Healing Arts Report

Practices for an Evolving Life

They Don't Tell You How

“You need to love yourself more.” “You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Always put other people first. Don’t be selfish.” The one thing that is missing from all this good advice is telling you HOW to do it. We introduce you to practical tools using your own character traits to support you in creating practical answers to those questions. Read more here.

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Two memoirs tell about times of extreme personal growth in the author’s life. Sunny Side Up is a window into the early 70s when certain young adults were searching for a way to head off society’s path bent on materialism. The Transparent Feather tells of a dying author passing the torch of writing to her new friend cum student.

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You can love yourself and other people as well. At Healing Arts Report we explore fulfilling personal development that at the same time serves to create the shift to a peaceful new world paradigm.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” ―C.G. Jung

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Being A Detective

As a child I thought being a detective would be the most satisfying life, which, strangely enough, did not include the idea of solving horrendous crimes. In my mind, it was the idea of figuring out why people behaved the way they did.
And the image I had wasn’t of Sherlock Holmes examining clues with a magnifying glass, but a trench-coated reporter writing in a notebook.
And this is exactly how I feel when I’m working. I’m an investigator making notes. The biggest change in my thinking over the years, however, is that the basic question I ask has evolved from WHY to HOW.  
Why’ is a worthwhile first step and for some clients it quickly leads to exploring ‘how’ to change but for many clients it is an excuse to stop there. Some would even add a feeling of confirmed defeat. “That’s what I learned and that’s what I’ve always done so that’s the way I am.”
Detecting The Wish For Change
The reason my question changed from ‘why’ to ‘how’ was from learning the details people give for wanting to live life differently. They all want to be happier, have less conflict with the people around them, or let go of a painful past. But the details all differ. They come to understand that if they want a different experience then they must be the one to change; they cannot change the other players in the drama.
They also learn that they can choose not to keep the same players in their lives. Most persons want to keep peace with relatives, even difficult ones, to whom they are devoted. However, they learn to make choices about the amount of time, the kind of activities, and setting boundaries regarding behavior.

My image of a detective was a trench-coated reporter writing in a notebook.

My image of a detective was a trench-coated reporter writing in a notebook.

Where Is The Detective Work?
Unlike trying to capture criminals, the people I work with are willing to answer questions, describe specific conversations, and try to understand what kind of information I am looking for. After examining a global issue such as, “My mother interferes with my children every time she comes over,” we look at a specific incident that is exemplary of the kind of interaction that goes on. Perhaps the issue is that the client’s mother constantly warns the children that they are going to hurt themselves even when they are not playing in any sort of dangerous way. Her warnings are done with such force that it often scares the children and interrupts their play.
The daughter is reminded of her own childhood and how her mother fussed and dramatized non-existent dangers. Rather than protecting the children, the excitement was more about putting the mother into the center of attention. After exploring this personal history and defusing it through insight and/or energy work, we move on to finding out what the person wishes she could say to her mother. It is usually rude and not actually an option the person would choose. Again, insight, humor, and energy work defuse those issues.
Experimenting With Options
We explore other options, often doable, although the person had not thought of how to enact them. Does the objectionable behavior occur when you are visiting your mother at her house? Can you come up with a statement you would feel comfortable saying to her? The person might choose to say, “We’ll come for a short visit, but if you start telling the children how they are going to get hurt, we will leave.”
I might suggest that this statement be made in advance when they are making the plans to visit. Also make sure the mother has heard it and possibly have her repeat what she heard. If it becomes necessary to leave, take action in a quiet way without any drama.
I’ve seen people change a habitual interaction, which gives the person a sense of power that did not exist before. They did not realize they could set boundaries especially when the antagonist is from the older generation.
Clues Break The Barriers
A person may have many barriers to doing something like this. I’ve heard them say…But you’re supposed to respect your parents (meaning to them that you must do whatever your parents say no matter how old you are, or that you’re not allowed to make decisions regarding them because they are older than you.)  We examine what it will take to accept the changing roles within a family setting.
I may ask, “Can you make the above statement about visiting them in a respectful tone of voice?” If the answer is no, then we need to find out what would make it possible. The person might say, “I’ve had to listen to her putting her fears on me and my kids for so long that I get furious immediately. She never listens to me.”
I ask, “Are there any consequences for her bad behavior?” “No,” she answers.
“This time you are establishing consequences. The visit will end. Do you think you can do it?” If the answer is “No, I don’t know how many times I’ve told her not to do that,” we might use tapping and examining past situations to dispel the intensity of the accumulated anger. When I ask again and the answer is yes, we prepare wording it in such a way that it becomes comfortable for the client to say. I encourage her to see all this effort as an experiment.
These kinds of detective questions are a way of revealing clues that account for each concern the client brings up. We explore possible answers until we find a way to address or eliminate each anxiety.
The technique succeeds often enough that the first thing spoken about at our next meeting is a description of how it went and the happiness the person feels with finding something that changes the usual interaction. In this way, we help solve the mystery.

PRACTICE: Listen to the concerns you have about doing something differently. By paying attention to them, you’ll be able to find a way to address them. If you have a friend or mentor who understands you and what you’re trying to accomplish, that person might have some ideas different from yours. You’ll recognize immediately if their idea is something you feel ready to do or not.

CONTACT: If you go through the above process with a guide, after a few times it will become second nature. Then you’ll become your own guide. Contact me for a free 20 minute phone or an email week of consultation. We’ll come up with at least one practical thing you can try for a situation that’s been a challenge to you.