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"A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom and joy but illuminates the way to true human potential." Paul Rademacher, author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe

"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre

"Rewiring the Soul is one the best introductions to the spiritual life I've ever read. Not esoteric but real-world and practical. The implications are profound." Peter Shepherd, author: Daring To Be Yourself

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Learning from the Past - But NOT Living There


In the past I've spent some time commenting on the fact that if we look too much to the past: either to its pain or its perceived happiness and glory, we risk becoming caught in a loop that will not allow us to live fully in the present. By going through an experience that somehow resonates with something similar in the past, in particular if the past one was painful, the present one will tend to pull us fully back there and literally keep parts of us in the past, meaning that those parts of us are simply not available for us in the present.

However, despite that caveat, there is much to be said for examining our past, for being familiar with its crests and troughs, and in particular, with its patterns. However, in order to be able to recognize all of this, we need to thoroughly know our past, and in order to do that, it needs to have been examined. It needs thinking about, in other words.

One of the easiest ways I know of doing precisely that is by following this simple system - A Life Timeline Exercise:
  • take one sheet of paper for each year of your life, including year '0', when you were born
  • at the top of each sheet write the year and your age
  • write - as most of us know this - your city of residence, and perhaps the actual street address where you lived
  • write who lived in the household with you, including parents, siblings, grandparents or other relatives, household staff and any pets
  • if you are old enough to be in kindergarten, write that, or else school, college, etc
  • your jobs
  • any birthdays you remember and why, ditto Christmases and vacations
  • best friends
  • your first set of roller skates or bike, musical instrument, etc.
  • sports activities
  • studies
  • church
  • clubs, etc.
In other words, the point is to write the obvious, because by so doing, you begin to remember snippets of the less obvious, or the partially forgotten. The object is to have a maximum of 1-3 sheets per year of life, written in bullet-style. And by the way, just do one bit at a time. If you get out the requisite sheets of paper and just write the year and your age at the top on the first day, that's fine. Then leave them in a convenient place in your house, where you may pass frequently, and add a bit each time you remember something.

Slowly, you will begin to form a picture of your past that goes far beyond just the painful or happy memories and this picture, just as surely as a puzzle coming together, will help you understand not only your past, but more importantly, what you can learn from it in order to make your future better. You will recognize connections between events in your life, for example:
  • the fact that you are averse to getting the puppy your spouse wants, reminds you of a situation when you were a child, desperate to have a pet, and your parents refused to allow it. Recognizing the similarity in patterns, although in both cases you were on the opposite side of the spectrum, allows you to explore some of the emotions involved and see more clearly, perhaps what this tells you. Are you afraid of hurt or vulnerability? Are you reacting by rote, instead of thinking things through? There are many variations on a theme, and it will be up to you to recognize what applies to you.
  • the hurt you feel today at being blown off at the last minute by a friend with whom you had planned to have lunch, reminds you of an occasion when you were a teen where you were also blown off. This leads you to recognize that people often treat you less well than you would like. This leads you to think about the fact that you find it very hard to speak up when something happens that is hurtful. 
Recognizing these connections between the past and the present will allow you to make changes regarding your life. How are you improving your future today?


Note: I've written about this exercise in the past, and talk about it frequently in workshops, groups, speeches, etc. I am always amazed at how few people actually go ahead and do it. While I understand that written exercises are often largely boring, in this instance I believe it can be exciting. One, because you start remembering many snippets from your past that you thought you had forgotten, and two, because in so doing, you can make real connections about your life and its meaning in ways that are often quite difficult to achieve.


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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

What is Your Fate?


Have you ever noticed your relationship patterns? Attracting similar people into your life, or falling in love with similar people (even though at the outset it might have seemed that they were polar opposites)? Or have you ever noticed how you tend to repeat something you already experienced? Or have you had similar supervisors or bosses in different jobs - in other words, a similar kind of situation arose because of some type of issue with each boss? Or perhaps you tend to be very impatient and because of your impatience you tend not to double check certain things you do and hence have landed in a similar kind of mess - or made important, albeit very avoidable mistakes - on various occasions.

Some might call these examples fate. Or bad luck. But our friend C.G. Jung would have said: Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. So that tells you (if you care to really understand it), that as long as you don't connect with the part of yourself that is in the shadow, i.e., the part that isn't easily visible for you to see & understand, and only becomes visible by virtue of the things that happen to you (such as some of the examples noted above), then those very same things will continue to occur again and again, and you may well call it fate or bad luck. 


Again, Jung has something interesting to add: My own understanding is the sole treasure I possess, and the greatest. Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light. So what does it mean that we need to connect with the part of the self that only shows up via that which happens to you? It means that one of the things you can do, is to examine your life on the basis of those events that have occurred - in some fashion - more than once. This gives you a starting point. Jung says: Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

Becoming conscious - awakening - is ultimately one of the most enriching and most freeing things you can do for yourself and by so doing you may find that your fate is no longer your fate because you will have a much greater hand in shaping it.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Learned Helplessness, Hopelessness & Moving Forward


Just as many others, you also may be feeling some (or a lot of) helplessness in the wake of the outcome of the US elections today. Obviously I have no crystal ball and am unable to reassure anyone that things will be OK. The American system has a number of checks and balances in place that in theory will prevent a madman at the helm from doing too much damage. But that, of course, is mere speculation, as one year ago we would have said that anyone who spouts venom and bigotry and racism and sexism, etc., would never be nominated, let alone elected.

But here is what I'd like to say today: it is up to each and every one of us to move forward in the very best way possible - in our own lives - in order that the light that we shine may illuminate the life of some of the others who touch our lives, and they in turn, may do the same for those who touch their lives. In order to be able to do that, you must not allow yourself to succumb to helplessness, or anger, or any other negative emotions. This is the only way the world can change, whereas if you succumb to whatever negative thing it is that you are feeling, the world will not only NOT change, but it will have more people in it who believe this man is a good choice. Gandhi said be the change you wish to see in the world and Goethe said if every man will sweep in front of his own door, soon the whole town will be clean.

Learned helplessness and hopelessness are terms that have come into our vocabulary principally through the research of authentic happiness and learned optimism (click here to test yourself on learned optimism) psychologist Martin Seligmann.

Learned helplessness can be understood as the near passive acceptance of unpleasant situations. This passive acceptance eradicates those reactions another more positive thinking individual might have, which would help the person to try to escape from or control the situation. Learned hopelessness is a more serious state, bordering on deep depression, that is the result of prolonged immersion in the prior state of learned helplessness.

In Seligmann's experiments with rats, dogs, and eventually (consenting) humans, it was discovered that when a test subject had experienced a situation where no matter what it did, it could not escape a negative outcome, its subsequent experiences of the same situation, even when conditions were much more positive, and the subject could have escaped the negative outcome merely by trying something different, that subject would invariably give up, assuming that it had no chance of escaping the inevitable.

Victor Frankl, the renowned psychiatrist who was held in Ausschwitz during the Holocaust, and father of logotherapy, wrote in his famous Man's Search For Meaning that one of the main reasons he was able to survive, was because he had not lost hope, as so many inmates of that hell hole had.

BBC Journalist Alan Johnston freed on July 4th, 2007, after being held by a Palestinian faction in the Gaza Strip for nearly four months, insisted that one of the main reasons he had been able to survive psychologically, was because he never lost sight of hope. So also say - in some fashion or another - Nelson Mandela and Alexandr Solzhenistyn.

Hope and optimism are essential to our physical, psycho-emotional and spiritual well-being. In the above-mentioned research, and much more that has been done since, a state of learned helplessness can lead to a weakened immune system, heart attacks, cancer, and all manner of illnesses. In order to find your way back to such a state, if you feel that you are leaning towards learned helplessness or even hopelessness, you might begin by reading some of the suggestions made in many posts here on this blog about reaching for joy and happiness.

If you are aware of a negative inner state, the first step is to realize that your awareness has given you a choice. The next step is to begin to implement that choice at every step of the way...little by little. Get your inner freedom back and begin to live your life that way you are actually meant to. Start now. Don't wait for some calamity to befall you and then begin, or regret that you didn't begin earlier. Take your life into your hands. Change the negativity and believe in yourself and what you are truly able to do - despite outer circumstances.

***************

Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Your Self-Esteem & the Ubiquitous Press


Having admitted on occasion that I may glance at fashion and gossip magazines when sitting in the hair salon, or that I may do a bit of the same on my smartphone if I'm having a coffee somewhere, I'd like to give voice to something that I think each time I do so. While I may be fascinated (or horrified) by the latest fashions, or read with curiosity about the serial relationship meandering of this or that celebrity, I am incensed when I see articles and photographs or social media posts addressing the following in a critical, finger-pointing fashion, and using well-known public figures to make the point:
  • laugh lines
  • wrinkled knees
  • sagging bottoms
  • extra weight
  • sparse hair growth
  • grey hairs
  • fashion gaffes
  • large thighs
  • sagging necklines
I think you get the point. Unfortunately this not only happens in the tabloid-style press, but happens as well in much 'better' press, and while it is focused mainly on women, it is also beginning to focus on men (lack of biceps, biceps that are too large, receding hair line, nose hairs, belly, love handles, etc.).

As you will have guessed, my issue; my concern has to do with self-esteem in a population of individuals that already has problems with that, more than with the ethics of this particular brand of gutter class journalism. And evidently I am less concerned with the self-esteem of the celebrities who are used as lynchpins by the authors of these pieces, than with the self-esteem of the young people (and often the not so young people) who read this, and who already feel 'less than perfect' as opposed to celebrities or models they see in the press, and now, with this kind of overt and vicious criticism, feel even more damaged.

Our society places enormous weight on physical perfection, and while I am the first who may admire such physical perfection wherever it exists, I am also aware of the fact that I had to buy my freedom from such self-esteem robbing material back in the 80's when I made the concerted and deliberately conscious decision to stop buying fashion and gossip magazines because I recognized the effect they had on me and how I felt about myself. You might say I did this because my love for myself was greater than my desire to continue perusing these magazines.

Please: if any of what I have written in this brief post hits home, stop buying and reading this kind of press. Understand that it has power over you simply because your sense of self-esteem and self-love has not yet had a chance to grow to the place where such messages would no longer resonate with you. Make a choice in YOUR favor and simply no longer spend your time (and sense of inner worth) on this kind of media.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Where is the Inner Voice?


The question about the inner voice is one that has plagued most of those of us who ask the question for millennia. What we're really asking is how do we know that what we're hearing is truly the inner voice and not the ego, or self-talk, that non-ending inner conversation that will never finish until we become aware and mindful enough to do something about it.

So here's my take on it in a nutshell:
  • first you need to become aware of the ego's voice inside of you, in other words, your self-talk; your rumination; your worry thoughts; your fear thoughts; your compare-myself-to-others thoughts; your blame thoughts, etc. etc.
  • next, come to understand the messages your "pre-awareness" self-talk is giving you ... day in ... day out. Some of those messages may be ok, but most are probably not
  • next, become aware of your body. For example, notice how your solar plexus scrunches up when you hear a police siren behind you, and how it gradually relaxes once you realize the patrol car has passed you in hot pursuit of someone else, or notice how youmay have a similar reaction when you feel someone is letting you down, but you do or say nothing 
  • next, attempt to connect the feelings in different parts of your body (lump in throat, thumping of the heart) with messages you are giving yourself with your self-talk
  • now choose to change the self-talk when you feel the body's message (example: thought: I'll never be able to do this; feeling in the body: tightening in the tummy or chest, perhaps less oxygen intake, etc. New message to self: If I was able to do such-and-such in the past, I can also do this or If they trusted me to do this, I can do it (always assuming it's something do-able ... if you are 1.64m tall you will probably not be able to play pro basketball).
  • so now that you are beginning to recognize self-talk and its effect on you, you can begin to start paying attention to the inner voice, which is quite different. Why? Because it comes from your most inner self that loves you well, some might call it the intuition, your soul, or your divine self.
  • it might be the part that is urging you to change jobs, even if it means taking a cut in pay, so that you can do something that you are passionate about.
  • and here's the clincher: normally the difference between self-talk and the inner voice is that the latter brings forth some wonderful - often even, powerful - emotion, closely linked to excitement and joy ... but generally not desire or longing... 
You might also enjoy listening to Self Esteem and Listening to Your Inner Voice (this is an audio file from my radio show: click on the link and once on that page scroll down to the Section titled: Awareness & Consciousness and then go to the show title indicated above).

***************

Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
DEINE SEELE UND DU
  

Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Unfinished Business


Do you know some of those people that just keep going back to something you said this morning, on Monday, last week, or 20 years ago? Some people simply can't seem to move on from that one thing you said. Do you know how you keep asking yourself how they can not realize that they are not only wasting their time and yours by rehashing these old subjects, but you probably also ask yourself how it is that they can't see that they are actually keeping themselves mired in figurative mud.

Assuming you're with me so far, let me switch gears. Even if you don't do any of the above, how about the things you think about that happened long ago? You know, when your mind goes to:
  • Aunt Julia's way of always raising her eyebrows when your mother said you were doing well at school, and then talking about your cousin, who was in a special genius class for highly gifted children
  • Your father's absolute and total lack of interest in you and your siblings after he and your mother divorced
  • Your sister's continual mocking of those extra pounds you always have carried around
  • Your spouse's frequent public derision of your specific interests or hobbies
  • Your colleague's undermining of your proposals or achievements 
  • Not to mention much more difficult past issues such as abuse of any kind
So - if you are able to see the damage the kind of person I described in the first paragraph does to him/herself when they keep going over and over something you said in the past - and which in theory has been resolved, then you should also be able to see how you damage yourself by allowing your thoughts to go back again and again to things that happened to you in the past - no matter how terrible.

When clients tell me about their past and how they are unable to let it go, the one thread that runs through each and every one of these conversations is that it is their thoughts that come unbidden, and that they are unable to eliminate. It is also their belief that they are unable to do anything about said thoughts. And finally, it is their belief that by continuing to think about what happened, they are acknowledging the importance of the facts, because by not thinking about them, they would - in some fashion - be saying it was OK to let the matter go because it was not important.

Please understand this post is not about measuring the importance of what happened to you. All of us had things happen to us that were difficult, painful, and even very terrible. There is no question about that. Furthermore, this is not a contest. What may have been terrible for me, might be lightweight for you, and vice versa.

All matters that are still on your emotional, psychological, or spiritual table in the sense we are discussing here, hold you back. They are unfinished business that keeps you from moving forward the same way you could, if the matter had already been laid to rest. And here comes the 64 million dollar question: how can you lay it to rest?

The answer is surprisingly simple: 
  • have the intention that you want to lay it to rest
  • understand that it is your thoughts that keep the matter/s alive
  • recognize that in order to do something about your thoughts you need to be aware of them - if not at all times (especially at the beginning), then at least much more than you currently are
  • in order for that to happen, you need to begin some practice that makes you more aware of yourself (see this short piece on mindful walking)
  • you will also need to begin to acquire the intention to forgive (see this post and the articles listed in it at the end)
As you become conscious of thoughts arising that are related to any of your unfinished business, you start practicing the steps from any of the following posts from my blogs:



  • Finding Your Way Through Pain
  • Stop the Vicious Circle in Your Head
  • Healing Your Life
  • The Secret to Choosing Good Thoughts


  • Understand that this is a process. You don't lose 20 pounds in an intensive weekend detox retreat, and you won't reshape your neural pathways regarding your thoughts in that amount of time either. But you will notice the first changes very quickly. So do it. Even if only because you would like to explore the world of loving yourself. That is where this leads you.

    ***************

    Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


    Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (English). Available globally in paperback or Kindle e-book versions


    Bücher von Dr. Gabriella Kortsch (Deutsch) ... JETZT bei Amazon (Taschenbuch oder E-Book) erhältlich 
    DEINE SEELE UND DU
      

    Angefangen mit Rewiring the Soul - auf Deutsch: Deine Seele und Du, jetzt weltweit erhältlich als Taschenbuch oder Kindle E-Book (Blog hier), werden auch meine anderen Bücher in Zukunft auf Deutsch bei Amazon erhältlich sein.

    Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



    Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for another one of my books. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed. 

    My blog posts are also featured on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest & you can find me on Instagram 

    Thursday, October 6, 2016

    Crossing Thresholds to Greater Growth


    Just a few words today about change, newness, and the unknown.

    Venturing Into the Unknown

    We tend to fear it. We tend to think that because we are changing to something different (job, challenge, city, country, relationship, environment of any kind), or doing something new, or going to some type of unknown element in our lives as opposed to what we have done to this point, we will have difficulty with it or even fail. The new aspect can even be something such as changing a behavior, exchanging one way of doing something for another, because we have come to recognize that it is better (for example, when people learn to set healthy boundaries (see also Do Your Relationship Boundaries Contribute to Your Well-Being?). So when they do this, people are generally fearful at the beginning of putting this new behavior into practice, because even though they see its great value for their own psychological health (and that of any of their relationships), actually doing what it takes to have healthy boundaries can be daunting when one has not been doing it.

    But the real point of today’s article is to discuss the fear.

    The Many Faces of Fear

    Fear of the unknown. Fear of the untried. Fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone (see also Leaving Your Comfort Zone: Fear of Emotional Expression).

    What exactly does this fear tell us?

    First of all, welcome it. Recognize that it is the hallmark of growth to come. Fear of this type signals that as you cross a new threshold into a new arena, you will be learning something that will move your process of growth up a notch.

    Secondly, recognize that you have been in this place many times before, with all the other things you have done or lived through for the first time in your life in the past, and now you are much more – or even totally - at ease and comfortable with them. You passed over the threshold when you did whatever it was for the first time, and now you are in an entirely new place. But since you are already comfortable with whatever it was that once caused your fear, you no longer view it as something threatening and fearful. Use that "success" experience (the Germans call it Erfolgserlebniss) to help you cross the new threshold. Use the knowledge that what was once so far outside your comfort zone, has now become your new comfort zone. Recognize that the fear you feel indicates that you are in the process of expanding this comfort zone once again, and that this will bring about new growth. (Also see
    Making Fear of the Unknown Work for You).

    In other words: fear that is felt before starting something new could in fact be a good sign, because it means that once again you are on the road to new growth. Your life and your world are expanding, and you are vital and vibrant and alive in this process. In such a case, fear could be defined as your friend.

    Growth Takes Place at the Borders of Chaos and Order

    I recently listened to a short interview of John DeMartini. He said something to the effect that the greatest growth takes place at the borders of chaos and order.

    That’s a fascinating theory. It takes you back to
    Hegel, the German philosopher (and even to Marx), and the concept of dialectical reasoning (thesis, antithesis, and synthesis), where the transition of thought moves from an initial conviction about something, to its opposite, and then to a new, higher conception that involves but transcends both of them.

    Order might be likened to the thesis aspect of Hegelian philosophy, chaos to antithesis, and finally, the new, higher order, i.e. the place where growth has taken place, and is now both assimilated and visible in its manifestation of the personality, is the synthesis. Once the new thought or conviction about something (the new synthesis) has remained this new order for some time, and hence has become becomes the new thesis, the entire process repeats itself, because without it, there is no growth.

    You might say that when chaos is the determining factor, when there is no longer any order, there is no homeostasis or balance in the personality, and until it again finds an equilibrium – but at a higher level – chaos reigns. When, however, balance is achieved, a new synthesis takes place, and homeostasis is once again in evidence.

    Inner Growth Needs Some Type of Friction

    What all of this boils down to as stated in slightly different terms at the beginning of this article is: inner growth needs some type of friction (fear, pain, suffering, etc.), or stated in other words: chaos, antithesis, lack of balance, for the personality to seek a new order, a new balance, a new synthesis on higher levels. I’ve even heard of people talking about it from the point of view of the actual brain re-structuring itself on new levels after the initial scrambling about in chaos to search for a new balance. Neuroscientists would refer to new neural pathways having been formed in the pre-frontal cortex that lead the individual to a higher level of functioning. (See also Creating New Neural Pathways (And Getting a Better Life in the Process) this link also points to a wonderful audio broadcast about this general topic).

    So looking at it from that point of view, I suggest that you welcome situations that appear in your life that you might have regarded as difficulties or hardships, stress-filled times, and moments saturated with problem after problem, as times when your greatest inner growth can take place. Observe yourself as you deal with the situation, observe how you look for, and eventually find solutions, observe how you apply them, and how they then begin to form part of your normal life, and ultimately, observe how your parameters have expanded, how your comfort zone has grown, and how you yourself have become a much richer personality, a human being with a new order and equilibrium that must in the future, if further growth is to take place, again give way to another restructuring.


    Image: "The Birth of a New Star" painting by Nguyen Dinh Dang

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    Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.


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    DEINE SEELE UND DU
      

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    Libros por Gabriella Kortsch (español) ... ahora en todo el mundo en Amazon en versión bolsillo y Kindle



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