Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sedona Method Review 5 Months On: What if what you're doing right now is exactly the right thing to do?

Overview: What's in this Sedona Method review
The following is a detailed review/overview of the Sedona Method. It's an evaluation, too, five months on from first exploring it . So what is the Sedona Method about? The sedona method, as the program states, is an easy, powerful and repeatable method for enhancing quality of life. Its main premise seems to be that we hang onto a lot of crap that makes us miserable - mainly emotions. If we learn how to let go of the crap we generate, we can see the actual situation more clearly, effectively and effortlessly, leaving us free to make choices, plans or what it calls Right Actions. The effect of this new perspective is to be more relaxed, happy, and fluid in our daily lives. That promise is what's on the tin, and it is definitely what the Sedona Method (SM) delivers.

And just to be explicit about what's on the tin, quoting from the manual, practice of the SM enables:

  • Greater ease, effeciveness and joy in daily activities
  • An increase in positive feelings
  • A decrease in negative feelings
  • More love towards one's self and other
  • Positive changes in behaviour and or attitude
  • More open and effective communications
  • Increased problem-solving ability
  • more laughter
  • greater openneness and flexibility
  • Clearer reason and more natural intuitive knowing
  • Being more relaxed and confident in action and at rest
  • Accomplishments and completions
  • New beginnings
  • greater ease in aquiring new abilities or skills.
That's it? I'm not sure about you, but reading such happy go lucky points (until you've experienced them) doesn't seem like a great win. I want to make more money "effortlessly" - not have an increase in positive feelings or more laughter. F. off. Show me my money!

The thing is, that since going through just a month or so of real practice with this stuff, going to meetings at work that would previously have had me in a state enabled me instead to go in with well what? an easiness about expectations and outcomes that i'd not experienced before. And it was good. Very good. The results of that shift have been profound. And yes profound on a number of levels, including income and opportunity.

That more laughter, openness and flexibility stuff that has happened without thinking about it - it's just a side effect - has turned out to be HUGE - at least for me. I had no idea how heavy normal stuff had been on me until i started putting it down - or to use the SM terminology - letting go of it.

The other important thing here is that it didn't take any time to have an effect. This stuff can work instantly.

For instance, i was able to apply lessons from the Effortless Relationships programs to work and home relationship situations as soon as i'd gone through the related exercises on the disks. The speed at which these transformations occurred had those nearest to me asking what drugs i was on - especially regarding stuff they knew previously would have had me utterly in a tizzy and that was now well, just whatever it was. I wasn't taking it on.

The best way i have to describe the effect is that the Sedonam Method offers a perspective shift.

The perspective shift is from steamed, grimed up windows in a boiler room of stress and concern to the super clear intense perception of colour and form one gets when jumping out of an airplane (trust me). As soon as the shoot opens, time slows and everything takes on a sharper brighter focus and it's kind of exhilerating.

The key to this paradigm shift is the fundamental principle of SM: letting go
. SM doesn't say, however, let go of goals for success, wealth, whatever and live like a monk - unless you want to do that. It really is about what happens to these desires if they're not cluttered and decorated with all sorts of emotions like stress and fear and longing and anger and lust? They may still be there, but perhaps they will be shaped differently and our approach to them may be different.

For example, what if we come to a desire with an abundance mentality rather than a scarcity mentality? To me anyway, that single shift from fear that this is the only opportunity for something to a sense that in a practically infinite universe, there is an abundance of opportunity, tends to take the urgency level down as well as the killer instinct stuff down.

Part of the Sedona Method is to learn how to move towards an abundance mentality in a way that's safe. That alone can be a big shift but really, making it really and truly does let way more good stuff in.

And the folks who designed this program understand that exploring, little own making, these kinds of paradigm shifts can be intense. Hence the programs are designed to support the process of making those shifts. It's in respect of this process that what's offered - what you purchase - is the real deal: the tools a person needs to assess the material and move through the steps progressively.

The rest of this review is to overview what's in the pacakge and how what's in the package can work. The cool thing for me is that i know enough people who have purchased these courses based on our discussions about SM that i've seen, it seems, everyone approaches the material and working throug it a little differently - and it's all good. So here we go.

The Stuff in the Tin
Just a note - i get nothing - no affiliate ties - from any of your link clicks - this is just an overview to help justify what to me is a big cost.
The  package includes 20CDs and a large binder with the 200 page manual.

The CD's make up about 21 hours of material over four courses: (1) the Sedona Method (2) Effortless Wealth and Success (3) Effortless Relationships and (4) Effortless Health and Well-Being.

Some folks have commented to me wow that's a lot of material - i don't think i can do that. My reply is generally, think of any good courses you've been on. The RKC certification weekend for instance is 21hours of instruction and drills for practice. The Franklin Covey leadership courses, likewise 3-4 days of learning and practicum. The approach here is exactly the same. So let's look at that.

The approach

Audio Program. These disks are in large part taken from recordings of real courses that are taught in, appropriately enough, Sedona Arizona. The format of the programs is that the presentor, Hale Dwoskin, introduces a concept, takes questions from participants, responds, and then offers a follow along drill to operationalize the concept being explored. These drills may be repeated a few times, which is great because it means that a concept gets PRACTICED with the course leader.

Manual. The manual supports each CD, re-viewing and representing the concepts explored on each disk, and, where appropriate, providing graphics to illustrate a concept. Likewise, notes spaces are provided too, as this is very much a course, and sometimes participants will be asked "So write down in your notebook some of your health related goals" or "write down the words that occur to you when..." and it DOES make a difference when one writes something down rather than not.

If like some of us, the goal is to keep the manual pristine, it's easy to slot in some blank pages.

Learning Styles
Personally, i didn't look at the manual when i got the course. The files were rapidly uploaded to an ipod, and i went through all the concepts on all the disks, entirely skipping all the exercises. I didn't want to do them; i wanted to get where this course was going. In reality it wasn't till i was struck down with the worst cold of my life and couldn't move - was supposed to be at a conference in fact - that i put the headphones on and listened again this time doing each of the exercises. Life changing experience. In a better state of mind when i got home, i then went through the material again, actually hitting replay quite a bit on some of the tracks that were of most interest to my process at that time.

Me, i do all my listening mainly at two times of the day: at night, before i go to sleep, and then in the am when i'm rowing or biking (stationary, both) The morning slots are generally to repeat something i've listened to before as i get pretty caught up in the activity, and can miss stuff.

In contrast, other people i know wouldn't listen to the CD's until they've read the manual cover to cover. Others listen to a CD as they're driving, and connect with the manual when they get home.

One recommendation: as each program builds on the previous one, going through the material linearly seems to be a good idea.

The Courses

The Sedona Method.
SM is the first course presented. This gives an overview of the history to the method - interesting stuff - and then gets into what it actually is about. Here's where the SM basics are laid out and practiced.

This initial program presents the SM approach to Letting Go in particular in relation to our connexion first with problems and then the emotional baggage that makes problems so sticky. It moves through a hierarchy of emotions that hold us back rather than lifting us up - emotions like apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride - and believe it or not, courageousness, acceptance and peace. That last one was a particular surprise: what, there's more after inner peace? there's a stickiness problem with peace? The reasons why there are a few issues with peace attachment are both challenging and compelling.

Resistance. Once we have these emotions tidied up, the prorgam looks at issues around resistance to letting go, featuring on one of my favorite intriguing words: want.

Want. The full definition of Want includes Lack. A want is a lack. So the SM spends time looking at approaches around "allowing oneself" something rather than "wanting something." Those wants include both wanting to have and wanting to figure stuff out. Dwoskin says around problems repeatedly "the only reason we want to figure out a problem is if we're planning to have it again." Such a statement can be quite challenging, but the challenge here is to say, what if there a way to let go of the emotions like want around something and see what happens? IF you don't like the result, you can always go back to where you were. But the constant framing of SM is "allow yourself to...just in this best as you can"

There is nothing scary here or threatening: allow yourself to let go of feeling afraid, just in THIS moment. Could you do this? would you let yourself do this? when? how about now, and just for now?

That small window of opportunity to safely explore imaginatively how something might be, if it didn't have to be loaded with fear, grief, loss, lust makes for a pretty incredible moment - that participants can decide to continue or abandon whenever they/we wish.

Indeed, a lot of the last part of this course is around issues of wanting relative to survival and security and fears of being alone or its inverse, and even of letting go of wanting to get away from all the crap. Amazing.

Skills Summary. So in this first course a person gains the skills to get a handle on what emotions come up around *stuff* that triggers us, makes us *feel* something. These feelings - becoming aware of them - are signals to see if there's an opportunity to explore letting go, or if there's resistance to letting go, and intriguingly NOT looking at why we don't want to let go, but just releasing the stuff to see what's there.

From here the program heads to the second Course.

Effortless Wealth and Success.

A stat i heard once and can't recall where is that most businesses fail because they're not prepared for success. This seems kind of applicable in an inverse way to the Effortless Wealth and success course. Another way to frame this program is perhaps as the Goals Course, and it's certainly the one that resonated with me the most when i wrote a preliminary SM review a few months ago - hence the "getting rid of crap" around goals.

The key thing - at least for me - in the Effortless Wealth and Success course is the concept of what happens when we shift from coming from scarcity to coming from abundance, and even further from Scarcity to Enough.

The program recognizes that there is real fear and anxiety around our wealth and success stuff. We need, in maslov's terms, food and shelter. Most of us once we have that, start wanting more stuff and we assess ourselves according to those stuff-y achievements. So there are a lot of excercises around what it means to move through the real fear of the scarcity model into the Abundance and Enough models.

Lest i give the wrong impression, the SM is very practical. It has in this section alone, powerful drills on assessing advantages and disadvantages of a particular goal we're going for, and of letting go of wanting to be right.

As noted in my preliminary review of the SM, the approach also kicks the can of "positive visualization" as rather more escapist than practical and talks about Goal Action Steps, so those up on their SMART steps for goals needn't worry. The main thing is to make sure the goal one is going after is one's own.

There's a lot of applications of this course not just in money wealth generation but other models of effort. Awhile ago i was working on my pistols and really getting into grr focus, super challenging, grr. and then i thought wait, effortless - what if i approached this from an abundance perspective: there are many pistols to be had. Well, i pulled off considerably more than i had before. Like a lot

Meanwhile, a rower i'd suggested might find the SM helpful with some stressors in her life said she was all keyed up about a race, hadn't been sleeping. She finally got to a place doing the method excercises of what's called becomeing "hootlees" - where you get to a place with a goal that it doesn't matter if you achieve it or not - you're still going for it, but it doesn't matter the outcome. And (a) she fell asleep immediately and won her race the next day.

One can say she won because she got some rest and was relaxed. Yes absolutely. But that's sort of the point: she found a way to get to that very healthy positive place that LET her optimize recovery and LET her body do its practice - effortlessly, beautifully.

Effortless Relationships

Oh my, if one section in this course has helped me personally the most quickly it's been this one. I dunno about you, but i have been filled with situation where i have felt if only i could get people to see my side of things the world would be better. Or where i have felt that one person just drops poison into part of my world. The result is constant low-grade persistent frustration at not being able to control the situation, the people or the outcomes. Indeed, one of the repeated questions in the SM is is that whatever is wanting approval, control, separation or oneness?

And before trying to get away from whatever one is feeling, can we welcome it? could we let go of wanting to change it?

Indeed, that's a biggie: to let go of wanting to control someone (or being controlled by someone) and loving them as they are.

Again, the exercises in this section are really powerful. I can say that in practicing them - some times repeatedly. a lot. to get to that let go of place with thinking about various people - while i didn't go hug them the next time i saw them (this is England), i did feel a lot more relaxed, more able to listen to them, less invested in outcomes (i have other options; abundance mentality) and things have been easier.

These skills are rapidly transferable. The cool thing in these skills is that practiced once for one relationship, they are immeidiately applicable to another, and the more frequently practiced, the more rapid the transition from GRRR to oh. ok. done with that. smile. listening. It's quite stunning.

Perhaps one of the best examples i have of this is that a student of mine came by to discuss work and had said words to the effect that he'd anticipated it was going to be a negative experience - our last meeting had been a bit fraught - and instead it was really positive and he was glad he'd come over. I thought, ya, well, that's great. My perspective is certainly different and isn't it cool that that's helpful for someone i'm supposed to be coaching towards a goal? Right on.

Effortless Health and Well being

In a way i personally have found this to be the most challenging of the courses. While its about dealing with health - and when i first listend thoroughly to this section i was as sick as a dog - it's also about what all the SM is about - welcoming in wherever we are now before letting go to get higher up and further in.

This welcoming can be challenging, perhaps especially for those who make a part of their life focus around physical well being. Can we accept our bodies exactly as they are now? Is there guilt or shame up around anything related to our physical beings? how do we deal with that?

And what about dis-ease? The SM does not promise to heal one's disease - though i have heard of colleagues who have killed colds and other ailments practicing these exercises. What it does help with is to let go of the stuff up around disease, including pain.

Again this latter one may seem hard to believe, but in looking at the neurophysiology of pain (and the book Explain Pain is a great overview), we know that pain is a signal, and that context has a great deal to do with how that signal is amped up or down. And that that response can have a profound effect on well-being.

I do not have a great deal of direct experience applying these exercises to health issues like an illness or a disease. I would be keen to hear from folks who have. Where i have had benefit is around fitness issues related to previous impatience around what i've perceived as a lack of progress in a timely and optimal way. The action steps for well-being here, combined with the lessons from the Success/Goals course have been very helpful in letting go of the crap sufficiently to be able to assess my practice, get additional information where necessary and to tune.

Wrap up
The final disk of the SM is a wrap up and a look forward. Folks are encouraged to practice this stuff and where there are opportunities, bring it into their organizations.

For me, this has meant sharing this approach with the students and athletes with whom i work, and with my colleagues and especially with folks i meet in places like this blog.

Practice: All the Time in the World
I've had a few folks ask me "so are you still doing that method?" The answer is yes. Indeed, as said, i'm a fan of the approach, in particular the exercises that are so related to particular circumstances. As folks who have ordered the SM and followed up with me will atest, if they have questions like "is there something i can listen to that might help with X" - a reply with "yes CD A Track B" comes back pretty quickly - normally cuz i've struggled with these things myself. Certain parts of the ipod's drive must be ground in by now.

A suggestion is that it really helps to make the course a priority for a weekend. Plan it as a retreat. I was luck: i got struck down by germs and could do nothing else. If i hadn't i'm not sure i would have had the results i did as quickly as i did in finding a path into this stuff. After that initial three day burst to go through everything, i spend the next couple months repeating areas at night or, as said, while doing intervals (or while on trains to meetings).

Indeed, the blend of instruction, discussion and practicum is very good: it makes picking what's best for the moment very straight forward and practical/practicable.

Most earth shattering take away:

What if what you're doing right now is exactly the right thing to be doing?
-Hale Dwoskin, Living Truth - the Sedona method

For me that one question has been pretty revolutionary and it came after i'd gone through the sedonam method disks what was likely a couple of times. I was still having some stuff up around judgements of myself not seeming to get certain things done that i "should" be doing (should quickly becomes a flag to investigate further).

If we allow ourselves to consider the possibility that what we are doing right now is exactly right, i have found anyway, that a whole lot more crap falls away, enabling even more possibilities and less stress.

Now we know from so much related work in health and phsiology that a steady diet of stress is a Bad Thing. It literally wears us away with oxidative stress, ie rust. Being stressed effects our sleep our diet how are bodies process sugar all sorts of stuff. So if there are approaches that help us let go of stress - even the imaginary stress of "should" then the release that occurs from this alone for our health is substantial.

Personally, i feel better - i feel that
  • Greater ease, effeciveness and joy in daily activities
  • An increase in positive feelings
  • A decrease in negative feelings
  • More love towards one's self and other
  • Positive changes in behaviour and or attitude
  • More open and effective communications
  • Increased problem-solving ability
  • more laughter
  • greater openneness and flexibility
  • Clearer reason and more natural intuitive knowing
  • Being more relaxed and confident in action and at rest
  • Accomplishments and completions
  • New beginnings
  • greater ease in aquiring new abilities or skills.
and these experiences have become important to my sense of well being.

One more note on practice - it is a practice. Like anything else with our brains, i've found the SM is a kind of use it or lose it. While i'd become so familiar with the CD's i didn't feel i could listen to them again, after several weeks' pause, I've recently gone back to refreshing the concepts right from scratch, and it's been very good to do so. What triggered the need is feeling myself getting caught up in some shoulding and not quite feeling the positive feelings i had. So i want to perk that up a bit again. And it's working. It's good to go over the drills as a refressher - ah yes - this is the way of letting go here.

Bonus Bliss
Yes, i can honestly say that with some of the final exercises, along with another SM product called the Bliss Mini Retreat - i have felt that bliss experience that we hear about from letting go and getting to that higher place where everything is connected. It happened while waiting for a flight and listening to the follow along "allow yourself to..." guidance. It then happened listening again while getting a ride into a conference venue.

It's pretty cool. It's pretty joyful - and something to let go of as well, but in a good way. It's nice to know that without having to leave the world and study for a lifetime, one can with a bit of practice on these courses, hit the ipod and literally bliss out. It's quite the recharge.

Value for Money
SO, all in all, the Sedona Method is great value for money. Also the guarantee is 100% refund within 6 months if you want to send it back.

But that's just price. It's equivalent to a three day course in materials, but an n'th of the cost. It's structure is that of the best of breed three day course, and while they cannot say due to legalize that practicing the SM results in health benefits, i can say that in my own experience that its practical, pragmatic approach to looking at one's crap in a way to let go of it such that one can become a more functional, concurrently de-stressed, more joyful person, means that one has improved well-being.

Even for my grad students - students always being poor - this is excellent value for money - why? Stress and emotional turmoil is the lot of too many students trying to complete their degrees - especially advanced degrees. Anything that can legally help a person see more clearly, focus, get work done, is a good thing. Without this foundation, all the time management strategies in the world won't work: they have no stable surface on which to work.

Likewise for athletes: stress at the right moment has been said to be useful to achieve a result. In watching the best of the best athletes however, the ones who *seem* to be relaxed and open seem to perform with excellence. I'm thinking of for instance Usain Bolt's 100m sprint last year at the olympics. Or Roger Federer's and even Andy Roddick's open swings on the court of the Wimbleton final.

The SM seems to offer a variety of mental strategies to cut through the dross and get to the heart of what matters, and let that material sing. Healthy, wealthy, well.

Lighter, more joyful, more open, more flexible. Abundance.

In my experience, these are all good things, and the SM has proven a great accelerator to experience them.


Richard 'Chiggers' Chignell said...


I am one of the ones that went for Sedona as a result of your first write up on the blog. I have recently begun it and i genuinely feel significant changes happening already. This whole 'releasing' thing and realisation of how and when emotions are working on you is really allowing me a practical way to get at what a lot of more escoteric practices i have tried allude to.

This was a really great write up and i suppport you in saying that for many SM is a really applicable and powerful thing to do.

mc said...

awesome news, Richard. V.Glad to hear it's helping you do good things.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your impressions.


Roland Fisher said...


When we met over on PN (it's still strange for me to think of meeting without meeting) there was an immediate connection of some kind, felt by me at least.

I've grown to trust your insights and this is no exception. I'm at disk six right now and I am indeed impressed.

I don't post much anymore, I let it go. I don't argue much anymore, I let it go. I am however finding my true nature easier to see now.

I've shared what I've learned with some others and for one person especially the results have been instantly appreciated. It seems that a physical issue with regards to sexuality disappeared overnight.

Anyhow, it is indeed a pleasure to count you as friend. Thank you for the influence you've had on me.


mc said...

For folks reading this who don't know, Roland Fisher is an awesome awesome coach/trainer in Alberta, Canada. What he doesn't know about getting someone in either size or shape or both i'm not sure is really worth doing, trying or knowing.

Roland, thank you for your kind words and i'm glad stuff's going so well for you.

thank you for dropping by - really good to hear from you.

still wish you had a web site so that i could point folks to your work directly.

yur pal

Tim e said...

If I could, would I let go of judging this unabashed, and apparently unsolicited, 4000+ word, long internet style free commercial for the course instead of for the method?? No. :) ;) :)

ie your peeps can get the book used online for ~ $10...

mc said...

interesting response.
you bet this is an endorsement for the course as the vehicle for delivering the method. it is in that respect i guess an ad for the course, and i'm ok with that: i think folks would benefit from giving it a go. I tend when i review things to write detailed reviews so people have as much FREE info as possible to help make a decision.

I'm sorry it wasn't clearer that
a) in the preliminary review i spoke more about some of the method strategies - that's linked into this review/overview of the course and so rather than repeat that,

this review

b) explicitly says "here's what in the course and how it's laid out"

somehow that seems important to give folks as much good info as possible about what's in the tin (i think i used that expression) and why i'd recommend the course approach.

I'll say again the advantages of having exercises to follow along at one's own pace - to focus on tracks with exercises etc or not - seems great to me, and to folks i know using the approach.

Absolutely if folks want to get the book - that's now also packaged in the the course - by all means. if that's how your learning style works, go for it.

And as hale says, even saying no is already a start of a release.


Roland Fisher said...

Thanks mc, but you are too kind. I've found I'm not yet sure about the website, or a blog. It isn't the thing that compels me yet.

To Tim or others that might think this blog an ad and nothing more. Have you ever talked favorably about anything you've purchased? Of course. Was that not an ad of the purest kind, an honest word of mouth endorsement?

If I have to stop talking favorably about any purchase I make in order to not appear to be an agent of the evil marketing empire, then I guess I bet not tell you about an amazing beer I tried for the first time called velvet fog, or this really cool boiled egg timer that is immersed into the water with the eggs and is extremely accurate.

I've told maybe a dozen people about both of these things. Oh the shame.

toddhargrove said...


Are you still doing Holosync? Did you ever find any evidence for its efficacy? How does it compare to Sedona?

mc said...

Tom, sedona and holosync are sort of different beasts.

holosync is a great, listenable way to get beats-induced brain wave changes in order to get some hormonal response recovery going on - that's the practical way i use it when i'm on trains or post work out and can't quite nap. i like it and it does have teh effect that's pretty much on the tin. I know it's sold for well being, but i'm just after brain waves for recovery.

sedona method is different in that it's about being in the world all the time - and coping with that :)

while i find the holosync stuff useful/practical and glad to have it (having figured out how to get it onto an ipod without having the low frequencies filtered out - not small files :))
the SM has repeatedly helped me get through and thrive in situations i know would have utterly wrapped me up and wrought me out previously. letting go is good; knowing how to do that whether with self, situations or others is pretty huge.

does that help?

Hammer said...

Seems like this program is nominally repackaged buddhism. Integrating buddhist principles into my lifestyle in the past year has done wonders for me in just the same way you're talking about here.

mc said...

Yes Hammer i've heard that before. Some of the comments on the first review touched on that. I think it was *a* source.

nothing original under the sun :)

You mention incorporating them being a good thing

I think the value of this course/package is that it provides some really easy techniques (and opportunities to practice those techniques) to get to that principled place of right action and the effortless.

i can agree with something and want to implement it, but if i don't have a strategy well it might not get done right or well, or or or.

So having some relatively affordable instructions - a diy kit to self help - works for me :)

Congratulations on finding a process that's working for you. that's awesome.

and thanks for dropping by.


Evan Gregor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.


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