150729204621-halt-and-catch-fire-super-169I recently came across an article in Psychology Today in which the author discussed a research study he conducted with college age students, who held themselves in high regard, where he asked the students to keep a detailed record of their mental chatter for a 2-week period.

Going into the exercise, the students expected almost 75% of their thoughts would be positive.

What both the researcher and the students were shocked to discover, is that almost 80% of the thoughts they recorded were basically negative.  Unconsciously, it turned out that the students were much more critical, pessimistic and fearful than they let out in their day-to-day life.

Many of us would describe ourselves as happy, confident people.  I know I would!  I am definitely a “glass half full” kind of woman.

But there is the deeper part of myself, that I have to manage every single day.  And it’s this part of myself that runs 95% of my life!  I have a voice in my mind that is constantly telling me where I’m not enough and where and how I don’t measure up.  Right now, if I stop and pay attention, I can find that voice telling me what part of my life I need to fix, improve, or change. It usually says something like, “you really need to start eating healthier today.  You have gotten off track with that.” Or “Why weren’t you more patient this morning?” when my son missed the bus.

Most people don’t even know that there’s a voice in their mind speaking to them.  All of the mental chatter going on in the mind is so transparent, it’s invisible, like the air we breathe.  Most people don’t even know that It’s speaking to them, and that they’re listening to it.

Just like your body automatically breathes for you and makes your heart beat for you, your mind is on automatic as well.  And, what you may not realize, is that the thoughts are repetitive.

They are based on decisions you made about how life works.  Especially, what’s wrong with you and the reason you’re not really good enough.  You made all these core decisions when you were a young child.  Once they took hold, you started to see the world and yourself in that certain way.  And your mind, which is like a great computer, has been running those thoughts you made up about yourself and life, like software.  Automatically, incessantly, your mind converts what you notice, what you think, how you feel, to be consistent with those negative childhood beliefs.

Therefore, you are automatically diminishing yourself, or shaming yourself for what has already happened.  Your thoughts throw your mind into the past. Or, you worry about what will happen about the future, once the future arrives.

And once the software kicks in, you are no longer in the present.  And the present is the only place you are ever in, ever will be in, and is the only place where you can generate any control over your life.

It’s the place where you are free.  The place where you can BEGIN to notice your automatic programming.  It’s your own unique programming.  You developed it.  So, in order to truly feel the way that you want to feel about yourself, your relationships, your life, you have only one job to do.  And that is the job of being a Computer Re-Programmer

Being a computer re-programmer in your life means noticing what you installed.  It means recognizing that the computer program “I’m not good enough” has been running since you were a little boy or girl.  And now, it needs to be updated to 2.0.

As a computer re-programmer, it is your job to see that although the old program will still continue to run automatically, you can see when it’s running and do the update in the moment.  Notice when your computer is searching for evidence to validate the old programming.  The 2.0 version is about staying present.  No longer paying attention to the automatic programming that has been running for all these years!

Don’t even try to change it.  Just begin to notice it.  Notice what happens to your mood, your behavior throughout the day, your energy level when the old programming is running.  The more you notice it, the less command it has over you.

As a computer re-programmer, it is your job to diminish the control that the voice in your mind has over you.  The better you are at your job, the more you will be able to practice living in the present, rather than living in your mind.

I wish you all one thing in life:  Practice being an extraordinary computer re-programmer!

YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF: If I’m Not the Voice in my Mind, Who the F@*ck am I?

Who-Am-I-hand-in-front-of-faceThis is a question that has plagued philosophers and religious gurus for thousands of years.

We hear a lot of people ask, “What if the voice in my mind IS the real me?  What if it’s telling me the truth?  Shouldn’t I listen to it sometimes?” The short answer is that while it’s ok to listen to it, just don’t mistake it for your Authentic Self.

So, what the hell are we talking about when we say Your Authentic Self?  We mean this:  Your Authentic Self is who shows up when your Inner Critic is temporarily absent.  Whooaa…..it’s a little scary when you experience this for the first time.  We’re so used to this voice, that when it is silenced even momentarily, it feels like there’s nothing there.  But, when you let go, and just be….that’s when your authentic self shows up.  And, just as soon as you see it, it’s gone!  You are back to being swallowed by your Inner Critic.  You’re swallowed because your authentic self is usually buried under the incessant chatter of your Inner Critic, and is usually inaccessible.

While you can meet your authentic self in the absence of the Inner Critic, you can’t hold on to it.  It’s elusive.  It’s not a permanent state you can achieve.  It has many names, many words, many expressions, none of which are the absolute truth.  The best you can do is to point to something: a space, a feeling, an energy, a vibration, a stillness, a peace.  Whatever its name, it is a sense of being present to something true or honest, that touches you in a way that’s different from your normal reality.

Normally, we just get a glimpse of our Authentic Self.  Why just a glimpse?  Because it is the voice of the Inner Critic that is constantly swallowing us whole.  And therefore, the real work, is to build the muscle to separate ourselves from the incessant humming of our mind chatter, and experience what we experience when the Inner Critic is silent.   Therein lies the choice; to practice again and again separating yourself from the Inner Critic who presently runs your life, and begin experimenting with that which appears in the absence of that incessantly controlling voice.

Did you ever hear the saying, “When you have one foot in the future, and the other in the past, you piss on the present?” Your Queen Inner Critic will drag you into the past or the future, where insecurities and worries live. She will keep you feeling regretful of the past or worried about the future, but never grounded in the present moment.

This is why the work of Dethroning Your Inner Critic needs to be a daily practice. Once you learn the tools to silence Inner Critic and allow your Authentic Self to show up, you can practice these tools anywhere; at the bus stop, on the train, in the car, while taking a walk.

The present moment is all we have.  The past is already over.  The future doesn’t exist yet.  Any time you are in the present moment, you have access to your Authentic Self.