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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.

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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