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The Death Grip You Have on Pain

You may have heard that I’m starting up a new subscription program called Mastering the Illusion. Moving forward I’ll be centering all of my other work around that program, including this entire blog, Uncovering Your Reality. I wanted to start doing that this week with this blog post.

The first PDF download in Mastering the Illusion is a bit about perception, a bit about pain, and a bit about control. It’s almost like an introduction to Mastering the Illusion. If I were going to describe what Mastering the Illusion is or what I mean when I say Mastering the Illusion, this is what it would look like.

Our perception is screwy. It’s based on a combination of old pain, previous experience, and our beliefs or ideas about how the world works or should work. What that creates is a perfect storm of chaos in your perception.

We all know that screwy perception makes us make crazy choices. I’ve made a million of them. Believe me, if I could go back to my younger self and be like, “What the heck?”, I would!

What are those choices based on though? Why do we make them?

The choice comes from the perception of pain that we think we see in our reality. We think we see pain because we feel pain. The pain we feel is perceived by us in our reality, whether it’s actually there or not.

This is an interesting little trick of the mind that we play on ourselves. It’s one of the reasons why I use the title Mastering the Illusion. It’s because the pain that you feel isn’t necessarily showing up in your reality. You just think it is because how you see reality gets twisted by the pain. There’s that screwy perception.

You could think of it as a question of which came first the chicken or the egg. But it’s not much of a question, because the truth is if the pain wasn’t there your perception wouldn’t be screwy. The pain is what’s messing with you. The pain was there first.

For example, my original podcast Spirituality Unpacked, used to get about 100 plays per episode. I thought that sucked because my perception was so triggered by wanting thousands of plays immediately. My current podcast, Master Your Being, averages about 5 to 10 plays an episode. Do you know what I would give for 100 plays right now?

Do you see the perception problem? The perception problem was based on my own existing pain around wanting to be an instant success, like the authors you see that write one book and suddenly they are on Oprah’s Book Club. That’s what I wanted and the pain around not having that caused me to perceive those little successes as failures.

I’ve done a lot of work on myself to accept 5 or 10 plays an episode, to forgive myself for not seeing what I had created with Spirituality Unpacked. Here’s what that work allows me to see now – I’ve learned far more from being triggered by 100 plays on Spirituality Unpacked then I ever would have if I had simply been able to get okay with that progress back then.

Yes, I would give up 100 plays per episode to learn what I’ve learned since then.

Did the years of healing and work come at a cost?

I suppose in some ways that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? What did I lose by going through that?

This is where perception matters because yes, I can tell the story about how I’m not where I should be. I could be making more, my podcast could be doing better, I could have this, that, or the other thing. But the truth is that those things aren’t true. What learning and healing would I have to give up to get those things?

The mind immediately wants to suggest that I could have learned it along the way anyway, but would it have had the same impact? Would it have been as valuable? Would the other parts of my life be as far along as they are?

You see I didn’t just work on one aspect of my life. I worked on all aspects of my life at the same time. I allowed my life to completely change. I did that because I completely changed. As I healed and started to recognize how screwy my perception was, I began to look at other aspects of my life and shift those too because I could. I had given myself the power to make the changes, so I improved things where I could.

Where is this true for you?

Are you stuck trying to fix one aspect of your life, while not allowing yourself to make change in others?

The benefit of allowing yourself to shift when and where it’s appropriate, regardless of whether it seems connected to your focus or not, is that you learn about yourself. You begin to see things a different way and it opens up the likelihood that you’re going to start to see the thing you’re focusing on differently too.

My relationships gave me clarity around my work and my work gave me clarity around my relationships. They didn’t seem related at the time, but they were inextricably so because they were mirroring each other. Not only were they mirroring each other, the behaviors that I had were the same in all aspects of my life. When I healed one thing, it allowed me to heal it for all the others too. It showed me connections that I wasn’t aware of at first.

Your perception of pain keeps you focused on one thing, it makes you compartmentalize that thing and you try to separate it out from everything else. What I’m trying to show you is how much you’re limiting yourself because of the pain that you feel.

When you release the death grip you have on that one aspect of your life, it frees you to see what you were holding onto more clearly. When you pick up a rock that just fits in the palm of your hand and you can only see the very edges of the stone poking out through your fist, you don’t have a clear picture of that stone. It is covered by your grip on it. It is only when you release that grip that you see the stone more clearly.

Even then, there is a portion of the stone that you can’t see because the stone is resting on a portion of itself. In order to see the full stone, you have to pick it up and hold it with only a couple of fingers. Without some form of suspended animation, you can never see the stone in its entirety because you always have to be holding it up in some way.

The same is true with the pain you hold onto. The more you cover it up because of how tightly you hold onto it, the less clearly you’re able to see it. Maybe it’s so tightly covered that you can’t even tell what it is anymore. It becomes a bit of a guessing game. What am I holding onto?

The first step is to start opening up your fist so you can begin to see what you’re holding onto. You’ll be surprised by how much what you’re holding onto has warped over time because of the pressure you’ve put on it. Suddenly that rock is actually a seed that you didn’t plant because you were afraid of what it would grow into.

The deal with healing is that you have to take that risk. That’s kind of how it goes. You have to decide to try it and see what happens. It seems terrifying, but it’s not really. It’s mostly a trick of perception. Your existing pain makes you perceive more pain, whether the pain is actually present or not. It becomes a bit like blurry vision. You can’t tell what you’re looking at until you put on your glasses to be able to see it clearly.

The problem is that you’re so used to blurry vision, that you don’t even think you need glasses. This is part of what keeps everybody stuck. They don’t think there is a problem because they are so used to being in pain. It’s only once the pain gets unbearable that they finally realize they need to do something about it.

Are you there yet?

Those crashes suck, but often they are part of the process because we continually deny the existence of the rock we have a death grip on.

That’s pain for you. That’s what it does.

It’ll keep you there until you decide to face it.

You have the power to face it. You just have to decide you’re ready to do that.

Love to all.



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