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     Letting Go of What Doesn't Serve Us

The Integram: an Integral Enneagram of Consciousness;  a model of consciousness, including all aspects, for designing practical paths of personal development and evolution.

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Letting Go of What Doesn't Serve Us
(click for podcast)

There comes a time when we need to look at our “tenacity,” and ask ourselves if it’s really serving us. We hold on to stuff for a lot of reasons. If all these reasons weren’t tangled up in each other, it’d be far easier to see our path, and whether or not our current trajectory makes sense. Unfortunately very little in life is that simple, especially when we look at our emotional involvement.

Emotional processing rarely has much to do with logic. We casually dismiss this as “the heart wants what the heart wants,” thinking with our hearts rather than our heads, and so forth. When we examine more deeply, our hearts are very often working with Values, Beliefs, Personal Manifestos, and that sort of thing. This isn’t bad, but any time we have a “narrative” directing us, we’re not fully engaged in the solution process.

Our internal narratives give us “rules” to go by, seeking simplicity and ease. As rules, they’re often filled with “shoulds” that have little to do with our true desires, and this is limiting. Instead of what we want, we do what we think we “should” do, not really knowing where that “should” came from in the first place.

The internal narratives that can run our lives are insidious, demanding, and most importantly, take us out of that examining, problem-solving mindset, and into the obedient activity mindset. We get caught in habitual behavior, and stop thinking about our higher desires. It becomes about maintenance and mitigating the negative, rather than pursuing the positive. At some point we hopefully “wake up,” notice, and the struggle to disentangle begins.

Attachment to Fantasy
That wake up call usually begins with seeing that what we’ve been investing in doesn’t really exist. This is the heartbreaker.  We’re tossed into questioning everything: “What’s wrong with me?” “Why didn’t I see this?” The answer is mostly well-intentioned projection on our part.

We like to see people’s potential, an organization’s potential, a relationship’s potential, and this is very positive. The danger zone is when we start seeing that potential as if it was already realized. When we do that, we stop seeing people, organizations, and relationships for what they really are in the here and now. That’s called living in a fantasy, which is pretty hazardous. Even though our expectations are fantasy, our disappointment is real. We’re also blind to things that don’t fit the picture in our fantasy, so we ignore countless red flags.

Quick clarification here: I’m not talking about visualizations of your own potential; a hugely different situation. You’re actually in charge of achieving your potential, so visualizing it, then going for it makes sense. In someone or something else, you visualize, then hope and pray.

So once we’re noticing the flaws in the fantasy, what keeps us there? Remember those internal narratives? They’re filled with three phrases that work like mooring lines to keep you stuck: “if only,” “should,” and “I’ve already.”  Let’s look at each of them and how they tie us to the dock.

If only precedes a wishful thought, followed by “then” and another wishful thought. “If only they didn’t do that, then everything would be great.” “If only they’d do what they said they’d do, then we’d all be rich.” “If only she’d tell me she loves me more often, then I’d know it’s true.” Remember when I said the heart wasn’t particularly logical? As equations, none of these stand up. The first variable is a fantasy, thus the projected result of the fantasy is a fantasy. Unfortunately the only solution here is the proverbial cold shower of hard recognition that this is all fantasy, preferably said out loud, until reality pushes fantasy out of the way and takes over. If only tends to be the most emotional of our fantasy attachment lines, so awakening from it may hurt the most.

Next are the “shoulds.” They’re complicated by all kinds of rules we’ve created for ourselves, with a thick coat of “ethos” to back us up. “I should be able to make it work.” “I should try harder.” “I should stick with this even though it’s not working.” Once again, we add the fantasy that we have control over other people’s actions, so if we stick to what “should” be the case, it “will” be the case. You cannot make a relationship or an organization work, because you aren’t the only one in it. See the problem here? “Shoulds” create a fantasy of power that we don’t have, which inevitably leads to anger, disappointment, and frustration, but no solution.

Finally, “I’ve already” enters. “I’ve already put so much time/money/effort into this.” We don’t even have a second half of an equation here, because it makes no sense at all. The amount of time/money/effort you’ve put in has gotten you exactly where you are. If that isn’t serving you, putting in more will get you more of what you’ve got not serving you. This is where a good investment counselor tells you to sell.

Act III: Reality Just Might be Better

Once we make the break with fantasy, we have opportunities we didn’t give ourselves the option to see before. Now, instead of maintenance and mitigating the negative, we have a blank canvas on which to paint. Sure this is scary for those who subscribe to the devil they know being better than the one they don’t, but that presupposes a devil, doesn’t it? Here’s a new phrase that doesn’t necessarily invoke fantasy, and in fact may be behind the vast majority of innovation in our time: “what if?” What if you could pursue what excites you? What if you could contribute on a scale you’d only dreamed about? What if you could be happy?

Once you start with a vanishing point like that, your mind goes into problem-solving mode to figure out how to make it happen. Following your creative, excited mind is only blocked by “if only,” “should,” and “I’ve already.”  If only I had the time taken up by this bad situation/relationship, I could find a good situation/relationship. I should be able to make this bad situation/relationship be a good one. I’ve already been in this bad situation/relationship for so long, I might as well stay in it. Crazy, right? With a little guidance and support, you can break free of these ties that bind, and soar as high as you dare.

Want to learn more about how to become the best you possible?
 Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.

     - Ian J. Blei


Holiday Special Offers! -

This month brings a pile of goodies.

the "Kind Ambition" sale. 

Regularly $15.95, I'm reducing the price to stocking stuffer level.  $10 a copy, and when you buy 10 copies, you get an extra copy FREE!  That's almost 40% off!
(While supplies last.) CLICK HERE

the Holiday/Family Communication Triage Package.

We’ve fully entered the holiday season – which means great food, family - and old stuff coming up that may be painful.  So this package is particularly for you if you feel:

 - frustrated or upset at family gatherings

 - like you want to tear your hair out or run away

 - a desire for things to feel better with your family

You’re not alone; the Holiday Season is often a particularly stressful time.  Family gatherings spark family dynamics, and sometimes things get out of hand.  We’ve often got a lifetime of hurt feelings and unresolved issues standing in the way of connecting the way we want to connect. DETAILS

“Ian is a true expert regarding communication. He's fantastic at working with business units, partners, couples, families and anyone to create deeper understanding and resolve conflicts.." - J.C., - HR Consultant

This comprehensive package of coaching sessions, audio recordings, and tools regularly goes for $355.00, but until January 1st it's only $175.00!

 Click to Schedule.


Resource Links:

The Integram (TM) - the podcast series

Melissa Risdon's Raving Fan Radio Show:
Ian Blei on the
Integram (TM) -understanding ourselves, each other, and our relationships

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition

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ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



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The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
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