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Lettter from The Editor

Josie and Jim Herndon

Happy Holidays & New Year!

Many Blessings from Josie & Jim Herdon

Holiday festivities are here and will be bringing heaps of happiness and joy. We are thrilled to welcome the blessings of family, friends and fun this winter, and are especially excited to spend time with our new grand-babies!
Saturday, December 19, 2015/Author: Josie and Jim Herndon/Number of views (568)/Comments (0)/ Article rating: No rating
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Compassion Attentiveness Therapy

Compassion Attentiveness Therapy

Nature of Transformation Part II

Author: Saleem Noorali/Saturday, December 19, 2015/Categories: Alternative Treatments, Spirituality, Featured Member Content

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The nature of inner transformation, as described in Part 1 of this series, is something that one can experience over time or even within a single moment. The process of inner transformation can break the dams that have held us in our addictions. This process can also suffuse within us feelings that can only be described with expressions like, “I feel rejuvenated,” or “I feel new” or “I feel different.” While this transformation can be described by complicated bio-psychological processes, I believe there might be a simpler way to explain it.

Over the last 30 years as a clinician, I have identified four general stages of transformation. They often commix or flip flop in terms of sequence, but it seems like the transformative experience generally involves these four major elements: Pause, Separate, Allow, and Dissolve. These elements can be applied quickly (in a moment) or extended for greater depth and for long-term recovery.

1. Pause

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness”

- From The Courage to Create by Rollo May

In his book, Power of Pause, Terry Hershey points out that we tend to “worship at the altar of the superlative.” With societal pressure to be better and faster at everything, our very nature as human beings has been pushed out of its native state. It’s no wonder that we’re unable to calmly and happily take a soft pause to regroup. We’ve even forgotten what we are trying to regroup. I would suggest that we are trying to regroup our undiscovered selves -- the parts of ourselves which have been left without our own company and that carry with them the answers we’ve been seeking for serenity. The parts of ourselves that carry essences of joy, happiness and peace. The parts of ourselves that carry self-compassion.

As well, pause is a powerful cognitive behavioral trick that restores power to the individual, often immediately. In addictions, I see that even when clients are unable to follow through with the other steps described below, pause alone has had encouraged clients to believe that they might be able to achieve stillness in the midst of a craving storm.

Hank, a client who relapsed a week before one of our sessions, told me, “Saleem, I ‘paused’ last week. But I already had the pills in my hand.” After a moment of lamenting his surrender to his addiction, he excitedly repeated, “But, ‘I paused’!” At first I was discouraged hearing that pause alone did not create a greater impact for Hank, but it only took seconds for me to realize that this was a victory. Hank had successfully broken the momentum of an intense craving if only for moment in time. He had chipped off a small piece of his destructive all-or-nothing thought pattern. He managed to pause and also managed to take joy in his small achievement. Together, we came to realize that if he could do it once, he could do it again... and again… and again. From one experience alone, his body began to learn physical pause, and his brain had learned that it had the mental strength to pause… if only for a moment. After Hank, many clients told me their “pause” stories. I could sense not only self-empowerment emanating from each one of them but also a sense of self-compassion.

2. Separate

Q: Tell me in lay terms about oil and water and why they separate.
A: They don’t mix because water is polar and oil is not. The molecule of water is electrically stable with partial charges on each side of the molecule. In short, that ultimately means that water molecules are likely to attract other water molecules leaving oil molecules unattached to them. They separate but it takes some time.
Q: Why do they take time to separate? Why is it not instant?
A: Oil and water take time to separate because the molecules are always moving. Remember that when it comes to water, like attracts like for the most part, but you’ve got to respect that constant movement of the molecules will slow down the the separation process a bit. Just be patient and you’ll see how it all works out.

-- Interview of Raziq Noorali, Student of Astrophysics

I tell my clients that once they’ve come to understand pause, that the next step is to separate from the drug and unhealthy environment. Separation can be equally as powerful as pause from a cognitive behavioral standpoint. For many in recovery, separation is a painful task because it means they will have to take a break from their current community of friends, if not completely disassociate from them. They may also have to have to move away from their parents or spouses into a sober living home or change their lives in some other drastic way.
Separation from the drug and and separation environment carry their own sets of withdrawal symptoms. Drug withdrawal has been studied comprehensively. We have found that it is emotionally and physically taxing and even dangerous at times. Withdrawing from a social environment can be equally painful for the addict on both emotional and physical levels.
Studies have shown that removing oneself from a harmful environment actually changes cognitive patterns for the better, but it takes time and patience. Separation is where the “work” begins as I tell the clients. Building pause into one’s nature is difficult at first, but simple once practiced for even a short time. Separation on the other hand is an intricate web of complications and lasts for a lengthier period of time. It is an act of self-compassion that can be difficult for many addicts to comprehend. With the right Cognitive Behavioral Therapist or Compassion Attentiveness Therapist, clients can learn to understand both the tumultuous and subtle challenges of this phase.

3. Allow

The Master allows things to happen.
She shapes events as they come.
She steps out of the way
and lets the Tao speak for itself

- The Daodejing

The third step involves allowing the person to return to her natural, restful, and joyful state of being. Now that the individual’s mind and her physical environment are clear as a result of the pause and separation phases, there is an opportunity for real healing and real recovery to take place. In this phase, the addict has the opportunity to create a more self-compassionate identity for himself that goes beyond “I am an addict.” Given that the opportunities for a new life are endless in form and shape, the addict has the ability to choose ANYTHING. This is an incredibly empowering phase that goes along well with the 12 steps. In fact all of the 12 steps can fit into the “allowing” phase.
In the allowing phase, the addict’s force field of artificial boundaries and ideas are officially down. Here, the addict surrenders to the notion of a better life, surrenders perhaps to a Higher Power or to a higher sense of Self. There is a healthy vulnerability in this state where the addict can choose to allow health, well-being and the best of her qualities to reclaim their place within the mind and body.
Allowing is not only means to an end. It is itself a state in which a recovering person can learn useful stress-management skills that she can return to over and over again for the rest of her life, because allowing is itself a way of life.

4. Dissolve
Transformation literally means going beyond your form.
Wayne Dyer
The four steps to transformation culminates with this: dissolving and thus becoming.
What does this mean?
This phase involves completing the process of changing the constitution of our minds and bodies through the act of ultimately dissolving into the new ground that we wish to grow from. Dissolving, while the most profound piece of this 4-step puzzle, is the easiest part. It requires no effort and is the natural result of pausing, separating and allowing. Once a person has dissolved and become the new version of herself, she has completed the transformation process.
What’s next? You may ask.
The process starts all over again but from a new starting point and with a new sense of self.

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