I remember when I first defined myself what freedom was like for me. I saw the last few minutes of the movie, Harold and Maud in my mind, as Harold junks his car and jauntily skips up the hill, playing his, I guess, ukulele.
Yeah, that is it. Two steps: junking what’s defined you and your life, and then doing something joyous that wouldn’t have fitted your life before.
A number of years ago I participated in a Landmark Education course, the Wisdom Course.
One component of that course was to create a book of your life, dedicating a page to each year. So if you are 52 years old, you’ll have 52 pages.
The pages will have pictures, names of people in your life at the time, and some typical meaning you had for life, yourself, and others.
I didn’t have many pictures because I left everything behind when I left Hungary. But my younger brother had some pictures, and they amazed me. I was laughing on most of them.
My memory, my own experience of myself was that I was unhappy. Deeply unhappy.
I then got a video of my high school graduation, and the person I saw there: I remembered inside and out. Unhappy.
When I look, the secret of going from wherever you are all the way to heaven is to be present to what’s between you and happiness, what’s between you and fulfillment, what’s between you and love.
What was and still is between me and full-on happiness, full-on fulfillment, full-on love is words.
I think the real turning point for me was when I read this Hungarian engineer’s books, Feelings and Words.
Even after participating in Landmark Educations courses, seminars, training programs, assisting programs, being trained to be a leader, a Forum Leader even… I never actually hear it said: everything you feel is words first, feelings second.
Everything you feel is words first, feelings second
Most bodily feelings even.
I am lying in bed, awake, not sure why I woke up. It takes me minutes to realize that I have to pee. But until I realize it, I can’t sleep, but I don’t move… Yeah, even bodily feelings don’t register until you have words… meaning.
And whether you hear what the words are or not, all you feel, about yourself, about life, about the situation you are in, about food, about people, about politics, about sex, about everything is first words, and then feelings.
I used to, habitually, call it the backdrop.
A backdrop is a large canvas hanging behind a scene in a photographer’s studio, a movie studio. It sets the context of the scene. That, and the music is what makes a movie scene terrifying, or suspenseful, or thought provoking, romantic, or happy.
Without a backdrop and the music, it would be left to you to make up the backdrop, make up the context, and you would miss what the movie creators what you to feel… The feelings come from the music and the backdrop: the scenery.
During coaching the backdrop becomes visible to the coach… but remains entirely invisible for the client.
You go through life having the same backdrop, maybe adding more horrible sentences to it as life gets worse, but all in all, every single person is unaware that how they feel, what they feel, is coming from the backdrop.
The most dominant sentence in and on my backdrop was (can you hear the violins playing?) ‘I wasn’t wanted, I wasn’t loved. That I lived on borrowed time, maybe I should have died and then everyone would be happy.’
Obviously with a backdrop theme like that, happy moments, laughter came rarely, and even when they came, they were against the somber backdrop: ‘it won’t last’.
It is omnipresent, until you learn to hear it as noise. Until you crank up the volume on something that you created, from nothing, not as a reaction to something sad or happy… from nothing.
Until you have another voice that is louder than the original, the original voice will tell you how to feel, and therefore what to do and what not to do. Really.
It is important not to ‘invent’ some new sentence that is exactly the opposite: that will create an oscillating structure, or a pendulum, and will drive you even deeper into despair.
So if your original sentence is that you are a loser, inventing winner is not going to work. You need to invent something truly invented.
This is why The Soaring Method works: It helps you invent something that is slightly off the wall, and yet if you make it loud enough, it drowns out the voice that calls you a loser, or unloved, or unwanted, or stupid, or useless, or worthless, or bad…
You know your main sentence, don’t you?
I talked about The Freedom Course yesterday. I have come to the conclusion that it needs to be a series of courses, so I will call it, from now on, The Freedom Courses.
The first step in anything is bringing awareness to the situation, awareness to the problem, and identify it accurately enough so that your actions will actually do something useful.
This is where most programs fall short. This is where most doctors fall short. This is where most therapists fall short. This where coaches, teachers, scientists, friends, spouses fall short.
It takes careful listening and a large body of distinctions that most people don’t have. You need to be discerning and ASTUTE.
The astuteness level of humanity is below 1%, the astuteness level of all those who claim they can help is 7%… which means 93% chance that they will try to fix something other than the issue… which is not what you want.
Let’s take the example of my furnace. It stopped working on Sunday.
I KNEW what was wrong… I contacted my landlord who told me to call the gas provider for a free service. I didn’t agree. But he nudged me and finally I called. They came out within an hour, and now my heat is restored.
My astuteness level was colored by what happened before… But looking back, it seems that I spent a few hundred dollars last time for nothing that I couldn’t have gotten fixed for nothing.
Luckily my astuteness level in the area of mindset, happiness, purpose, health, and coaching is much better… thank god…
Your astuteness influenced by the ‘backdrop’ as well, as the above example shows. I have elements of ‘do not trust’, ‘I am smart’, ‘I can do it’, and ‘I know and you don’t’ and those elements in the backdrop made me blind to the simplest solution.
I have students who pay for email access to me, but never use it, because the backdrop says: ‘you should already know this.’ This prevents them from growing, from getting better, from becoming all they can become.
In The Freedom Courses we’ll pull threads out of the backdrop, and examine them, develop strategies to remove them or overpower them.
For example the sentences I published in a recent article, I repeat here:
- 1. I am unwilling to put up with having to fix myself… I am OK the way I am.
- 2. I am unwilling to put up with having to live my life the way other people want me to live my life.
- 3. I am unwilling to take on other people’s problem with me as my own… it is their problem.
- 4. I am unwilling to take on other people’s standards as my own… it is their standard.
are ‘overpowering’ strategies.
Your results will depend on your level of immersion.
Without immersion you’ll barely get ‘wet’… and probably will produce no results, even though in the same course, with the same level of intelligence, other people will see freedom for themselves… but not you.
Each session is standalone, although the sessions build on each other.
Why am I not selling a 10 session course for many hundreds of dollars?
Two reasons: 1. my clientele doesn’t like to spend that much money on a course. 2. Until and unless you are a perfect fit for my style of teaching, my style of workshops, you’ll not enjoy the course, and you’ll get mighty little for being forced to come to sessions you don’t want to.
So, to my financial detriment, but your benefit, I’ll make this series ‘pay for each session’ type… We’ll see how it goes.
Sign up to the Freedom Course