitions and desires. When you fall in love and you find that wish being answered and the person in your life being what you desire, you don’t let your conscious mind wander – what you wanted to have is now in front of you and therefore, you keep your conscious mind paying attention.

Remember, on a regular day we only run our lives 5% with our conscious mind’s wishes and desires and we run it 95% from the programs we got from other people. When you fall in love we stay in what’s called ‘mindfulness’ – its a way of life where you keep your conscious mind in the present moment and don’t let it run off into thought. When you stay conscious, you create behaviors that in line with your wishes and desires, that’s the honeymoon. The honeymoon is this period where people’s life is like heaven on earth and they are so excited and healthy.

Unfortunately, the honeymoon ends because at some point life gets very busy and the conscious mind has to start thinking and the moment the conscious mind starts thinking we are no longer behaving from the behaviors of wishes, but controlled by the subconscious.

Now the relationship is based on 4 minds – the two conscious minds of wishes and desires and the two subconscious minds with programs. As the subconscious mind program starts to take more power, the more thinking we are doing and running the subconscious with programs that belong to someone else. They are someone else’s judgements, expectations, and values.

Communication problems can cause the breakdown of the harmony of the honeymoon effect. To sustain harmony, both should recognize that the ‘honeymoon’ was created from their wishes and desires; their personal source, their spirit, their identity because it’s the conscious mind. But when dysfunctional behaviors show up, it doesn’t really represent them They come from the programs they got from other people.

It’s not the person in a relationship that is bad but the program that’s bad. If they are both aware that the bad behavior is not coming from their wishes and desires, they can consciously change these behaviors. If they change the negative ones and replace them with positive behaviors every time they default to the subconscious, they start playing the positive programs and this way you will keep the honeymoon alive.

  1. How can one ‘sabotage’ beliefs of the conditioned mind and realize its true power?

Beliefs or the conditions of the subconscious mind are programs and if you want to get back into its powers then basically, you have to see them and rewrite the programs. People wonder what are my programs especially because if I was being programmed even before I was born in the last trimester and the first 7 years, pregnancy is when programming starts.

Do you remember the program when you were one year old? Obviously not.  How will I know what the programs are, because I wasn’t conscious when the programs were being created?

The answer is simple, 95% of our lives comes from the subconscious mind, because the conscious mind is thinking that means your life is like a print out of your subconscious programs. All you have to do is look at your life and see that the things come into your life easily are there because of the programs in the subconscious that encourage them.

But the things you want or create are difficult and you have to work hard to make them happen. The reason you have to put so much effort in is because you have programs that do not support your wish, and therefore you are trying to overcome a program that is operating 95% of the day that doesn’t support you. You don’t have to go through psychoanalysis, all you have to do is look at your life – what ever comes easy comes easy because you have programs, and whatever you have to work hard at and put a lot of effort into, those issues aren’t supported by the program.

Through the processes of the subconscious reprogramming mentioned before once you know what the negative programs are, you can work specifically to rewrite them and make them positive programs, and your life will be empowered.

  1. Most people ask for scientific evidence to back theories such as the power of your thoughts. What would you like to say to them?

Its a 100 years of research on something called the placebo effect. It is simply the fact that a positive thought can reverse the illness or genetic problem just because of the belief of that positive thought. Placebo by definition is the expression of the positive thought and in fact research reveals that from one-third to two-thirds of all medical healing is actually the result of the placebo and not due to drugs or surgery.

…”People who change their thoughts, change their genes”.

The placebo effect is a very powerful, scientifically understood process that reveals how the power of thought affects your biology and health. But now through Epigenetic research, we can see that people who change their thoughts, change their genes. For example, just being in meditation for 8 hours can change two very important genes that control the immune system and help create health. This becomes very important, even taking placebo pills, has been shown to be the result of a thought and those thoughts in turn change the behavior and genetic activity of the cells involved.

Here’s an amazing study to look at: Dean Ornish, a scientist in San Francisco, has revealed that taking prostate cancer patients and helping them change their stresses by teaching them meditation techniques and stress reduction techniques led to the patients change 500 genes in 90 days and most of them were associated with prostate cancer.

I wanted to add one last conclusion about the power of thought. Negative thoughts are equally powerful to changing the behavior in the genes, but in the opposite direction. While positive thoughts can lead to healing, negative thoughts actually lead to disease and death.

Thoughts are powerful whether they are positive or negative, we’ve only been focusing on the nature of positive thinking but we must emphasize that negative thinking will cause illness and disease and it becomes very important in our world because the predominant thoughts that people have are negative thoughts. They don’t realize that just having negative thoughts alone is inducing an illness or diseases in them. So this becomes important for people to know that both – positive and negative – are powerful.

Original Source: https://fractalenlightenment.com/32650/life/understanding-the-conscious-subconscious-mind-with-bruce-lipton | FractalEnlightenment

Edited for readability

3 Ways To Break Free Of Perfectionism

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

 “You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle but you are worthy of love and belonging.” ~Brene Brown

There’s nothing perfect about me, and I’m okay with that… now. This wasn’t the case for most of my life, though. In fact, I’ve been a perfectionist for almost thirty years. I’m not counting the first five years of my life when I was free to be as messy and magical as I wanted.

In third grade I asked my mom to buy me a stack of lined notebooks and colored pens. I spent hours neatly labeling each notebook by class, date, and assignment deadlines. If I made one mistake, like a jagged cursive letter or a misspelling, I’d rip out the page and begin again on a fresh sheet.

This was tiring but it was also a compulsion. Everything had to be neat and ordered or else—or else I’d be out of control, scared, and overwhelmed.

Before my parents divorced, they rarely fought, but my father’s frequent absences and his coolness toward my sister and me sparked a firestorm in me.

Expressing anger wasn’t a thing in our family, especially for women. That simply wasn’t Christian enough or loving enough or good enough.

So I denied my anger and my sadness and, most of all, my fear that my family was breaking apart and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Inside I burned like coals after a long night’s fire. I never let it get too hot. I played the good child, the loving daughter and sister, but my life was out of control. Thus began my long dance with perfectionism.

I tried to be a perfect girlfriend, perfect student, and perfect employee, all the while denying the expression of my full self, imperfections and all.

At parties, I perfected the art of banter and hosted like no one else. All was accounted for, each detail a way for me to control life.

I never realized that perfectionism was an attempt to avoid all rejection,                                       all criticism, and all failure.  It was a matter of life or death.

Perfectionism saved me from drowning, but it didn’t help me to swim. I was treading water, staying safe, and desperately trying to control my reality, which is never truly possible. What I realized later was at the heart of perfectionism is the desire for love and acceptance.

Life is a practice and when we practice we make mistakes. The desire for love and acceptance are universal desires. There is no shame in mistakes, just an opportunity to learn and to grow.

No matter the root causes of your perfectionism or your desire for it, know that it is a desire for love and acceptance and there is another path to get there. Maybe your family only showed you love and attention when you did everything right.

Maybe you feel the need to challenge yourself to be bigger and do better in your work and your relationships. This is not a bad thing. But there’s a difference between excellence and perfection.

The One Thing You Need to Know to Overcome Perfectionism –  Surrender

… to the moment, to change, to messiness or imperfection. Surrender is about accepting where we are at in any moment, knowing that we are a work in progress.

Excellence, unlike perfectionism, is about lovingly pushing ourselves to act, think, relate, and create from the highest part of ourselves.

Perfectionism is about trying to control the outcome in order to receive love and acceptance.  It’s all about fear.

Surrender gently tug us toward our own center of perfect humanness. Surrender also invites self-forgiveness, an act all perfectionists need to practice daily.

3 Tips to Manage Perfectionism

1. Laugh.

About anything. Do it often. Having a sense of humor about ourselves and our actions, especially embarrassing or disappointing experiences, doesn’t have to be a shield or form of protection. Humor can heal or at least create enough dopamine and endorphins to get us through the tough moments.

2. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Most of all, yourself.

Forgiveness is actually a selfish act. This is not a bad thing. Forgiveness releases us from fear-based thoughts and emotions. It is the gateway to surrendering our perception of control over our lives and over the actions of others.

3. Surround yourself by free spirits.

If you can’t find anyone like that in your circle of friends, then read about them or watch movies about dreamers and risk-takers—people who’ve failed or made huge mistakes only to overcome them and create an even better life than they could have imagined.

 • ~ •

After thirty years of perfecting perfectionism, I’ve finally learned to let go of controlling every detail of my life. It’s scary sometimes, and there are days when I want to organize and reorganize my desk instead of facing what’s really bothering me.

But those difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging moments pass much quicker when I simply exhale and surrender to whatever is in my heart and in my mind. A softening occurs, and my body finally relaxes instead of being constantly braced for struggle.

I may still compare myself to that social media dynamo who effortlessly attracts a huge following on Facebook or avoid looking at myself as I pass a store window for fear of being disappointed by my reflection, but now I just smile and keep going, knowing that this too shall pass.

Edited for readability
by  Erin Dougherty    Join Erin Dougherty’s mailing list at www.birdsongreadings.com and get a free copy of “Finding Your Personal Mythology.” Or join her Facebook group“The Mythic Life,” all about the everyday hero’s journey.