Category Archives: Mapping the Emotions

How to Manage Your Emotions

Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us, and if we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

Digging deeply into the present moment can be enraging, terrifying, or sorrow-filled. That’s why many of us are experts at avoiding our feelings, at living in our heads, at focusing on thinking and doing rather than being.

When we are stimulated into raw emotions such as rage, terror, or grief, we experience uncomfortable physical sensations in our bodies—a red face, butterflies in the stomach, an ache in the heart. This happens because our brains are programmed to respond to threatening stimuli by dumping chemicals into our bloodstreams, according to Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, author of My Stroke of Insight.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for one of these programs to be triggered, surge through our body, and then be completely flushed out of our blood stream,” she said.

Hearing this on her CD, I got my own jolt. She was giving a physiological explanation for what my psychotherapist had taught me, a practice called the map the emotions. Practicing the map provided me with enormous assistance for successfully navigating the traumas I’ve endured since 2009—end-stage sarcoma, then divorce, then the loss of my 19-year-old.

And suddenly the experience of grief rising, cresting, and crashing like ocean waves made sense.

During those 90-second surges, I had practiced staying with the physical sensations in my body without thinking about them, analyzing them, judging them, or making stories about them. I did not have a choice about what happened those first 90 seconds inside my body. I did have a choice how I would respond. I could observe and accept the sensations, staying in my body and in the physiological experience; or I could ignore the sensations and get stuck in emotional pain.

After the 90 seconds were over, I had another choice. Was I going to turn my attention to the source of that stimulation, allow my negative story-teller to re-weave a web of drama, get emotionally triggered again, and continue the pain?

Or was I going to live in the present moment, turn my attention away from the trigger, and choose to let the experience go?

Sometimes I allowed myself to be triggered repeatedly for more than an hour. Yet I stayed with the practice of experiencing the physical sensations with each surge of emotion. Finally I would want some peace and I chose to stop setting off my brain’s limbic system with my thoughts.

It takes practice, like any other skill. Allow time to develop these new thinking and behavior patterns. If you choose this practice, be gentle with yourself as you learn this new way of engaging your thoughts and emotions.

By practicing the map of emotions, I made a conscious choice. I became response-able. Taylor said, “If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

You will be digging deeply in the present moment, and the water of life will spring forth.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you feel a sudden surge of emotion, focus on the physical sensations it creates. Notice how it moves around or possibly gets intense. Notice it lift after 90 seconds. Do all of this without engaging your mind. See if it brings you a sense of peace or relief, and watch your thoughts to see if they want to re-engage with the initial trigger.

Sources:

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (New York: Bantam, March 1, 1992), pp. 41, 42.

Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (Viking, New York: 2008), pp. 146, 148, 152.

Photo: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5127&picture=breaking-wave

New Videos: ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing

Create conditions for radical Healing in your life. Find simple solutions by updating your attitudes, behaviors, and making major life choices to influence cancer and other dis-ease outcomes. If you have cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s, or other “incurable” dis-eases, find relief and personal healing by using these concepts.

I was told to get my affairs in order after two years of conventional treatment for highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma. Yet against all odds, I have enjoyed radical remission since 2011, free of evidence of cancer and free of cancer treatment. Find out what I discovered about changing attitudes, behaviors, and making major life choices that can assist you with turning the corner and thriving.

This short series comes in 4 brief parts and is posted on youtube.

Part 1: How I healed from highly aggressive end-stage cancer.

Part 2: How you can change attitudes to stop being a victim, stop worrying, and let go of resentments.

Part 3: How you can change behaviors such as knowing your nutritional stats and improving it; a sample spiritual practice that gets you out of your head; and how to manage difficult emotions.

Part 4: Putting it together with making major life choices to heal your life, which can help your body rebalance and heal itself.

Please enjoy and share, and let me know about speaking engagements where I can share this important message.

Many thanks to Jim Gray, with Gray Solutions, for creating this new video for Thriver Soup!

The ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing

Please join me

Sunday, May 7, 1-3 pm
250 East Main Street, Batavia, OH  45103

Your Take-aways

+ Consider how to transform attitudes to support healing
+ Learn how to reconstruct behaviors and make better choices to support your body’s efforts to create health
+ Gain your own insights through a guided visualization that will involve exploring any dis-eased part of the body

Feedback:

Thanks for a most thought-provoking talk. I’ve done little else but think since we were together. Who am I? What matters most to me? What do I hope to be when I grow up? How big is my part in the scheme of things?… The talk was a wonderful thing for me.

The ABCs of healing was eye-opening and can help with my health issues.

Beautiful, heartfelt, easy. I gained an understanding of the power of healing through all modalities.

Rending Another Veil on Resurrection Sunday

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…

Matthew 27:50-51a, New American Standard Bible

 

At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the Jewish Temple (that separated people from the Holy of Holies) was rent in two, according to one of the Christian gospels. This symbolized the end of separation between humans and the Divine.

Sometimes we have mental veils that separate us from the Divine, or from unconscious tendencies within ourselves. These curtains need to be found and dropped if we want to see ourselves more clearly.

I had a new veil to rend. My discovery of this separation began with a horrifying, potent dream this past week. I knew I needed to go back into this nightmare, using my imagination, to understand its message more clearly and possibly heal something. Healing on this level can influence the health of our bodies.

Easter felt like a perfect day to focus on resurrecting my own hidden personality aspects.

To prepare, I set up my meditation space with my journal and Vince Lasorso’s “Focused Relaxation” CD set on repeat.

Settled in my chair, I prayed for guidance. Then I imagined myself back in my dream, which was set on the lawn in front of the administration building at my alma mater. I walked up to an unknown woman who was directing some unfortunate activities. Treating her as a real person, I began asking her questions.

She didn’t answer me. She had a job to do.

Then I felt a sudden, gratifying rush of energy as something clicked—the “administration” building represented someone from my childhood who played a large role in my mental development. This person possessed a powerful sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and I had carried those imperatives forward in my own brain’s administrative functioning. I realized the unknown woman was unconsciously carrying out those dictates. This meant a part of my personality had continued, at times, to act without my awareness, expressing masculine qualities without regard for the more feminine values of compassion, love, and kindness. Those unconscious aspects needed to be made more conscious and integrated so I could make healthier choices.

With this insight, I became aware of new fears I had not known were operating in my life. Because I adopted those values as a small child, I also adopted the childish perception that if I did not follow those rules, I would be abandoned and might die. That outdated way of perceiving could now be healed.

I wrote down several possible statements about my newly owned fears and how they affected some of my choices. I settled on one that felt right—it was convoluted and difficult to remember, but it fit exactly what had been happening in my psyche.

Statement in hand, I began doing the Emotional Freedom Technique (described on pg. 201 in Thriver Soup). I had to do five full rounds of tapping to get the feeling sense down from a high of ten to a three.

With the intensity greatly reduced, I decided I was ready to forgive the “administration” individual for pushing these one-sided ideas on me, and to forgive myself for sleepwalking through my entire adult life without questioning this aspect of my personality.

I pulled out my forgiveness process papers, based on the book Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. I spent a couple hours feeling and writing my way through the 20+ steps.

Evening was descending. I re-entered my dream and this time imagined I was the woman directing the activities on the lawn. I looked out through her eyes. She appeared to have sheer curtains in front of her face. Everything beyond that white veil was indistinct. She was not really seeing what she was doing.

And then the cloth spontaneously dropped away from her face. She could suddenly see clearly, for the first time. And she was horrified by her activities. She stopped, offered assistance to the other people, and began making amends.

She had been granted sight, as I had been. The veil was rent and the separation ended. An aspect of my personality had been resurrected from the dead.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

We can’t really see the veils over our mental eyes unless we try to access them through dreams, active imagination, talking with others, writing with our non-dominant hands, or using other methods for excavating our inner lives. And we have to be ready to see these hidden aspects. Perhaps ask in prayer for the willingness to be open to seeing unconscious parts of ourselves. The simple sense of willingness might part a veil enough for us to better see.

 

How to Let Go of Fear, Sorrow, Powerlessness: MySevenChakras Podcast

He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

– Psalm 23, discussed on MySevenChakras Episode 198 with Aditya

Aditya asked Heidi Bright:

  • When did you first come to know that you had Cancer? 
  • What type of Cancer did you have?
  • How did your Cancer end up getting detected?
  • What was your initial reaction when you received your diagnoses?
  • How to go about reducing the impact of chemotherapy?

These were just some of the questions , so if you’re curious about how Heidi overcame cancer…. listen to the podcast till the end: 198: From an aggressive end stage Cancer to radical remission. It’s possible! with Heidi Bright

Alternative Practice – Holistic healing.

Action Step – Going out, doing everything I can to be healthy. I was not going silently into that dark night so I picked myself back up. I worked with that fear and sorrow and that absolute powerlessness. I continued all my healing processes.

Major Life Lesson – There is a genuine hope, and there are always options.

Life Purpose – To share my message about healing our attitudes, behaviors and being able to make major life choices that we need to.

Wisdom Round:

Best Advice – Get to a therapist. Manage my emotions in a healthy way.
Personal Habit – It’s the map of emotions, and that’s the practice of experiencing the sensations in my body without thinking about them until they leave.
Book Recommendation – Waking the Warrior Goddess by Dr. Christine Horner

How to be Fearless

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25, Christian Bible, New International Version

 

I rarely paid much attention to clothing; I was more interested in developing who I was.

Well, it finally dawned on me about 10 years ago that I needed to get a little more with the fashion program. I was sitting next to my friend Laura Dailey in a nice restaurant. She was wearing the current style. I felt silly sitting next to her in my 15-year-old dress, even though it has been my all-time favorite style, pattern, and color mix. I finally conceded that I needed to set it aside. *sigh*

Do you have a favorite outfit that’s outdated? Frustrating, isn’t it?

I needed fashion guidance after recovering from my cancer ordeals. Tracy in Houston generously bought me some beautiful, fashionable dresses when I stayed with her right after my 2009 sarcoma diagnosis. My sister Roselie clearly loved watching me try on and then wear the pretty clothes.

When Thriver Soup was published, I knew I needed professional help with my wardrobe. Amy Elliott Elberfeld, Doris Gibbons, and Patti Raggets came over and went through my clothes. Keep, donate, trash. Out went 3 big black bags of clothing. Amy also gave me a lovely silk scarf that fit my skin tones perfectly and a couple stylish necklaces. She then took me shopping for a couple of outfits.

Painful, but I felt grateful. And fearless.

So I learned that fearless and fashion can go together. Fearless about letting go of what’s no longer serving me, and welcoming what does.

Find out how to become more fearless in my 10-minute video recently posted on the FashionNotFear blog (filmed by my fearless fashionista friend Laura Dailey).

Today I might not be Heidiva the Fearless Fashionista, yet my friends helped make my wardrobe more current and suitable.

Still, my friend Mim teases me: “When I think of fashion, I think of my friend Heidi.”

And we chuckle.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

Clothing ourselves for fashion can help us fit in and feel more confident. It helps us laugh a little more heartily in the face of life’s difficulties. And then we can take our new-found fearlessness and apply it to other areas of our lives.

What Does it Mean to Thrive?

Dr. Pat Baccili, with the Dr. Pat Show, explored this topic on Monday through her radio program. Listen to find out some ways to heal one’s life.
http://www.thedrpatshow.com/play/23277/baccili-20170116-bright.mp3

During the interview, Dr. Pat said, “Only someone like Heidi can take this journey and write about. What she’s writing about is being able to thrive. What does that mean?”
As she talked, she had Thriver Soup in front of her. “It’s really good,” she said. “I was really, really struck by how what you’ve written in this book is really a toolkit for people that are struggling in life with many, many things.”
She said whether someone has cancer or not, “This book right here will help you…because when I go to the section on the ‘Power of Powerlessness,’ that is not a book just for people that are thinking ‘I might die.’ This is a book for those of us that know what it is like to die on the inside as well.”
She said she would use Thriver Soup for people who want to change their lives despite their history or background. “It is a book to get out of that sense of powerlessness.”
Talking with me, she said, “You do this so brilliantly in the book. You talk about looking fear in the face. I think that is so important. But I also love that you talk about looking fear in the face that all of us can do today in our lives.”

What tips do you have for thriving?

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care

Psychosocial support in cancer care was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I have been reporting about.

Dr. Yasmin Asvat, clinical psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “What is a healthy emotional response to a diagnosis? All emotional responses are valid and appropriate. They’re human responses.”

Initial emotions can include sadness, anger, shock, disbelief, denial, and for a few, acceptance.

“Our bodies are looking for balance to be restored,” she said. “If we are not getting to adjustment and acceptance, how can we live well through this journey?”

Thirty percent of patients experience chronic distress after a diagnosis. “To what degree is the distress interfering with the ability to cope effectively?”

Normal feelings like sadness, fear, and vulnerability can become disabling feelings like depression and anxiety.

“Distress can be experienced throughout the cancer care trajectory,” she said.

Dr. Asvat sees her role as partner in balancing patients’ goals with fears. She tries to provide physical interventions and strategies for fatigue, pain, insomnia, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Trumping Donald by Creating Beauty

I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.

Elfie Dewolfe, 1859?–1950

 

A friend who was upset about the recent U.S. presidential election read to me the above quote by an American actress and interior decorator. She now is taking this message even more closely to heart.

Others are deeply upset by the election of Donald Trump. One friend cried, feeling that her entire life’s work on behalf of women suddenly was stripped away.

Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage
Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage

A blog reader identified this response as a “time of stress for women.” She wrote, “I had hoped that you would speak yet again for those Hidden Voices.” She was referring to my first traditionally published book about women from the Christian Bible who had been silenced for millennia and only now are being heard with the respect they are due.

“Just know that we value your voice, which can console and comfort in facing the unknown future (culturally, socially, politically, in terms of faith, family, etc.),” she added.

Among the unknowns are how peace and justice issues in our nation could be affected. One response has become the creation of a Women’s March on Washington scheduled for Inauguration Day, Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial, 2 Lincoln Memorial Circle, NW, Washington, D.C. As of today, according to the national Facebook page, 96,000 people are “going.”

Look on the internet and you can find many protests against the election of Donald Trump. If you feel so inclined, these might be a way for you to make your voice heard.

Another outcome that is feared is the loss of medical insurance currently made possible for many through the Affordable Care Act, especially among those with pre-existing conditions—like cancer patients.

I know I would have passed away long ago if I had not had the conventional medical care I needed.

Naturally, this is extremely frightening for some.

Yet we always have options. If there’s anything I learned in psychotherapy, it is that I don’t have to play victim anymore. I have choices I can make. Even author Viktor Frankyl (1905 to 1997), father of logotherapy, had choices while interred in totally controlled Nazi German death camps. And he survived.

I recall a family member who, just a few years ago, did not have medical insurance for surgical removal of large kidney stones. So he got on the phone and called one provider after another, obtaining their price points and then asking the next ones if they could do better.

He got major surgery done for about $5,100, a whopping 83% savings, using the phone and the free-enterprise system.

One cancer patient chose to have her surgery done in India. It cost less to fly over and even do a little vacationing there than having the surgery done in the United States. She was happy with her results.

It’s so easy to experience resignation and take on a co-dependent victim stance. To get out of these moods, I have a practice of stopping the mental stories and instead paying attention to these energy-in-motion (e-motion) sensations of hurt, fear, and powerlessness as physical experiences in my body. When processed in a healthy way, I then rise up into textures such as peace, no-thing, and/or gratitude. My body lets go of the stress and I can make better decisions. This powerful healing process is explained in the “Mapping the Emotions” section of Thriver Soup, pp. 183-235.

Once I complete the map, I am able to do as Elfie Dewolfe says and “make everything around me beautiful.”

Thriver Soup Ingredient

How can you make your life more beautiful right here, right now? I focus on making the world a better place through my blog, speaking, and writing. I’d love to hear what you are doing to make the world a more beautiful place so these ideas can be shared with others.

Thriver Soup Thursday: Go Ahead–Walk on Water

So Peter went down from the boat and walked on the water, to come to Jesus.
Matthew 14:29, Christian Bible

peter jesus walking water copyOne night Jesus strides on the surface of a lake toward the boat containing his disciples. One of the passengers, Peter, also wants to walk on the water. For a short time Peter has the faith to move across the choppy surface. He steps completely outside his comfort zone, completely outside his way of perceiving the world, and does something extraordinary. He is truly alive for that brief moment.
I want to fully live my life, which is a longing that springs from years of deadly uterine cancer treatments and threats of hospice. This attitude has helped me face down many things I previously had feared, and to try new experiences my former self would have done anything to avoid.
Prior to 2009, I would never have considered driving in downtown Manhattan, New York. Especially during rush hour.
Well, in June I chose to drive through Manhattan to get to Long Island. After getting lost and rerouted, guess what time I pulled onto the Big Apple? 4 p.m. Just in time for rushing waves of traffic.
Ahead of me there was not a single accident on my route to the Queens–Midtown Tunnel. There were two.
My sister suggested I take a Zen approach and simply allow. So I did, settling into the fact it could take hours to traverse a handful of city blocks. Yet I also decided I was going to be something new, something different, something I had never tried before. I chose to be a bad-as_ behind the wheel.
My brother-in-law had demonstrated how to drive in Manhattan when he helped me get around for my visit to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center during 2009. Be pushy. Honk plenty. Don’t give any room. So I picked up his procedures.
I’d already blared my horn for several minutes to get my sister’s attention so she could find me sitting in a traffic lane. I didn’t budge out of anyone’s line of driving until she was safely buckled in next to me.
At one intersection I crossed only partway and sat in a traffic lane, blocking the perpendicular flow. A man in a big black SUV in an oncoming turning lane honked at me, trying to inch his way in front of my little gold Prius. I crept forward. He yelled at me through his open window and tried again to edge me out. As I was able, I moved forward a little more. This scene continued for several heated minutes.
Finally he gave up. He called me an as_-hole (worse than bad-as_), pulled back and passed behind me. “Oh, Ohio! No wonder!”
I chuckled. I had been enough of a bad-as_ to rouse swearing in another driver. I had stood up to a big bad truck with a driver who might well have rammed my little car. I had played with a Big Apple Boy and hadn’t let him cow me.
Like Peter, I followed someone’s example of living life more fully, and moved completely out of my comfort zone. I faced my fear. And I didn’t sink.
Buoyed by my little personal triumph, I trickled my car forward, eventually got through the tunnel, and made my way to our accommodations.
I had lived fully in those moments. I have no desire to repeat them, yet I have added fresh, new experiences to this adventure called life.
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Is there something you’re afraid of trying, yet know you would be glad you did? Don’t focus on the fear. Focus on the end result—the feeling of satisfaction of having faced the fear and triumphed. I see this as a way of walking on water ourselves.
Sources:
Lamsa, George M. Holy Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text: George M. Lamsa’s Translation From the Aramaic of the Peshitta. Harper & Row, May 8, 1985.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMielno_witraz_Piotr_chodzi_po_jeziorze.JPG