Working With Limiting Beliefs


It has been a while since I've shared on my blog and today I feel called to share about working with limiting beliefs. So often I am asked, by someone who wants to change the current state of our world, "where do I start?" My answer is always within. We start with our own system of belief, our own biases and energies. Once we get familiar with our own inner terrain the answers of how to express in the outer world are revealed.

Working With Limiting Beliefs

Beliefs generally fall into two categories:

Beliefs that are Constricted, narrow, and limiting which lead to

to stagnation, deterioration and regression.

And beliefs that are Expansive, unbounded, and limitless

which promote growth and the evolution of consciousness.

The beliefs we carry have a profound influence on how we experience life, so it’s important to become familiar with what beliefs are running under the surface of your awareness. Expansive thoughts will bring you joy while limiting beliefs will bring you struggle.

Struggle is inevitable in our human existence; to expect otherwise would be unrealistic. There is very little we have control over in our existence; life happens. It will break our hearts and be challenging at times. When we bring awareness and intention to our belief system we can begin to create space and choice that will allow us to take the reins and begin to steer our life in the direction of our dreams.

Why bring awareness to these beliefs?

These subconscious beliefs affect the way we operate in the world, how we relate to and treat others as well as the opportunities we are willing to give ourselves. Our willingness to bring awareness to our subconscious beliefs is what ultimately determines our evolution.

Where do these beliefs come from?

Childhood: between the ages of 2-6 we are little sponges; we learn from the environment we are raised in. Our brainwaves are in the theta state during this phase of our development and this makes us highly programmable. We learn everything we know about the world and ourselves from parents, caregivers, siblings, teachers, peers and the media. All of our beliefs, concepts, values, worldviews, and ideologies are imprinted onto us from an outside source. Just as a computer is programmed to run a certain system, so are we. These programs run in the subconscious mind just like an app would run in the background of your computer; it can slow down function or corrupt files all together. These programs create unconscious speech and behavior. We can see this playing out right now on the world stage as unrecognized racism, misogyny and unchecked privilege. So many people are not even aware of the programs running in the background.

You can learn more about how this works in the book The Biology of Belief, by cell biologist Bruce Lipton.

We can use the example of unrecognized racism, misogyny and unchecked privilege to see where this is playing out on the main stage while using the collective unveiling to mirror where we may be running a similar unconscious program.

I wrote a blog post a few years ago discussing how I noticed myself not listening to a man on a podcast. It was a podcast I wanted to hear and I had to keep backing it up to re-listen because I kept finding myself distracted. When I recognized that I was subconsciously checking out of something I was interested in hearing I got curious...what does this experience have to teach me?

See that Blog Post Here

When I sat with it I realized that the man speaking was a black man; he had a very distinct “black sounding voice” and I could feel my subconscious deeming him unimportant to listen to… I have never consciously thought “this person isn’t white so they don’t know what they’re talking about”, I grew up in a very diverse suburb of Chicago and went to school with people from many backgrounds all the way through high school...Personally, I had never thought I viewed people as “different”. I thought I believed “We are all one”; I grew up in the “We are the world era”, I openly challenged my parents when I heard them saying racist things.

Where was this subconscious pull to discredit this man based on the sound of his voice coming from?

It’s coming from the collective unconscious; “harmless comments and jokes made by family members as a kid, systemic racism of the area I grew up in and the general energy of our world.

Confirmation Bias: the tendency to selectively look for evidence to support what you already believe.

The older we get the more solid that programming and conditioning becomes. The updates aren’t easily downloaded and sometimes a new program isn’t supported by the old system and a work around needs to be found.

Notice when your beliefs are confirmed and then challenge them! Look for ways in which your belief is not the only belief...even if it is shared by many others.

To dial it in on an even more personal level; where are we subconsciously intolerant of parts of our OWN SELVES?

Self Doubt, Self Deprecation, Shame, Fear, Unworthiness

Through regular practice, we can begin to slowly excavate the beliefs that no longer serve you and make space for something new and more supportive.

In feel.focus.flow. we don’t practice in order to “transcend” these belief systems but rather confront them, challenge them and either integrate them or uninstall them from our hard drives.

In these shamanic, meditative states we are able to reclaim our unconditioned minds. When we were born we were blank slates of pure awareness. We go from a blank canvas to a complex painting with various layers of experiences and conditioning. These meditative states allow us to peel back the layers of paint and reclaim the blank slate once again. You see, we are reprogrammable!

These practices invite us to step into a non-conditioned reality where, if even for a moment, the conditions and beliefs fall away. You remove the layers of paint to discover your true essence of pure potentiality. When you experience this regularly it helps you to recognize that your beliefs aren’t as solid and concrete as you once thought. With each visit into the non-conditioned realm of awareness, you bring some of the expansiveness that is contained there back with you. This is the work necessary to release the conditioning and limiting beliefs that are not serving you.

Knowing the difference between a limiting belief and healthy boundaries

A limiting belief is a negative thought pattern, or a story we tell ourselves about who and how we are. This belief is repeated consistently enough that it limits us into thinking we are incapable of moving past it and have a different experience.

  • I am not strong

  • I am not good enough

  • People always leave

  • Things must be “perfect” before I move forward

  • If I’m not always content then I am spiritually failing.

Respecting our boundaries is acknowledging that we have certain limitations and that pushing past them would do us more harm than good.

  • I have an illness or injury that means I have to take it easy and rest

  • I am over-extended and I can’t put another item on my to-do list

Beliefs Around Emotions

It’s important to confront our beliefs around our emotions; our emotional energy is powerful and we want it to flow unobstructed. When we suppress emotion it is ALWAYS a result of a old program running in the background. We are not designed to suppress or ignore any of our energy; just like you wouldn’t ignore your car’s dashboard lights while driving, you shouldn’t ignore your emotional body communicating with you either.

Now, this doesn’t mean to let anger turn into aggression or rage or to allow sadness and grief to engulf you. We need to cultivate emotional intimacy and maturity so that we can use our emotions for what they are; powerful messages arriving from within that are helping to guide you on your path.

Practice

Take a moment to ask yourself the questions that follow for each of the emotions below:

Anger

Grief

Fear: Collective and Individual

Shame: Collective and Individual

Self Doubt

Longing

Ask Yourself...

How do I relate to this emotion?

Where do I feel it in my body?

When I was a kid how did my family of origin relate to this emotion?

What happens when I experience this emotion myself?

What happens when I witness another experiencing this emotion?

What did you learn? Can you feel into a deeper layer of each emotion? Can you see where your protective archetypes rise in response to these emotions (your wounded child, loyal soldier, ? Choose one or two of these emotions to actively work with over the next week. Use the following practices to work with the emotions you chose.

Anger

The Conscious Rant inspired by Robert Augustus Masters

A conscious rant is a way to allow the energy of frustration and anger to wash through you without getting stuck in the process. This is a practice that can be done alone or with a witness and should be done in a place where you feel like you can be as loud and as expressive as you wish. If you’re in a place where noise is a concern have a firm pillow nearby.

Decide on the “rules” for you conscious rant; they should include having a clear starting and ending point for the rant, letting yourself “go there”, causing no physical damage, and whatever else feels necessary for you. Center yourself in the space you have chosen to do this work and allow yourself to begin to focus on what is angering you. Breathe deep into your body, stand with your legs slightly wider than hip distance apart, bending your knees slightly. Begin to get curious about what your anger has to say. Now let your anger speak,; notice of your mind wants you to be quiet, polite or follow some idea of what acceptable anger looks like. And then let yourself bust loose! If noise is a concern then scream and rant into the pillow. Watch any tendency to be reserved or to hold back and then let yourself get crazy! Stomp your feet, make fists, let your anger speak with your whole body. Let yourself blow things out of proportion and get dramatic if that is what is needed. Let it arrive from within without thought, just get out of the way and let the energy of your anger express. Rant for at least two minutes of full-out expression. If you feel yourself energetically fading before the two minute mark, dig a little deeper and exaggerate your movement and ranting. Let the energy dissipate and bring yourself to the Earth, find a shape that will allow you to rest and come back to your center. Let your breathing return to normal and slowly rise to a seat. Take a few moments to journal about your experience.

Grief

Make a list of what you have grieved throughout your life.

Is there anything on your list that you have not fully grieved?

Set an intention to go into this residue of grief to feel and process it completely. Imagine having the freedom to openly grieve the loss you suffered then.

Close your eyes and imagine filling the spaces around your heart with your breath while resting your awareness on the object of your grief. Allow the feeling of grief to fill the spaces around your heart for at least five minutes. Consciously sit with the energy of your grief and allow if to express through you any way that it is wanting. No pressure for tears, if they arrive great. Be with your grief and hold space for it to move through you without any expectation or restraint.

When you feel complete, let the energy dissipate and bring yourself to the Earth, find a shape that will allow you to rest and come back to your center. Let your breathing return to normal and slowly rise to a seat. Take a few moments to journal about your experience.

Fear: Collective and Individual

Breathe into your body and presence yourself. With each exhale let your belly soften and your breathing deepen a little. Imagine your breath making room for your fear to be there rather than resisting it or trying to transmute it immediately.

What brings up fear in me most easily is _____.

This is at its most intense when _____.

What I notice about my fear at such times is _____.

The feeling of this fear in my chest is _____.

The feeling of this fear in my belly is _____.

If this fear had a shape, it would be _____.

This fear’s coloring is _____.

This fear’s texture is _____.

What I notice about this fear’s movement is _____.

Now this fear’s shape is _____.

Now this fear’s coloring is _____.

I would describe this fear’s density as _____.

I would describe this fear’s temperature as _____.

As I move more closely toward this fear, what happens is _____.

When I penetrate this fear, what I notice is _____.

The thickness of my fear seems to be _____.

When I get inside my fear, I see _____.

What seems to be surrounding my fear is _____.

The edges of my fear appear to be _____.

Now my fear is _____.

What I notice about my mind right now is _____.

My breathing feels _____.

I would now describe my fear as _____.

Being present like this with my fear is _____.

If my fear could now speak, it would say _____.

And my response to that is _____.

The more deeply I pay attention to my fear, the more that I am _____.

As I relate to my fear, rather than from it, I feel _____.

As you work through these questions notice any fear arising in you, acknowledge its presence immediately, then let your belly soften and your breathing deepen a little. Continue to make room for your fear to be there rather than resisting it or trying to transmute it immediately. Let the presence of fear be in your body as you observe it. Pay attention to the sensations of your fear. What does it feel like in your chest, solar plexus, and belly?

Notice where you are contracting, where do you feel your muscles gripping and tightening? If you notice this, use your exhales to soften around it. You don’t need to eliminate the contraction, just allow the areas around it to soften and settle. Imagine inflating a little balloon into these areas of contraction and exhale with an audible sigh.

When you feel complete, let the energy dissipate and bring yourself to the Earth, find a shape that will allow you to rest and come back to your center. Let your breathing return to normal and slowly rise to a seat. Take a few moments to journal about your experience.

Shame: Collective and Individual

Meeting Your Inner Critic:

You can practice this with two chairs or cushions sitting across from one another. The advantage to using the pillows or chairs is that it brings the body into the unravelling and brings a somatic piece to the practice which brings healing throughout the koshas.

Close your eyes and begin to drop into your breath…

Begin to imagine your inner critic; the voice that doesn’t have anything nice to say and tries to derail your well intentioned plans and evolution. Imagine what it looks like and sounds like; does it have a name?

Begin to speak to your inner critic as spontaneously as possible while noticing what arises from within as you do. Are there any body sensations or emotions? How are you holding your body? What is the tone of your voice? Speak to your inner critic using statements rather than questions; state how the inner critic makes you feel. After a minute or two, switch sides and speak as the inner critic. Use the tone of voice of your inner critic and let the criticisms fly. You might find yourself yelling, shaming or finger pointing; that’s ok keep going. Unpack all that is there for about another minute or two then switch. Begin responding immediately to what your inner critic just said; notice the tone of your voice. If you feel or sound weak, bolster your voice and act as if you were standing up for a child. You are in fact standing up for your inner child. Notice the emotions that arise while you do this and let the energy of the emotions express, without holding back.

Go back and forth between the pillows a few more times or until you feel complete. Come to rest in your original seat, imagining your inner critic still sitting across from you. Bring awareness to your breath, see if you can inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of six. Imagine the you that was present when your inner critic first started talking to you and imagine holding this younger version of you close and tight with unconditional love and acceptance.

If you have a strong inner critic, do this practice daily for two weeks. Each time you notice the inner critic rise into your awareness call it out and begin to breathe deep into your body.

Self Doubt

Doubting Your Doubt: This is a fairly simple practice; each time you watch self-doubt arise make it a practice to doubt your doubt. Take time to journal about your doubt and turn it back on itself by dissecting it with your doubt.

Longing

You will need a pen and a journal for this practice. Close your eyes and imagine you are talking to the object of your longing, use your pen and journal to tell them what it is that you wish you had and why. Allow the lack you feel for not having this thing fill you up and continue to write your plea to the object of your longing.

Ask if you deserve to have the object of your desire? Why do you deserve it? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it? What if what you wanted suddenly disappeared and wasn’t available to you anymore?

Write stream of consciousness until you feel complete and end the practice by inviting deep full breath to rinse throughout your body.

Longing and desire can point us in the direction of our dharma AND it can also cause us to struggle on our path. Be sure to stay in communication with the part of you that gets pulled into longing so you can discern what is necessary to act upon and what is a fleeting desire manifested to fill a perception of lack.

These practices can be reused whenever you are sitting with an emotion or an energy you are trying to gain better understanding around. I would love to hear your experiences with the practices above; what did you learn about yourself? Did you gain new tools to help you navigate? Please feel free to reach out and share!

#Spiritualwarrior #shadowwork #emotions #limitingbeliefs

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