Choosing To Evolve
Updated: Dec 14, 2018
The Choice to Evolve is Here Now:
Since my adolescence, the journey to "waking up" has been gnawing away at me, and for the past thirty odd years, I made clear choices to walk the path of the enlightened ones. The obstacle I discovered resided in my intention, driven by a deeply hidden fear, that I was not aware of until my journey came to a screeching halt. Waking in an angry sadness which I had never experienced before, my world entered into a dark imagery of unavoidable dreams, and I fought it with every cell in my body. Destruction and death seemed too easy, even though I fantasized about my imminent death on a daily basis. My darkest fears, my self worth, seemed to collide in my non existence, and I felt completely alone. For the first time I was intensely driven by a dull ache of not being enough, this deep insecurity of a "lacking" feeling led me to many worldly places, sitting with masters of different teachers all over the world.
The turning point for me was not long after I had chosen to leave the community I had helped create and grow for sixteen years. I awoke one morning after years of contemplation, meditation, running a yoga business, to a divorce of all my senses. I realized I was living a habituated reality. I was completely miserable and everything I was living and doing felt like another person's life, I was trying to be someone I was no longer interested in.
You could say that I have spent most of my adolescent and adult life walking the line between what it means to be human, living in a world of discovery, and what it means to be human repeating patterns and living in a world resisting my current reality. Over the past four years I have had the pleasure to work with and be inspired by leaders in the wellness industry, in the USA and India, including my recent training with Charles Gaby.
Gaby says "The culture is stuck and we need to evolve. We are often emotionally manipulated and distracted by those who seek our attention. We can only be free when we learn how to manage our emotions mindfully."
Charles has created a path for understanding our personal lives and the world as a whole. He shines a light onto our habituated emotional and physical patterns, giving a suggestion of "moving alongside." He says, "conflict does not arise simply from lack of information or connection. Our lives have scripts. Our thoughts and feelings have patterns." It is one of those statements where you say to yourself, yes, yes, I know this, tell me something I don't know!
The bell for me was, if I know this so well, then why do I continue to feel the intensity of my emotional body? Why do I react so intensely? I can intellectualize what I do till the cows come home and still I am triggered. I could feel my anxiety levels rise and no matter how much I intellectualize myself around my feelings of abandonment. I found myself in a spiral of fear and self doubt, the wolf dressed in sheep's clothing of my past would find a way catapult itself into the present moment and I would crumble. I could not see the splendor and beauty in front of me, all I could see was the wolf and all trust was gone.
So how do we fix our broken hearts, our squelched dreams? What happens when life throws you a curve ball?
Gaby says, instead of exploring what we think try looking at how we think, he asks, open yourself to the idea that everything we see, hear or think is not necessarily true. Be willing to break your own program by opening yourself to unconditional love and genuine curiosity.
Do you have the capacity to notice the limits to which your story is held together?
When I started breaking down the construct of how my thoughts, images and emotions arose in me I began to discover the core of my program. For me it really did not matter who did the programming, I was not in this to figure "who did this to me?" rather I was in this to know my thoughts intimately and where they were arising from or through. What mattered was I understood what was happening on a level of gentle surrender, loving myself and the process unconditionally.
How do you know it is working?
I began to notice the scripted nature of my emotions as a whole were less intense, my physical and emotional traumas of the past were very much still there in my past memory, however the sensation in my body was less. I think when I could just admit in the moment what I was feeling and notice the intensity of the physical pain I seemed less likely to react, instead I was capable of having a choice with my response. When we cover up, avoid, or suppress our emotions and our thoughts, we can feel overwhelmed with all sorts of physical sensation. Gaby talks about the profound impact Silvan Thomkins had on our understanding of human emotions.
Tomkins detailed the nature of affect itself and the triggers for each of the nine affects, demonstrating 1) the nature, development, and transformations of the affect system; 2) its virtually unlimited ideo-affective structure; 3) the importance of affect as the source of all motivation; 4) its functional relation to both cognition and the drives; and 5) the clinical implications of these concepts.
Thomkins goes onto reveal, even though we all display the nine affects in a similar way, the scripts we apply to these affects are very different and unique to the individual
Affect makes things urgent.
Awareness of an affect is a feeling.
A feeling plus memory of prior similar feelings is an emotion.
Often, out of awareness, we develop “rules” to try to get more positive and less negative affect.
Tomkins calls those rules scripts.
The pattern of scripts to which a person uses to modulate affect make up his or her personality. While we can trigger all sorts of emotions. Shame-humiliation, anger-rage, distress-anguish, fear-terror, dissmell-disgust, surprise - startle and felling good excitement -joy. The "script" is the way in to discovering how we act with our self and the external world.
Consciousness is an evolution of understanding our self and the world together, first we need to admit to ourselves that our preconceptions are what defines our lives. When we can learn about our personal emotional story we find we are able to enter conflict with balance, compassion, and flexibility.
TAKE A WAYS
One of the many practices I have taken away from the twelve month program (yes it is quite a commitment) is the ability to recognize my repetitive patterns with my emotional scripts and being able to move alongside my habits and patterns. This allows me to understand my emotions, feel my emotions and most importantly challenge the "scripts".
When we can gaze through our own individual lenses of experience with a perspective I like to call curious participation, Gaby calls it "authentic interest." I began to identify my past and my future projections from a place of unconditional love. Self acceptance allows me to remain in the present moment with what is actually happening in the moment. I understand that I am not a bad person, there is much to learn in this constant changing world and something quite beautiful is starting to happen, my curiosity has returned with child like earnest. I am more comfortable in expressing my feelings because it feels honest and real for me in the moment.
I continue to explore my hidden truths to imagery and consciousness through leading weekly classes and workshops, teaching practices which can help transform old scripts and images.
The year is broken into four seasons.
Each eleven-week season leads you through a deeper encounter with insights, exercises, group discussion, one on one coaching, and online support.
Season One: Imagery, Habituation, Learning Identity
My Leap Year begins with an exploration of your personal habituated imagery but it's not just about being conscious of the images that guide and define your life... it's about learning how to hold our images more lightly. Building this awareness creates the platform for evolving a new way of participating with the processes of your consciousness.
"When we begin to understand even the most basic processes of our consciousness
we begin to transform old scripts and images, opening new doors for participating in life."
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Nicole Shaw is an Australian native living and teaching yoga in Dallas Texas since 2002.
The past eighteen years Nicole has learned from masters from different teaching backgrounds including yoga philosophy, kriya yoga, raja meditation, psychology, integral leadership and dance therapy.