Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preliminary Review: the Sedona Method, getting rid of crap around goals

We all set goals; we don't always achieve them. What's with that? It may not be because we don't have a great plan; it may be because we have a whole lot of beliefs and related crap around those goals that keep us from achieving them. Likewise sometimes we feel flat, stuck, and can't imagine getting to a new place of success.

Recently, i've been experimenting with an approach called the Sedona Method to check out issues around goals, and i've been surprised both by what i've been finding, and what's been coming back. The following is a very preliminary review/overview.

[UPDATE: overview detailing more specifically what's in the tin and experiences five months on now posted - Aug 09] [UPDATE AUG 2014 - there are NO affiliate links in this post unless indicated - and yup, five years i can't believe it - i'm still finding this approach incredibly valuable]

The Sedona Method kinda kicks the can of Positive Thinking and/or Visualization (or something called "The Secret" (!) which is aka "the law of attraction" - if you just think about it and "draw it in" you can have it).

The reason this challenge to "positive thinking" is intriguing from a health/athletic perspective is that sport psychology is infused with visualizing the goal; wanting the goal; tasting the goal. Wanting it badly enough. Perhaps these are folks who also think no pain, no gain?

To be fair, we've heard the great stories of lance armstrong and other cancer patients visualizing their cancer getting smaller; going into remission; going away. So there's likely much to be said for visualizing a goal. But the Sedona method suggests that we "bank in the bank, not in the head" - that we can get so into a visualization that we avoid what it frames as Right Actions. So how do we get to Right Actions?

Here's the surprise: we actually need to let go of the goal first and foremost. And that seems totally at odds with positive thinking's "draw it in."

Let go of the goal? Isn't the whole point of having a goal to achieve a goal?

The intriguing thing here, at least to me, is that letting go of the goal is a process of checking out what comes up around the expression of a goal.

Indeed, the whole way of expressing the goal is critical. For instance, the sedona approach is particular about avoiding framing a goal as "i want" rather than "i allow myself to." Why? "want" actually means "to lack" and to express a goal in terms of a lack apparently just assures that lack. Would you rather have the goal or want the goal, asks Hale Dwoskin who leads this process. Gotta give props on that one.

SO letting go...
Once you have a goal either as general as "i allow myself to have incredible health all the time" or as specific as "i allow myself to press the 24kg this term" the next step in the process is to check out FEELINGS around this goal - maybe it's disbelief; maybe it's fear; maybe it's a desire to fit in. A big (albeit simple) part of the process is just to get those sometimes uncomfortable feelings (lusts, fears, whatevers) sufficiently in view to be able to do something about them so they stop clogging the pipes.

So once those feelings are honestly identified, they can be addressed. And in the sedona method, being addressed doesn't mean figuring out WHY they're there. It means letting go of them, and letting them in and looking at them until they can be let go of, dropped.

That makes it sound so simple: dropping feelings as easily as one drops a KB after kenneth's vo2max workout. Right. Imagine someone saying "i'm really afraid of failing to make this lift by this date" or "i'm really afraid of not getting this contract" and someone says "can you allow yourself to have those feelings? and just for now, can you let go of that feeling as best you can?"

That's it?

Dwoskin's approach is that feelings are just that: feelings. Beliefs likewise are things that we choose to have. And they can get in the way of us being in the world and achieving our potential. Our success. Even *good* feelings, if we try to hang onto them, can be problematic, and reflect a kind of desperation that comes of a "scarcity rather than an abundance mentality."

To get back to the positive visualization thing for a sec: suppose we want to achieve that lift and we see ourselves making that lift, but in the background of our mind are feelings of fear, failure and all sorts of crap that gets in the way of our Right Action (in this case, rest, recovery, sensible practice). Imagine how much better our efforts would be if we got out of our own way.

Part of getting out of our own way in a goal process may also be to find too that the particular goal we had was not *our* goal, but came from somewhere else. That for us there may well be some other health goal we feel better about, but haven't let ourselves go for it, because it's not what we thought we should be doing.

Preliminary Review
Over the past month, i've been going through the Sedona Method 4 part course that promises to help with effortless wealth, health and relationships. This is not an overnight thing: there are 20CDs in the course and that's a lot of listening, pausing to work further on stuff, coming back to parts and so on. So a month is barely time to get through it all when i can only come back to it in the evenings. That's why this is such a preliminary review.

Intriguingly, the place that so far has had the biggest impact from this practice is relationships - at home and especially at work. This has been an unlooked-for bonus (despite being part of the package). When there's crap up at work, there are bound to be LOTS of feelings - lots of wants especially and wishing things were different, wanting people to be different. blah blah blah. How useful is that? where's the right action in that? SO being able to work through some of this (that is, "let go" of a lot of stuff) has been grand.

As for the wealth, well i really like the abundance instead of scarcity mentality. For one thing, that perspective takes the stress level way down - and what good has stressing out about a deadline ever done to get the thing done? And lots of good stuff has been coming in from surprising and unlooked for places.

As for health, well, i'm just getting over the worst cold of my life, but after not being able to move for days, and about 2 weeks away from serious kettlebelling, i came home to press the 20k twice yesterday. That's a record. And heck i wasn't even trying :)

I haven't had the knowledge/time to apply the approach to a specific goal, but i'll come back to this topic as stuff emerges. So far, the benefits in the little time i've spent with the program are really positive.

I'm keen to look at this approach with respect to staying with healthy living, and how it may help my clients who have an on and off the wagon approach to health and fitness.

Flake Alert
I'm really glad that this approach is not just "draw it in and the universe will provide." Maybe it will; maybe it won't, but in my experience there's a ton of combinations of the right place and the right time, and that fate favours the prepared mind, and so on and so on. So what i like about this approach is especially the notion that we have stuff, and that that stuff can be insidious in getting in the way of our achieving our success. Here's a simple simple process that can help surface and chuck that stuff; that helps us operate on the stuff where we have absolute choice about what we do. And that helps us take Right Action - another concept i like. It's not about pushing or forcing or begging. It's about getting with the Right Actions to achieve the goal once the stuff is out of the way. How simple, clear and sensible is that? Why would it need to be harder than that? We love our drama?

Getting Started on the Cheap with Letting Go
If any of what i'm saying is resonating with you, and you'd like to check out this approach, there are a bunch of ways to do it. You can dive right in and get the 4 course package, or you can get a sampler.
There are some free downloads, and examples on the website. There's also the book version (amazon us affiliate link || uk amazon affiliate link)- for me i found listening to the course more effective, but different learning styles

REQUEST: If you got to the end of this post, i'd really appreciate hearing from you about what you think - too - if you're interested in giving this approach a go. That would be a boon to thinking about incorporating this into training with others.

If you do get the CD or the course, let me know what you find. Or if you're already using this approach, please post a comment on how it's going. And all the best with your success.


Follow up Review: Sedona Method 5 Months on - more detailed review of what's in the package, including overviews of the Sedona Method Course, Effortless Wealth and SUccess, Effortless Relationships, Effortless HEalth and Well Being, , how it's laid out, and experiences/progress with the courses.


Rannoch Donald said...

Hey MC,

Very interesting post. I don't immediately associate positive with being goal oriented. I am positive but I have few goals and generally don't refer to them as such. Perhaps it's a function of age but the journey becomes more of the focus all the time. Outcomes and destinations are secondary.

Focus,particularly focus on outcomes , can be a huge distraction. We covet the end result and ultimately miss all the really useful stuff. The stuff that provides us with the tools to mature and do what we want.

The assertions about faith, belief etc are spot on. "All that we are is the result of what we have thought".

In reality we need to see beyond or through the target. That is where the truth lies. Goals are half way houses. At best they offer a stopping point, at worst they are disapointing conclusion to a misdeirected effort.

Like the Kyudo archers of Japan, for whom the target, the bow ,the arrow and the act are all one.

I have to say, the idea of going through 20 Cd's seems like alot of listening.

For me, the key thing has been letting go of what other people think. This is huge and incredibly liberating. With that comes the end of expectation. And expectation is the thing that keeps us pinned down. Without expectation anything is possible.

Will re-read your post and think a little more.

But ultimately the truth is in here. There are no answers out there.

dr. m.c. said...

thanks for your thoughtful reply.

on 20cds - the RKC weekend is 21 hours so it's about the same.

What makes such a weekend like the RKC effective is that there's lots of guided/supervised practice. How much time was spent on swings, over and over? and the result?

That's what a big chunk of the course is like here: content with supervised, guided practice. Initially i skipped those practice bits to get at the "content"

- i've since been going back (a lot) to that gudided practice and actually replaying certain tracks (a lot) - to have that guidance while working through a process.

And yup, i agree that goals can be a big distraction - which is why the notion of *letting go* of the goal (sort of to see what sticks and remains real) seems really valuable, less obsessive/driven, more in tune - at least potentially, you know? There's a concept in the course that until you get to a place where "you could give a hoot" about a goal, you're still at least somewhat enthralled by it.

as you say about the need to see beyond the target, like the archers do (zen and the art of archery, eh?), there's a section in the course that talks about this too with respect to emotions that block us, that going INTO them (which can seems scary or distasteful at the outset) can be like what happens when we look at something under a microscope - eventually all we see are the spaces between the atoms. we pass through.

There's harmony, and no secrets. That's the other part i like.

In any case, there's likely nothing here you don't know; what i like though is the folding these clear simple concepts into something practicable. You don't have to go to the top of a mountain for a decade to touch the Tao.

what i can say is just a little release goes a looong way. good stuff.

again, thanks for your thoughtful comments.


Rannoch Donald said...


The space between the atoms. I like that. It's something I've been thinking about alot recently. That life happens in between.

The prospect of getting up close and personal with the emotional stuff is the only way to see it for what it is. The sky is not falling and the world is still turning.

Alot of what passes for stress reduction, down time, decompressing (whatever you want to call it) is simply anesthetia. So to choose and spend that time to connect the dots and make sense of things, whether using CDs or kettlebells seems like a good exchange.

As for the "abundance" mentality, the other option is liviing with a constant sense that the party is elsewhere. Unfortunately, that is a chosen reality for so many people.

Everyone else has things, knows stuff, experiences life in a way that is some how more credible and authentic? I don't think so.

As for visualisation,the task in hand should be to experience the visualisation, not simply observe and outcome. Otherwise we are simply bystanders. mimicing simply teaches a person to mimic. It doesn't give them ownership.

As for "secrets", you and I have spoken about this before. There are none.

Any attempt to get to the essence of who we are and how we want to live is a good thing. We are all looking for ways to shine a light on what we already know and allow ourselves to experience it completely and utterly.

To quote Joseph Campbell -

"People say what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about."

Casey said...

I'm usually the first to shun/mock/taunt any "self help" approach that's gets marketed but I actually like the sound of this one.

Bruce Lee once said "It is not daily increase but daily decrease; hack away the unessentials". That immediately came to mind after reading your post. Life is full of distractions and we typically try to deal with those distractions by taking up new ones. The idea may seem foreign, and by our nature it somewhat is but it's definitely worth looking into.

It's kind of "Fight Club" in a way as well. The idea that we are already free but we enslave ourselves via jobs, possessions, societal conditioning, preconceived notions etc.

dr. m.c. said...

Casey thanks for your comments.
i understand the flake alert - hence that section in the article. i kinda think for the past month that this is a real deal kinda thing. it's another tool, really. and i like that they pitch it that way = here's another tool to get stuff done - clear the path.

hadn't thought of the fight club analogy. interesting.

heh, if you do try this will you let me know what you find?

thanks again as always for dropping by. pull up a chair anytime.

how's the training going? gonna go check your blog...

Georgie Fear, RD, CPT said...

Hey mc,
Thanks for the post, i found it quite interesting. I am thinking of looking into that method, though i can't imagine listening to 20 CDs! Maybe I'll check out the sampler....

In terms of developing my nutrition counseling, I am seeking to improve most my "psychology" skills... that is, understanding how to help people circumvent the "Stuff" that keeps them from their goals.

I like the "allow yourself to reach the goal" phrase. It's so sensible. And how true,"I want x" implies that you'll always want x, or never have it.

Well done!

dr. m.c. said...

Thanks for dropping by, Georgie, you made my day. Give the sampler and site a go and please let me know what you think.

As for the 20cd's, once they're ripped and on the ipod as four individual courses of 5 cd's each it feels more manageable - it really is like a three day certification/course.

I have my fave tracks that i'm reusing a lot (for the coaching on various topics) burned into my mind. If you get the course we can compare lists.

Also, figuring out how best to deliver this with clients - way cool - let me know what you find. To be able to say, look this is not just about the thing itself you want/lack, it's about addressing the stuff around that....

anyway, thanks for letting me know, and do let me know your thoughts, eh?

hope your term is going/has gone really well. drop me a line and let me know.



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