Are you familiar with this experience? Once upon a time when you were a fresh- faced pinkie, you had an unpleasant, toxic, embarrassing, or abusive experience, which led to a thought. The thought recurred and over time you took it in as truth. Do you know what is your unique thought? I didn’t truly, consciously know mine until recently.
The exquisite wiring and structure that comprises our brain is designed such that it executes our goals, even when we are directing it toward “goals” about which we are unconscious. What if your thought is: “Life is hard” ? What if your thought is: “No one listens to me” ? It’s sobering to think that those are the marching orders we can unknowingly give our brains and that in turn is what we create in our day-to-day lives. Ironically, even if you’ve gone through therapy, even if you meditate, even if you are the queen of self-help, you might not yet consciously know what is your formative thought.
What is incredible about our human pinkie brains is that it’s actually hard to mine down and discover that core thought. We all have blind spots just like the ones in our vehicles. They ride around with us and obstruct a portion of the view; but it’s ok overall because we can simply look around them. They are still present but we just don’t consciously see them. We humans are pretty creative and multi-talented organisms and we can adapt. Those blind spots make it impossible to uncover and deconstruct what is underneath, without help.
Recently, I was in a workshop hosted by a local company called Productive Learning and Leisure. I trotted into the workshop that day for what I thought was a business development course. Yes, it was indeed a business development workshop and it was so much more. The talent and compassion of the speaker, Betty Jo Waxman, awed me. She created a safe space filled with information, exercises, opportunities, non-judgment and humor. The ultimate learning came in her deft, kind drilling down to extract the driving thought for each person.
I have to confess that I myself was a big weanie, because I didn’t have the courage to work the conversational process live in front of my classmates. The respect and acknowledgement I feel for those who did is unending. It was through the observation of a woman who shares my same thought that I consciously got to the root of my brain’s marching orders.
This brings me to another powerful aspect of this excavation process. There is something pivotal about the group aspect and mining the subconscious. If you’ve ever listened to or read any of the work Eckhart Tolle, such as The New Earth, it is evident that our egos are clever, resistive, and ever active like psychotic Leprechauns skipping about to find gold. The ego or the subconscious zigs and zags to discover a path upon which it can execute its agenda. As humans we all share this phenomena: it is completing our agenda at all costs. Often we see that process at work more clearly in others as opposed to ourselves because we have that handy blind spot solidly soldered into place. This is how our brains work and actually it is not evil. It appears to be in place ultimately to protect us.
The brain fancies that it knows best for us. It intimately knows what has historically worked and protected. Therefore it fires up the blow torch to reinforce the metal seams securing that blind spot in place and off toward its original destination it goes.
When we are honest, open and quite literally out in the open, as within a group setting, there is a far more powerful shift. It is fruitful on a different level than what we might experience in a private session with a therapist or from individual counsel from an elder or spiritual advisor.
It was so freeing for people to give voice to their thought! The thoughts were varied and vast, such as:
I’m not worthy.
I don’t succeed.
I’m not smart enough.
Nothing works out for me.
My ideas are stupid.
It’s not safe.
I’m not liked or loved.
I’m not included.
The shift comes when each person identifies what is his or her thought and realizes that: it is just a thought. Yes, it is usually based upon some experience or set of experiences, which historically occurred. However in present time it’s a story, which no longer serves. I saw an enormously successful businesswoman come to terms with an “I’m not successful” story. It shook the room because we know her to rock the line of work in which she specializes. That is not a story; It’s a fact. The beauty and gift of the moment was her hauling that thought out of the shadows, acknowledging it for affording her protection earlier in life, and then reprogramming the new goal for her exquisite and amazing Pinkie brain.
The uplifting notion is that it is the lot being human to have this subconscious. It is the job of our subconscious to protect us and have our best interests at hand. That is its job and we can thank our subconscious for its fine work thus far... and go ahead and reprogram it with our new goals and desires. (My interview with Betty Jo on the topic here!)
It’s good to have some humor around the mining of that blasted subconscious too. I imagine my subconscious as sort of bizarro blend between a guardian angel hybridized with June Cleaver.
Contrary to typical fluffy, white, billowing romanticized depictions, angels are beings of fierce protection not to be crossed. I’ve encountered angels before and the experiences were not enshrouded by warm, fuzzy moments with a tinkling of fairy music in the background. They were not bad moments either, mind you. Intense is a gentle way of characterizing it, just like exploring the unconscious mind. The June Cleaver aspect is as far from my life as can be. The image of June is safe, sanitized, playing by the rules and in keeping with prudence. So I extend my sincere apologies to any angel out there who is likely bumming about being depicted in an apron and pumps. The reality is that we Own Pink as powerful conscious women who can direct our thoughts, lives, goals and aspirations.
What do you think? Can you uncover any of your subconscious blindspots? Are you clear on your driving thought? What does your subconscious look like?
Namaste, Pinkie world!
Karen Reynolds, L.Ac., M.S., R.N.-Mill Valley, CA
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