THE PATTERN PAGES
HOW PATTERNS HEAL
Many methods have been tried that have proven to have temporary success in healing stuck behavior patterns. These are the things that we have found to be most effective.
|How to Heal Negative Behavior Patterns|
1. The first thing to do is NOTICE. |
Patterns originated as a way to help us survive the pain we experienced and were unable to heal at the time. Over time patterns become like living things. Jostling them triggers that survival terror. So the patterns themselves become self-surviving, and seem to have an investment in keeping us from knowing that they exist. Therefore, the first task is to LOOK, and SEE the patterns and how they are affecting our lives. This won't be easy. It's easy only when you look at others. Identifying our own patterns is not.
Take a good, long look at your life, and try to notice repeating patterns. Move your point of consciousness around as if it were an objective observer. Watch your interactions with others. Don't do anything at first, just NOTICE. Once you decide you want to heal your patterns, the first thing you'll probably find is slippery resistance. This resistance is actually a knee jerk survival mechanism from that place in us that says feeling our pain is a bad thing. So when you start to look, it tries to distract you from looking. You'll "forget". You'll find yourself so busy at work or with things around the house, you just "forget". That's ok, just gently draw your point of consciousness back to the watching process.
As you move your point of consciousness through your life, notice how you feel. Notice when certain interactions make you feel angry or sad or rejected or frightened. Your body is holding the emotions in certain places for you, so paying attention to your body is a great way to learn what you're feeling. Tension spots - neck, back, forehead - are indicators of held pain. Stomach problems, being unable to eat, or unable to digest, are good indicators of held pain. Virtually any pain you haven't been able to cry will manifest in some way in your body.
2. Let the feelings surface and express. In order to make any real and lasting change in your reality, you have to cry the old, buried pain. This is not a magic process. It's not a process that relies on anybody outside of yourself. Nobody else can fix this for you or magically heal it for you. It's not easy, and it's not quick. But it is simple. All you have to do is cry. One tear at a time. One inch at a time, peel the onions. It takes time, commitment, patience and courage, but it is the only way to make permanent changes in your life. It's the only way to regain the power we should have, the power to create realities that we want, with our mind and emotions working together.
If you are far from your pain, this may take a lot of effort. For more on dealing with resistance and getting feelings moving, see Why Can't I Cry? and Ways to Get to Ignition.
3. Go Against the Pattern. Do something you ordinarily wouldn't do, something that is contrary to what your patterns would normally do. Instead of fighting back, try staying quiet and feeling how you feel. Instead of cowering and acquiescing, try saying "no". If you're stuck in a self-hate loop, trying shouting out loud "I am the greatest and the best and the most wonderful!" If you can let yourself move into this "pretending" far enough, your pattern will be disrupted and jostled, and the pain hiding within it will surface. While in this disrupted, temporarily unfrozen state, you have an opportunity to let the old stuff express. It might erupt at first as hysterical embarassed laughter. Eventually, it will move into tears.
Remember that patterns keep the real feelings hidden and submerged. So our goal is to jostle the stuckness of the pattern, to release the underlying pain. If you find yourself stuck and unable to bring the feelings to the surface, try using some of the other tools we've suggested here to assist in jostling and unfreezing your patterns. Set goals that will take you out of your present circumstance or state of being. Visualize yourself behaving and feeling differently. When used in conjunction with crying, these tools can be very powerful in moving us toward the realities we want to create.
NOTE: Be careful not to use these tools for suppression. It is possible to use these tools to override how you feel. The problem is that we naturally want to take the easier route, the one that avoids the pain. And our patterns will help us avoid - they're very good at that. So we may tend to want to only set goals or visualize, or stay in the 1st step of the healing process. We may tell ourselves that that's enough. We may see signs of progress with visualizing and try to believe that that's all we need to do. But those gains are temporary.
By feeding the subconscious/unconscious a picture of something (wealth, love, success) often enough and with great enough conscious desire, you may be able to temporarily push back the old reality (and pain) it is holding. The power of the creative subconscious willingly outpictures what it is receiving from your mind... but it can't maintain that reality. Inevitably it reverts to whatever is being held in its hidden depths, the realities that are being radiated from your hidden pain. Not only doesn't it last, but if you do it with great enough force, you might actually be forcing fragmentation, pushing parts of yourself away. This is a very real danger. Be aware that the majority of people who feel better after "letting go" of their rage or "choosing" to think positively are only feeling better because a part of themselves has been shoved back into the attic... or farther away and out of their consciousness.
The tools should all be used together. Remember to always always always return to Tool 2. The point is to heal ALL of the self, to bring all our power to bear on breaking out of frozen, repeating behavior patterns, so we can create new and wonderful realities that feel good, moment by moment.
|The Ebb and Flow of Healing Patterns|
Breaking through patterns takes time. It's a constant ebb and flow through these three things: noticing, crying the pain, and consciously crossing the pattern. It hasn't been my experience that I break through a pattern in one sitting or one awareness. It takes time of peeling the onion, of crying the pain until I reach a place of spontaneous re-evaluation and understanding. Understanding and evolution of the emotions is an automatic and integral part of the process. It happens naturally as you cry your old pain, and it cannot be forced. It's important to be gentle and forgiving with ourselves in this process, to understand and allow the ebb and flow of crying the pain and becoming aware, crying more pain, becoming more aware, etc.
I have found that my own ebb and flow goes something like this:
Seeing The Pattern After the Fact - At first I'm blind and unaware. I can only see what's been going on after it's all over with. For instance, I find myself in an interaction, massively triggered and wildly reacting to something somebody says or does. I realize at the time that my feelings are all over the map, erupting like little mini-volcanoes, but there's nothing I can do to stop myself from interacting there, nor can I make much sense of my own response. I can't tell how much of what I'm responding to is real, and how much is my own past. I'm IN the pattern, and no longer in control of my own actions. I do a lot of crying, but it's only after the storm has subsided that I can look back and gain some understanding of it. I continue to cry the pain that the situation has triggered, as much as I can.
During the Storm - This time I understand more of what's happening while I'm in the middle of it. I have cried a goodly amount of the pain the last time, and I NOTICE the similarity this time, I feel the same things, and I find myself responding in the same old ways. But this time my awareness comes sooner. I am still not able to stop myself from acting out of the pattern. I may find myself lashing out angrily with hurtful words, or collapsing into a puddle, or any number of pattern behaviors. As long as I continue to cry all the pain that is surfacing during this conflict, I know I will make progress.
Seeing it Coming - By this time I'm pretty well aware of what happens, how the other person acts, how I act, how I'm going to get triggered and so on. I still can't stop myself from going down that path, but I can see it coming. Again, crying the pain that gets triggered by the conflict is the important thing, and then pretty soon I am able to break through the ice and feel shifts happening.
Breaking the Pattern - This is the most frustrating phase. It's very much like the breakup of an ice floe. I'm not yet in clear water, there are huge chunks of ice all around me that I keep running into. Periodically I am free of the pattern, and I get glimpses of what it will be like, but I can't yet say I'm 100% free. I fall back into old ways fairly easily, but I spend periods of time feeling free. The temptation here is to try to stay in the "good" feelings, to try to stay free of the pattern by avoiding going back into the old "bad" feelings. But true freedom can only be gained by completely healing all the old feelings.
True Freedom - This is the really wonderful stage, the place where you feel yourself FREE of the pattern. At this point, I can see the other person acting in the same old ways toward me, but I no longer feel the same FEELING response in me. I no longer knee jerk into my pattern. They just don't make me mad anymore, or afraid, or whatever the feeling was. I have the freedom, at this point, to choose a new response!!! The freedom of this is wonderful. I may say something funny, to make light of the situation and see if they are able to be jostled out of their side of the pattern. I may leave the situation, I may refuse to interact with that person anymore. The point is, at that point I am no longer responding in old programmed ways, and I have CHOICES! I can choose, I can come up with new, creative ways to deal with situations that I had never thought of before, because I was limited by my own filters.