Last week, I gave an example of illusion-spotting with a client. This week, I’ll tell you about how I do it with myself.

A few months ago, I got the urge to train for a third marathon. It has been four years since my last, and my first two experiences were less than joyful. Naturally, part of me was saying, “Hell no.” The “urge” part of me was feeling inspired to try again.

Clearly, I had an internal conflict. And, the solutions I uncovered in the process of resolving it helped me in other areas of my life. I hope this will help you, too.

At another point in my life, I would have either given up the idea out of fear of having another bad experience or pressed forward, ignoring my fear. This time, I had a completely different perspective on approaching conflict, so neither option was tempting.

As I have said many times (see here), there’s wisdom beneath the fear. Facing the fear and rooting out its cause is the work needed to release the fear. Releasing the fear and the limiting beliefs attached to it is necessary to creating future success. Otherwise, I’m just creating exactly what I don’t want and more fear.

In an instance where one’s life isn’t in immediate danger, fear is just a signal to go to the neutral intuitive place and check-in for guidance.  Often times, it signals a limiting belief. It’s kind of like the other day when my fridge smelled like rotten kale.  I had just bought that kale and placed it in a nice, secure plastic container to keep it fresh. However, a small portion of it was older than the rest and spoiled. The smell was a nice signal to look for the outdated, spoiled pieces and wash the remaining fresh ones so I could still enjoy the rest of it.

That’s all a limiting belief, or illusion, is: outdated, no longer useful pieces of kale. In Bridgenosis® sessions, we pick them out and throw them away, sometimes filling the mind up with the fresh, currently existing thoughts and sometimes replacing them with new thoughts.

Limiting thoughts aren’t always easy to spot within ourselves because they are stored in the subconscious mind. Pretend you are a bookcase trying to see what books you are holding. It’s much faster for someone else to take a look at the titles. Even after becoming an expert in doing this for others, I get someone else to take a look and tell me what books I’m holding.

But, this time, I employed Bridgenosis® on my own. Here’s how it went down.

Around the time that my “Marathon 3” urge was emerging, I noticed a trend in a few of my executive coaching sessions. I found myself telling these clients that just because something failed previously doesn’t mean it has to fail every time. We drilled down the previous circumstances to see if all the holes had been patched: Were the issues that surfaced addressed and solved? Check, Check, Check. Ok, then is there any reason other than straight “fear of failure” for it to not work this time? No. Do you have a plan to do it differently? Yes. Are you still afraid? Not really. In the cases where the answer is, “yes,” or “a little” (which is most cases), we get out the tools (hypnosis, EFT, etc.) to help them trust themselves again.

I love it when I get to take my own advice.  Click to Tweet!

A little on my running history:

When I was a kid, I could run so fast that I was designated “ice cream truck catcher” when we heard the music playing-someone else would grab the money while I ran. But, I couldn’t run more than a mile without puking. When I complained of my lack of endurance, a friend said, “Well, why don’t you just slow down.” (Light bulb!)

I finally learned to run over a mile in Law School as a way to exercise my Alaskan Husky, Sadie, and me at the same time. She taught me to slow down to go the distance, and we built up gradually adding one half-mile at a time. Looking back, I see that the process was more mental than physical, as I began to trust that “I can and am” running long distances.

I discovered that after a mile or two into it, I really got into a peaceful zone. Sometimes ideas surfaced. Sometimes, I just relaxed and enjoyed the view of the Lake Michigan in Chicago. It may have been the only time I was able to be present at that stage of my life. I noticed that the more often I ran, the less back and neck pain I had, which was often so severe that it hurt to type. (Not fun in law school.)

Injury and Running Pain

Sadly, my running was interrupted once after falling down the stairs on my hip. Off and on thereafter my hip pain flared-up. The “I can” part of me kept investigating solutions. I first learned that my hip and back “flare-ups” were caused by my subconscious mind after reading Dr. Sarno’s “Healing Back Pain-Mind Body Connection”. In hind-sight, the post-hip-pain was a signal of an “I can’t” illusion as I felt stress when studying for the bar and when first practicing law because it surfaced strategically at those times. Kind of hard to believe, but I got over my hip and back pain by reading this book.

Off the Pain and On to Train

I caught the bug to train for distance races after joining a fun running club. Some people say that marathoners are crazy. (We can discuss some of the underlying illusions that can be seen in the running world in another post.) At one time, I agreed. But, I admire the general notion of a person picking a goal that he/she feels is impossible because they have never done it and then taking the steps to achieve it. Every time I see a person in a wheel-chair cross the 26.2 finish line, I get chills.

My First Two Marathons:
Marathon 1: Chicago 2007-30th Anniversary. I picked it because in the four years I spent in Chicago, never was it even a little warm in October, and it’s flat. Boy was I wrong. Some of you may recall the CNN headline stories-95+ degrees, water shortage, one person died, people were falling like flies into the grass and being taken to the hospital, sirens blaring in the background, loads of people walking most of it and diverted off the course and prohibited from finishing at mile 18.

Luckily, I ran it with a dear woman who had run it 25 times, and her family was supplying us with liquids. Kind Chicagoans hosed us down as we passed by their houses. I believe they shut down the race just minutes after we made it past mile 18 because we managed to finish. We finished because we gave up our time goals and decided to take care of ourselves. If either one of us felt overheated, we stopped and walked. And, when we ran, we ran slowly. I still iced my entire back when it was over…and limped around for several days from dehydration and the challenge.

Marathon 2: Marine Corps 2008. Naturally, after the first one playing out in such bizarre and trying circumstances, I had to see what it was like to run a marathon under better conditions. So, I trained again after I moved to D.C. I love the trails here. One minute in VA, next in DC, next in MD. I never knew where I was running…just followed the group and enjoyed the scenery. Great place to run! But, I can’t say that I followed the training exactly, and some nights before the long runs, I drank wine with friends instead of water and sleep.

I also experienced a lot of grief during that time as my family lost three wonderful people. Two months before, around the time of one funeral, I nursed a calf injury. One month before, bronchitis. Although I knew I was sick, I didn’t know that I had bronchitis until after the race. Not wanting to waste five months of training, I ran it. I kept up with my running buddy for the first half; second half, I was tired; last 8 miles, I was angry and cursing. I finished, I think in 4:30 hours; trained for a 4:00 finish pre-bronchitis. Swore I would never do it again. Limped around and coughed for a few weeks thereafter.

For about a year after that, I ran half-marathons and 10-milers and then settled on frolicking everyday with Sadie for the last 3 years. No GPS time-keeper, no music, no goals. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we walk. Sometimes, we sit by the water and meditate. Every now and then I ran a race if someone twisted my arm.

Distinction: What I knew then and what I know now.

Then: For Marine Corps, I used sports hypnosis to heal from the calf injury and to train. I did not know how to spot limiting beliefs nor did I believe I had any. (A limiting belief in itself!) I consciously knew nothing of energy systems other than a little dabbling with acupuncture during law school. I had no idea how to glean the wisdom my body and emotions were trying to communicate to me. I didn’t know about Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Now in Hindsight: I see that my bronchitis was connected to my grieving; calf pain with nervousness. I could have employed some techniques to help me process the grief and nervousness faster and more gently. I should have had someone tell me the book titles on my shelves. I didn’t value any of this because I was unaware of its existence or its value. I didn’t realize things could have been easier at the time I trained for my last marathon.

I’m committed to helping others realize this now: Life doesn’t have to be so hard. Click to Tweet!

So, the urge to train again came with these ideas:

1) I use the discipline associated with a training schedule to more regularly employ meditation while I run.

2) I connect with my body athletically while getting into the zone and using the time to practice the meditative mantras. I still have a sitting meditative routine and Sadie frolicking/running, but incorporating it into long runs takes it to another level of absorption. There’s something special about running beyond two miles. My mind and body clear faster. They both become sponges. Sponge + positive affirmation=more joy, more wisdom, more acceptance.

3) Running allows any energetic/emotional alignment issues to surface faster. It’s easy to develop a relationship with the body when regularly working out, if I pay attention. There’s an art to listening to the body. If I feel a pain, I pay attention to where it is because that tells me what emotion may be buried there. I set an intention to clear the pain and glean any wisdom, which surfaces when I’m “in the zone.” If I feel pain, I just ask what this is about and employ whatever tool feels right. Emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual alignment results.

4) Sometimes, when I get tired, I turn back to mantra, and energy comes back.

5) I practice feeling joy and clearing any obstacles to joy as I build mile after mile. Can I be inspired, connected to my inner-flow, and at peace with myself without worry thoughts and monkey brain for the next mile? And, then how about another? And, then how about another? Pretty soon, the body, mind, energy, and soul are trained to work together. This discipline plays itself out in other areas of my life.

5) I continue my regular yoga practice to keep my posture strong and body stretched.

The conflict around the decision emerged when my hip started to hurt again.

Ah, yes: Usually the hip stores anger, resentment and lack of forgiveness. Control blocks can be found here, and the ability to move forward stunted. I had a fear of moving forward under the old regime, so I had to reassure this part of me that was concerned that I could commit to a different approach as outlined above. I used energy techniques, including EFT, to shift out of “I can’t” mode into “I can” mode. Another pattern that commonly causes this is a lack of boundaries-fear of speaking up, which then can result in resentment when you don’t get what you want (because you didn’t ask).

I scanned other areas of my life where I may have been playing this record-avoiding opportunities to protect myself, realizing that I don’t need to protect myself from myself anymore. I can just trust myself in all areas instead of holding back in a few. I shifted so well that I honestly don’t remember exactly what those areas were. Some were related to the many new hats I am wearing for the first time as an entrepreneur.

However, I can say that my pain went away. I felt joy around signing up for the race and even recruited friends to join me (some are running the half, some are cheering us on, one is running with me!) Our commitment is that we will help each other maintain the awareness needed to make it a joyathon: goal of running 26.2 miles while feeling good and feeling peaceful, honoring any emotions or pain, looking under and cleaning beneath any rocks so the wisdom can shine through.

So far, so good. The physical pain aftermath of the long-runs has been almost non-existent. Almost no soreness. Even my running buddy who is training for her first race period is feeling good after the runs. So far, we have made it to 12. This weekend we will run 13.1.

What kind of “marathons” apply in your life? This isn’t all about running.

Is there anything in your life that your soul wants you to do but doubt or fear is holding you back?

Do you have any stories to tell or methods you have used to face your fears? 

Comments and sharing are both encouraged.

Bridgenosis® offers SKYPE video conferencing sessions and has an international client base.

Owner, Laura Palmer, obtained her Law Degree and Public Policy Master’s from the University of Chicago and is also a certified hypnotherapist. After practicing labor and employment law for several years, she now loves to help individuals and leaders of all spectrums expand in the face of conflict by wearing all of her hats as an individual and organizational behavior consultant with Bridgenosis®. She is eager to engage in an open conversation, so feel free to comment.