Session 12: Be Kind to Your Mind: Understanding Why It Makes You Nuts

In this forum, we talk about how our thoughts and emotions can keep us in a constant “cognitive loop.” Where thoughts lead to emotions and emotions lead to thoughts. We also discover three tools that you can apply to your daily life that can help you move forward in a calm and controlled way.

Video Transcript

Dr. A: All right everyone, welcome to our conscious leaders forum. I’m Dr. A, Dr. Wayne Andersen, and I’m very excited about having you here today. This is going to be a great event. I’m going to be launching, many of you may have noticed, I’m going to be launching one of the new series that came out of the work we did in London earlier in the summer which is one of the new training series to help give you the opportunity to have the tools necessary so we can work on this throughout our week and we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about that and starting to get into the the meat of how we can go to the mental gym and really work on ourselves and then also for us that are helping coach others or working with our families. I’ve had a lot of people tell me this is really helping their family dynamics as well, so that’s really awesome.

So with that, let’s just kind of go over what we always do, a little review of what this is about. Well first, we’re creating easier ways for you to focus on your mind. So I’ve turned the drwayneandersen.com site into a thought leader site which is about helping people work on themselves. To help them improve their ability to create optimal well-being and to work on this part [Dr. A points to his head] and that’s kind of what the forum’s about. So with that, all of these will be stored there so you have access to go back and look at them. All this of course is free and the idea is to create a resource where we can work together in a very troubling world, where most people are living in the Drama Triangle and give us the resources to first, kind of pull ourselves up to have a conscious, really transformational life, and at the same time be there for others and as we work together I think we can really make a difference and we’re going to talk about that. I’m going to give you some resources today both in the talk, obviously during the Q&A, and I’m going to show you within the training video things that you can practice. So, pretty excited about it and I hope you are.

So just to define what a forum is because I want to make sure the dynamics of this Zoom are about you asking questions about things that you’re learning, things you want to know more about, things you may be having issues with, and how we can work together to give you some tools so that you can work on. This is not psychotherapy. This is not trying to fix you. It is simply giving you some tools to help you become more aware because self-awareness is the start and then beyond self-awareness is being able to manage ourselves to be able to conduct ourselves where we can build what I like to call “internal stability,” being able to handle whatever happens to us on a daily basis and come out the other end, making the choices that allow us to move forward and build a solid life. 

To be able to put our mind where we want, when we want, for as long as we want. So hopefully you guys will be taking notes and have questions because that’s really the learning part and it’s really helpful for me, because the questions help me understand what are the challenges we’re going through and know that there are no wrong or right reasons. There is no wrong or right behavior. It’s all really about us working together to be kind to your mind and understand why it makes you so nuts. So, we must first realize that there are issues inside of ourselves.

We think we have issues outside but actually inside where most of the issues, the fears, the insecurities, the desires, the needs, the wants, the consciousness, the embarrassment, the guilt, they’re all words that describe things going on inside of ourselves. Guilt is not something outside. It’s inside. These are internal experiences that are in the way of freeing ourselves and developing spiritually. There are the obstacles you must remove to become free and experience consciousness. Being able to become the calm. So, with that basically, awareness, becoming the witness. This is putting on your lab coat so to speak. You know, we spend a lot of time talking about the Habits of Health system, about going and having more healthy motion. Going to the gym, being more active, walking more, working on our muscles, working on our cardiovascular fitness, but I would challenge you that a lot of the work we need to really accelerate, to get unstuck is the work right inside of here [gestures to head] it’s basically becoming aware of how our consciousness works. How our mind works, what our thoughts are, what our feelings are, and how these all work together because when we get down in it, and we’ll show a picture later on, that I showed in one of the first ones, months ago, but we’re in the rapids and we’re down, barely keeping our head above water that’s not the time to be working on it. The way to work on it is to prevent those things from happening in the first place.

So a lot of that mental dialogue going on inside your head never stops. How true is it? How important is it? You’ll notice that most of the time it’s a waste of time. Most of life is going to unfold according to forces that are outside our reach, but our emotions can be more disturbing even than our thoughts, and so we’re going to start talking about emotions. We haven’t talked much about emotions yet, but they separate us because they’re our psyche. When we take our personal stuff, our thoughts and our emotions, that’s our psyche. That’s basically what’s not going— that’s the non-physical world. You can be standing right next to someone and we know that in our spouses, in our relationships and meetings, and you may be experiencing something no one around you sees because it’s not a physical expression. Yes, sometimes you’ll see some facial expressions or a posture, but you can have this psyche going on inside of where you could be feeling great one moment and boom, you got blinded, and the next moment you’re miserable. So, we’re going to start exploring that in more detail.

So, consciousness in the inside world. Becoming the witness. You are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions. You are the witness of those things and we’re going to talk about how important it is. So, the automatic thoughts, the voice in our head. We have voluntary thoughts, we talked about this last month, we have voluntary thoughts where we think and I can visualize a boat and I can visualize a big boat, the Titanic, and I can visualize that thought. I can also play it in my head. Like right now you can say, right now, “hello” to yourself. Say, “hello” to yourself and you did that inside. So those are voluntary, willful thoughts, but there’s also that voice in your head that’s going non-stop and we’re going to talk about why that drives us nuts and why it’s so important to start to understand why that happens.

Our emotions, really, when we think of our thoughts, we usually point to our head, not to our toes when we think about our emotions. We usually point right here, right to our heart and in essence our heart is the center of our emotions. It’s where our feelings occur. It’s so critical and it’s non-verbal. You can’t describe anger. You can’t describe sadness. It is a feeling. So, emotions and feelings are interchangeable but basically you feel your— you’ll feel physiologically, because emotions are energy. They were designed to protect us. They were designed to free us. To put us in cohort with ourselves so we were in harmony, so we could perform at a high level. It’s what athletes do. They work on heart coherence. In fact a lot of the work now in heart coherence shows that we’re talking about 50,000 times the magnetic energy that goes on from our heart. There’s just a small, little, miniscule amount of electrical energy going on in our brain but our heart is this tremendous thing that we need to learn how to to work with it. To observe it. To understand it and that’s kind of what we’re going to start talking about some today.

All our personal stuff, those little puzzle pieces, are stored trauma. Those are our stuff. The stuff in our personal mind that ends up coming out as the voice in our head. So understand that anything that ever got stored in your mind because you resisted it didn’t feel good, so you pushed it down. It actually went down into your heart, into the deep down inside of you, or you clung to it. Something that you’ve held on with your heart, like an experience where you had the most beautiful day and we cling on to that trying to repeat that. Let’s say you went on vacation and you had the most amazing day in Cancun or in Turks and Caicos and you remember and you were there with your significant other and the conditions were perfect and the weather was perfect and you had this amazing spiritual day. Well, I can tell you, if you’re counting on having that happen again when you go, then you can’t wait to go back and so you save up your money and you plan for the next year to go back, you’re going to be disappointed because it’s not the surroundings. The surroundings accent it. It resonates with things we like, but they can’t be recreated. They are actually things that you learn through observation, through being fully present, through being in harmony with the way you think the world should be, that allows it to be that way.

We need to understand the major “aha” moment for you today and the part I really want to focus on. We’re going to show a really cool video. Well, I think it’s cool, is there’s always a reason why your mind creates one automatic thought versus another. There’s a reason why somewhere in there you’re having a thought and that thought basically can be resisted or clung blockage. It’s something that’s in there that hits up against it and in your mind brings it up, the voice in your head, because all that stuff that we pushed out, it’s like coiled springs. The stuff we push down is trying to come up. So an emotion is generated when our core energy hits a blockage and produces a negative feeling.

I did a little graphic to kind of show this. So, we have the pure energy coming out of our heart, you know, when we feel good and we look out. I mean I’m sitting here looking out at the ocean, I mean, it’s beautiful and it creates a harmony with me. Connection to nature. It feels good, and then I get a call of something that’s upsetting, or something, and what it does, it hits something that’s stored down inside of me and unless I’m careful and I stand back and witness it, basically, what can happen is the flow can get interrupted because of a blockage and if the blockage occurs, what it does is it degradates and so the the energy can’t come up naturally and basically what happens is we have negative feelings and those negative feelings create that internal disturbance.

[00:10:05] It’s like if you think about emotions, basically, you know— or like clouds versus objects, they’re like waves. Emotions change your energy. That’s why you can drive yourself crazy. Sometimes they overwhelm you. You can fall in love with a movie, or a scene, or someone, and feel this great love, then in a second you can become jealous because of something that happened, because it hits that blockage inside of you of something that happened when you were young and someone cheated on you. It doesn’t really matter, but they can be blocked, just like that. So it’s important to realize that and basically we’re so sensitive to our heart that what we end up doing, is we many, many, many times will actually shift and we’ll go and say, “Oh, they didn’t mean anything by that,” and we’ll block it, rather than experience that feeling we’re having and then it gets repressed down and every time we see that person moving forward, it triggers it and it comes up, and we can’t have a natural flow of discussion. It becomes this blocked energy that’s creating these emotions which are negative. 

So, I show this way back in the beginning, when we first started this series, but I think it’s a great analogy. Above this river, it’s calm and it’s flowing naturally, but our thoughts are like rocks in the river. There are these blockages and they can create eddies which are emotions, which are in our mind, which are these negative energy that’s going along and very rapidly these basically can become pretty significant and you can get really excited about finding one if you know how to handle it. It’s like having a big fish, man, you’ve gone on to something that really bothers you, great put on your lab coat, let’s explore it. Let’s spend some time, and in the video I’m going to show you some tools you can use to help you so you can stand back, move back, and observe it.

We’re going to talk a lot about that because when you shove it out of your mind it goes down into your heart and we have a tendency to— things that don’t feel good to us, that we resist, that don’t— we push them way down. They don’t dissipate. They’re down in there. They’re down in your heart energy and this may sound kind of foofoo, but it’s not because, you know, think about how rapidly your energy, the feeling you have, the emotional, the response, the coherence between your physiology and your emotions, and your thoughts, it can occur when something turns you sideways. This is a real thing. It’s non-physical, but it’s real and we all have experienced that, you know, the disappointment of a love interest, or didn’t get the job, and we can just feel these waves of things that go over us.

We need to understand they’re not us and the emotions can be even more disturbing because they’re not as tangible. So, as you’re going down the rabbit hole, you need to realize that we need to stand back, because the mind is a place that tries to protect our heart from being disappointed, but unless we release that, what ends up happening is we can put ourselves very rapidly into some really big— so you’ve all seen this many times, I’ve been talking about this for almost two decades, so when you start feeling, because you’re going to feel, the emotions are not like thoughts. They’re not something you verbalize. They’re actually something you feel. So when you feel that icky sauce, whether it’s down in your belly, or in your heart, or in your throat, or tension in your jaw, you want to Stop., and you want to become aware what is the emotion I’m feeling? As you know, if you’re reading the Habits of Health, there’s five major emotions, right? Five major emotions anger, fear, sadness, joy, and this creative energy, or some people call it sexual energy, which is when we feel creative, and we’re inspired, and we’re feeling really connected to it. It’s a very passionate time to be. So you want to feel what emotion you’re feeling. You want to challenge why you’re feeling it and put on the lab coat, your goggles are on and you’re inspecting and saying, “Okay, why am I feeling this?” And then it takes about 90 seconds for that to come up and actually go away and you’ll feel that relief as you let it release, but if you push it down and deny it, you’re putting it back down and it will be stored and it’ll add to the continual struggle you have.

So you want to choose the outcome that works. So, with this little guy sitting on the— we want to get out and observe when you’re in the rapids. When you’re in this emotional upheaval. I talk about the labrador brain. Your prefrontal cortex is really a great area up here that allows us to make the right choices and the rational, and the creative, and allows us to work very closely with other people without getting emotional. This area only works when we calm down and the way to calm down is again, Stop. Challenge., get out of the water and observe, and then you could do a mantra, I’ll talk about this a little bit more in the video, but we can do a mantra to help yourself get out of the water, to get all that stuff that’s churning inside of there, to get it to focus using a mantra which is just simply something you’re repeating that takes your focus down to one point and kind of gets the rapids— gets you out of the rapids to get you able to focus once again.

[00:15:11] In the coming months we’re going to start to unpack all this. This is a lot, I’m just giving you an intro today. We’re going to talk a lot about our thoughts, our automatic— the voice in our head. We’re going to talk about our emotions both positive and negative. You know, emotions are incredible. Why do we go to scary movies? We want to be scared. Why do we get on roller coasters? We want to be scared. Why do we watch comedies? We want to laugh and have joy. So, emotions in themselves are just part of who we are but we want to learn how to observe them and move back so we can now harness negative emotions. So, I’m going to have Chris show a new video. This is understanding how to manage your mind and I’m going to give you some tools and hopefully— I like lots of comments on this, about what you think of it. Obviously, this is a process. We’re working together, I want to make sure that we’re putting out the things that help you. If it helps, if they help you then great, let me know. Chris, let’s roll it. [Music]

Video: Self-management is all about bypassing the emotional area. The whole idea is to get out of the Drama Triangle and refocus on here [gestures to head] this is where all the good stuff happens. Where the creative stuff happens. The ability to plot your future, create a future that’s full of joy and happiness. See, most of our relationships were in the Drama Triangle. If somebody’s the victim, there’s something happening to them. Somebody’s the villain, they’re blaming it on somebody, which could be themselves, or someone’s the hero. They got to come in and save the day. 95% of the world is in that loop and once it starts, you get down in that loop and we can’t get out of it. Self-management is all about breaking out of the Drama Triangle and moving to a place where you’re empowering yourself and the people around you to become the Dominant Force and organize their life around what matters most.

First step, clearly is self-awareness. You cannot manage yourself, you cannot actually change unless you’re aware of what’s going on. Once we’ve made the decision to be self-aware and to focus on that, the next step, the exciting step, is self-management. As we start our journey on self-management it’s important to know how your brain works.

It starts with the most primordial part of your brain. The oldest part, it’s called the reptilian brain and it’s just reactive. Something’s hot you withdraw so you don’t get burnt. The second part is what we call the labrador brain, this is the emotional brain. This is the limbic brain, this is the brain that elicits emotions, that creates the energy for you to do the four F’s. You either fight, you flight, you faint, or you freeze, and the most important part beyond the limbic brain, is the human brain. It’s the brain that does all the great things, that builds the skyscrapers.

So, let’s start off with talking about somebody that gets bypassed, where the emotional part of the brain takes over, where they never really get up to the area where the magic can occur. Sitting there having that mental conversation, what we call in psychology the “cognitive emotive loop.” Where the thoughts are leading to emotions and the emotions are leading to thoughts. We’re sitting there putting ourselves in that fight or flight state, where our autonomic nervous system is stimulating epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and cortisol, and those things are churning inside of you and they’re hurting your body. They’re also hurting your mind and psychologically, the anxiety, the stress going on and cascades these chemicals throughout your system and ends up with a bad response. It’s like when we’re in the river, we’re caught in those rocks, we can barely survive, we’re almost drowning. 

We’re going to talk about three tools. The first one is really switching out negative thoughts with positive thoughts. This is really cool and something that’s easy to apply and I think you’ll be able to start using it immediately. So, anytime something negative comes up you want to Stop., instead replace it with something positive. So let me give you a great example, let’s say you’re stuck in traffic and you’re moving slow and you realize you’re going to be late. Well, we can get really upset or we can actually turn that into a positive. The world is happening in front of you and you have no control over that. Really important to understand.

The second part is, what can I do right now that can have a positive outcome? That could actually use this time for something meaningful. You know, it could be that you just start doing some deep breathing and relax, kind of slow down, or you might think about when I get to my meeting let me rehearse. So, you can take and say, “Wow, this is actually a benefit. This time I can use,” so in essence switching from negative to positive and puts you in the situation. So, now you control and have the outcome you want.

So, the second tool I’m going to give you is called a mantra. So, what’s a mantra? It’s simply a way of focusing your thoughts over one thought. You have a lot of stuff going on up there and multiple conversations and what we’re doing is just basically putting it so you are focusing on one. So, let me give you an example of a mantra. One I use all the time. You know, one of the things is when I’m talking to somebody and they’re on their phone and not paying attention, it’s kind of upsetting, you know, because what? Something else is more important than me, but we don’t know, we make our stories up. That person may be having an important conversation with their child. Something’s going on, they could be sick or need some help, so during that period I can start saying, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.” And just repeat that over and over again in my mind and what that does is it settles your mind down. It doesn’t fully make it calm, but at least takes those huge— where you’re starting to get upset, it settles those waves down. Calms those waves and allows you to get back in control. So, in essence, it’s allowing you to control your thoughts during a situation that otherwise could trigger your emotions. It’s a great self-management tool.

The third one is different. This is the deep end of the pool. This is the one that’s really going to make the difference over time and in this one you’re becoming the observer. We call it, “witness consciousness,” and you’re actually just going to sit back, pay attention to the thoughts that are happening and the feelings you have, and realize they’re not you. You’re simply observing them.

Witness consciousness. I’m the witness, inside. I’m consciousness. I’m awareness and everything else is not me. You know, that’s really important to understand because that’s where it all starts. So, this is the one we’re going to develop over time and you’re going to find that it can change everything. What we’re talking about here is becoming the observer of that, so you’re no longer your thoughts, you’re no longer your emotions, and you’re no longer anything that’s happened outside of you. Those things you have very little control of. This is where we start focusing on you. The awareness inside. The consciousness you are. The self-awareness that you are. Putting yourself in position to look at everything in an objective fashion. That it’s just stuff happening in front of you. It’s just stuff you see, it’s not you. So, let me give you an example, if you’re in the river and you’re being thrown around, you’re trying to stay alive. You certainly can’t take the rocks out, so witness consciousness is about getting out of the river. Pulling yourself out, sitting on the bank, and looking at the rocks. See if you look at the rocks and you can identify them, then you can make a difference.

So, I know what I’m talking about now may seem foreign, may seem difficult, may seem confusing, and I know that. So your ego, your mind, the way you are, the story you’ve told yourself wants you to stay the same. It doesn’t want you to change. So we’re starting to get outside of your comfort zone, but that’s where all the growth occurs. Just understand, over time it will become the most powerful thing because all that stuff that went down there with pain and suffering that you concealed will start bubbling up, and when it comes up, it’s going to be painful, but it’s going to be the beginning of the end for that concept. It’s where it’ll come up for the final time and lead you on your pathway to calmness, control and becoming the Dominant Force in your mind, and in your life. So now, you know a little bit more about self-awareness and self-management.

I gave you three tools, which are very powerful tools that I’ve used, and I still work on them every day. Let’s take this information, let’s apply it to our daily life, because it’s all about practice. It’s about consistency and persistency. It’s not going to happen overnight. You didn’t get to where you were overnight and by the way, stop blaming yourself. It doesn’t really matter. Stop trying to give yourself a better past and say, “Only wish I had these tools around.” No. You have these tools right now and your life is in front of you. Let’s go change that. Let’s work together and let’s let you become the Dominant Force in your own life.

Dr. A: Okay! What were your thoughts, guys? You like it? [reading comments on screen] Good. It’s good to hear that. Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, and make sure, we copy all the chat. So, I heard someone mention one of the areas in the video created a little bit of anxiety for them so we definitely want to look at that. You know, the idea here is to create comfort. To create— put you in position where you become self-aware and then you want to work on this. The movement is going to be difficult. I mean, it is not easy to change it. Well, it’s actually very easy, but your ego, your personal mind, all that stuff you’ve gathered over the years is going to want to give you resistance. So, if you can just hold that space and listen to it and why I want to create these training videos is for you to listen to it over and over again and hopefully it’ll start— we’re going to add a whole bunch of stuff to the site to to give you tools to work with and so hopefully these are things you can use and use with your family, with your friends, with your community.

[00:26:13] If you’re a coach you can use it with your clients or your fellow coaches. So, we’re really excited about using these things together. So, with that is just to kind of finish up this section. Let’s see if I can get this to go forward [refers to slides on screen]. So in essence, what we do, and I talked again, these are videos that I showed early on and you should always go back to the original videos, months ago, because they started this process and we’re building on it and your awareness now and understanding of how to manage these tools are giving you now the ability to kind of step back and witness consciousness of your own mind and now you look at these, but when I say filtered, if you look about it, all those gears are all that stored trauma [refers to a slide on screen], all the stuff that we didn’t want to deal with since we were little so we pushed it all down there. It all went down, way down deep into our heart, into our emotional areas.

So, it’s constantly trying to get— it’s kind of like we— in our physicality, you know, our breaths. We breathe in, we breathe out. We drink water, we pee it out. We, you know, eat, and then you know what you do with that. That’s the natural cycle of us as a human and part of that is when we store stuff, when we don’t just experience, when you go down the road and you look at the white lines, you don’t think about them. Do you remember thinking about the white lines if you drove today, or yesterday, or the day before? They come in and they go. You use this to guide you and then they’re gone but the stored trauma are things that hit your stuff and you push them down and they’re down there and they are not going away until you start to learn these skills.

Go put your lab coat on and start working on this, but the beauty is each time you’ll start to look back and laugh at how things used to bother you and they’ll be like water on a duck’s back, it won’t bother anymore. So, what we’re trying to do is have you actually move forward and our goal is to move you where you’re unfiltered, where everything you experience, when you’re in a conversation you’re not thinking what you’re going to say next, you’re thinking, “I know what they’re talking about,” no you’re fully present for them. Imagine relationally how much that will improve your health with your family, and your friends, and your community, and your clients, and coaches. If you’re part of helping us teach people this. What’s so cool about it? That’s our goal and our endpoint.

Understand, there is no one giant step. There’s no way to click your heels and suddenly— but a lot of little small ones, and as I talked about in the analogy, with the river, what we’re doing is we’re looking at our thoughts. Our thoughts are pretty close. Our emotions are a little further and then our form, which is the physical world around us. I’m looking at a plant right now and that plant is not me. My emotions are a little closer and basically sometimes they feel like to me, sometimes they feel they’re not me, but they’re not me, and the same thing with my thoughts, my thoughts are not me. I can create, willfully, a thought. I can think about basically, you know, how I’m going to change this one slide and go into the creative thought process, but I can also think, “Oh God, what did they think about this video” And then take it personally, and that’s not a good thing because now I’m making it about how it reflects on me and what I’m creating the versus the creation itself.

So, hopefully this is making sense and what I want to do is have us get back to being like kids and having fun. When you were a kid you were— I remember my girls, one day they were an astronaut, the next day they were a doctor, then a veterinarian and now my younger daughter is going to be studying to be a vet. Getting to the point where we actually put our perspective, so we’re fully in the present moment, because we have so many amazing things going around us and we get trapped in the world that we live in with the Drama Triangle. Get pulled into it, suddenly our whole day goes by and we don’t experience anything of any joy. We’re simply reacting to everything around us.

So, my goal is always internal stability. Being able to, whatever comes in, life is going to happen to us, people get sick, they die, we have accidents, we have good things, bad things, we want to basically get to the point where we can take those in perspective and not personalize them into them being us, but basically things, and thoughts, and feelings we’re having so we can have external equilibrium and basically build back humans connecting with humans in a civil way. Honestly, the way the world is right now, it makes me want to throw up, because everybody’s just looking to blame everybody else. We want to move above that and become conscious because basically, even if you have all these mountainless rocks around you, the idea is to become the calm in the middle that can deal with life as it comes.

So, with that, hopefully, that’s helpful and now we’re going to open it up for Q&A. Let me stop my screen sharing. Okay, who’s up?

Rachel: All right, we have Matt and Kristen.

Dr. A: Hey, guys?

Kristen: How’s it going?

Matt: Dr. A! You’re so awesome. Thank you so much for pouring into us all the time and I’m kind of disappointed you’re not wearing your pineapple romper! Just saying.

Dr. A: I love it! [laughing] I do have a really cool Gator shirt that I don’t have on today because we got our butts kicked, but thank you.

Matt: Yeah, so my question to you, just around navigating the cognitive emotional loops and you going through a very, very traumatic situation with your boat burning up, and your family almost, and you almost dying, and we’re so all so thankful that you’re still here. How do you manage? And this is a big thing for me, and us, as we’re building our business, right? As we’re trying to build a massive organization, help lots of people make a lot of impact. With the day-to-day challenges that come up, right? With the little things in life. With the kids. With just these things that come up and they derail us, right? And we may want to get pushed down into that Drama Triangle ,or go below the line, like how do you navigate that? How would you, I would say, help somebody navigate through the day-to-day challenges of everyday life, right? And they’ll continue to want to power forward.

Dr. A: Yeah. Yeah, well Matt, you know first of all, we’re humans, okay? I’m not in any way alluding to that we’re not going to have those feelings. We’re humans and with the human experience, and we’re here, and we’re in a human predicament, and we’re designed actually, our design is about negative bias. It was there to protect us because ten thousand years ago a lot of bad things could happen to you. So, pretty much your perception was to perceive danger and eliminate it before it happens and what happens is, you know, with your kids, there’s approval, control, security. There’s things that you’re worried about with them and they trigger emotions in you and they trigger things because you’re worried about them and the reality is this, you can only do what you can do. We have very little control over the outside world.

Now, I’m not saying, you know, let your kids go out at night when they’re young, but you have to know that they’re going to have to find their way and so rather than beat yourself up it’s that, feel the emotion. You know, if Kristen, if— how old are your kids? 

Kristen: They’re ten and six.

Dr. A: Okay. So the ten year old, is it a guy?

Kristen: They’re both girls. You actually got to meet our 10 year old.

Dr. A: Oh, that’s right! [crosstalk 00:33:51]

Matt: Yeah, I’m surrounded by girls all the time!

Dr. A: Okay. Okay, so basically the 10 year old, you know, she’s probably now getting interested in boys. Okay, so you have your experiences. [Kristen covers her eyes with her hands]. Well, I know I have two girls, they’re in their mid-20s now, so [everyone is laughing]. Think of it this way, they’re going to be interested in boys and you have very little control. You set the standards, you help them create an outline of their behaviors, but if you think any way possible that you can prevent everything from them being exposed to, or from them acting out, you’re really, really off base. You’ve got to basically manage expectations. The expectations are there’s probably things inside of you that happen to you in terms of your relationship with guys growing up and so you just have to be careful that when you’re helping them you’re using your prefrontal cortex. You’re giving them wise advice. You know, don’t get on social media and do certain things because we are in a predatorial world and there are things that can happen. You know those things. So, you give them guidelines, but understand, the whole idea of— they’re 10, 11, 12, and then 13 is coming, the teens, and then the teens, they’re moving from belonging to the clan, to your family, to starting to resist. They’re going to want to find their own way and what you want to do is make sure you’re giving them sound, objective advice. Obviously, loving on them but not trying— making sure your stored trauma, you’re not projecting on them. So, does that make sense?

[00:35:24] So, we talked about it and actually Jim Defner talks about, you know, you can withhold, withdraw, and conceal, and project, right? You actually project or what you can do is you can reveal, and own, and discuss, and then basically own it. So you want to make sure that when you’re working, I’m just picking your kids out because that’s always a sticky wicket, is that you’re not projecting your stuff on them. That’s all you can do. You set guidelines, here’s the sandbox, play within the sandbox. Be consistent, you know, I hate to say it but if you look at a— just looking at something that doesn’t have this huge brilliant area, like a puppy, you have to be consistent. You have to set the guidelines down and be consistent in those guidelines and the same thing in your relationships with the two of you. You set down, “Okay, here are the guidelines about how we’re going to co-commit to an amazing relationship for ourselves and our kids,” and then you stay committed. When you let your personal stuff get in the way, right, and now you’re projecting something that you have inside of you, then that’s where the trouble starts. And the reality is, you’re going to feel during the day when— you know, Erica didn’t get into the University of Florida, since Savannah went into the top five and she got into Central Florida, so we took her there and I felt her pain. I felt the same emotion, you know, but now she loves it there. She’s having a ball there. So, all these things are passing.

It’s a matter of feeling your feelings with them, but not letting it derail you. What happens is, as I showed you there, it’s like a wave and if the wave bubbles up and there’s something inside that’s connected because you have a stored trauma in there and you let that take you down then you’re no longer being the prudent parent. You’re now being projecting on them something that you have inside of you. So, it’s always good if something stirs you up, ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this? Because I’m thinking that they’re being too,” whatever it is, “too controlling,” or whatever, pretty much you got to ask yourself, “Well, okay, what what does this tell me about myself?” And that’s what being above the line, being out of the Drama Triangle is about— being open, curious and wanting to grow. That’s why I start off today with, “you’re putting your goggles and your lab jacket on,” is be curious when emotion gets stimulated in you, rather than pushing it down and say, “No, it’ll be alright. I’ll just not worry about it,” No! Feel it. Address it. Let it go by, and then what you’re going to find is as you do this self-discovery and self-awareness, you’re going to find there’s things that you have stored in you that you’re going to now let them release, and when they come out, man you’ll just feel this huge burden go away and then you’ll now be able to work with your children which are going through— they’re growing up, they’re finding their way, they’re moving from being totally in love with Mom and Dad, to starting it, Especially the 10 year old, starting to want to be their own person.

They want to build. It’s just part of Maslow’s principles we want to go from our survival, to our belonging, to our self-esteem, to now start building self-reliance and autonomy and we have to understand that and make sure that we’re loving on them and loving them for all we love them for and not using that as a weapon. So, does that make sense?

Matt: It does and that makes, that just gives me a little bit more clarity because I tend to push those emotions down, right? Where I need to just kind of let them out and let them grow as they go.

Dr. A: Yeah.

Matt: And I’ve become an emotional sap. Honestly, I’m crying right now [crosstalk 00:39:15]

Dr. A: It’s good! By the way, that’s good because, so what you’re doing is, you’re starting to feel [crosstalk 00:39:17]

Matt: I hold my emotions here and not let it go, right? So, I love that.

Dr. A: Good and one last thing, just to make sure that it’s being interpreted properly what you’re saying, so I’m half Italian and half Danish, so I come from an Italian family, you know, a hot blooded Italian, and they pretty much say everything. Okay, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that when you sense that like the princess, you’re starting to get upset. The idea is not to project out and take your upsetness out on someone else, it’s to observe it and basically, what I love to do, and I do many times, is I will sense when something— you can feel it, you’ll feel that in your gut, your heart, you know, your heart especially with your kids, and you just want to feel it and then you want to move yourself into that Challenge., and get away and disengage. Right then if you’re starting to get emotional, disengage. You cannot operate as in highly effective parent if you’re in here [gestures to heart], what I’m saying is if you are feeling emotional, if you’re in the limbic area, you need to be up here [gestures to head], so you need to give— it takes 90 seconds or so, let them, “Oh God, I’m just scared. I’m scared right now and I’m scared for them right now,” or “I’m mad at them because they left the plates in the sink for the 39th time,” right? So, just move away from it, take some deep breaths, understand that it’s probably something inside of you and then basically go back in a rational state and set the guidelines, and life is about consequences. So then set it up. I mean I have this issue with one of my daughters, about not cleaning up in the sink, and I like to keep my house clean and when they’re staying here, this is my house. You know, there’s the rule and what I do is I basically said, “okay here’s the deal, please do this. Do this for me, it’s important.” Now they’re older, now they get it. When they didn’t get it— see what you don’t want to do is to turn it into the Drama Triangle. So, all right guys. Well, hopefully that was helpful. Who’s next, Rach?

Matt: Thank you.

Rachel: Next we have Sherry. Sherry, can you come on camera and unmute yourself?

Sherry: Hi, Dr. A. I just want to say thank you for this Conscious Leaders Forum, it’s amazing.

Dr. A: You are welcome.

Sherry: Thank you. [crosstalk 00:41:33]

Dr. A: What are you doing? Exercising there? 

Sherry: I’m bouncing on an exercise ball. I always do that.

Dr. A: I like that. Working on your core. Habits of Healthy Motion! That’s a good thing.

Sherry: So, my question is for you, I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety my ever since I had children, I had postpartum depression, but my question for you is at night I go to bed just fine but every morning I wake up with severe anxiety and just can’t seem to wrap my head around why I wake up every morning, because I go to bed just fine. I’m just wondering, is there something I could do or to help me not wake up with that. Like things before I go to bed or.

Dr. A: Yeah are you— do you sleep? You rest well? You sleep well, just when you get up? 

Sherry: It’s just when I get up I would say. [crosstalk 00:42:17]

Dr. A: I would say that’s pretty specific. So, I would actually get some help. I would have someone— I’m not a psychotherapist [crosstalk 00:42:32]. I would say obviously a great thing to do as far as physiologically is to get up and do some exercise. Well you know, obviously you’re into exercise. So, get up because what happens is— our psyche, we have our thoughts and our emotions and there may be some residual things from— the bottom line is our experiences, our stored trauma, all that stuff, we may not even know what it is, right? It might be something we haven’t discovered yet and what now— did you always have that or that just started happening more recently?

Sherry: It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older.

Dr. A: Yeah, so what’s happening is you are— you’re sleeping well, you’re learning more about it and there’s things being triggered in there. You need to get some professional help. Just get someone to, I mean obviously that you’re aware of it, and you understand it, and you’re sleeping well. People would die to sleep well. Most people have it the opposite, they can’t get to sleep at night and they have a poor night’s sleep and then they’re tired. So, I think that is something that someone can easily help you with. It’s just a matter of spending some time with you and helping you discover what that stored trauma is. Yeah, I would get some help on that. Otherwise, it’s probably something that could be managed. It just needs to be brought up and again, all these things are conceptual things we have. Many times they’re blind spots that we so deeply repressed when we were little that we don’t even know sometimes what they are, and so you need someone that’s a professional to guide you on that, but I think it’d be really helpful and I think— I’d love to hear back if that did help, okay?

Sherry: Okay. Well, thank you so much. Have a good day. 

Dr. A: You’re welcome. Okay, Rach, who else?

Rachel: All right, next up we have Julie. Julie, can you come on camera and unmute yourself?

Julie: I can. There we go.

Rachel: Oh.

Dr. A: You were there for a second. There you are.

Julie: I’m here! Hi, Dr. A, how you doing?

Dr. A: I’m great.

Julie: Good to see you. Thanks so much for doing this. I’ll just share that I have a question for you, but I just want to say that I’ve been a coach now for ten and a half years. I don’t know what’s going on and I think the host has to start my video. [Julie‘s camera cut out]. I’ve been a coach for 10 and a half years and I’ve made some amazing physical changes. The biggest change, however, has been to my mindset and I’ve really been focusing the last year or so exactly on what you’re talking about. The question that I have, and I think you already answered it with the Browns is, the third tool that you talked about and I just went out of my brain so [crosstalk 00:45:01] 

Dr. A: Witness consciousness.

Julie: Witness consciousness. How does that [crosstalk 00:45:02]

Dr. A: It is the most important one.

Julie: It is the most important one, I saw that immediately. How does that interact with feeling the feelings? And again, I think you kind of addressed it, but I did want to ask that specifically.

Dr. A: Yeah, it’s a great question and it’s something that most people— see most people, when they have— they either cling when they have good feelings and they want to reproduce that same feeling, or if they have bad feelings they want to repress them. That’s just typical because feeling all the way through something can be painful and it’s part of the mental suffering. We grow up as little kids with Cinderella and Disney World and the world is perfect and it’s nice that you kind of set a model of what life can be like, and then you contrast, and you put life over that and life is intrinsically unstable. So, our whole experience really, is this disassociation between reality and what our expectations of reality are. So, with that, part of that is to understand that when we expect something and we don’t get it, it bothers us. It creates— it’s kind of like why we talk about what happened, what’s missing, what’s next, right? We’re taking an emotional experience and we anticipate it. It could be, and I’ll just go back for a minute. All of us had this, so when we were little, under the Hanukkah bush or the Christmas tree, we had anticipation of the present we wanted and if we got it, oh great! It was great. Sometimes we didn’t get the one we wanted and we were okay, and sometimes we didn’t get it at all and we were upset. So, I’m just using that as a really simple example. We had expectations for the world. The most important thing is to understand the world’s happening and your physiology and your mind and your emotions are out there, and they’re not you. So critical.

[00:46:56] Your thoughts, which is the voice in your head— different than the thoughts are when you get on and say, “Okay, I’m going to get on the video today,” but the thoughts that kind of pop up, they’re random and you don’t predict them, but usually you’re having having them for a reason. That’s why, by the way, when we dream, we usually take things that are bothering us and we recreate them, and they’re very vivid, because we don’t have all the other distractions around us. Where it’s very easy in this distractible world to watch, or do Candy Gram, watch Netflix, or go on and do some senseless thing, or use alcohol or drugs, it doesn’t matter, but we try to distract ourselves from all that stuff. The real challenge is to learn how to be observant of it. Of both your thoughts and your emotions.

Your thoughts are tangible. They’re objects, things you can recreate. Your feelings or your emotions aren’t. They’re like this— emotions are a change in energy and we’re doing a lot of work in medicine on heart coherence and the importance of it and the coherence between our physiologic state, our emotional state, and our cognitive state, and all three of those, when they’re in harmony— that’s why when world-class athlete is in flow, so to speak, or Michael Jordan or whoever the athlete is, they have coherence between their physiology, their emotions, and their basically their cognitive part and that’s why some athletes that they’re doing really well on the trials and then it comes and they never win the big event because they get emotional discordance and now they’re not coherent.

So the whole thing you’re trying to do, Julie, is you’re trying to now separate and stand back, witness consciousness, and it’s the most difficult. I gave the easier ones first because changing out of a negative to a positive or simply a mantra are easier ways we can almost adapt. You’re going to have to basically come to self-awareness with your personal mind. Our personal mind does not want to change, it likes the way it is. It likes being in charge and it likes the world being a certain way and that’s why this worked. It seems so difficult because we still let our personal mind, or our ego, be in charge. When we really ask ourselves, “Do I want to have internal stability and external equilibrium? Do I want to be able to handle challenges in a way where I experience them?” You know, if something sad happens you get sad. You see an animal that’s hurt, you get sad. My daughter last week came home and she accidentally hit a squirrel and she was sad, and then I got sad, right, and that’s okay. That’s fine. That’s— you should be sad. You didn’t want to kill it, but the bottom line, you don’t cling to it. You don’t hold on to it. You simply say, “Okay, that’s unfortunate,” it’s just part of life and that happens on multiple different levels.

We’re all born and we all die. I trained with the top critical care physicians in the world and they always say, “We have birth to death. From the sanctity of life to the quality of life,” and those continuums occur for all of us and the more we become to grips with that, and understand those emotions, the more we can be fully present in the moment. So many people are waiting till they retire. They’re waiting for something else to happen. They’re waiting to get their boat and sail around the world and they’re missing the whole world, which is right what we’re doing right now. So, there’s like over 600 of you that are on right now experiencing this and hopefully, this is my gift to you, and I hope you take it and start to become more aware. Knowing that that ego, that personal mind, that set of the way the world should be, that dogma of the world view, is not helping you.

If you expect the world to be a certain way and that’s how you live a life, you’re going to be miserable most of the time. It’s kind of like a clock, you know, if a clock is broken, it’s right twice a day, and so the same thing, if we expect the world to be a certain way, occasionally the world will be that way. Some days the kids perform well, they get A’s in school. Sometimes you get the pay raise. Sometimes the car you wanted or you get a special deal on something, and then most of the time, you don’t, and so what we need to understand is that in every moment, being open, curious and appreciative and I’m going to say this right now because we don’t have a lot of time left, but I think this is so unbelievable, that so important, is a gratitude and appreciation, for where we are and what we have.

We’re living in a world and I love— actually I watched Alien last week. I hadn’t seen it in 30 years, 30, 40 years, and it was one of the early looking in outer space, of how void it is, and another creature even being out there. We don’t even know that, right? But if you think about 99.99999% of the universe, which is 14 billion years old, because we can look back with our technology because we created that with this [gestures to head] and we can see how that happened, and what happened, and all those things and I’m talking about purely from a universe, not from a theological or a religious point of view. That’s not my point here, but though there’s nothing out there and we’re on this sparkling blue planet. If you look from the satellites and stuff and you look down, this sparkling blue and green planet that’s alive with ncredible— if you go snorkeling you look underneath the reef, or you go into the jungle, or you go— I went with my girls to Africa and we’re in the most incredulous place and your chances of being here are just so remote. We should be so damn grateful for what we have and not expect the world to be a certain way and just be so appreciative and grateful and if we adapt that, then every day is a bonus.

When the young lady that’s having anxiety, when she gets up, yeah right now she’s anxious because it’s something that happens. There was some expectation from her past that she’s going to get rid of because now she’s starting to learn how to bring these things up and she can work with someone’s professionally to help her, but basically for me when I get up and I look outside and I see the beautiful ocean, I’m just thankful to be here today and so that switch needs to occur. That there’s no expectation of the way the world should be. The world is the way it is. All our expectations should be on, how do we work in here? [gestures to head] To basically understand that our thoughts and our feelings give us information and we should, as much as we can, be able to, not suppress, actually let that stuff come out, so now we can experience the world. Almost like a video.

So that everything, rather than looking out and saying, “Oh, you know, it looks like it might rain,” instead we out at look at those incredible clouds. Does it make sense? So, you need to do that just as much with your emotions as you do with your thoughts. The thoughts are a little easier, they still take work but the emotions are really more of a feeling of this energy and when your energy’s down here [gestures to heart] your energy wants to come up. It wants to enjoy. I show those kids running and with joy, that that is our natural state. We want to be full of that energy, but when we have stored trauma that’s blocking it, it doesn’t allow it to come up and it represses it and so we can enjoy the moment. So in that case— the bottom line, experiencing love, and I’m not going to get into this right now because we don’t have, we’re almost out of time, but love is loving yourself and loving love, this feeling that comes up, it’s not another person. The other person is just the expression where you find someone you’re co-committed to and you can do that together, but basically, love— you can’t, “Oh, if that person just acts a certain way then I’m in love with them,” right? and that’s conditional. That’s codependency. What we’re looking for is to start to understand our emotion. Understand how powerful our heart is.

Most intellectuals always repress their feelings and they intellectualize them because what they don’t want to do is they have to experience that because it’s scary, and it’s a lot of energy, and it’s a lot of feeling, and yeah I cry a lot, why? Because I’m feeling those feelings and I’ve learned to let it be expressed. Just like I saw you almost start crying when I talked about the squirrel. Yeah, we don’t want bad things to happen, but if it’s really bothering us a lot, then we need to ask ourselves, “What am I afraid of? What am I controlling? What do I have a security issue with? What do I need approval for?” Because most of the time, it’s something inside of us that’s triggering us to have emotion that’s out of proportion for what it should be. Does that make sense?

Julie: It does. Thanks so much, and I’ll just share that I had an email from a very close friend the other day that felt like a zinger. It was just like a— right? And you get that feeling, and my immediate reaction was to say, “okay, go distract myself. I don’t want to feel this at all,” and what I did instead was, I just sat and I said, “okay, let me just process this for a minute,” and I felt that feeling. It came up, no more than 90 seconds, it was up and gone. It was like a wave and I was able then to be responsive instead of reactive to what I read. So, thank you for reinforcing that.

Dr. A: Yeah, that’s a great— thank you for that example. That’s a great example because in the previous thing you would have thought, from someone you’re close to, and they’ve done something that hurts you, then you want to, “oh, how dare them!” Yeah. Or, one or two things, either, “how dare them,” or, “no. they didn’t mean anything,” and then repress it. What you did is you sensed it, and it touched your stuff, and it touched your stuff and then you allow that to happen naturally and then you can go on because remember, everyone is doing the best they can do with what they have, and that’s why that’s the cautionary note for everybody, by the way, you guys are— I’m really proud of you guys, are spending the time on here. You really want to learn, you want to learn and grow and I commend you for that. I do it every day. I work on it every day and that’s something that most people aren’t ready to do because remember, it’s not comfortable. It’s easy to sit there and build your story of how life should be and you’re going to be disappointed a lot, but at least it’s your story.

[00:57:29] Instead of starting to explore what the possibilities can be. Where someone can’t take you off. Where some little trigger like that, can’t turn you sideways. You have a moment with it and also don’t take it personal. It’s not about you. It’s about them, right? It’s totally not about you.

Julie: Exactly.

Dr. A: Yeah, and so the bottom line, we only have control over how we respond. So things are going to happen, we respond to them and how we respond to them, will determine the outcome.

Julie: Thanks, Dr. A.

Dr. A: All right. You’re welcome. Okay, I got time for one more.

Rachel: All right. Next up we have Sandy. Sandy, can you come on camera and unmute yourself? [no answer]. Sandy, are you there? There you are.

Dr. A: Hey, Sandy.

Rachel: Just unmute yourself Sandy.

Sandy: Hi, Dr. A! Ah, darn

Dr. A: I can hear you.

Sandy: Okay, perfect. I just want to— I have a question. You and I have a long history because I’m living my best life because of you and this wonderful Optivia community and I’m exactly where you’re talking about. I have put those emotions down, and down, and down, and down for a long time and now they’re starting to come up, and I wanted to ask you what your opinion is on listening to things while we sleep. For instance, like meditations while we sleep, or frequency music, or anything like that.

Dr. A: Yeah, I love that stuff. I think it’s great, you know, meditation. If I had to pick one thing, meditation for me, because what meditation does is it makes you aware of how much you’re talking, right? How much you got going on in there and it’s not about, I mean obviously deep meditation, over years of experience, you could become where you have no thoughts but what meditation does is it literally calms the mind. Stops all the extraneous thoughts and allows you to focus on something that’s what— mantra is like a type of meditation, and then when you sleep, you have different waves, different sleep waves, and this is part of the energy management and so there are beautiful tapes on meditation and sleep where they actually mimic the waves that allow you to sleep better.

So yeah, I’m all for it. I think a good thing to do before you go to bed is to quiet your mind and it’s in the beginning, and especially if your ego is really strong, it says, “I can’t meditate. All it does is I hear myself chattering.” Well good. You’re hearing yourself chattering, you weren’t hearing it before, you weren’t even aware of it. Now you’re aware of it. That’s the first step. Remember, self-awareness is the start. So I love that and the calm down, and what it does is it kind of cycles your brain waves, and we have lots of sleep— do a lot of sleep wave technology and sleep medicine and so we’ve learned a lot about that, but yeah, the music is great.

I think music is such a wonderful thing. As long as the music is resonant. I mean obviously listening to very discord music that’s loud and rough, and discord like, you know, some— and I’m not, I don’t want to sound like an old fogey, but you want more harmonic music. You want more things that create harmony versus very cluttered, because what it does is it jolts your mind in your brain, but remember that’s another form of sensory intake, which is the form part I should talk about. Form, emotions, and thoughts. That’s the form part, but sound is really good for soothing. It’s also ergogenic, it helps us calm down and create resonance. So, I’m all for it.

Sandy: Okay, you think it can also kind of help with reprogramming our subconscious?

Dr. A: I’m not into neurolinguistics programming. I’m more into just becoming aware. Yeah, I don’t want to ascribe to any individual philosophy, or programming. I think that you want to take them in. I think the key part is to become the Dominant Force in your life. To basically raise your hand and say, “I’m responsible. I’m taking radical responsibility. I’m going to now work, I’m not going to be there all the time, but when I feel myself shifting below the line, I’m going to become more aware when that happens and I’m going to basically shift, because I start drifting down. I’m going to shift back up and I’m going to take control of that.” We’re all going to shift sometimes. What you don’t want to do is you want to avoid cascading down into the Drama Triangle because once you’ve now activated the limbic part of your brain, it’s just like when I was showing the rocks when you’re in the river. It makes it much more difficult to get out. So, does that make sense? [crosstalk 01:02:42]. 

Yeah, so I think music is good for— and basically any of that stuff I think having a cool room, having a dark, having resonance with background music, that’s like the— even the ocean, that rhythmic of the ocean. Any of those things are helpful because if you— by the way one of the things we haven’t addressed yet on any of these, but when you sleep well, when you have a good night’s sleep and you go into multiple three or four REM cycles, your brain wakes up much more clear. It’s much more rested and it makes it a lot easier to deal when you do have the start of a trigger or emotions, and make it much easier. When you’re tired or you’re irritable everything bothers you. So yeah, even improving your sleep will help you get better at this. 

Juile: Thank you very much. I’m finding myself something from being more critical minded to way more caring-minded towards myself. So.

Dr. A: Good.

Julie: Appreciate it. 

Dr. A: Love on yourself. Listen, you’re an incredible human being. You’ve got all these faculties and things you can do, you’re learning through these trading tools how to take control of that. You will find in relationships, your relationships will improve for you, maybe not for them, because now you’re going to be more likely not to respond or want to talk or gossip or any of that stuff, but congratulations on doing the work. I really appreciate that.

All right, we’re out of time. If we didn’t get to everybody, write your questions down and we’ll address them in a future seminar. Hopefully, this is helpful. Let me know anything else you’d like to see, or hear, or have. Anything else we can do. Thank you guys and have a great week and remember you can put your mind where you want, when you want, for as long as you want. Start today working on it. God bless you guys.

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