I had a small private workshop yesterday to test out a methodology that works for me to unstuck me every time.
Without a reliable, count-onable, potent method to unstuck yourself, you may get stuck in misery, inactivity, depression, for a long time.
What moves life, what gives a sense of living, is movement. Upward movement.
What many of us experience is deadness, or the dread of downward movement. It feels that movement, action, is futile
The depression resulting can last days, weeks, months… Depression recreates its cause… no movement.
The purpose I had in mind is to get people unstuck… get to a place where they can move, or at least see that they can move.
I have been depressed about 40% of my life. I don’t know about you, but that is an awful track record. Deep hopelessness, with no end in sight.
The hallmark of depression is a sense that it’s not worth it. That no matter what I do won’t bring a better future.
Weak and short periods of trying to move… but it always ends in disappointment, failure, falling back to no movement.
I learned and mastered a methodology of getting out of depression… this deadness, and I wanted to see if it can be taught.
I am a coach first and a teacher second.
Before anything can be taught it has to work when I do it to you.
If it doesn’t dislodge you when I do it to you, then it won’t be worth teaching: the technique may work for me, but it is personal.
So I wanted to find out… I wanted to find out if it is worth teaching it, if it really works for anybody.
The three participants in this call share the tendency to not be in movement, to have an experience of low level, and sometimes high level depression.
All three were also in my free workshop on Monday, so this common experience will also help me see clues.
About the technique: The technique, as all my techniques, all my teaching, all the moves I teach, work with the invisible.
The invisible is the part of all knowledge that is invisible to you. It may be visible to me, to your mother, to your boss, but it is invisible to you.
Here is an example of mine: Back in 1987, the great stock market crash created a situation where suddenly people were let go of their jobs… I was an architect, I was let go.
I had not reserves, I needed a job urgently to eat.
I had a coach at the time, and he suggested that I reinvent myself, and then practice being that new person to be more attractive, more hire-able.
I invented myself as Brilliant and a Contribution.
I had a job interview scheduled for next morning, so I practiced all night. In front of the bathroom mirror.
The goal was to see the person in the mirror as brilliant and a contribution.
Instead what I saw is a person full of contempt, arrogant, and needy. Bad combination.
It took me all night to see what made me look having contempt. I habitually licked my teeth (and still do) as a nervous tick.
I saw that if I can control that behavior, I actually look self confident, kind, personable, and maybe even smart?
I got the job. And I learned about the invisible.
The invisible has the roots, the causes of phenomena that without knowing it, makes no sense to you, and renders you ineffective in the world.
With that said: the technique’s job is to take you to nothing… a space of no thing… a space of empty… a space of level ground, where whatever put you into no movement is not. What you have is you, and a sense that you can move… if you choose. None of what put you to the state of no movement. And then you make a small, doable promise that can put you in movement again.
In 1987, looking and talking to the person in the mirror allowed me to see what other people see… but would be invisible to me. That I was frowning.
To translate this to something more reliable, and faster, the technique involves a conversation that goes a lot deeper than a normal conversation.
We are using the distinctions from my teaching: the voices that are not you, and the Playground method…
1. The voices:
I have written tons of articles about it: it is the Amish Horse Training, where you desensitize yourself to what you hear in your head, or the emotions that come up: they are all the voices that say those horrible things about you. They are not you, and they are not your friend. They are short-sighted, opinionated, vindictive… and you need to let them do whatever they are doing, and not allow them to get to you.
My successful students can say: it is not me… therefore I can ignore it.
There are many voices, some you can hear, some you can’t. But you know they are speaking because you have fear, shame, regret, resistance, and other horrid emotions come up. All emotions are marker feelings.
A marker feeling is an automatic response to a set of words…
They are connected like the front of your hand to the back of your hand. There is nothing that you can do about it. Resistance is futile.
The only thing that is effective to protect you from the marker feelings is to declare that it’s not yours.
I know you are feeling it. But it came from a voice that is not you… so it is part of the environment, not part of you.
It takes a lot of practice to create this separation, and create autonomy from the voices. But without it you cannot even be a person… you are like a dog wagged by the tail… not pleasant.
2. The Playground method is easier to explain:
you look at what masquerades as reality, and you separate what is real from what you added: the story, the interpretation, the meaning.
If you do this well, you can get to empty and meaningless… using Landmark Education’s terminology. The space is empty of drama, “just the facts, madam” and the facts carry no meaning.
This empty space is the launching pad for movement.
I like to call it the space for starting starting.
Every movement has this stage… that everyone ignores.
And this leads us to see what meanings, what stories, what interpretations stopped these students cold on their track, and push them into depression.
I will never succeed… I always do this… etc. These are the voices accepted as facts. They lack any insight, any details, any definition. They come and wound… Typical voices behavior.
You cannot act unless you are clear about the process. You can’t even start starting… you are paralyzed. It is so normal, you never suspect that you got tripped up by that.
In my experience, no one bothers to point you to the first step, except some exceptional teachers. So, without being pointed to the first step, you think you are supposed to have a home run… and, or course you can’t.
We are socialized through schooling where there is a curriculum. So we actually never had to learn anything on our own… and consequently hardly anyone I know knows how to start something.
Most likely one of the reason I’ve spent so much of my life in depression is this weakness in creating a process: do this first, do this second… etc.
I am still weak at that. And because doing recorded courses takes me to this place… I don’t know what to do!… I hate watching instructional videos, and waste my money on many courses that I don’t do because I don’t know how to start, and how to get into motion.
This seems to be a universal issue.
We ended the mini workshop with making small promises.
Looking back, I can see that I made a mistake there: I allowed two of the three participants to set a first action too far out, instead of finding something they could do right now.
Looking what would be the best structure inside which I can both teach and provide the assistance, I am thinking: a mastermind group with instruction…
What has made me depression-free for the past 10 years is a mastermind partner I talk to every Sunday. Almost every Sunday I manage to get to that magical empty and meaningless space… And then I can look to see what action can return me to the world of the living… into movement.
We can say that for humans movement means alive… and no movement means dead.
Return someone into movement is the biggest expression of love and caring i can imagine.
In 1995 my mother died. I fell into a month long depression…
In a conversation with a coach I managed to go through the steps I teach above, and could see that the depression was started and kept in place with self-blame, a sense of regret, a sense of loss of a hope. The loss of a future that probably would not have happened anyway. And yet the sense of loss was very real.
For the first time every I needed to deal with the reality that my mother wanted to do nothing with me… that we were strangers. And I was alone in the world… unless I create relationships with strangers.
In that one conversation with that coach I snapped out of it, and could resume life… Losing a month is difficult. I can see that had I had my weekly calls established then, I would not have lost so much time, so much money, so much credibility by the inactivity caused by the depression.
Now, here is the interesting bit: The coach wasn’t coaching me. My Sunday mastermind partner doesn’t EVER coach me.
Because i know what the steps are, I only need a pair of ears that doesn’t want to help, doesn’t want to console me, doesn’t want to fix anything.
Fixing comes from “there is something wrong here…” or “there is something wrong with you”.
The methodology above is effective because it happens inside the space where there is nothing wrong with you, or with anyone or anything.
Wrong is an interpretation, and therefore it is relegated to the “not reality” area… it is removed from reality…
You cannot get to empty and meaningless through wrong, you cannot get to empty and meaningless through fixing.
Nothing to fix.
This is the most revolutionary concept, and the most freeing too.
In the mastermind I envision, the one person who needs to get clear… who needs to get out of no movement, already knows the steps, he/she only needs the other person to witness.
No junior coaches are allowed…
That will weed out all the people who want to coach because it makes them feel better about themselves… makes them feel ABOVE other people.
PPS: I read somewhere, maybe 30 years ago, that depression is like being in a dense fog where you can’t see where you are going… so you don’t move.
This is as good an interpretation as any. The technology is used in the coaching yesterday can be seen from that vantage point too… pulling apart the fog-curtain, so you can see far enough to start starting… and get into movement. Movement is life.
PPPS: This methodology, creating a clearing (as in a clearing in a forest) works even if you are not depressed.
When you remove the cobweb (aka fog) from your view, you make better decisions… which is always a good thing
PPPS: People who have a very high desire measure, get mostly trapped by the unclarity, by wanting to go for a home run, but not having a path.
Occasionally their desire is unreasonable… but even if it isn’t, they cannot see, by virtue of the desire trap, the small steps that make it possible for them to start starting. The methodology is a perfect tool for these people as well.