In part 2 of this series, we introduced the concept of the MBC – Meaning Belief Cycle. This human phenomenon is a way in which we construct our beliefs, which are used as a reference for present moment evaluations. These evaluations concern what things mean to us as we make sense of people, places, things and events in our lives – past, present and future.
Once we have awareness of a dis-empowered shame or fear belief that is negatively impacting our lives and relationships, what can we do about it? First, we need a strategy that will recognize this MBC pattern, interrupt it and then replace with a new habit of evaluation. Next, and most important, we must make a conscious commitment to do the work necessary to ensure the greatest chance of success.
Many times people read something once, seek help a few times or go to a weekend workshop and hope that personal transformation will magically happen. Well, that usually doesn't work. I know we live in a digital world where we have instant access to information and change happens rapidly. Unfortunately, engrained beliefs require a long-term commitment to intentional daily focus for the change to take root and grow.
The nurturing of a garden can be used as an analogy. Imagine a garden in your backyard separated into two sections. On the left is a full-grown plot you have been meticulously tending to for days, weeks, months and maybe years. On the right is a patch of dirt waiting for you to plant new seeds.
Let's say the plants on the left side of the garden are the dis-empowered beliefs we have been using as our reference beliefs for many years. There are two tools we use to cultivate his little slice of our mind. First, is how often we link to a belief by making sense of our current experiences using validating meanings, which acts as the sunlight. Second, are the languages of thoughts, emotions and behaviors we use to describe our current experience, which act as water for nourishment. As long as we keep associating and accessing to this belief, the garden will flourish.
What if we consciously decide to ignore the garden on the left, planted new seeds and mindfully directed our attention by assigning new meanings - shined our light onto the garden on the right? What would happen if we stopped watering the garden on the left? What if we choose to change the narrative – our language of thoughts, emotions and behaviors? The left garden will begin to wilt and eventually die, while the new plants on the right will grow and thrive.
This example is similar to how we can strategically use our mind to change our brain. By a process whereby we choose to use intentional conscious focal attention, we can neglect our dis-empowered beliefs and focus on cultivating new self-empowered beliefs. Just as a garden, the only way this change will happen is to make a decision to work the strategy daily over a period of time.
The seeds we use to grow our new garden are comprised within The Five Intentions of Empowerment. These five seeds, if planted, watered and given plenty of attention will eventually form the basis for new unconscious reference beliefs. Each of these five words, when used, will become the roots for a new story we tell about whomever or whatever is at the core of the belief.
The Five Intentions of Empowerment are in the order of flow because they build upon and reinforce each other. The interesting aspect is that they also form a new cycle because the first intention cannot survive without the fifth.
1. Intention of Now
2. Intention of Gratitude
3. Intention of Giving
4. Intention of Forgiveness
5. Intention of Faith
Beginning with the first intention, we must live in the now before we can access any of the other intentions. If we are not present, we are probably assigning some kind of judgment. In other words, we are making sense of the present based on the left side of the garden filled with the weeds of shame and pain from the past and/or the fear and anxiety of the future.
Once we focus on the actuality of reality in the present, we are able to plant the seeds of gratitude. This helps us to access the thoughts, emotions and behaviors that represent empathy, acceptance and compassion. Once the roots of gratitude take hold, we are open to give and contribute to others and ourselves instead of focusing on what we can get or receive.
When we instill the intention of giving, we are free to let go of the resentment and pain of un-forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves in order to achieve inner peace. The last intention is faith. We must have faith in a higher power and/or in ourselves. We must believe that if we intentionally nurture our new garden, we will somehow, someway survive and thrive.
The key to ensure success with this strategy is to mindfully use these five intentions daily so we begin to change the narrative of our relational traits - thoughts, emotions and behaviors embedded within our story.
The understanding of this strategy is easy; the daily application is hard. Catching ourselves in the moment and being aware that we are speaking from our old script, watering the left garden, is the challenge of a lifetime.
So, what's your new story?