I Didn’t Do It! My Brain Made Me!

pathEveryday we “recreate” ourselves and our lives using the same patterns over and over. Even those of us who want to change things, whether it’s ourselves or our external world, will repeat the same behaviors.

If you’ve ever made an intention or decision to change something about yourself or your life and found you ended up right back where you started, then you understand what I’m talking about.

Our brains are hardwired to create pathways that promote habitual behavior.

neuronsOnce that pathway is “set”, our basal ganglia either runs a “go” message pathway or a “stop” message pathway. Unfortunately for those of us trying to change a behavior, if we have a habit of behaving in a certain manner, the “go” pathway will set off before the “stop” pathway……even when we don’t want it to!

And on top of all that, once the habit is formed, you’re then predisposed to act in ways similar to the original habit. For instance, if you want to lose weight but you have a weakness toward deserts, you’re more likely to substitute any kind of sugar if you give up the deserts.

AND if you get rid of any and all things that are “sweet”, like throwing out all processed sugars or fruits, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Going all out “cold turkey” doesn’t usually work! It’s almost as if our subconscious mind goes into an immediate panic mode when we tell it “you cannot have anything!”.


What can you do?

One way you can start creating a new pathway of behavior is by replacing an unwanted behavior with a desired similar one. Telling yourself not to think about something or that you’re not going to do it only keeps the unwanted behavior in the forefront of your mind. Instead, you want to divert the behavior into a different one.

If you’re trying to stay away from deserts, you can replace typical desserts like cake, pies, ice cream, any baked goods, etc. with a healthier option like fruit without whipped cream or toppings.

If you find your issue with weight loss is constantly snacking all day: instead of reaching for the regular foods you consume, chew on sugar free gum.

Or maybe you have a habit of quickly getting mad at someone and then saying something you end up regretting. Instead of trying to stop yourself from getting angry, see if you can catch the beginnings of it and first say “Stop” internally, then consciously take 3 deep breaths and say “Relax” with each exhale. Eventually, this will become the habit rather than the verbal response. (It would also be beneficial to deal with the underlying cause of the anger at some point)

Whatever your “bad” habit of choice is, think of something you can replace it with. Plan it out and set it up…..leaving things to chance is a sure fire way to go right back to the old behavior.


You can use your brain to help you change an unwanted behavior. The brain doesn’t know the difference between something real or a memory of something. If you spend a couple of minutes each morning and evening imagining yourself behaving the way you desire, after awhile you will have created a new pathway of that behavior which will compete with the old unwanted one.

If you start behaving in the unwanted pattern, just turn your brain to the “imagined” behavior.

White knuckling it doesn’t really work. We’ve spent a long time creating the unwanted behaviors and it can take awhile to replace them with new desired behaviors.

It’s said that there is a battle for cortical space in our brains so if you don’t keep up the practice until the new pathway is formed you’ll lose it. This is why it takes at least 28 days to start seeing automatic results.

So decide on a plan of action, set it up for optimal results, turn your mind to the desired result and keep it up for at least 28 days.

If you find you need help breaking unwanted patterns of behavior or want more information check out:





Pathway-Specific Striatal Substrates for Habitual Behavior.   Neuron, Published Online January 21 2016.



It’s That Time Again! How to Get Through the Family Holidays

There’s an old saying that you can pick your friends but not your family. This seems particularly true around the holidays.

As a Life Change Catalyst™ I see clients every year stressing over how to deal with the relatives during this season. For many, it’s a time of celebration and a time of dread. But, it can be better by following a few tips for handling specific types:

The Drama Queen

We’re all more alike than you might realize. We want love, attention and respect. Which is usually what the Drama Queen is after. Unfortunately, she will suck the energy right out of you. Your best option is to never ask how she’s feeling about anything. If she still pulls the diva act, listen for a few minutes and politely excuse yourself by pointing out that you appreciate her pain but you’ve got to (go to the bathroom, help in the kitchen, check on your children). Then LEAVE!

The Nosy Inquisitor

These guys are my favorites. For some reason they feel it’s okay to ask the most personal questions. Questions like: Married yet? When are we going to hear the sound of little feet? What, you still haven’t found a job? You’re not going to eat that are you?

The best response I’ve ever seen is to look them directly in the eye and very calmly say, “I’m sorry. What did you ask me? I must have heard that incorrectly.” If they repeat it, again, calmly say “What, you asked me what?” You must say this with a straight face and no anger. Odds are they will get how rude they are or be too embarrassed to repeat it.

The Uncle with Loose Hands

You know this guy. His hugs are a little too long. He always wants to kiss you on the lips. And he won’t keep his hands from straying. What to do? You don’t want to make a scene but you want him to stop.

The best way to handle this guy is to loudly, without anger, point it out. Say something like, “Uncle Bob, I save those kind of kisses for my husband, my boyfriend, my _______!” “Uncle Bob, you’re crushing me!” “Uncle Bob, did you mean to put your hand on my breast?”

Instead of worrying about saving his face, lay it out. I’m sure you won’t be the only women he’s tried this with. As long as you do it without anger or throwing a scene, you can put a stop to his antics and keep the peace.

The Know it All

Just remember with this person…..they have a need to be right. It’s not all about showing you up. They need something to boost their ego and self worth.

The easiest way to handle this one is to give them what they want: agree with them. When they begin to tell you how to do something better, just respond with that they are probably right but this time you want to try it a different way. It’s more adventurous. Even if they argue, hold to the story and remember it’s not about you. It’s their need to feel good about themselves.

The Downer

Whenever I’m around the “downer” person I always think of the Charles Shultz character “Pig Pen”. Everywhere he went, he carried a cloud of dirt over this head and left dirt behind him. This is like the downer. They spread their negative energy wherever they go.

Your task is to avoid starting conversations with asking “how” something is/was. Instead ask what he or she liked best. If you get caught in the depressing tales of woe, chime in telling them you’ve been reading these great self help books on how gratitude and positive thinking helps us get through rough times.

One thing to remember is that it’s temporary. And hopefully, at least on some level, you do love these people. And most importantly……you teach people how to treat you.

Happy holidays and may all your get-togethers be joyful.

Why She Doesn’t Leave Him

As a Life Change Catalyst© coach for the last 16 yrs. I have worked with hundreds of women trapped in the Cycle of Abuse. Even though these women desperately wanted to leave the relationship, they felt powerless to completely remove themselves from their partner.

If they did manage to get away from him, invariably they would begin communicating, dating and many cases, getting back together.

Why? Why do smart, educated, empowered women in every other area of their lives but this one, continue to allow themselves to be abused?

After working with these women, it became clear to me that we had to approach this problem from something other than just removing a victim from the situation. Even if these women managed to get away and not involve themselves with another abuser, they would end up generating abuse in other ways: such as overeating, drinking, excessive exercising or diet, gambling, drugs….any addictive behavior.

They were seeking something that the Abuse Cycle was giving them. We weren’t working with just the beliefs about self worth or the desire to be loved. We were working with something that went even deeper.

All behaviors are repetitive strategies encoded in our brains as neural pathways that run automatically at the unconscious level. Not only do we generate neurological pathways of behavior in our brain, we become addicted to our own brain chemicals. Just as an addict must get high off an external chemical, we too can be addicted to a behavioral strategy which releases the sought after chemicals.

Let’s look at the Cycle and see what happens. There are four phases to the Cycle:

  1. The Abuse: the actual abuse takes place. It doesn’t matter if it’s physical, emotional or mental.
  2. The Neglect: the abuser begins to apologize, take some blame and begins to back off the abuse.
  3. The Honeymoon: the abuser acts as if everything is fine again. They usually respond to the victim with gifts, loving words and actions…in general, become the perfect partner.
  4. The Tension: the abuser can’t keep up the Honeymoon phase and begins to show signs of abuse again. The victim is aware that the abuse is about to start again.

The problem lies in the Honeymoon phase. During this stage of the Cycle, the victim begins to believe the abuser’s apologies, convinces themselves that this is the “true” person and “falls in love” all over again.

Unfortunately, the victim is also flooded with “feel good” neuro peptides during this phase of the Cycle.  This flooding of “feel good” neuro peptides creates an emotional addiction similar to drug addiction. These neuro peptides sub-sensitize the receptor cells, causing the body to crave more of them, without the victim actually being aware of what is happening.

She will then, unconsciously, seek out people or situations, which will stimulate the release of the peptides of the emotional addiction. If in a relationship, she will unconsciously trigger the abuse to get to the Honeymoon phase in order to get the release of the “feel good” neuro peptides.

In order to break out of this emotional and chemical addiction, the neurological pathway must be altered. Research has shown that we can actively affect how our brains can rewire themselves to create new neural networks and override pre-existing ones. As early as 1998, Merzenich and deCharms were saying that we actually choose how our minds will work which results in physical responses.

For anyone struggling with the Cycle of Abuse, there is hope. You can break out of this pattern and stay out!

One way that has been shown to rewire these strategies of behavior permanently is Neural Pathway Restructuring™.  Neural Pathway Restructuring™ alters the neurological habitual pattern of behavior so much so that it’s impossible to run it again even if you tried to.

If you or anyone you know is trapped in the Cycle please go to: http://www.neuralpathwayrestructuring.com

Five Ways to Put the Sizzle Back in Your Relationship

Let’s face it; keeping the sizzle with your partner can get overshadowed by life in general. And yet, that’s what part of what we fell in love with. If you want to rekindle those feelings use these five tips to get that lovin feeling back.

1.) How often do you compliment your partner? Or notice when he/she does something for you without being asked?

  • We all like to be appreciated. Too often in relationships, we get used to our partners doing things and we slack off showing them how much it means to us or makes our lives just a little bit easier.
  • When your partner does something for you, even if it’s to take out the garbage…..tell them how thoughtful it is of them.

2.) Make love more often! That’s right…..I said make love more often.

  • For women, the act of lovemaking lets us feel loved and cherished.
  • For men, it takes the act of lovemaking for them to express love and be able to be vulnerable.
  • Make sure you make time for sex and lovemaking….even if you have to schedule it.
  • Sunday mornings are a great time for “lying in” as the Brits would say and enjoying a leisurely morning of lovemaking.
  • Create a ritual of it with lovemaking, breakfast in bed, reading the paper or cuddling for a while.

3.) Instead of getting upset over your partner’s idiosyncrasies, go back and remember how interesting or endearing those unique traits were when you first met. Letting our partners know that their quirks and crazy habits are part of why we love them can work wonders.

  • The next time your partner does one of those quirky things, give then a kiss or a hug, telling them how much you love it.
  • We all want to be accepted for who and how we are. Let your partner know that you love them with all their zany habits.

4.) Let out your inner sex kitten or Don Juan. It’s not only good for your soul but your love life as well.

  • Set up a special date and spend the night at a luxurious hotel.
  • Go out to a romantic night of dining and dancing.
  • If you’re a woman, surprise your partner by wearing the sexiest dress you can find. Make it one you would probably never wear before. Add super high heels and for extra punch, wear a wig in a style and color completely different than your real hair.
  • If you’re a man, dress up if you usually dress casual and vice versa. Or dress in a way that you’d really like to but have never had the courage. Imagine you are Don Juan and treat your woman accordingly.
  • Eat chocolates, drink champagne and take a bubble bath together.
  • Play!!

4.) Remember to listen when your partner speaks. Not paying attention or ignoring someone leads to feeling of invalidation on their part. After awhile, they are left feeling unloved.

  • If you get home and your partner starts in on their day before you’ve had a second to wind down, ask for a time out. Being honest about the need to relax without dealing with anything is better than tuning out your partner.
  • Remember….some people like lots of details and others can’t handle them. Pay attention to which you are and which way your partner is. Then both of you need to honor those differences. Just being aware of it can generate change.

5.) Create a safe environment within your marriage. Your partner is not your enemy so develop some “rules” for disagreements.

  • No name calling or foul language
  • No physical, mental or emotional abuse
  • No idle threats of leaving or divorce. If you’re at that place in the relationship, you need to see a lawyer.
  • Let the other person speak and listen to them.
  • Give each person a chance to speak and be heard
  • Pick your battles carefully….sometimes you’re just in a bad mood. Ask yourself if it’s worth it?

It takes time and effort to keep the fires stoked in a relationship. If we just coast along, we can end up with two people who don’t know each other anymore.

You got together because you found each other wonderful, irresistible and loveable. Those feelings can be rekindled with some attention and effort.

It’s so worth it to have that special other in your life. To have someone there for you and on your side.

Whatever it takes, it can make all the difference in the world.

Change Your Brain?

Every once in awhile someone comes along that I, as a Life Change Catalyst am really glad that I do the work that I do. I have debated whether to write this post about this young man but finally decided that it might be of benefit to others to find out just what can be done with the right techniques. And just so you know, I have permission to write this although I have changed some details.

About a year ago, I was presented with the opportunity to work with a young man who has been diagnosed with borderline autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He is a high functioning individual who has accomplished much in his life.

Several things about him stand out. He is very positive and highly motivated to do well. Unlike many “normal” kids, he has not let his “diagnosed” disabilities stop him. When he decides he wants to do something, he finds a way.

He first came to me for the O.C.D. presenting as “picking” at his face, neck and hands. When I saw him at the initial session, he had scabs on these areas from the constant picking. O.C.D. is an anxiety disorder often characterized by repetitive behaviors.  These behaviors are unwanted and those with the disorder become very anxious if unable to do them.

Due to the success of putting a stop to the picking, he decided he wanted me to work with him on the A.D.H.D. as well. A.D.H.D. is a developmental disorder of attentional problems and hyperactivity. According to both him and his mother, he had difficulties in focusing, paying attention, getting out of control verbally and the typical fidgety behaviors. Again, we had success with putting a stop to the behaviors. An added surprise was that he was able to stop taking the medications he had been on for years. In the past, they had tried to do this and he would get migraine type headaches. This time, no headaches and no more A.D.H.D. behaviors.

Because of my work with N.L.P. (Neuro Linguistic Programming), Hypnosis and especially Neuro Pathway Restructuring™, I knew that if we could break up the neuro pathways of the behaviors, then we could stop them.

When we are born, we have about 100 billion neuronal connections available to us. A neuron can be connected to as many as 15,000 other neurons forming a complex series of pathways. To put it simply, a pathway is formed when we repeatedly experience something. Every time you brush your teeth, your brain runs down a neural path thereby strengthening it.

These neural pathways are triggered to run by all kind of things: a look, a sound and even a smell. We’re usually unaware of them even though they drive our behaviors. They’re not something we have to pay attention to unless we start having problems. Problems can range from smoking to drug addiction, gaining weight to not exercising, repeating sabotaguing behaviors to procrastination and the whole range of “negative” actions.

Trying to force yourself to stop these behaviors is sometimes successful…at least for awhile. The problem is that the behaviors become neuro pathways which want to run. As I mentioned earlier, unless we can do something to stop the pathway from running our “plastic” brain will find a way to recreate the behaviors. And that’s where N.L.P., Neuro Pathway Restructuring™ and Hypnosis come in. Using a combination of these techniques, we can stop the transmission of the chemical which sets off the behavior.

Imagine if you could, discovering how your brain works to generate behaviors. Or how to alter those behaviors. What could you do with your life?

What could our kids do? Especially the teenagers? People would be able to let go their Limiting Beliefs about themselves. They would be motivated to actualize their potential. They would know how to generate behaviors that serve them rather than harm them. Just think what we could do……..

If you’re at all curious, check out the upcoming workshops in N.L.P. and Neuro Pathway Restructuring™.

Go to: http://www.debrafentress.com/practitioner.html

And : http://www.neuralpathwayrestructuring.com/home.html

Managing to stay positive

Well, we’re 2 days into the Positivity Challenge and I was wondering how some of you are doing?

If you’re in a situation which is generating fear or anxiety while trying to be positive, this can be quite a challenge. Our mind will generally go to the well-worn path if left on its own. It’s the path of least resistance.

Unfortunately though, that path can lead us to negative feelings, memories and thoughts.

We are like film projectors. We take in information from the world, run it thru a filtering system in order to process it and then project that back onto the world. One of these filters is memories. If you’re experiencing a situation in your life right now which is causing you fear or anxiety, your mind will go back to the memories of similar events and that will re-enforce what you’re seeing and feeling.

Since the Law of Attraction works by attracting what you’re focusing on then you will attract more of the very thing which is causing you anxiety and fear! It’s a self-perpetuating cycle of attracting that which we don’t want.

If you find yourself continually bringing up a negative emotion, you’ll need to control this and redirect the mind to look for the positive. We have to somehow let go of the old movies that are playing in our minds.

To start, there is a technique which is a combination of Neuro Linguistic Programming and ancient wisdom.

Get in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Imagine that you are in a theater with a balcony and you’re sitting in the balcony.

Now imagine that the situation or person that is creating the negative feelings inside you is on the stage below you. Notice how you feel and where the feelings sit in your body as you contemplate this person or event.

In your mind, begin a dialogue with the person or “thing” (imagining it can answer you) and ask these questions:

  • What is it I need to learn from you?
  • How are you a mirror of me?
  • What do I need to do to release or heal you?

Some of the key things to remember about the answers:

  • They need to be useful responses. Things like “You’re a jerk” are not useful….that’s just your knee jerk response.
  • Our world is always a mirror to what is happening inside us and sometimes we don’t like seeing it. Jung called this the Shadow Self. Do your best to be open to the answer.
  • Often times to release or heal, we need to correct something within ourselves or our world. If you are not willing to do the correction then this is a sign that you’re not really in alignment with what you want to manifest.

Once you have the answers and have agreed to the responses, then notice how the feelings have changed. If the negative emotions have not disappeared, you’ll need to go back and  repeat the process until they do.

It’s amazing what you can discover by doing this process and how you can get back in alignment with what you want to manifest. Once that alignment is in place, the universe  just opens up for you.

Please keep me posted on your progress!

How to Make the Law of Attraction Work for You

Nowadays, wherever you look there are numerous articles, books and websites devoted to the Law of Attraction. People want to know how to apply the law and draw to themselves everything they desire. And according to books like The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and Money and the Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks this is something everyone can do.

If everyone can do it, how come more people aren’t? Or let’s get personal—how come you’re not? Actually, you are using it. Just not in the way you hoped. Because the Law is always working whether we consciously use it or not.

There are many facets to the Law of Attraction. You’re probably aware of most of them. You have to:

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Be in complete alignment with that.
  3. Focus on what you want.
  4. Let go.

Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. It’s simple but not easy.

For one thing, how many people really know what they want? And if they do, can they narrow it down to one thing. And are you supposed to want money or what money can bring you? What if you want a lot of things? Then what do you do?

Suppose you know what you want. How do you know you’re in complete alignment? This one is easy. If you don’t already have it then you’re not in alignment! So then, how do you get in alignment if you don’t know how you’re out of alignment?

That one is a little more challenging. If you don’t have something you want, then somewhere inside you, probably on an unconscious (meaning out of your awareness) level you have conflicting feelings about having it. For instance, many people say they want more money but if you ask them what they think about having more money, they will often say things like: “If I have more money, then people will constantly hit me up for loans” or “More money means more work”. With comments like these it’s easy to see why they haven’t manifested more money.

Those comments are what we call “Limiting Beliefs” and we hold these deep inside where they basically drive our behavior without our awareness. And all the exercises that tell you to write out your beliefs, why you have them and then write out the opposite belief don’t actually work because these beliefs are held in our brains as neuro-pathways. You might say we become hard wired to actualize them so just repeating another belief has shown to actually backfire and can cause more contradictory thoughts.

What about focusing on what you want? Well, obviously if you don’t know exactly what you want that’s a problem. If you do know but still aren’t manifesting, it probably means you’re focusing on what you don’t want rather than what you do want.

This is a challenge sometimes when our external reality is not what we want. How do you focus on having a dream house when you have trouble making the mortgage or rent payment? Or having the body you always wanted when you look in the mirror and only see the weight you need to lose? Or maybe you want to be in a loving relationship but everyone you go out with is less than desirable?

If everywhere you look you see the things you don’t want it can be hard to focus on the desired result with all that staring you in the face!

This brings us to Letting Go. If your external reality is so far from your desired reality, you may find it difficult to not get desperate about it. And desperation just attracts more things and situations to be desperate about.

Sometimes too, you may also be dealing with past experiences of trying to use the Law of Attraction and only having it work a little. This sets up a pattern of expected failure so when we decide to try it again, there is a part of us that expects it to fail.

So what do we do?

I’ll be addressing this in upcoming posts but to begin with, we need to start restructuring the brain. Most of the people I talk with about the Law of Attraction feel that it has failed them at one time or another.

Therefore, I want to put a challenge out there to my readers to join me in the Positivity Challenge.

I am not talking about only speaking in “positive” terms or being a Pollyanna. I’m suggesting that for one week, starting Wednesday, June 23rd you become a more positive person and therefore draw more positive experiences into your life. We’ll do this in 3 ways.

  1. Finding the positive—-In N.L.P. (Neuro Linguistic Programming) we use the term “Reframe”. A Reframe is a way of altering our perception of something. For instance, if someone were to lose their job they could reframe it by seeing that now they have the opportunity to do what they love. Or, you have to go to a business function and you really don’t want to go. You could see the experience as an opportunity to meet a new person, make a new friend or even just make someone’s day by being there.
  2. Setting a positive expectation—-Expect to have positive things happen to you. The Law of Expectation is one of the most powerful laws in regards to manifesting by using the Law of Attraction. When we expect to receive, we do. When we expect to have a good time, we do. If we go around telling ourselves something terrible is going to happen, the odds of it happening go up. So instead, regardless of what is happening in your life, expect the best.
  3. Co-create with Spirit (or whatever you believe to be the driving force of the universe)—-For one week, make it a point to take a moment every morning to ask your Higher Self, God, Spirit or the Force what your next step should be and when you get the answer or nudge, Do It!

These are very simple ways in which you can alter the neuro-pathway of a failure expectation. The only requirement is that you commit to it and you do it. So please join us this week and watch how your life can change.

Please sign in on the comments and let us all know how you’re doing and what is showing up in your life this week. You never know when what you write may be the one thing someone else needed to hear!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Want to know how to restructure your neuro-pathways and change yourself and your life? Click here!

Wood et al. Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others. Psychological Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02370.x

Change is Hard

I’m going out on a limb by saying this but change is hard. We are all creatures of habit. To get ourselves to do something different can be equivalent to running a marathon without first training for it. Think how many times you’ve ever tried the “white knuckle” approach to something.  How successful were you?

The problem with changing our behaviors is not in our desire to do so. The problem is that we’re dealing with our two minds. The conscious mind, often called the rational mind and the unconscious mind or our emotional nature.

To change anything in our lives, these two minds have to be in agreement.

The conscious or rational mind is that part of us that is analytical and can delay gratification for long term goals or payoffs. The unconscious or emotional mind deals with pain and pleasure and is a pleasure seeking being.

The unconscious mind is interested in instant gratification. It wants things to be easy and quick. And it is the part of us that gets things done. The unconscious mind easily over rides the conscious mind when it comes to getting us to do things. The reason is that most of our behaviors are done unconsciously or without our awareness. We just do them without thinking about it.

We’ve actually created neuro pathways in the brain which run automatically whenever it’s time to do a specific behavior. You don’t have to think about how to overeat or brush your teeth.…you just do it or you could say your unconscious mind does it.

So every time you try and get your conscious mind to change a behavior through will power, you are attempting to override a neuro pathway that is practically set in stone. After a while, we actually get worn down by our own self supervision. How many times have you attempted to do something and just got fed up with the constant monitoring of your behavior? We can only do this so long before we are exhausted.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight through dieting you know what I mean. Every morsel you put in your mouth you have to think about and weigh the pros and cons.

Another reason change is hard is because we keep changing our minds! One minute our rational mind thinks we want to lose the weight or stop drinking or get that report done and then we’re thinking about that piece of cake left in the kitchen or just one little drink won’t hurt.

So the problem isn’t that you are lazy or lack motivation. The problem is the battle between the conscious and unconscious mind. And to get these two in alignment, you have to restructure those neuro pathways.

Recently, scientists have discovered what they call Brain Plasticity where our brain cells or neurons are constantly making new pathways. This means that your brain can change! You can create the neuro pathways of your choice.

Change can then become quite easy because you’re creating on the unconscious level. So the next time you go to repeat an unwanted behavior, you find yourself doing the desired behavior.

This is part of the research that went into my development of the Neuro Pathway Restructuring™. I’ve used it with several different habitual behaviors such as smoking, alcoholism, drug addiction, bulimia, picking, OCD, PTSD, anxiety disorders and Tourette’s Syndrome.  I also use a form of it in many of my workshops to assist groups to let go of limiting beliefs they may have about themselves and their ability to be, do or have what they want. To check out the workshops, go to www.DebraFentress.com.

If you’re interested in learning more about Neuro Pathway Restructuring™ , please go to: www.NeuralPathwayRestructuring.com

Allowing for Failure

Whenever we begin a new endeavor or project, one of the first things that come up in the minds of most people is the fear of failing. This probably stops more people from doing things they’d like to try than anything else. After all, we are programmed from an early age that to fail is a bad thing. We are “bad” boys and girls if we don’t get the A in school. Or we’re stupid, clumsy, lazy, a flunky, a _______ (insert the word of choice) if we don’t do as well as someone else thinks or wants us to do.

It’s no wonder by the time we reach our teens or earlier, failure is a big fear for us.

What they don’t tell us is that failure is only feedback. It just means that we need to adjust the course. To do something different. We used to have a saying back in the south where I grew up—“There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Not a very pretty saying but it sure gets the message across.

There’s always more than one way to do something. Maybe we just haven’t found it yet. And if we give up, we’ll never discover it.

The Navaho have a wonderful tradition when weaving their rugs. They know that we aren’t perfect beings so to leave room for God (Spirit’s) perfection they deliberately leave an imperfection in their work. On a rug it’s called a “Spirit String” and if on beadwork, it might be a bead in the wrong place. This allows Spirit to be a part of their work.

Although we aren’t perfect, we often seem to think we have to be. For many this can be a deeper issue of not believing they are worthy or maybe they are “less than”. These limiting beliefs keep us in a failure loop that plays out over and over in our lives. Most of these beliefs get created when we are children and take on what others say about us. Unfortunately, they’re much easier to create than to let go of.

If you feel like you’re carrying a limiting belief about your ability to be successful, here is one technique sure to help:

1.     Identify the belief you’re carrying.
2.  Notice how it makes you feel and where in your body you’re feeling it.
3.    Ask yourself: When did I develop this belief?
4.    Also ask yourself: Who was involved in the development of it and what was going on at the time?
5.    Now imagine that you can position yourself so that you are an observer of what is taking place.
6.    Notice who is doing the talking and what is being said.
7.    Notice how you are taking on this belief and whether it’s even valid at the time.
8.    Ask yourself these questions while at the “observer” position.
9.    Does this belief belong to me or am I just taking on someone else’s belief?
10.  Is the belief even true?
11. Is there a valid reason for this belief?
12.  What do I really believe about this and myself?
13.  By this time you should begin to notice differences in how your body feels compared to how it originally felt.
14.  Now, imagine you can take the new belief you have about yourself and play out 3 events in the future where you actualize that new belief and notice how different it is     for you.

So the next time you stop yourself from doing something for fear of failure, think about it as feedback, check for a Limiting Belief and remember: always co-create with Spirit. After all, we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

If you need more help or feel this is a bigger issue, then why not check out Breaking the Abuse Cycle™ workshop coming up next month. Go to: http://www.debrafentress.com/breakingthecycle.html

Patterns Of Behavior

Regardless of how enlightened and knowledgeable we may think we are…. Or how many self-help books and gurus we seek, there will always come a time when we get stuck in repeating patterns of behavior.

No one is immune from it. Many of my clients are under the false assumption that if they come in and do some work with me that their lives are “fixed”. If only this were true. I’ve always said that I’d be a billionaire if I just had that magic wand.

Life is a journey we start the minute we come into this world (and some believe even before). And like many journeys, we often have to go around obstacles or climb some mountains. In my mind, I think the path to enlightenment is similar to climbing a mountain where the road goes around and around as you go up the mountain. There will be times when the road levels out and we can take a breather. Then the climb starts as we go around the other side and we’ve got to work at it again.

At some point, we can get where we seem to be going around and around, not really getting anywhere. Just recently I found myself repeating a pattern that I wrote of on my other blog http://www.MagicMiraclesandMystery.com.

One of the most insidious patterns of behavior we can do is to be co-dependent with another person or even a behavior. As I spoke of in the other blog post, I think for many in my profession, this is something we have to watch out for. Just recently, I found myself overlooking obvious signs and making excuses for someone. I even went out of my way to be sure that I was being fair and reasonable to my own detriment.

When I realized how “unconscious” I was being, it shocked me. Here I was doing the very things I harp on students and clients about! We all need to Wake Up!

Co-dependency is a sneaky habit. It can show up in so many different ways. There are the most obvious ones where a person is codependent with an alcoholic or drug abuser. But the codependent person can also end up anesthetizing their pain with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, work, gambling and even computer games.

Then there are the less obvious ones. Another common one is getting hooked on misery or being a victim. And why not? You get a lot of attention when people feel sorry for you. And you have an excuse for not doing things.

What about not taking care of yourself or your needs? That’s a common one and hard to identify because we don’t want to appear selfish or needy.

In the field of service, many will be obsessed with the pain and suffering of their clients….sometimes more so than the client. They get to sacrifice themselves in this way. This can lead to being a martyr or a rescuer which is another form of codependency.

It’s sneaky. You can find yourself down this path before you realize it. But, not all is lost. The crucial element is to be on the alert for it if this is one of your patterns. The other is to get in touch with your anger about it…..because it will most likely be there. We can be angry at ourselves and at the other person or situation. Use the anger to motivate you to do something. Once you’re ready to move out of the relationship, then it’s time to figure out what got you there in the first place.

Most of us are just running neural pathways we created early on in our lives. At a young age, if we think something often enough, it becomes a neural pathway. At birth we have 100 billion neurons which form trillions of connection resulting in a network of neural pathways. Those that aren’t used often enough are eliminated or “pruned” from the pathway. But the rest can be involved in creating our behaviors.

Research has shown that the brain is very plastic and can be restructured or rewired. We can do this by thinking differently over and over. This requires great diligence and perseverance as it takes up to 21 days to create a new pathway.

When I began my work with Neuro Linguistic Programming and Hypnosis, I wanted to find a way to deal with these repetitive behaviors caused by the pathways. After seeing 100s of clients and trying many different approaches, I finally came up with a process which has proven to be effective in restructuring these neuro pathways. I’ve used it with clients who wanted to get out of damaging relationships, to stop drinking or using drugs, stop gambling, with bulimia and any number of habitual behaviors. And there are now people in Europe trained in the process who are not only utilizing it with these behaviors but with PTSD and MS.

And it has worked. I still get feedback from clients I worked with years ago telling me how their lives have changed.

So, it is doable. Just know that life is a journey of lessons. We learn and we go on with that knowledge. And then there is something else to learn. When you’re done with your learning’s then you’ll go Poof!

If you’re interested in the process you can find out more at http://www.NeuralPathwayRestructuring.com. And if you are finding yourself repeating self sabotaging behaviors, we do have a workshop coming up to address that issue. It’s called Breaking the Cycle™ on June 12 & 13. To sign up or find out more, go to http://www.debrafentress.com/breakingthecycle.html.

When You're Ready To Do Something Different!