Designing Your Heart's Desire: The Releasing Strategy
Copyright © by Sharon Marshall Cameron
All Rights Reserved
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Keys to Your Inner Mindset
The Releasing Strategy works with the natural way that negative or other beliefs and perceptions get into your mind in the first place. These pathways to emotional programming were first documented by Dr. David Cheek and Leslie LeCron in their book, Clinical Hypnotherapy, mentioned earlier. They classified them as seven keys. We have expanded them to nine.
When we last saw Dr. Cheek, he said that he felt all the keys could ultimately be reduced to just one, the Imprint, and we agree with him. Since I want to teach you to notice the different ways you may be unknowingly influencing yourself, however, it is more useful to detail them first. Quite simply, they are ways in which you are emotionally affected by your interaction with your environment and by your own thoughts.
Our first such learning is done through the process called Identification. We identify with role models, parents, or other "big people" when we are little. With this unconscious mechanism we learn our language, mannerisms, prejudices, and so much more.
There was a best-seller self-awareness book published in l977, titled My Mother Myself: The Daughter's Search For Identity, by Nancy Friday. It leads the reader to the sometimes upsetting realization that as adults we are so often unconsciously replaying our mother or father. Your first instruction on how to view the world was from the standpoint of your parents' attitudes about it, especially the attitudes of the parent of your own sex.
Disidentification is the other side of the coin. You may disidentify with an alcoholic parent, or child beater, or critic, or loser, saying "I'll never be like that." But, as you have focus upon the negative, you may be drawn into reproducing the behavior. "He who would struggle with a serpent," wrote Frederick Nietzsche, "must beware lest he become one."
One of my clients came to me after alienating his family. His ex-wife and his grown children would have nothing to do with him. He had two daughters and one son. He had beaten the son regularly throughout the boy's childhood, and the only reason he finally stopped it, was because his wife divorced him. Now the son was in his twenties and the father was trying to make amends to him by employing him in his business. Their relationship was still immensely strained.
The man was ridden with guilt. He loved his son and thought he had been raising him appropriately. Now, he was close to bankruptcy in his business, couldn't concentrate and was depressed.
I worked with him to find why he had needed to beat the son, especially when he never beat the daughters. When his inner mind revealed the main reason was Identification, we reviewed his own childhood.
He had grown up in rural Georgia with a father who beat him regularly. He told me that when he went to school, he had pulled his short pants down to cover up the welts that were on his legs from the whippings he had received. I asked him if it ever occurred to him that the other children may not have been treated that way. Of course he said, "never." This man had gone through childhood experiences he hated, and yet typically, when he grew up into the father role himself, he performed as he had been trained.
This is how much very dysfunctional human behavior is naturally passed along from generation to generation. It always seems to the affected individuals that they are doing the right thing.
The second key to emotional programming is the Imprint mentioned in the previous chapter. An imprint is an instant learning experience, through words you tell yourself or hear from a significant or important other person. Imprints, however, are not limited to words. They can result from something you saw, or felt, or heard, or thought. Books, movies and TV can also be a source of imprints.
The movie Psycho imprinted many people through the gruesome murder of Janet Leigh's character in a motel shower. More than one of my male clients has told me that he would not take a shower in a motel without locking the door of the bathroom. This was twenty-some years after seeing the movie! I was also amazed since I hadn't thought that it would have affected men so strongly. Hitchcock was a genius! Because he was as good as he was, we have an imprinted generation.
Another movie, Jaws, had such a strong imprinting effect that it kept many people away from the seashore for a long time. Even when people went back to swim, many did not feel comfortable going out past wading depth. And all that many of us have to hear is a few beats of the accompanying music to set our hair on end! Remember, the next time you are totally engrossed in a book or movie, watch out for imprints!
People in advertising have long understood the importance of imprints. They seek to imprint us with such slogans as "Things go better with " With enough repetition, even resisted imprints can become part of your inner mind attitudes, and you may follow the path of least resistance and buy the product.
I once had a woman client whose life had been changed for the worse by a major imprint she gave herself when she was five years old. She was of Japanese descent, and grew up in Southern California. She was sixty at the time I worked with her. She had never married and had always pined for a husband. She knew she had some inner block causing her to stay single.
When we checked her inner mind, we found one imprint that was causing this program. When she was five years old her older brother, who was six and a half, tried to have sex with her. (Precocious). She broke and ran away from him and as she ran, he yelled after her, "If you ever get married, you have to do that!" And she responded angrily, "Then, I will never marry!"
She grew up, went to college, and had affairs (only with safely married men). She dated a bachelor for ten years and when he finally asked her to marry him, she told me it was as if a wall came up around her. She couldn't answer him. She said he finally got tired of asking and drifted away. So her life was ruled by one powerful imprint from early childhood until she came to see me. She did release it. Starting at sixty was probably a little late for her but she was happy to be free to accept her life's desire.
If something is strongly communicated to you as a child by an authority figure like a parent, a teacher, or doctor, (or by a peer to a teenager), an imprint may be created with only one statement. If you say something to yourself with strong enough emotion, again, it may only take once.
Next is the Benefit. We learn about benefits early in life. As a child, if we scrape our knee, Mom picks us up, kisses it and makes us feel better, giving us love and attention. As we continue through life, we may manipulate others and ourselves to continue to produce these inner mind payoffs.
As we get older, we learn that if we get sick, we get to stay home from school. In our more mature experience, we get to stay home from work. They even call it benefits in the work place. How much can we be sick, go to the hospital, stay home?
One of my clients, after I had explained the keys, said, "I recognize all these ways, but especially the benefit. I was raised by Russian Jewish immigrant parents, and I was one of nine children. The only time my mother ever touched me was if I was sick." So, since he was number four of the nine, and also probably had greater need than some of the others, he became the sick child.
The poor harassed mother had no time to give to each child unless it was demanded. "But, " he continued, "when I was sick, she was wonderful, she would hold her hand on my forehead all night long!" You could just see this little boy feeling that he surely was in heaven with all that attention. By the way, the man was 72 years old when I worked with him and he related it as if it were yesterday.
Next, we have Self-Punishment. We're all pros at this one, but you can be especially good at it if you were raised in a Jewish, Catholic, or any Fundamentalist faith.
If you are Jewish, you may have been raised with what I call a Jewish mother environment, in other words, often Great Guilt. Such guilt may arise from fear of hurting Mother's feelings, not performing, not being what you should be, or not doing what you should do.
The Jewish boy should be a scholar, a success, a professional person. If your talents don't lie in that direction or you've goofed off, you are forever guilty of letting your mother down and you don't deserve a decent life. Generally, with that programming, your inner mind will make sure you'll never have a decent life, either. You may look successful to the outer world, but in your own inner world you'll never measure up.
I had one financially very successful Jewish client whose mother had told him as a child (when he was in a violin recital), "I won't even go if you're not going to be the best." This was regardless of the fact that he was three or four years younger than the top-performing violinist. He had hardly any experience of unconditional love and had trouble showing it to those he loved in later life.
The Catholics have some great traditions, such as confession, and forgiveness of guilt, which help their congregations. There are problems however, when a Christian identifies with the suffering of Jesus rather than the forgiveness.
One client, raised in a Catholic grade school, had taken the path of suffering from the second grade. He would pinch himself and hurt himself in different ways in order to be worthy of acceptance by his nun teachers.
Another client was raised in a Catholic convent in South America. She and other girls would eat chalk to become sick with a fever, or put stones in their shoes to suffer the pain that would make them worthy of love and forgiveness.
The main point to remember with Self-Punishment is that it is centered in your belief about what deserves punishment, and what kind of punishment will do that job best. Are you getting enough punishment in the outer world, or do you need to provide it yourself?
You may consciously think you are not punishing yourself in any way. Think again. It's all too likely you have put yourself into some position to be blocked or limited in some way.
Next, we have Conflict. This is one we are all familiar with. It's that 'twixt and 'tween feeling we get when we're somehow caught in the middle. The simplest way to remember conflict is to know that conflict always has two sides to it. It's back to fight or flight, and not being able to do either one. If you can take action, fight, move forward, run, surrender, or move away, you'll no longer be in conflict.
Tests on policemen's stress have shown that the officer on the beat is less stressed than the one who is behind a desk. If you think about it you'll see why. Which one is able to use the abilities and skills he's been trained to use? Which is usually kept from making use of those skills? The seeming peacefulness of being behind the desk is offset by the frustration of not being able to take action when challenged, and the lack of resolution that comes with shuffling papers.
You can keep yourself from much happiness and success with inner conflict. Remember all the advice in goal setting. Be clear about what you want, visualize it, then keep focused to produce it in your life.
In other words, be one-pointed. One-pointed, of course, by definition, cannot be two-pointed! An old Russian proverb tells us. "He who chases two rabbits catches neither."
Organ Language is the next category. This is rather like an imprint in that it is the result of something you have said to yourself. With Organ Language, however, you actually manifest the statement in your body, or in your life in some way. It can be surprisingly and precisely physical.
For instance, if you have regularly told yourself, "He gives me a headache," or "He's a real pain in the neck, or the tail," you may actually get the headache, or the pain in the neck. You may have lower back pain, or hemorrhoids. Frequently saying, "This makes me sick to my stomach," may bring ulcers, colon problems or other "gut reactions."
Two of our male clients unconsciously created the emotional preconditions that produced massive heart attacks by saying "It's breaking my heart." One of them was a Southerner and staunch Baptist who was very upset by his grown daughter's behavior of living with a man without being married. He kept telling himself she was simply "breaking his heart."
The other man, an airline executive, had no history of heart trouble until his son died two years before in a mountain climbing accident. Ever since, he had been "heart broken" about it, finally expressing that feeling with a near-fatal attack.
Another of my clients shot himself in the foot, unconsciously expressing his conviction that he "couldn't stand" something in his life. Others with coughs, congestion, and allergies expressed their feelings of being "choked up," or "smothered." Sometimes watering eyes or a cold is simply an expression of an inner mind need to cry.
If you get nothing else from this book, I hope you will become more aware of what you are telling yourself, and of the potentially harmful impact of the words of people around you. Don't say "It's driving me crazy," and don't say "It's killing me." Remember, your inner mind is always listening and is your genie in the bottle awaiting your command, mistaken or not.
I had one very clever client in Atlanta come up with the statement, "It's driving me rich." She always had money.
Experience is simply what you have gone through for some amount of time. This is different from an imprint in that an imprint is an impression you have perceived. It may be an experience you went through as a child, or in school, in the armed services, or other training. This key focuses on your response to what you have gone through, versus what you have seen or heard.
The experience of a childhood with a single parent, having to struggle for the simplest pleasures, or even work as a child to survive, is radically different from the experience of a child of middle class parents, always secure, with no real worries other than who has the latest clothes, or what date to get for the prom.
Trauma is actually a break out of the experience category. A trauma is the result of a single, high impact, negative or fearful experience. It may be powerful enough to suppress completely all conscious recall of an event. A beating or a rape qualify. Someone yelling at you, however, may also qualify if you're a child, or if that someone is perceived to have some real power over you, your life or someone or something you care for.
Trauma is subjective, as are all the keys. The meaning is unique to your inner mind, or your interpretation. It can be traumatic if you perceive it as deeply unacceptable or harmful.
One unusual trauma was experienced by a client of Clark's. The client was a salesman in California, born and raised in Iraq. He had a high percentage of fear of being unpopular. They traced the fear to a major trauma when he was three years old. He mused for a moment, then said, "I know! That was when I burned the house down!"
His family was Christian, and was persecuted in Iraq for it. Several extra family members were living with them. All our client could recall of the incident was that he remembered sitting on the curb, holding his stuffed animal in one hand, and the candle he had started the fire with in the other hand. He was crying not because of the fire, but because he was frightened by the firemen and the commotion. Having forced his entire family onto the streets of Baghdad, he became very unpopular. This justifiably traumatic experience caused the later insecurity.
The last category is Past Lives. This is an a area I don't like to bring up, but it often comes up anyway in inner mind research with a client. In searching the mind for the reasons for a particular problem, I used to range questions between various ages of the person, to locate the time in life of the experience.
The client's inner mind would sometimes report that the trigger event did not take place in this life, so I would ask, "Is it when you were in the womb?" The answer would be "no," and I would be forced to ask, "Is it something you perceived before that time?" With the yes, I would finally be forced to ask, "Is it from a life you have lived previous to this one?" Then, whether or not the individual had any conscious belief in former lives, it would appear that the inner mind held the belief.
When this occurs, we must handle the belief. For the therapeutic effect, it doesn't really matter whether the belief is true or not. You must let go of whatever perception or inner belief is causing the problem.
Often people get very excited over finding inner mind beliefs about past lives, and I am quick to caution them not to get swept away. This life is the one you have to deal with now, and all spiritual and religious teachings emphasize this truth.
If you are busily studying supposed past existences, you can be caught up in those stories, and the choices you may or may not have previously made, instead of coping with the challenges in your current life. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," or we could say, "Sufficient unto the lifetime."
In general, though, we seldom find here-and-now difficulties stemming from a past life reason alone. You have plenty of beliefs, perceptions and judgments in this life to give you enough challenges to work on. In our clinical practice, of course, we are pragmatic and will use whatever works.
One of our former students started using "other dimensions" as a category on his own, and found himself multiplying out into people having lives on other planets and in other dimensions after reading of the Richard Bach and Jane Roberts concepts. He felt he was experiencing other probabilities of Self, as well as dealing with "Entities" (something like ghosts that inhabit the same space as the living person) in his life.
These kinds of ideas can come up when you open yourself up to someone with those beliefs. You can imprint yourself, remember, even with a book. As you open yourself to another person, you can pick up his or her beliefs without any conscious intent. If it is a therapist, he can then lead himself right down the path and over the edge with you. The problem is that the therapist will be paid for his time, and you may go home with some new negative or unuseful programming for your money.
The point to remember is this: What is the impact of the beliefs in your life? Personally I'm open to the possibility that we may be living other lives at the same time as this one, including past and future ones, since there may be no such thing as time outside of this dimension.
We can cause a real problem, however, by getting fascinated by, or addicted to, another dimension of existence, even if it's heavenly. Whatever the merits of such possibilities, I think it's clear that we don't need this kind of distraction that can keep us from learning lessons here and now.
My husband and I are always aware that whenever we are working with the inner mind of another person, we are really engaged in a kind of hypnosis. Even when you are completely conscious in any kind of therapy, you are open to suggestion. We are incredibly connected in consciousness with you as a client and are aware of this at all times, so that, as the healing admonition says, we "do no harm."
Enough cautions, let's see what you can accomplish now with what we have learned from Response Therapy and how your mind works. I teach my clients to use The Releasing Strategy in their daily lives to get in control of their responses. There was a typical comment from one just recently who said she was doing great with it (formerly full of tension, and thinking of leaving her job). She said, "You know, this is really funny, I feel like my brain is being drained in a positive way, lighter, happier, everything is easier and nothing really bothers me like it used to."
Let's see what we can do towards having that happen for you on your own with this book!
Continue to Chapter 4
Chapters V-XVII are not available on-line but are part of the book which can be ordered here:
Designing Your Heart's Desire: The Releasing Strategy for Personal Power and Peace of Mind
By Sharon Marshall Cameron
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