Field of Streams
By: Kristine Madera
A friend of mine once told me that if a woman could reach back in time to before she realized that she were a girl, before she was domesticated and socialized, when her imagination knew no bounds, that she could tap into her untamed dreams, her innate wisdom, and know what she was born to do.
If the supposedly wise young me had gotten what she wanted, I’d now be sitting atop a camel wearing a spangly headpiece along with “I Dream of Jeannie” blousy pants and mini-vest, wielding a saber as the first woman leader of a Bedouin trading caravan. Of course, reality pressed back against that dream. The lack of camel herds in California was a problem, and the machete in the garage was just too heavy to wield with any degree of accuracy. Along with the Bedouin fantasy, I had a vague notion that I wanted to stand up and talk in front of groups of people, and that I had an acuity for understanding people’s unique perspective that I couldn’t verbalize, but that no one else my age seemed to share. Those seemed so amorphous for my young imagination, however, while the Bedouin dream just felt so right.
Luckily, time has a way of hiding the long arc of the future so that we have to feel our way into it step by step. No camels emerged in my life, and so I gravitated into the amorphous field of perception, exploring the subconscious mind—how to play with it, to knead it, to go deeply inside and “change” your mind. But it never occurred to me to weave this interest into a career path.
For years I also ignored the call to speak in front of groups. It was a natural aversion, since I regularly got tongue tied when speaking to more than a few people at time, and nearly passed out in junior high when I had to stand in front of the class and give a two-minute oral report on nursery rhymes. But over time I inched into speaking, first in front of a classroom as an ESL teacher in Japan, then as a mind-body fitness teacher and wellness coach, with the odd larger venue at conferences or special events. The most heart palpitating of these was an impromptu speech using an electric bullhorn, speaking in Melanesian Pidgin in front of 500 people after having been attacked (not as bad as it sounds) in a local market.
During years of thinking that a career had to be all work and no fun, while at the same time rebelling against this idea, I dabbled in an eclectic mix of writing, wellness coaching, and teaching everything from yoga and mind-body fitness classes to meditation and journaling, but none of them felt right as a full-time career. Once I moved to Asheville, I decided that it was time to pull all my interests under one umbrella. But which umbrella? After months of searching, hypnotherapy emerged as the career of choice. After all, for years I’d been using that relaxed day-dreamy state to work with the subconscious mind to let go of resistance and fear and replace them with new patterns that lead to more promising outcomes. And I’d helped lots of other people do the same thing. It hadn’t occurred to me I could make a living at it, it was just too much fun.
My big concern then was that I would be a “solopreneur” as they say, which meant that each and every little detail is up to me. I knew the statistical failure rate of small businesses, and the exhausting level of time, resources and finances that it took to get a business off the ground. It just felt so overwhelming, thinking that I had to do it all alone. As much as I kept moving forward in a sort of blind trust that it would all come together, I was stuck in the headspace of fear and pre-emptory defeat. Part of me knew success was possible in a theoretical sense, but a large part of me thought I was insane for putting all my chips on what felt like a single roll of the dice.
And then I remembered morphogenic fields. Morphogenic fields are streams of thought, the strongest of which are often called mass consciousness. With every thought or action or non-action, a person strengthens the stream of that particular thought. With the focus of enough minds, new thought streams are created. A classic example of this is the 4-minute mile. For many years, the four-minute mile was considered to be at the edge of the limit of athletic endurance. It was a widely held conception, and for years many came close, but did not break that milestone. When it was finally broken in 1954, it was so stupendous an achievement that two runners who completed that task had a statue built of them to commemorate it. Once that first runner broke the record, and people bought into the idea that it was a false barrier, that morphogenic field, that stream of belief, shifted to the idea that the four-minute mile was so possible that others began breaking the record almost immediately.
I was caught in the morphogenic field that nearly half of small businesses fail in the first four years, as well as the fear that I was on my own in a big, lonely, cutthroat business world. These thoughts were working against me and my success, I knew, but it’s hard to change thought streams when you are the only one you know who is trying to think your the way into a new headspace. This is why all the “success” literature tells you to seek out those who are successful as what you want to achieve. Being in proximity to like minds helps you to more easily change what you believe is true, to adopt beliefs that support the direction you wish to go, to allow you to believe that success is possible—even probable—for you.
The hardest morphogenic field to get into the flow with are the ones that you either do not have much access to, like a small town dairy farmer trying to get into the thought stream of a CEO of a Fortune 500 company (and vice versa), or ones that are distant enough from your current beliefs that you can’t quite get them to feel true for you, like believing that there is a thin person inside of you bursting to get out when you have been overweight all of your life. Most of us can imagine what it is like to be, say, the President of United States or to live in a society where your status and movements are dictated by the tribe, but imagination on its own is not a reliable method to accessing a thought stream. I know. I’d read the business books, the guides to succeeding as an entrepreneur, listened to the advice of other hypnotherapists on how to build a practice. But it was all so theoretical, and none of it really changed my beliefs or my core thought stream. The key for me, and for anyone, is to decide what you want to believe, then find resources that support those beliefs and surround yourself with people who believe what you want to believe. Once you do that, it’s a matter of wading into that thought stream, shifting your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs little by little until you find your own unique current within the larger stream.
I knew what I wanted—to succeed in my business and support a lifestyle that worked for me. I wanted to be part of a community, and not feel isolated in my venture. Luckily for me, there is a vibrant web of entrepreneurial spirit here in Asheville that, if you let it, it will pull you in like a tractor beam. Defying that old-style “competition is everything” thought stream, successful entrepreneurs here operate in a web of cooperation. They understand that my entrepreneurial success and your entrepreneurial success helps their entrepreneurial success, and not just because you and I can then afford to spend money on their services. They know, without using this vocabulary, that the success of one another strengthens the chances for success of all entrepreneurs because it increases the power of that particular morphogenic field.
I felt a great wave, of “Aaahhhh” at the first networking meet-up that I went to, as if I were honing in on a thought stream that I had been circling around for a very long time. Landing in that soft, supportive place was a tonic for me because, in the business aspect of being a solopreneur, I was starting at the bottom of a very steep learning curve. The entrepreneurial web here helped me make the shift to believing on a deep level that success was possible for me, and it also provided the connections to so many of the resources that I needed to move toward that success. I still know the statistic that nearly half of small businesses fail in the first four years, but it no longer has the same hold over me. Why shouldn’t I be among the ones that succeed?
If I can change my outlook from fear to being open to success, I believe you can, too. Whatever it is that you want to be successful at, changing your thought stream to support your success is crucial to get where you want to go. If you’re game, let’s play with that idea!
What would you like to change in your life? What belief about yourself or the world isn’t working for you anymore? Knowing what you want to change is important, but even more important is to know what you want instead. Write down up to three related desires that you would like to have in place of what is not working for you. Mine were: I wanted to be and feel successful; to support a lifestyle that was balanced and satisfying on multiple levels; to feel part of a business-related community. What are yours?
Once you have those, here are three things that you can do to move yourself toward success.
First, find resources—books, blogs, websites, speakers on YouTube or TED.com, even movies and TV shows that support the thoughts and beliefs and results that you want to bring about. Read or watch them, feel good about them, believe them to the best of your ability. And avoid things that reinforce the ideas that you are trying to shed.
Second, seek out people who are already living the ideals, ideas or success you are trying to achieve—and avoid people who suck you into your old way of thinking. If you want better relationships, sitting around kvetching with your friends about bad breakups and the limited options for companionship isn’t going to help you. Find friends who have successful long-term matches and talk to older people whose marriages have stood the test of time.
Because I am primarily a hypnotist, I understand the importance of changing the perspective of the subconscious mind, the emotional mind. The conscious mind is the logical part of your mind that chooses what you would prefer to believe, but it is your subconscious that actually believes it—or not. The first two steps are practical, though very important as they set the groundwork for your subconscious mind to accept that there is a valid alternative to the mindset that you wish to change. This third strategy shows the subconscious what you want, because, as you may have experienced in your life, the subconscious does not respond to the well-reasoned arguments or demands of the conscious mind.
Do this exercise with your eyes closed, ideally at night, every night just before you go to sleep until this new thought stream is firmly in place. Get yourself into a relaxed, day-dreamy state, breath long, slow, deep breaths, and see or imagine yourself by a very inviting, flowing river. Know that this represents the thought stream that you are trying to adopt. As you look at the river, notice any boulders or rocks or logs that are blocking the flow, and move them out. Then image wading into the center of the river and feel what you would like your new thought stream to be. Feel it as strongly as you can, and believe it to be true the best you can. Do this for several breaths. Then see yourself laying back, letting the river carry you downstream with the flow of the thought stream current. Don’t worry if you are afraid of water or cannot swim, this is a warm, magical river, and in it, you are perfectly safe. After several more breaths while floating downstream, open your eyes and carry the belief that this thought stream can be true for you. The key is practice. The more you do this, the more entrenched this belief becomes.
Looking back at my early fantasies about being a Bedouin nomad, I realize that my friend might be right. Because it wasn’t really the camels or the desert that sang to me; what I loved about my childhood mindventure was the feeling of it—the success of being the first female Bedouin leader, living a life of adventure and fun, in a tribal community where I felt at home. So maybe that four-year-old soul was a wise woman after all.
Kristine Madera is a Certified Clinical Hypnotist, speaker and writer living and practicing in Asheville. Her passion is helping people, individually and in groups, lead more joyful, empowered lives. Find out more at www.MindWiseHypnosis.com. She is also the co-author of How to Meditate with Your Dog: An Introduction to Meditation for Dog Lovers.