I am a girl who loves mountains, changing seasons, running, true backpacking, strong coffee, and knitting with high quality yarn.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Discover Self Within.

Well, it’s been awhile, and I don’t think I am ready to get at it again, but I really want to share some thoughts. My visit to Dallas was great albeit emotionally shaking, physically demanding and mind hurting. The lack of sleep I accumulated in preceding week has gotten much heavier. Nevertheless, it was worth every ounce of it.

Thursday of my Texas experience was delighted by meeting Craig and his lovely wife Pamela. You can read about it here, I will only add that aura around these wonderful people and conversations we held were much needed and appreciated before what’s coming.

The seminar wasn’t about our “screwed up” children. In fact, same material is presented to business America from top to bottom, and I wish it were a college credit. The process we undercome while at seminar visited the roots of life of every person leading to oh, so many problems – including relationships within family, work, neighborhood, with God, and mostly – yourself.
Most of it wasn’t a light bulb for me – after all, I am a big fan of human psychology, sociology, behavior patterns and Dale Carnegie. But the way it was delivered definitely made me think about those MAJORITY of moments I am NOT applying the knowledge I’ve acquired and how it influences my life and lives of those I love.

Since we are not at the public speech, and lots of points better delivered when animated, as well as simply having the power of voice and passion is not laid on paper, I will just try and share some main points without preaching and only giving food for thought.

Try and look back at the moment you were born. A baby, or what we will call a Magical Child, is pure and innocent of any baggage. While growing up in a family and society, it accumulates a layer of beliefs, and those can be divided on self-enhancing beliefs (I am great and can do anything I set my mind to) and self-limiting beliefs (I am not worthy, stupid, ugly, fat, don’t deserve love). Beliefs bring a set of different emotions. The sum of these two comes out as a fixed behavior. All three together are what is called your IMAGE. Image is what we THINK we are. Image is not a bad thing per se, as I can be a professional, a mom, a good citizen, a runner. I begin living in our heads and loose connection with my heart. Self-image can be “bad” – a gangster, a trouble teen, an unworthy person. It’s not what you call me, it’s what I am answering to.

Right vs Wrong. Besides scientific facts (like 1+1=2 and water falls down because of gravity), nothing else is set in stone but rather a developed belief system. Wrong is what does not belong to MY belief system. “Knowing” right and wrong block opportunities to learn and grow, limits risking and creating choices and makes us tell great stories just to “be right”. We if try and think a bit other words here as “working” vs “non-working”, right and wrong can be better described as whether or not I am producing results, experiences, relationships and quality of life that ENHANCES my life and those around me.

The Image is boxed in to a set of fixed beliefs, behaviors, assumptions and attitude. Inside this “box” is a comfortable zone with familiar outcomes, convenience, illusion of control, no risk life even if difficult. “Think/step outside the box” – where id it come from? Fear of rejection. Growth can only happen when you are uncomfortable.

“Victim” mentality vs Accountability. This is a pure example of war between self-limiting beliefs and self-enhancing beliefs. “Victim” is when “it happened to me”. Accountable is when “I made a choice”. I CAN always make a choice. How many times I say a phrase “I have to do such and such”. Matter of the fact is I make choices. Example – follow the line of thinking step by step:
I have to pay taxes.
If I don’t, I may get penalized.
If I will, they will take my possessions and throw me to jail.
If I will get to jail, I will be sad, angry and frustrated.
If I get sad, I will get depressed.
If I be depressed, I might be suicidal.
In this case I will die.
I will RATHER pay taxes then die.
Now what was “I have to” had become “I rather”. But I always have a choice. The way I express myself shows pleasure vs un-pleasure (“have to” means I hate it, “choose to” means positive feelings). It is in my power to look at any decision as a pleasant one.

Reacting vs Responding. When I go into feelings after an event, I am reacting. When I take accountability for an event, I am responding. That which is not acted upon is not learned. Accountability is NOT blame. You either have your reasons, stories, excusues, OR you have the results you say you want. Once the event has passed, all I can do is learn from experience. Reacting is a form of “victim” mentality – like driving a car looking in a rear view mirror. The whole life is a sequence of my own choices. Nothing in life is accident. Let’s say I die in a plane crash on my way to a race. It was my choice to pick this plane. My choice to fly and not drive. My choice to go to this race. My choice to be running at all. I ALWAYS have a choice. What I achieve is an outcome of Intention and Mechanism. Based on results you have exactly what you intend. Real Intentions have purpose (why), vision (what), energy and commitment. Mechanism is “how to”. To get from point A to point B, there are many many ways. Good practice: we had a “game” to cross the room from one wall to another one by one (all 96 of us) without repeating anyone who had already gone before. I was #96, and I had another 6 ways in my head after I completed. Argue for your limitations and they are yours.

We all have “grungies” – undesirable feelings. I know I do. Mine is self-pity. There are also anger, fear, envy, jealousy, bitterness and so on. Really, these are not “undesirable” as subconsciously we expect results: attention, recognition, reassurance, sympathy, manipulation, approval, control. To me this was quite a point of revelation. Having a “grungy” gives me “right” to have excuses – not to take risk, not to step outside the box, not to be accountable.
One of more heavily “grungy” is guilt and shame. By the circle of life being guilty doesn’t stop the behavior, it allows for beating yourself up, therefore leads to feeling atoned, what means now you are OK and it feeds back the event that brought the guilt in a first place. Guilt is what I “did” was wrong. Shame is what I “am” is wrong. Guilt is a product of belief system(right vs wrong). If I think about it in terms of working/non-working decisions, I will stop feeling guilty and move on.

Being accountable. I blame many events in my life on past events that “happened” to me (victim mentality). I had abusive parents – I seek approval of others. I wasn’t loved – I have low self esteem. My husband moved me to this country – I lost my favorite job and friends. All these things (and a bunch of others) triggers a reaction in everyday’s life. How often do I go through the same argument I know exactly how it will develop! There is a formula for accountability: stop (pause), look (pay attention), choose your response (not reaction), vote (declare to yourself what you are going to do), do it (declare it to the world), step next (see each event as an opportunity to learn – you have a power to create them).

Last short image to picture – iceberg. 10% on top, 90% under water. What’s above accounts for consciousness: awareness, analysis, mental determination, will power, effort.
Below are hidden emotions, self-limiting beliefs, intentions, and at the bottom of it all is your Magical Child. The more you can lower the level of water the more of “real” you as opposed to your image will come out. Meet yourself. It will be fun.

Many of the things I tried to highlight are common sense. In fact, everything in life is common sense, including rocket science and brain surgery. Can I stop and think about it, and remember it, and apply it? It’s a quest to find myself. Am I up to the task?

p.s. all the writing is NOT to start a tenacious influence on people or to ask for a feedback (by the way, feedback is not blame, and we should use more of it in life not as a dirty word). It is a complex of notes to myself. May be it will help someone to think.

p.p.s. I managed to pop something in my hamstring at the seminar. The way it happened can be re-traced to the way I live. It is funny and not even funny. Another point of pondering.


robtherunner said...

Lots of wonderful insight and it sounds like a great seminar. I wish I could have been there as well.

Anonymous said...

SO much to think about, Olga! Thank you for sharing it!


Sarah said...

You make an important point. Sometimes we know the answers we just don't (choose not to?) apply them. Thanks for sharing you thoughts. Hope you hamstring is better!

backofpack said...

Olga, a great post and very thought provoking. I'm with Rob, I wish I could have been there. I find myself teaching some of the same ideas in my parenting classes, but with different words. In an effort to help parents (and children) learn to manage anger, we talk a lot about "choosing your reaction".

I really like the working/non-working decisions concept and will try to use that - both for myself and in others. If I understood it right, you are saying that rather than calling something a bad decision, which implies poor judgement, which then allows us to feel guilty or beat ourselves up, that rather, we look at it as simply a non-working decision. Kind of: I made a choice and it didn't work out, time to make a new choice. Have I understood that correctly? As someone who makes a decision, then second guesses it and worries about it, I could really use some help in this area!

Timber - The Trail Runing Lab said...

Have you read the book Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler. It is actually a simple quick read, but he delves into a lot of the topics you just went over...Victim vs Owner - and so on. It is great book.

Donald said...

Wow. That's a lot to think about - almost too much for one sitting. I'll have to come back here again later.

It sounds like you did a lot of soul-searching there. Apply it well.

jas said...

olga, thanks for sharing your weekend. Great reminder and teaching of what live consists of....and to take control.

Thanks! jason

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, that's some pretty intense stuff. thank you for sharing. I printed it out so I can really read through it, I know I'll need to journal about it all, because it's so applicable to what I'm going through (as we talked about Sunday). the whole victim vs owner thing plus the way of looking at choices - a non-working decisions - is key to me.

Hilda said...

I am printing this too, thanks for sharing your notes.

Anonymous said...

I can tell that you are still thinking through all that you experienced at the seminar. You've got me thinking too. So I won't comment much here but have made some notes. Will see where it leads.

Sarah Elaine said...

I always enjoy your posts, Olga. They are filled with humanity -- the good, the bad and the ugly. I especially enjoy the more philosophical posts of yours because they make me think... and feel.

Sounds like your head will be spinning for a while after this. I look forward to more thoughts.

Johnny Lyons said...

I try to get our son, Ash, to see choices that way too, working or not working. And even try to look at working or not working in the short and long term. It's a bit tough to do with a toddler, but I hope it's good, er I mean effective, to start early :)

Now I just need to figure out how to let people know that I look at things through an effectiveness eye when I assess situations, and not a good/bad judgement eye. I think I speak the way I think and people can't read my mind, so I sometimes seem more judgemental than I am. I just love to evaluate situations and talk about what does and doesn't work, and what might work better. But I tend to do it so casually and I think come across as basically saying "Yeah, you are bad. And if you were good, you would have done this." Your post gives more me more insight into why people react the way they do, how I might be able to explain my perspective better in the future. I need the insight because even though I don't really judge the actions as bad or good, I still tend to see people as stupid if they are not willing to look at changing things to something that works better. I really need to have more compasion because these people are just trying to be secure the way they know how, and might feel threatened by me talking so plainly about changing and do things in a way that might work better.

stephruns said...

how funny you have changed your blog template, too.
i always get bored easily and have to make a change. it's difficult when you are a graphic designer!!!!
anyways, like the new look:-)

Robb said...

Hi Olga. I read Craig's account of your visit to Dallas and it sounds like the Rev and Mrs Rev had a wonderful visit with you. Sounds like long days with lots of insight. That's good.

I wonder if your blog crashed or did you just adopt a new template. Just curious because mine imploded a couple of weeks ago...the entire template disappeared on me. I hope this is not the case for you. It sure can be frustrating. Take care.

Julie B said...

What a weekend. The weekends of mind/mental training workouts are often more difficult that the weekend of running workouts. So much to digest and apply. It sounds like a great weekend seminar; one that everyone could use. Thanks for sharing.

Hilda said...

Wooow! I just came to your blog to take a look again to your notes and found this changes, looks good, but I miss the photos, hope you manage to publish them, I haven't as wished!
By the way, thanks for writing some answers in my blog!

Jack said...

Great food for thought, definitely something to chew on for awhile. I agree with what several have suggested, the seminar would be quite enlightening for many/most of us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Liv said...

Lots to think about as always - thank you for taking the time to give us this amazing synopsis.

Lol, I clicked on my link to your blog and for a minute thought I was still on my own! I am very amused by the fact that we both started with the same old template, and then switched to the same new one as well! Makes me feel more like you, Olga... :P now if only I could run your miles.... :)

I'm with Hilda though, what happened to all the pics?! :(

Sarah Elaine said...

Hey... just checking in to say hello... I like the new look.

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