"At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie." -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Ten years ago I had all kinds of health challenges – Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, parasites and adrenal fatigue to name a few—with raging symptoms, and I was exhausted, anxious, sad and frustrated. Back then, I just thought this was how it was, I felt the way I did, I experienced life the way I did, because of my circumstances. As it turns out, Paulo Coelho is right, that’s a lie.
When I began training with Joey Klein and Conscious Transformation a decade ago, optimal health and well-being was a primary focus because I suffered in my physical body. But when Joey asked what I really wanted to experience in life, my answer was, "I want to know peace no matter what is happening around me." I didn’t know then what I was opting in for when I made this proclamation.
What I have come to understand is that my mindset is essential to realizing that vision, and I have to be prepared to do whatever it takes for however long it takes. This is the mindset I needed to realize my vision. Additionally, I understand, and even appreciate, that we don’t get to pick what it will take. In other words, we do not get to choose the journey or any of the opportunities or challenges that will present themselves as necessary work to be done in order to get to vision realized. And, we don’t get to pick the timeline either.
The people that I witness experience the manifestation of their vision in a significant way, in a repeated way, are the ones who take this mindset on, and really mean it. Not when it is convenient or comfortable, not when it is what they "feel" like doing, not when it is expected by family or friends, not when there is the time to do it or the money seems reasonable. Not just when the pieces all line up and the choices are easy to make, but all the time.
It stands to reason that if the nature of the ego is to maintain status quo, to keep everything the same in order to survive, everything will have to change in order to live a very different life, one that looks like all of our wildest dreams, to really thrive. And if we resist change naturally, as a survival mechanism from thousands of years ago, well, the most transformative times will happen when we are leaning in to the most uncomfortable, inconvenient things. And repeating this behavior over and over again.
One of the most valuable tools I’ve learned from Conscious Transformation is to first have a vision, a way to focus and guide my thoughts, emotions and actions, and then to tell stories that serve my vision. Emotions are triggered by people, events, life’s happenings and even the thoughts we have in our mind. But what keeps the emotion fueled is our stories, our thoughts that replay over and over again. The concept seems simple enough: tell stories that serve my vision. If I have a vision of peace no matter what, that means I have to tell peaceful stories…no matter what. Simple concept? Yes! Easy to execute? No!
A lifetime of worrying about everything means my neurology was wired in a very specific way to run these anxiety-producing thoughts constantly. And I mean pretty much everything from the not likely situation of me maybe being a few minutes late to a meeting, to my cat might be sick, to concerns about my hair falling out because of a severely underactive thyroid to the starving children of the world, and everything in between.
Being committed to doing whatever it takes means checking in with myself constantly: what am I thinking; where is my mind focused and does this align with my vision? What emotions are my thoughts fueling? Do they align with my vision? If the answer is no, I redirect my thoughts and focus to be aligned with my vision of peace.
One question I get asked often is some version of: How can I be at peace with my physical body today, when I have all of these issues, and while wanting something different for myself? Isn’t the very idea of a vision of health and vibrancy a form of resistance to what is? Ah! This is what I mean by: we have to be willing to do whatever it takes, when it is convenient and especially when it is inconvenient and typically very uncomfortable.
The practice of directing our thoughts and focus to align with our vision, despite the current situation, is challenging, it can be inconvenient and it is definitely uncomfortable! But it is possible. And it is a practice. I continue this practice consistently throughout most days of my life. It is not something I have ever nailed and felt I was all done with. This is a way of life for me; it is a lifelong practice.
Ten years ago, when I first began my journey with Conscious Transformation, the fact was that I had Hashimoto’s. I experienced this, as I experienced most things in my life back then, with anxiety and fear. And I focused on the things I perceived as problems—the daily exhaustion, my thinning hair, the weight gain, the medication—in the hopes that I would someday feel better. But I was actually blaming my condition for how I felt emotionally—scared, sad, frustrated and anxious. And I had no belief that I could be an energetic, athletic, vibrant woman like the image I associated with my vision. And in this way I deferred my accountability; I put my emotional experience outside my control.
Today, the fact is, I have Hashimoto’s, and occasionally I get lab results that make this a fact. But my experience is entirely different. I own my emotional experience. I feel peace, joy, passion and gratitude for my body and my health just about every single day. I am a strong, athletic vibrant woman who is energetic and capable throughout long, fulfilling days. But I could not have arrived here without being fully accountable for my emotions and my experience. So how do we do it?
The tools of Conscious Transformation teach us how to fully accept our current state and create peace and acceptance (as an example). Notice I did not say "find" peace and acceptance. If I believed it was something to find, I’d still be looking, because I would still be doing things the way I had always done things, thereby getting the same results. It is our job to create peace, to create our vision, to own our story, our emotional experience. These are five simple, effective and at times, inconvenient, steps to transform your experience:
Start by just planting a seed of belief. You don’t have to believe the whole gamut right away. Next, be aware of where you are mentally and emotionally. Recognize when you are aligned with your vision and when you are not. And be accountable. Quiet your mind and the stories and allow the fear-based emotions to dissipate. Breathe deeply and intentionally. Activate the emotion of your vision. What do you choose for yourself? Peace? Joy? Gratitude? Pick one and breathe it in. Feel it express in your body. Lastly, tell yourself stories, create beliefs that make it so, driven by your activated emotion, and with your mind focused on where you want to go.
It is the consistent micro steps practiced daily that created my transformative experience. Having tools and techniques to anchor the mindset, the focus and the accountability needed is critical. For more information on how to effectively and sustainably transform your experience of life, check out our new Trainer-led Series, Power of Focus, Power of Emotion, Power of Vision and Power of Intuition.
Sarah Retzer has twenty years of experience in automotive and aerospace engineering, Sarah is now dedicated to personal and professional development, for individuals and organizations. A devoted student of Conscious Transformation since 2009, she embodies this system of training and uses her experience to impact people from a wide variety of backgrounds.