Riding the Brakes

Tell us your wish, tell us your obstacle, and we'll try to come up with some useful suggestions to help you get into action toward your dream.

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Riding the Brakes

Postby MattRyan » Thu Jul 29, 1999 4:18 pm

Please see my introductory message under the General Discussion topic. I posted there rather than under \"Wishes and Obstacles\" because I\'m already on my way to fulfilling my wishes, and any obstacles I encounter will fall when I attack them. Or I\'ll go around them! But, I\'m wasting a lot of time, and leaving many areas of my life untidy, which I think is a way of riding the brakes on my success. I want to uncork and go whole hog for outstanding success, but it\'s not what I\'ve been doing. (My intro message goes into this more.) I am a healer. In a year\'s time I will have completed two excellent trainings in Client-Centered Therapy and Muscular Therapy. I\'m not doing both at once -- the CCT training ended two years ago with unfinished work, which I have another year to complete. By then I will already have a busy private practice doing MT -- I\'m very talented at it, and the CCT training (which focused on developing a safe, accepting, and *genuine* relationship between therapist and client) has done wonders for my interactions with clients, without any conscious application on my part. The CCT work will grow more slowly because my social contacts will be far less useful as a source of clients. But I have volunteer work in mind that I will be happy to do until I can displace it with paying clients. Down the road, when I have independent mastery of each, I will probably find ways to combine the two disciplines. I think with many people there\'s a limit to how much loving acceptance one can communicate without physical contact. And, there\'s a limit to how much loving acceptance that physical contact can communicate without a context for sharing vulnerability. I also intend to seek out populations who are more likely to get transformational results out of my bodywork, as opposed to just leaving the session feeling really good. For example (possibly), people with anorexia. I\'m paying for all this education working 25 hrs/wk as a UNIX sysadmin at a good company. I like some of the things this career gives me, enough to want to keep doing it long-term, though fewer hours. My department head has said they\'d be willing to keep me on at 10 hours, and I\'ve said I\'ll definitely cut down to that when my private practice grows enough. So, reading the above, you might think I\'m rolling mightily along on my path to fulfillment, happiness, and useful service to the world. But this is me without my foot on the gas. (That\'s more accurate than \"riding the brakes\", actually.) My heart is totally into all the things I\'m doing, but my energy is not. Continuing on as I am, I will achieve moderate, sustainaible, enjoyable success. If actually put my foot to the gas (not to move faster, but with all my power, depth of feeling, etc)... wow. My unfulfilled wish is to live whatever life I would have if I were bringing all of my energy into the world. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby MattRyan » Fri Jul 30, 1999 1:41 pm

Jacque- Partly, yes. Also it\'s the fact that when I am pursuing my objectives, it\'s without most of my power and energy. I could probably spend the same amount of time on my objectives but feel completely thrilled about it due to the amount of energy that moves through me into the world during that time. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby MattRyan » Sun Aug 01, 1999 1:03 am

Under the General Discussion forum thread on this same topic, Barbara advised me to make a short, clear statement of my wish&obstacle here. So:
  • I wish I could put all my energy into my work, but I can\'t because I\'m afraid of too much success.
I will happily stay engaged with any replies. However I am shortly flying to a 1-week conference and I am unsure of my net-access there. So, further responses from me will be delayed 2-8 days. Thank you. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2 [This message has been edited by MattRyan (edited August 01, 1999).]
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Postby Doug C » Sun Aug 01, 1999 8:44 pm

Matt, What would happen if you had "too much success"? Your work is wildly successful, all that you can imagine it could be. Picture just what it looks like, and how it feels; you're there. What are the consequences?
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Postby MattRyan » Tue Aug 17, 1999 2:24 pm

What would happen if I had too much success? The strongest thought I have \"lots of success would be great!\" The rest of my response is slippery and hard to get a feel for. Success here means bringing all of my energy into the world, and applying it in self-fulfilling ways. I\'m not concerned about financial success. I know one ceiling I\'ve run into in the past is, I can\'t do things *too* well or I\'ll start thinking too highly of myself. It\'s unclear to me why thinking too highly of myself is dangerous, though I\'m confident I got it from my parents. I thought I\'d gotten past that but... perhaps not. I hope for continuing response and/or feedback here. I don\'t know whether or not a followup on this thread is going to get read, after two weeks of inactivity. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby Jacque » Tue Aug 17, 1999 2:47 pm

Two questions spring to mind: 1. How do you know how high "too highly" is? (Do you know?) 2. What happens if you do think too highly of yourself. As Doug said, what are the consequences? Run the movie in your mind, and tell us what happens. --Jacque [This message has been edited by Jacque (edited August 17, 1999).]
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Postby PeterH » Sat Sep 04, 1999 11:09 pm

Matt, how was the conference? Are things any clearer?
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Postby BarbaraSher » Sun Sep 05, 1999 10:13 am

I have noticed that when people suggest that someone imagines success, and when they (very correctly) say "be there, imagine it, experience it, run the movie") the response almost always is something like yours, Matt. "What would happen if I had too much success? The strongest thought I have 'lots of success would be great!'" But that's not what we're suggesting. We're all literally suggesting that you take about 5 minutes to experience it. Write it down as you fantasize it. That's the only way to get new data. The other is too fast and superficial and won't tell you much at all. Let me quote from "Wishcraft", pg. 67: "Many of us have daydreamed at one time or another of being a movie star, or even President of the United States. But if I waved my magic wand and POOF! you were halfway up Everest, would you be in your element -- or would you long desperately to be home in your nice warm armchair daydreaming it? There's an easy way to find out. Use your own built-in magic wand -- "real daydream"! Remember? First person, present tense, visual and sequential. Like this: "'POOF! I am the President of the United States. I am sitting at my desk in the Oval Office. It is 9:30 in the morning. On my left is a stack of paper about two feet high, urgently requiring my decision on such matters as the energy crisis, the Middle East peace negotiations, the SALT talks, and the diplomatic status of the People's Republic of China. On my right is a red telephone, ominously silent. I...I... Agghh!! Let me out of here!' "That, my friend is the acid test for any goal. Try living it in imagination..."
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Postby MattRyan » Sun Sep 05, 1999 3:42 pm

Barbara- Good point; I haven\'t done that. I will make some time later, do this exercise, and report back. Thank you! PeterH- Thanks for asking. The conference was very good. I gave of myself a lot to help it be good for others, cemented a new life-long friendship with the principal organizer, and savored the experience of being in that environment WITHOUT active personal issues I wanted to work on while there. More clarity? Mmm, I\'d say rather, less focus -- which feels like a good thing right now. Jacque- Welcome questions. I will consider them again after I\'ve done Barbara\'s exercise. General- I go through cycles of frustration with where I\'m at and being-at-peace with where I\'m at, though the substance of \"where I\'m at\" may not be much different. I\'ve noticed that I don\'t generally get breakthroughs while I\'m frustrated and struggling with my stuckness, rather, I seem to trickle gradually toward the changes I want during the being-at-peace phases, without my noticing. Sometimes, though, I have the sense that there\'s a breakthrough possible here... that I\'m strategizing around and adapting to a broken-but-fixable way of being... 420 posts in Wishes and Obstacles! This place sure got busy in the last month. I\'ll have to do another browse-and-ponder session. Thank you all... ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby BarbaraSher » Mon Oct 04, 1999 11:44 am

Hi Matt Haven't heard from you for awhile, and was wondering how you're doing. I'm curious about your mention re: "I'd think too highly of myself" which you obviously have given some thought. Can you give us an idea what your parents might have done to make you think that? The information could help a lot of people. Those of us w/ kids won't do it them. And those of us w/ parents might have a useful insight. Thanks. [This message has been edited by BarbaraSher (edited October 04, 1999).]
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Postby MattRyan » Wed Oct 06, 1999 9:35 pm

Barbara- I feel good that you came back to check in on me. Thank you. Different dynamics with Mom and Dad, both supporting the same result. The defining event I recall with my dad was his response to a story I\'d sent him. Something was new and exciting about it -- maybe I\'d never written a story before. I\'m probably 10 or something. On the outside I\'d written, \"I LIKE IT!!! (do you like it?)\" His response was reserved and reluctant, mostly directed toward the \"immodest comment\" with which I\'d framed the message. He was mostly concerned that I learn a lesson about appropriate interaction with others. I don\'t remember him responding to the story itself at all beyond that he liked it, I think. That\'s an intellectual dynamic. With my mom, there is an emotional one. She responds to excitement with calmness. Not a zen calmness that welcomes and prizes any other kind of state in others, but a calmness that fights with my enthusiasm. If there was much emotion in my communication to her, she\'d move into a problem-solving mode, with an unspoken foundation of \"what is the problem such that you\'re expressing this much emotion to me?\" That was my experience of her, I don\'t know what her experience was. I emerged into adult life with a zest and talent for talking about, and bringing into conscious awareness, inward experiences in myself and others. I\'m somewhat puzzled about that -- I don\'t feel supported in that path by either of my parents. But I also have a legacy, probably related to the above, of blocked momentum, hanging back, isolation. I still hadn\'t done your POOF! thought experiment when I sat down to write this. So I took time and did it just a little while ago. I\'ll share the results in a separate message below. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby MattRyan » Wed Oct 06, 1999 9:48 pm

Thought experiment: I wave a magic wand, and am transported into the future of my dreams. What\'s it like to be there? ----- POOF! I am uncorked, week in, week out, my energy is flowing into the world. I am acting on my attractions to interesting people, getting involved, reaching out. My therapy sessions have more energy -- during the time all of my energy is available to be with the client, but not pouring in on them. Just present with me, available to connect. People are enlivened by contact with me. Time at day job is cut in half, nothing stops me from completing pending academic work. I communicate excitement to my parents, they are somewhat taken aback but supportive, my own momentum is too strong and well-grounded to be halted by their lack of resonance. More people want more of my time -- I move too fast for most to get more of my time than I\'m willing to share, and I slow down to be with people I choose. I\'m *tired* at the end of the day, wake up with a sense of momentum building again. I have too many clients, and right-size my practice by focusing on ways of working and people to work with that tend to lead to outcomes that are the most significant for them, and kinds of process that are most rewarding for me. I am not isolated. ----- Nothing particularly threatening in all that. The lack of resonance with my parents wouldn\'t be more than what I already experience. I\'m mostly just struck by not being in that place, and not seeing a bridge. ------------------ Matt Ryan mbr2@world.std.com http://world.std.com/~mbr2
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Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Oct 07, 1999 10:36 am

These last two posts make it pretty clear that you have some work to do on your childhood because you're stopped for the reason most of us get stopped: under our rational, adult facade is a vulnerable child we've usually forgotten about, and this child feels that if we break the unspoken rules of our families, something will happen that will cause us emotional pain. In your case, it seems that your enthusiasm made them uncomfortable, even secretly angry. (What would *you* have to feel to respond like they did to an enthusiastic child?) It doesn't make much sense on a rational level, but reason is a weak thing compared to emotion, especially the raw feelings of a vulnerable child. I'd find a really good therapist to guide you into that place and get to those feelings. That is, find a way to take care of that kid inside you by letting him have the feelings he never could have back then, so he'll be able to move on and quit fearing happiness.
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