At its core, the deepest fear of pretty much every retainer is the fear of not getting better, especially if we have been retraining for a long time and not seen the level of progress for which we had hoped. Questions arise about whether the program or programs we are doing will work, and what will happen to us if they don't. This can often lead to being anxious and hypervigilent, continually looking for signs of progress. If we don't see them or the progress isn't as great as we had hoped, we use it to confirm our underlying fear that this isn't going to work for us. What we don't realize is that it is our anxiety about recovery and our fixation on looking for signs that things are changing that keep our brain and nervous system in a state that makes it hard to progress. In this way, our fear is creating a roadblock to our recovery. The lack of progress confirms our fear, which then reinforces the fear in our system, which continues to hinder our progress, and they cycle continues.
According to Gupta, all other fears are based on our core fear that this might not work. I agree with him. That being said, we may or may not be consciously aware of this fear (or we may be aware of it deep down and not want to admit it to ourselves because somehow admitting it makes it more real). Sometimes it operates below the surface and expresses in different ways. So, what can we do to overcome this fear and stop it from sabotaging our progress?
Shed light on the fear
Fears thrive in the dark hidden corners of our mind. When we shed light on them by either acknowledging them out loud to ourselves, writing them down or sharing them with someone we trust, they cease to have the same hold over us. Bring your fears into the light and acknowledge them. As we do so, we are reclaiming our power to make choices and to change, and taking power away from the fear.
Recognize this is a very common fear for many retrainers
You are not alone in this feeling. It is easy to think that we are, or somehow our symptoms or situation is unique and different from others and therefore the program won't work as well for us. It is good to keep in mind that while many people have varied expressions of central sensitivity or limbic system impairment, the root cause comes back to brain function. Brain function abnormalities have been shown in pretty much every chronic illness that exists (including Long Haul Covid now). More research is coming out that supports the theory that brain and nervous system function are at the root, regardless of the details of the expression, because the functioning of these structures affect all systems and areas of the body.
When we come back to the understanding that many retrainers fear on some level that they will not recover or that the program won't work, we can start to see it as a universal fear that is common to the limbic system. This enables us to treat it like any other automatic negative thought/feeling or POP that may arise, and to put it into perspective. Remember, in the words of Jeffrey Schwartz, "Don't believe everything you think, cause your brain is sending you false messages." This is one of those false messages, even though it may not feel like it.
Stop researching and looking for other information & solutions
This feeds into the notion that what we are doing isn't enough to help us heal. It keeps our brain and nervous system in survival mode. Again when we look at what drives us to research more, it is fear. It's time to stop letting fear drive your bus, and have your mindful adult self who understands what is going on take back the controls.
Being given other labels along the way doesn't mean that the brain & nervous system function aren't at the root cause. It just means that we have more or different secondary symptoms.
If your secondary issues require medical treatment, then do what you need to. At the same time, watch the amount of focus, thoughts and air time you are giving them and remind yourself that these are symptoms, not the root cause. It is the brain that is the control center for optimal health. Brain and nervous system function are at the core, and if we want to make lasting changes and increase our resilience, this is where we need to direct our energy for healing. When we address the root cause, the secondary symptoms will also improve.
I often think about the success stories from Joe Dispenza's programs. Many of the participants had supposedly incurable and sometimes terminal diagnoses and yet they experienced profound healing. Why? Because they found a way to actively direct their brains and minds, to let go of fear, elevate their emotions and surrender to the process. They placed their trust in the process, took their focus off the physical, and repeated the tools over and over until they created a new reality. We are far more powerful than we realize. When we learn how to harness it and trust in it, that's when the magic happens.
Do your best to suspend judgment or check yourself for physical improvements for a period of time, even if you are a seasoned retrainer
Checking in all the time and anxiously waiting for progress hinders our improvement. It can be really difficult at times to let this go, especially when we are trying so hard to recover and longing so deeply for improvement. Underlying that longing often is the fear that improvements may never come, and that is what keeps us anxiously checking and looking for evidence of progress. Even if you have been doing brain retraining for a long time, make a deal with yourself to start fresh. Set an intention to release or suspend your fears & set aside any judgment and evaluations of your progress for a period of time (ideally a few months). Interrupt any checking in to see if you are seeing progress and related thoughts or fears/worries that they are not coming. Use your "stops" & redirect, or label what is going on (e.g. "I am worrying about my progress"), take a deep breath in, and as you exhale gently and lovingly release that thought/feeling into the earth (to be recycled & transformed). If you use tapping or EFT, then tap out the fears and tap in how you want to feel instead.
Review the information from your program on the brain, how these conditions arise as a result of brain function, and how the program works, if you haven't revisited this in a while.
Next week I will do a brief recap on the main ideas of brain retraining and functions of the brain to help reinforce our understanding. In the mean time, you can revisit these parts of your program, ideally with a beginner's mind where you are open & curious. There are layers to our understanding, and by doing this you may find your understanding deepening. This will support you in trusting the process.
Review information on the benefits of meditation, and add some in if you are not doing it already.
I cannot stress enough that for building resilience in your system, consistent daily meditation is key. There is so much research about meditation and its benefits that it is now considered to be pretty mainstream. Do your best to let go of efforting when you meditate, allowing your brain and body to relax (to the best of your ability). If you are new to meditation, there are a lot of guided meditations on the free Insight Timer App from which to choose. If you are looking for a brief but powerful meditation course to help get you on the right track, I very highly recommend the Sahaj Samadhi meditation course offered by the Art of Living Foundation. The course is online, 2 hours a day for 3 days, offered nearly every weekend in different time zones, and by the end you will have a solid understanding and a powerful, effortless practice to support you. Information on this course can be accessed here. (Please note that I have no affiliation with this course or organization in any way. I just really value what they offer and out of all the different mediation trainings and courses I have done over the years, in my opinion this one is by far the best).
Increase trust and faith that you can improve
In addition to acknowledging the fears that may be holding you back, spend some time reflecting on what might help you to increase your trust and faith. For some, it is reinforcing the knowledge and information about the brain & brain retraining that renews their faith, increases their understanding of what is going on and that it can be changed. For others, it is connecting with something greater than themselves - a divine being, nature, love, or the energy of life itself that allows their systems to surrender and begin to settle down. In some cases, trust and faith is increased through renewed commitment and dedication to simply doing the steps and suspending judgement for a time rather than directly trying to increase trust and faith. The more trust and faith increase, the less fearful we are, the more settled our system becomes, activating our inner healing mechanisms. We start to create a positive upward cycle that leads to tangible outcomes over time.
Sometimes it is also helpful to remember that the changes in the brain need to reach a certain level, or critical mass so to speak, before we see evidence of those changes physically, mentally, emotionally or energetically. It's good to keep this in mind - just because you don't see evidence of changes doesn't mean changes aren't happening. When you plant seeds in your garden, you don't dig them up to check and see if they are growing every day. You give them what they need - sunlight, water, good soil, and you trust that once the roots are established you will begin to see the plants sprout above the ground. The same goes for your brain. See if can't let go and let the process of recovery take its course. For some, learning to let go of fear and increase trust in the final key that unlocks the door to recovery.
Two blogs ago I said I would follow up on potential coaching for parts work. I spoke to Shonna Stokowski, one of the Gupta coaches, and she stated that it would be more economical to do the Gupta program first (because it contains a lot of information on parts work and gets you going on this) before starting parts work coaching. Most of the Gupta coaches are not familiar with the DNRS program, other than Shonna, and she is not taking on any more clients until the fall.
Until next time!
If you have a question, please email me at email@example.com
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She has a background in trauma, grief & loss, mindfulness, and positive psychology, and has over a decade of experience coaching brain re-trainers. Candy works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com