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Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting Tough (part 1)

Whether we like to admit it or not the world can be quite a tough place. M. Scott Peck famously stated his best-selling book The Road Less Traveled with the sentence “Life is hard.” He maintained that that’s just the way it is, and there’s no use bitchin’ about it because life isn’t going to hand material and spiritual riches to you on a platter. M. Scott Peck had a point.

Years ago I attended the Discovery workshop in New Zealand with Michael Wall, who was a very good life coach and group facilitator. I was one of the “coaches” there. There were about a hundred adolescents in attendance. In one activity Michael had the kids do, they had to write down their greatest fear on the back of a block of wood. Later they had to karate chop the wood, as a symbol of demolishing their fears. 

Later in the evening, after the day’s workshop was over, I was walking around the back of the building where the event was held, and stumbled across the pile of smashed up blocks of wood. I couldn’t help but looking at what was written on the blocks. The two things that came up again and again were “failure” and “rejection”. It was at this time that I realised that the greatest human fears are associated with failing and being rejected by others.

Whether you like it or not you are going to fail many times in your life, and you are going to get rejected a lot. For many people failure and rejection form a core “soul issue”. As I explain in Discover Your Soul Template, each person carries within their consciousness fields psychological and spiritual patterns of beliefs, and personal stories which emerge from their personal biography and past lives. When you die, any unresolved trauma or negative belief structures centering around those soul issues remain locked within your spirit. They return with you to your next life.

As part of your evolution, you synchronistically attract to you events which reflect your soul issues. In other words, if failure and rejection are soul issues for you, you can be sure that life will serve them up for you until such time as you have worked through or integrated the consciousness of these concepts. This is one of the reasons why the law of attraction as espoused in The Secret and many new age books doesn’t work, or only works imperfectly. You attract not so much what you want, but what you are. You are not going to attract success on a massive scale if you have deep seated beliefs such as the following. How many of these do you carry within you? Be honest! Give a rating of 0,1,2, or 3 for each.

0 = never, or hardly ever at all
1 = sometimes
2 = quite a lot
3 = greatly, or all the time

  1. I’m a failure.    0    1    2    3
  2. Life is unfair. There is no justice. It’s not fair.   0    1    2    3
  3. I’m not good enough.    0    1    2    3
  4. The world is cruel.    0    1    2    3
  5. You can’t trust people. They stab you in the back. People are selfish. People betray you.   0    1    2    3
  6. Nobody cares about me. Nobody loves me.    0    1    2    3
  7. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.   0    1    2    3
  8. There is no God. It’s hopeless. There is no meaning or purpose to anything. It doesn’t matter how hard you try.    0    1    2    3
  9. I’m unlucky. I’m a victim.    0    1    2    3
  10. All men are bastards. All women are bitches/witches.    0    1    2    3

How did you go? There’s no right or wrong, high or low scores here. Each of us is unique, and personal power begins with acknowledging where you are – what you are. 
In fact all these belief structures exist to some degree in the vast majority of people, right across the world. They are interwoven into personal narratives: life stories that get repeated over and over again through countless lifetimes. I am the failure. I am the one who carries the burden. I am the pariah, the scapegoat. I am the lonely one. I am the betrayer. I am the betrayed. I am guilty. Punish me. And so on…

These of course can be interwoven with stories that are positive. I am the lover, the liberator, the smart one, the wise woman, the leader, the messenger, the rich one and so on. The positive stories can act as attractors pulling us forward towards preferred futures, instilling us with self-belief; while the negative stories act as weights, dragging us down, holding us back. Unfortunately the energy of joy and success don’t get “trapped” in the body and spirit; while trauma often does.

Let’s face it. In the entirety of human existence on this planet, it all adds up to a pretty sorry tale of woe. The amount of suffering in the human collective is beyond imagination. 100 million people died in wars in the twentieth century. 45 million people dropped dead from famine in the early 1950s in Maoist China. Half a million people die each year in traffic accidents.

Within your karma there will be trauma and negative beliefs, or you wouldn’t be here. Life then is going to serve you up suffering – failure, rejection, injustice and so on. Life is going to serve you up difficult times just to make you aware of all this. And it will be good for you!

If you learn the lesson. And that requires you to do the healing, and pull out of the (negative) story.

In Discover Your Soul Template I refer to a particularly difficult time I went through when I went to work at an international school in New Zealand. I was still a young man at that time, and carried with me a great many wounds from a very difficult childhood. In particular, I had big, big issues with a certain female relative of mine, who had just about crushed the life out of me as a child. She did this because she had massive unresolved “men issues” herself; and when I came into this world she dumped them on me. Basically, she had an unconscious intention to destroy me, because to her I represented the energy of “all men”. She beat the crap out of me, and dumped all her shame on me.

While I had done some inner work by the time I got to NZ, the bulk of that trauma still remained trapped within my emotional body. So what did life do? It set up a nice little beating for me. This came in the form of my immediate boss, a youngish head teacher who set about trying to destroy me (same story) as soon as I set foot in the school. She basically did everything within her power to spread lies about me to other staff members, and to discredit me as a person and professional educator.

Perhaps I should mention that she never at any point spoke to me, even though she sat literally two metres away from me in the staffroom. Yes, that’s right. She would not even say hello to me when I greeted her in the morning. This was extremely puzzling to me, as it occurred from the first day I arrived at the school, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was that had caused her to despise me.

Yet looking back, this nightmarish situation was one of the most fruitful experiences of my life. I used the whole situation as a catalyst to look deeply within myself, at my childhood and personal karma. I brought forward a great deal of the fear (esp. of women), rage and shame that resided within my soul. I connected with the wounded child within me. Most of all I learned to stand up for myself. I learned to confront my abuser, and to disentangle their projections from my part in the drama. In other words I stopped blaming myself so much when bullies came at me, and to deflect their projections. I learned to stand in my power as a man. For the first time.

A big part of that was getting angry. Very, very angry. And getting tough.

If you live long enough you will face difficult situations. Life can be tough. You have to learn to be “tough” too, even as you permit the softness of human vulnerability to express itself through you.

More about that next post.


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