If we had run into each other 30 years ago you might have found me to be upbeat, animated, a little loud and kind of funny. But if you had been able to crawl inside my head, you would have witnessed mass confusion reminiscent of Hoarding: Buried Alive. As my linear-thinking husband would say “It was total chaos in there.”
Although I’m reasonably smart, I was not mentally present most of the time. I lived in my mind focused on the thoughts and images more than what was physically happening around me. I have such a vivid imagination that the movies in my head were more real to me than reality. I don’t remember most of my past. Makes sense, I wasn’t there for it.
I was moody. My attitude swung between “I can do anything!” to “What’s the point, it’s hopeless”. In general, I was mostly confused and certain everyone else had been given a “life instruction manual” while I was picking up lunch.
To catch up with all those privileged manual-owners, I became a voracious consumer of self-help books. To this day I can’t walk down the self help section without thinking “Got it, got it, got it.” All I wanted was to stop feeling so lost, insecure, anxious and sad. Some books helped, most did not.
My life progressed in a fairly typical manner; I developed my career, married a really great guy and was straining to deal with my temperament and insecurities. But at 35 I went through something akin to a mid-life crisis. After all those damn books, I still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I guess some people buy sports cars, I attended an eight-week long program at the Option Institute. It was there that I finally found a tool for personal transformation – the Option Dialogue.
The Option Institute teaches that beliefs govern how you feel and react to stuff. Like most folks, I assumed my feelings were natural and automatic. Learning that this was not the case, was a major paradigm shift.
It’s astounding to realize beliefs, not reality, determine the quality of my life. If you dig into this site, you will be faced with a dilemma, similar to the one in The Matrix. Once you know how beliefs affect you, you can’t UN-know it. Will you take the blue pill or the red pill? Take the blue pill and your life will continue as normal. Take the red pill and the weight of owning your responses falls squarely on your shoulders. It’s overwhelming and immensely empowering. I won’t judge you if you take the blue pill, but if you choose red, you’re in for quite a ride.
Building the Self Creation Website
I dug deep into my beliefs and realized a large part of who I was, was NOT created by me. My belief system was formed by my parents, ethnicity, economics, religion, teachers, friends, my time in history and location on this planet. All these people, circumstances and institutions poured beliefs into my young mind. Some spoken directly to me, most driven home by example.
Using the Option Dialogue, I began the long process of re-making myself. I was astounded at what a positive (and practical) difference changing them made. Over time my life got better. After so many years of anxiety and depression, I was finally making some headway. Something the self-help books never provided.
I wanted to share what I had learned from all my soul searching and re-construction. The old site is the result.
What’s on the Old Site?
- If you’d like to know yourself better, there are some thought-provoking questions and compelling exercises in self-awareness.
- To feel better about yourself and stronger in your approach to life, explore the ins and outs of self-esteem.
- In order to create a life you can genuinely be excited about, visit self-empowerment.
- If you really want to rock your world, study how you formed your beliefs and how to change them.
- And finally, if all you want is to be happier, consider adopting the perspectives and attitudes that create sustained happiness.
The old website was written when I thought I knew what others should do. Take it with a grain of salt.
Launching the Blog: Phase II
Jump ahead 15 years. As you can imagine, a lot has happened. I thought about giving you all the details, but feared your boredom. So how about some highlights?
I lived through hurricane Katrina, moved to a tropical island, divorced the man I love, moved six times, then re-married the man I love.
Through all that, I have had moments where I really struggled. I did some Option Dialogues, and it helped.
In January, 2015 I stumbled upon The Work of Byron Katie. Someone had mentioned it in passing. When I googled her, I was shocked to discover there was another tool out there for questioning your thoughts. I couldn’t believe it. How did I miss it? I bought and read all her books. After going to one of her evening functions in Houston, I attend her School of The Work. I’ve been doing The Work ever since.
Someone asked me why I switched from doing dialogues to The Work of Byron Katie. Even though their premise is the same – a way to question your thinking – I found The Work easier and more accessible. There are way more people doing The Work so it’s easy to find partners to facilitate you.