Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Eddie Rules, pt. I

¡Hola! Everybody…
Kudos to Rippa’s better half, Divalee, for being instrumental in taking apart a major crime spree! You can catch her interview (click here). She’s one smart lady and Rippa? I hope you never think you can play around on this woman, cuz she’ll catch your grimey ass! LOL

I’ll be away all day at the women’s prison running my workshop. I wrote about a year ago and reposting it today because I’m running late…

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-=[ Eddie Rules, pt. I ]=-

All men dream: but not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds
wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.

-- T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), Seven Pillars of Wisdom

What are your hopes and dreams?

What is most important to you?

Do you have all you deserve?

What is possible for you?

Imagine a way of exploring these questions with someone to help you realize your dreams and become the person you so desperately want to be.

That is what I do for a living -- at least it’s a big part of what I do.

We live in exciting if scary times. The world, as never before in our history, offers fantastic possibilities and we all want to make the most of them. We feel we deserve happiness and many of us are willing to invest the time and effort in improving ourselves and deriving more satisfaction from everything we do. I am part of a process that helps guide others on the way to being their best lives.

I describe what I do as “coaching,” though it’s vastly different than coaching when you think of sports. When I returned to school in my early 40s, my intention was to become a therapist. The more I studied, however, the more I realized that the main forces of psychological theory, behaviorism, Rogerian therapy, and psychoanalysis, left too much to be desired. The more I learned, the more I realized that psychological theories were fragmented and oftentimes worked to keep people stuck. One healer, Caroline Myss, calls it “woundology,” the tendency to become stuck on your wounds and revisiting the past at the expense of your present life.

Then the HMO model came into prominence and what I see, for the most part, is medicating in lieu of therapy. Feel anxious, depressed, or sexually inadequate? Take a pill, see me for six weeks, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out...

I have several “Eddie Rules” in my work, and most of my former participants can recite them even after years of not seeing me. The main Eddie Rule (other than I’m always right ), is:

If you want to understand something, act.

Insight is nice and feels good, but ultimately insight and $2.00 will get you on a NYC train, which is another way of saying that insight by itself is worth nothing. As an example, at one time I could go into exacting detail expounding on the inner dynamics of my own inability to change, but it never helped me change. Insight is mental masturbation, for the most part.

What I work with is dreams. What I am about is change, about making changes. I’m like a magician of change. LOL! I can take the cards you have and help you to play a better hand, or sometimes even change the rules of the game, or find a better game. Change comes from dreams of a better life, or something better. We attain one dream; we look forward and dream again.

We all dream and we all hope.

Ultimately, real change is about making your dreams into reality. In order to change you have to be part of a process that engages your imagination and at the same time is practical in the real world. Change is a process that utilizes goals and achievements as a bridge linking the world of dreams to the world of reality.

I am also a freedom fighter. If you read my blogs, you will find that I use the words freedom and liberation a lot because I work from the assumption that freedom is our mission in life. Freedom has two sides: it can mean freedom from something and it can also mean the freedom to do something. I work on both types of freedoms. I work with people to help release themselves from circumstances they no longer want so that they can open up to choices and possibilities unavailable before.

The enemy of change is habit. In the quest for freedom, habit stops people from changing positively. Habitual actions, patterns, and thinking -- habits entrenched over years that are difficult to move -- all serve to keep us in a rut. I have learned that all habits accomplish something of value; otherwise, they would not be habits in the first place.

Eddie Rule #2 is that we do things because we get something out of it.

Habits are hard to change mostly because they are maintained in many ways. However, times change and our habits oftentimes lose their usefulness. Still, we create surroundings to support them, for example, and other people’s expectations of our behaviors reinforce our habits. Habits are like the automatic pilot of jets: they are set for a certain speed, altitude, and direction. Then the pilot does not have to pay attention. However, in order to change speed and direction, the pilot has to pay attention. Once new habits are learned, the new habits will take us in another direction.

What I do is engage habits that are holding people back. Sometimes I use guerrilla warfare and sometimes I mount a direct assault. The process I engage will change the direction of your life. I always tell people on the first day of my workshop that their relationships will change drastically; I say that mostly because it’s true. It never fails that a workshop participant will tell me he or she left a lover or a relationship as a direct result of the work.

Life sometimes can be like a journey down a long road in which you don’t know where you’re headed. The scenery is pleasant, but after a while, you might begin to notice the scenery is being recycled. Then you come to a fork in the road. In actuality there have been many forks, you just never noticed them before. Or you may have seen them before, but since you were comfortable on the road you were on, you ignored the others. You might take a road that veers slightly or a lot from your current road, but whatever you do, once you take the other road, your life changes. Sometimes it’s hard to predict if it’s worth the hassle.

People come to me for many different reasons, but there is always the conflict between their dreams and their reality. Sometimes that conflict is slight and sometimes the problems are more complex. Thresholds are very personal matters and what may seem drastic to one individual may seem trivial to another.

At the core of what I do is like a high stakes adventure for happiness. People often come to me because they want to be happy or happier. They want a gratifying life filled with good experiences. They want healthy relationships, a job they enjoy and are proud of, in which they can use their talents and make money. They want to experience life’s pleasures to the fullest. They want to see their dreams come true and feel they are living their deepest values. They want to be liked by many, loved by some, and respected by all.

Of course, happiness is not a prescription you can have filled at the local pharmacy. Why? Because happiness is not something you acquire, it’s something that you become – it’s a state of being. In addition, everybody has a different idea of what will make them happy. There is research to suggest that most of us do not know how to be happy. The real secret of happiness is that it comes from the inside, not from external rewards. There are many, many rich people who are tragically unhappy.

Many people think of the pursuit of happiness. They dream that only if they had that new possession, feeling, or person (“The One”), then they will be happy. This is an illusion. The very language we use betrays this fact: if you are pursuing happiness, you have already put it out of your reach – ahead of you. As long as you pursue it, it will be out of your reach.

How can you pursue something you already have?

You can only be happy right now. Being happy is in the small things of life, those series of small decisions you make everyday, each one making you happier. Happiness is in the everyday details of life.

Too many people also equate happiness with being selfish, that there’s only so much happiness to go around and that if they are happy then someone else will have to pay (people also think this way about romantic love, btw). Yet being happy is good for everyone and the only person’s happiness you can have an impact on is your own.

Change is about waking up from dreams and taking action. Its about dreaming with your eyes open...



Action Steps: Here are some ways to explore the ideas in today’s blog.

Eddie Rule No. 1: If you want to understand, act.

1. Choose a photograph that you really like of yourself between the ages of 5 and 12.

Remember the good things you knew that you were able to do in life, such as, playing, running, putting together model airplanes, writing essays. Visualize yourself doing these things.

Ask yourself now, “What did those things get for me and how can I bring more of that into my life?”

2. Start to write for 10 minutes every morning; not serious writing, just a “brain dump.” You don’t have to say anything earth-shattering or meaningful, just write one page on whatever you want. Do it in longhand, because your hand connects your brain directly with the paper. It’s the equivalent of thinking out loud, of trying out thoughts for size. The few minutes this takes can clear your mind for the day and lead to some good insights.

Get a special notebook for this exercise. Make it a habit. Do it everyday for at least three months. It will change you in ways you can’t possibly see at this point.

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