Did you know there’s a whole scientific community focused on patterns in nature? Both in the living and non-living worlds. Its amazing, and nature’s patterns have been fascinating mankind for since the earliest civilisations.
Early Greek philsophers such as Pythagoras (of Pythagoras’s theorem fame), Plato all talked about the repeating patterns of nature as early as 490BC. (give or take a decade!)
And there are so many different types of patterns, all exude a beautiful fascination, the symmetry of a tiger’s stripes, the fractals, the fabulous branching patterns of trees, the spirals evident in a goats horn or a seashell, the sinuous meanders of snakes and river beds, waves, which are described as disturbances that carry energy. It’s all fantastic, beautiful and glorious.
That makes we want to go off on a tangent about feelings being waves, I’ll come back to that another day 😉
My point is that we often think of patterns as things that repeat themselves exactly, like wall paper. But the things we see in nature aren’t quite like that.
We sense that there is something regular or at least not random about them, but that doesn’t mean that all the elements are identical.
Think of a zebra’s stripes. Everyone can recognize that as a pattern, but no stripe is like any other stripe.
I think we can make a case for saying that anything that isn’t purely random has a kind of pattern in it.
And here’s where your lesson comes in today. Your mind thinks in patterns. Because its lazy and patterns are easier than constantly learning the same or similar thing over and over again.
Once your subconscious spots a similarity, then that thing, a feeling, thought, event, whatever gets filed away with whatever happened previously that may seem even slightly the same to your unconscious mind,
This is great when it works in your favour, for things you do as rote like brushing your teeth, washing the dishes, doing your work.
Its not so great when things aren’t actually that similar and you find yourself acting out in a way that’s inappropriate.
Imagine you got an invite to a grand old duchess’s birthday party and something in the invite signaled to your unconscious mind that it was similar to a bachelorette party and you arrived with penis shaped chocolates and boob balloons and you wearing your cowboy on the pull outfit. Yeah, you’re not going to feel comfortable with all the gentry, wearing tweeds and plus fours, with hats on (hats!) hobnobbing around cucumber sandwiches.
Okay, that’s a fairly farfetched example but sometimes your subconscious groups things together that are nothing alike and you end up feeling scared, or angry or overwhelmed for no good reason.
And you might end up missing out on some great parties too!
This is when you have to rewire your mind to think differently about certain things. And its always good to renew your brain wiring, upgrade it to work for you. (Hint: start with RWID)
In this piece we’re going to talk about patterns in our mind. Where they come from, how they end up impacting our lives without us even being aware of it, and of course, how to break free from the ones that don’t serve us. After all, you want to keep the good ones. You don’t want to get up every day to relearn how to dress yourself!
Today, I want you to start looking out for the repeating patterns in your life and like the zebra’s stripe they might not necessarily look exactly the same but there’s enough similarity to take a closer look and see how random or not it really is.
And you might not be able to see these patterns at all. After all, its a subconscious pattern so you’re not even aware you’re doing it. So ask someone close to you what patterns of behaviour you might have and if you hear someone say ‘You always do that!’ There’s a pattern there for sure.
Uncovering your behavioural patterns will enable us to go deeper to uncover the thoughts patterns and below that is the creator of the pattern – the belief. That’s where I work with you to change what no longer works for you and replace it with something that does.
Enjoy investigating, have fun with it, but remember, this is serious because it affects how you live, why you behave the way you do. So keep a sharp look out.
Patterns mostly are formed in childhood and I recommend you follow the ones you uncover as far back to the root, to its origin, as you can.
I want you to continue working on that, basically forever! Because the deeper you go in uncovering the unconscious patterns you run, the more you’ll be able to change your life to suit what you want. And there are always patterns to uncover. You’ll always find things you that you’ll go ‘why do I always do that!’ when you come back to conscious thought again after you’ve been deep into your subconscious pattern repeat behaviours.
Here’s one simple pattern to uncover to show you what I mean is this example. I want you to simply think about how you start your day.
Because you’ll find you start your day pretty much the same every day.
What’s the first thing you do when you waken? Do you groan and think of what you have to do that day?
That’s what I used to do until I heard Dr Wayne Dyer say the first thing he does every morning,even before he opened his eyes was say thank you. He then went into his daily gratitude ritual and meditation.
Imagine how that set him up for the day!
Better than being dragged out of sleep by the alarm, resenting the intrusion into your sleep cycle and dreading the day ahead.
These days, I don’t set an alarm, not because I don’t have to get up early, I do. Its so I don’t have that shocking jolt that our nervous system gets from the abrupt and shrill alarm alert.
I wake up naturally at the time I need to, and have done for years now.
And I say Thank You, every morning first thing.
Our though patterns affect every aspect of living, from our behaviour, to our ability to attract and enjoy success in relationships, work, health and happiness.
Knowing your thought patterns, having an awareness of your triggers will enable you to counteract your automatic response.
Its good to start retraining your patterns in an unambitious aspect of your life such as how you start your day.
And having a more peaceful start to the day when you feel blessed and grateful for the gift of life and another day will set you up to have a great day and show you that you are able to make even bigger changes when you’re ready.
I’m tempted to say stay alert (to your thought patterns) but that phrase has been reduced to farce right now in the UK. Instead I’ll say, watch yourself, watch your behaviour, observe your reactions and uncover the pattern of thought beneath.
This work is hard so I want you to know how much I appreciate you showing up and doing it for yourself. I mean that, because its not easy to peer into our dark corners and spring clean and most of us avoid it like hell.
Congratulations on being one of the few who are determined to live a happier, healthier life.
At this point, I wanted to share something personal today because I think the more I illustrate my work with my experiences and stories the better you’ll be able to relate.
I have a family member whom I love dearly but he makes me want to scream sometimes. He’s been in the throes of a marriage breakdown for six years now and its been hard to see him and his family go through so much pain.
What makes it worse is he is avoiding the final dissolving of the relationship. And he uses every excuse going, it’s for the kids sake, he’s not ready, she’s not ready, maybe they’ll get back together and on and on.
And every time he calls me to talk about it, I end up wanting to scream. Not because of what he says but because he’s been saying it over and over for so long. And not only that but I’ve seen him make these same mistakes, not taking responsibility, telling lies in the moment because its easier than the truth, and simply not standing up for himself in the face of confrontation over and over too.
I’ve watched this person behave like this for years and years and years, in relationships before this one too.
And when I call him out on his behaviour he says, ‘I can’t help it, that’s who I am, it’s my personality.’
That’s the part that makes me want to scream.
This pattern of avoiding confrontation was set in his childhood, the telling lies to smooth things over came from there too. A bullying parent set the scene for poor relationships for the rest of his life.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change our behaviour, we can change our thinking, we only have to change our beliefs.
We change who we think we are.
But who we really are, the core of us remains unchanged, it has always remained the same.
This person isn’t a liar, deceitful, or cowardly at his heart. No, he’s decent, kind, generous and loving. Circumstances in childhood added survival patterns that he’s still falling back on in adult life.
But a messy chaotic childhood needn’t define us for the rest of our lives. We can break the chains of the beliefs that tie us to old ways of thinking and behaving.
Life add layers to us, and that can be good. But don’t allow those layers to change who you show up as in the world. Instead welcome those that deepen the aspects of you that you like and discard the rest.
Because you deserve to live as the best version of yourself that you know you can be.
Evaluate the patterns you’ve uncovered. What do you want to keep, which do you want to jettison? And let them go now.
We’re in the middle of uncovering our thought patterns and its not as easy as it first sounds.
Some are easy and obvious. I read fairly liberal and what some might call ‘left wing’ literature. Its a pattern of behaviour influenced by my thoughts which are in turn influenced by my belief in every human being’s right to fair and equal opportunities.
I have been dying my hair chocolate brown since my first grey hair showed up when I was fifteen, my expectation when I look a mirror is to see a dark haired woman. But two years ago I decided to grow out the colour and allow my mostly silver grey hair to grow out.
And consciously I like it. However, when I see someone with gorgeous healthy shiny brown hair, I want it, I have to fight the urge to rush out and buy a box dye because that was my behaviour patterns for years. See a grey hair and I had to get it coloured pretty much immediately. And I have a thought pattern which is that colour looks better on me, makes me look younger.
But what about the thought patterns that are hidden deep in our psyche and don’t show themselves so easily. How do you uncover them?
You start building awareness, firstly of the behaviour influenced by your thinking. What is it you keep doing, even when you don’t want to? What do you do unthinkingly that you usually regret later?
Or maybe its a situation in your life that keeps recurring. Maybe you attract the same kind of partner over and over and it always end up in a unsuccessful relationship?
Maybe you keep creating conflict and drama whether with neighbours, work colleagues or your family?
Look closer at that behaviour and start to question the thinking behind it.
What is behind your behaviour? What is beneath the thinking?
Sometimes it isn’t necessarily a situation or action that triggers awareness. We can be reading something and a sentence, a piece of text jumps out at us and a lightbulb comes on and we think, Yes! that’s me, I do that!’
And yet its not you, its something you do or think or feel. That’s not you.
Once again, we go digging. Because there’s something underneath the thinking and behaviour you recognised, something that made awareness bloom. And that is a core belief.
Something so deeply ingrained in us we think its just how we are, just how the world is. How on earth could we change something like that?
Firstly, its great news to discover these core beliefs. These are usually the things we learned in childhood that no longer serve our adult selves. You can’t change what you’re not aware of, so be glad you’ve finally brought it to your attention.
Although they feel ingrained in us, core beliefs are not who we are. What are core beliefs? Core beliefs can be things like:
I’m useless with money
I can’t find a good man/women
No-one will ever love me
Things never work out for me
I’m not good enough
I can’t do this (insert whatever this is for you)
We can change our core beliefs because they are not us, they are not who we are. They are a tool we adopted to explain the world to ourselves when we were little children. We trained ourselves to think that way and to believe them, just like we train our dogs to behave how we want.
But in our case, the trained behaviour doesn’t make much sense when put under scrutiny and it drives us mad because often the outcome under that belief is not what we really want now, as adults attempting to successfully navigate our lives today.
The uncovering is key. You can’t change what you don’t know is there. Look at your blind spots, where is your life running unhelpful patterns. Explore that, the gold is always in the darkest spot.
How you change the thought patterns you’ve identified.
This is easy because, as I said before, the hard work is in identifying them.
You don’t even know they’re there until you start looking under the events of your life, and once you see it, its like trying to hide an elephant under a rug in your living room. There’s just no way you don’t see it anymore!
Recently, I was reading an email from one of my old mentors and he was talking about how he had struggled for years as a business coach and he couldn’t figure out why it was so hard, when he knew how good he was.
Finally, when things were about to come crashing down and he gave it one last go to land a big contract and really make the impact he wanted, he flew to LA to meet with the client and on the flight he sat with his journal and looked at what life was showing him.
And as he looked as his business experiences over his life up to that point he realised the pattern, and as he studied it he became aware of the underlying belief that created that unwanted pattern.
He looked back and could see himself picking himself up after every disappointment and trying again. And then he thought ‘if my life was the result of my beliefs, what did I believe that could be responsible for the pattern I had just identified in my life?’
‘I had always seen myself as someone who never gave up. No matter what, I’d keep going. In fact, that was the one trait most people who knew me always acknowledged. So what did I actually believe? Five hundred or so miles later I had found the answer: “I’m someone who overcomes obstacles.” That was the truth about me. In fact, it feels as if that’s who I really was.
Morty realised that if beliefs affect how you think and behave then it would only make sense that he’d create obstacles in his life.
He said ‘I needed obstacles to prove that nothing could ever stop me. And I had been proving it all my life, especially during the past year or so.’
As I said yesterday, sometimes it isn’t what we’re doing that triggers awareness, it can be something we’re reading and those words of Morty’s jumped out and hit me round the head. All I could think was ‘Me too, that right there, yes.’
And I sat with my journal, writing our all the times I’d tried to make a success and failed and I realised I had a different core believe to Morty’s, my situation and my patterns were different.
I would be doing great and then somehow the rug would be pulled out from under me and I’d face struggle and hardship and have to fight to survive. Because my core belief was ‘I’m a survivor.’ And as I sat in that thought, feeling it in my body, I could see it, feel it ingrained in my bones.
I’m a survivor.
And yes I was, I’d worn it like a badge for years. I survived a chaotic, violent childhood. I survived my parents vicious abusive relationship. I survived so much in my life and it became my identity. I thought that was who I was.
And of course, the strength of that belief kept bringing me events in life that encouraged that identity, reinforced that belief. Look at me, I’m surviving, no matter what sh!t you throw at me, I’ll get by.
Sweet Baby Jesus, no wonder my business ideas never did well. How would success fit in with my identity as a survivor?
It wouldn’t. So it didn’t happen.
Now what? You’ve seen the pattern and brought the beliefs that supported them and even created them out into the open, what do you do with them? How do you change them?
Because they seem so much a part of us as to be us, right?
Like I said, I felt the ‘I’m a survivor’ identity deep in my bones. As the person I spoke about earlier in the week would say about their patterns, that’s just who I am.
But, I knew it wasn’t who I am. I wouldn’t want success in my work, in my life, in my business if that’s who I was. I had to change that core belief somehow.
And you know how already, we always know, that’s the beauty of our human consciousness.
You’ve already done the hard part in discovering it, the next hardest is feeling it. Sitting in that identity and feeling it in every part of you and following it where it leads you, what is it trying to tell you?
My survival identity came from my childhood and part of my adaptation to survive was to not feel my feelings and to avoid the possibility of hurt and rejection by not asking for what I want and need.
I saw it, I recognised it and I accepted it. I embraced the part of me that had made that adaptation, that had closed down my ability to be vulnerable and ask for help.
And I then asked if it was okay to let it go.
I wrote down everything I could that had been a belief around that identity.
I’m a survivor
I get by
I get things done
I never give up
I keep going no matter what
Nothing gets me down
One step forward, two steps back
There’s always something else
There’s never enough.
That’s a sample, there were more all clustered around the same idea of surviving, never thriving.
Then I thought about the identity and core belief I wanted ingrained in my bones. ‘I’m a thriver, I thrive in life, everything I want comes into my life with ease, joy and affluence.’
And I wrote the opposite of all the beliefs I had written about the survivor mentality.
I thrive. I live, breathe, bathe in love, joy, ease, affluence and flow.
Everything I want comes into my life experience, as if by magic
I allow great things to happen for me
Everything works out in my favour, life loves me, money loves me, everything I need and want flows into my life
Life gets easier and easier and I get better and better at saying yes to life
I let go and allow and I create the life I love effortlessly.
And every day I meditated on the new beliefs I wanted to install, and I could feel them overwriting the old. Changing me, changing my life.
The change part is the easiest. Uncovering our patterns is often the most difficult. They are there for us to see but we don’t, they are in our blind spot.
That’s why life brings us lessons and we’ll keep seeing the same thing in our lives over and over again until we’ve learned whatever it is we need to learn from it.
And all we need to do then is thank life for the lesson. Thank God, the Universe, Source, whatever you believe in for the opportunity to grow.
And thank SELF when you’re finally ready to move on from it because you’ve learned it, you’ve grown and its job is done.
Your subconscious is amazing. Its showing you things you need to learn, then release and move forward.
Its amazing, you’re amazing. And you will keep getting better, leveling up into that best version of you that lives inside as you keep doing the work. And the work is always there to be done.
I know, that’s a long read today, but there was so much juicy stuff I had to share with you.
Take it all in, continue to be your own best friend in investigating where you hurt most, that’s where the biggest opportunity for growth is.
What a great job you’ve done, delving deep into your life to uncover the patterns your subconscious runs on your behalf.
Yeah, it’s not what you want much of the time, but as far as your unconscious mind is concerned, you’re safe and you’re not expending energy and inviting danger by doing anything unknown or unfamiliar. Everything is accounted for in the pattern programs it runs, you stay in their loop.
And that’s great when you are okay with how things are, but when you’re not, its hard to get free of it all.
There are some great programs in the world that help a lot of people uncover and question their thought patterns and the beliefs that underpin them.
However, I have a problem with most of them, including my wonderful former mentor Morty Lefkoe and the brilliant Byron Katie. Their work is great and makes you feel better for a while but, and I say this with the utmost respect for these two people in particular, its a huge but! BUT they only approach it from an intellectual level.
Asking if the belief is true is great and all, and it really helps you understand you are operating under a false paradigm but it doesn’t change the paradigm.
You have to go deeper, to an emotional and metaphysical level. You have to actually work with the unconscious mind itself.
Only in that deep realm of consciousness can you change your beliefs, change your thoughts, change your life.
Always go deeper, meditating, in hypnosis, go deeper and there in those realms of your deepest self can you effect real change.
PS: Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.
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