Communication and Personal Coaching
With Jenny Davidow, M.A.
The deeper part of your mind knows you better than you know yourself. That is because all of your experiences, both physical and mental, are stored in your subconscious. You may be surprised to learn that even when your subconscious seems to be holding you back, it is trying to help you. The only reason it fights you is because its perception of what you need is different from that of your conscious mind.
Embracing Your Subconscious, by Jenny Davidow, will show you how to understand and benefit from your subconscious. You are receiving signals and messages from your subconscious twenty-four hours a day - through your body, perceptions, interactions with others, and dreams. When understood, these signals and messages will give you fresh insight and a broader perspective.
Embracing Your Subconscious will also show you how to influence your subconscious with new information and choices. Just as your subconscious remembers everything you have experienced and felt, so it is also very receptive to new, empowering images and ideas. When you communicate in the language of the subconscious, positive changes will lead to noticeable improvements in the way you feel about yourself. Further, the changes are remembered by your subconscious, helping you to achieve your goals more comfortably and quickly than ever before.
Your subconscious is a powerful and mysterious force which can either hold you back or help you move forward. Without its cooperation, your best goals will go unrealized; with its help, you are unbeatable.
You have felt the unavoidable influence of this hidden part of you - sometimes helping you intuitively, but more often getting in your way:
No matter how hard you try, you can't escape your subconscious. But as powerful and mysterious as your subconscious is, it is friendlier than you might think.
Surprisingly, even when it seems to be stopping you, your subconscious is trying to help and protect you. The only reason it fights you is because its perception of what you need is different from that of your conscious mind. When you recognize and accept the help of your other self, the same qualities that made your subconscious a formidable obstacle transform it into a powerful ally.
Through Embracing Your Subconscious, you will learn to understand what your subconscious is trying to tell you. You are receiving signals and messages from your subconscious twenty-four hours a day - through your body, beliefs, interactions with others, and dreams. These signals and messages, which before were indecipherable, will give you fresh insight and a broader perspective.
The deeper part of your mind knows you better than you know yourself. That is because all of your experiences, both physical and mental, are stored in your subconscious. Most of your beliefs and expectations are based on your childhood experiences, many of which you may not consciously remember. These expectations and beliefs form a subconscious blueprint that influences your present behavior and well-being, for better or worse, far more than you realize.
In addition to learning how to decode important messages, Embracing Your Subconscious will show you how to influence your subconscious with new information and choices. Just as your subconscious remembers everything that you have experienced and felt, so it is also very receptive to new, empowering images that will lead to noticeable improvements in the way you feel about yourself. Together, you can create a blueprint for success that will be stored in your subconscious, where it will help you to achieve your goals more comfortably and quickly than ever before.
Putting information and ideas together in unconventional, illogical ways, your subconscious will give you the power to solve problems far beyond your conscious ability. Working toward the same goals, as allies, your conscious and subconscious will cease pulling in opposite directions. Rather, they will form a cooperative partnership which draws on the strengths of both.
Liberating the creative wisdom of all parts of you - conscious and subconscious, known and unknown, heart and head - leads to lucid living. You will experience heightened awareness, wonder and enjoyment, as you bring all of who you are into your relationships. Your life will become a high adventure, rich with new possibilities.
This book offers all the tools you need to penetrate the mysterious veil of the subconscious: to understand why it tries to stop you; to negotiate a way to resolve inner conflict; and to work together toward a common goal - your well-being and happiness. You will learn how to embrace your subconscious and receive its rich resources as a gift that will revitalize every area of your life.
As a child, I was fascinated by my dreams. Although I had some pleasant dream adventures, I was also plagued by a recurring nightmare that both frightened and puzzled me:
In my nightmare, I am a soldier on a battlefield. Nearby, I can see cannons and guns firing and hear their explosions shattering the air. The enemy is advancing toward me. I feel a terrible foreboding. The forces on my side are about to be overrun and defeated.
Intuitively, I sensed there must be a reason why this particular dream repeated over and over again. It seemed that if I could understand what the dream was trying to tell me, I might no longer need to have this troubling experience.
As a teenager, I started keeping a record of my dreams. I delved into the psychology and literature on dreams, searching for ways to decode my subconscious messages. Finally, after several years, the key to unlocking the puzzle came when I learned from Gestalt psychology that all symbols in dreams represent aspects of yourself.
Drawing on the Gestalt idea that you can enter into a dialogue with subconscious parts of yourself, I began to create a series of practical steps, which evolved into what I call Inner Dialogue.
At first, my only goal was to get rid of nightmares and have more pleasant dreams. But before long, as I experimented and developed the steps for Inner Dialogue, I noticed that not only were my dreams changing for the better - my self-confidence and self-image were improving as well.
In later chapters, I will share the surprising and wonderful ways in which Inner Dialogue changed my waking life - and how it can do the same for you.
Your subconscious is always influencing you, in ways ranging from subtle to dramatic. Even real events that appear to be outside of your control - like losing your house keys, having your car break down, an argument with someone, or a physical pain - can serve as communications from your subconscious. I call such events waking dreams because, while they are very real, they often convey a subconscious message.
Like a detective, you will learn how to identify waking dreams and decode the valuable messages they contain. In this chapter, you will use Inner Dialogue to discover and heal the unresolved issues and conflicts which are often hidden within real events.
Everything that happens to you - inside and out, pleasant and unpleasant experiences, dreams, and imagination - offers you a chance to discover and reclaim valuable parts of yourself, inner resources you have lost track of and are no longer consciously using.
Through Inner Dialogue, you will discover the helpful and healing messages your subconscious sends you every day to help balance and improve your life. Once you understand the messages and recognize their value, your subconscious will support you in making necessary changes.
Inner Dialogue enables you to shift from your normal conscious perspective into a state of mind that includes the awareness of your subconscious. You begin by playing the part of any symbol, and speaking as that symbol. For example, you can speak as a person, place, object or feeling. This allows you to shift out of your normal awareness and to step into your symbol, experiencing its identity and purpose. (The Inner Dialogue steps are described in full in Exercise 1 at the end of Chapter 1.)
Inner Dialogue lets you give a voice to any character, symbol, place or feeling that you wish to explore. It is different from Gestalt and other dialogue techniques in that it provides a specific set of steps which will help you:
When you react intensely to a situation, it is because your subconscious has remembered one or more other times when you felt annoyed, frustrated, angry, or worse. Instead of reacting to the one simple incident of annoyance in the present, you are reacting to everything that has ever gone wrong like this in the past. It is as if only 10% of your emotional response is to the present incident; 90% is fueled by your subconscious remembering similar events from the past. Some psychologists call this the 90/10 Split.
It is like having a dream while awake: your subconscious feelings have erupted into a real-life situation. Your reaction may surprise you or seem exaggerated, possibly beyond your control. The strength of your reaction serves as a signal that your subconscious has become a key player in this drama.
When you react very strongly to a person or situation, your subconscious is using this waking dream to get your attention. Whether your overreaction is one of anger or love, this is an ideal opportunity to take some time to do Inner Dialogue. Inner Dialogue will help you to sort out what part of your waking dream is about your relationship with yourself, and what part is about your relationship with another person or a present situation.
You can apply Inner Dialogue to any experience in your life - whether it is a real event, emotion, physical symptom, or belief.
If you feel blocked in a certain area of your life or unable to achieve a goal, you can treat that block or obstacle as a waking dream. Although you may not be able to change the real events that happen to you, you can change the way you react so that you can experience the best possible results.
A + B = C
Your feelings and beliefs greatly influence your ability to achieve goals, have relationships, and feel comfortable. Like a filter or camera lens, your subconscious selects what you will experience: hope or pessimism, trust or suspicion, confidence or insecurity, communication or isolation.
A+B=C is a simple equation that explains how your subconscious can either help you or hold you back.
A is any event that happens to you, any situation you find yourself in. B is how you react inside: whether you feel strong or weak, what you say to yourself, and whether you expect to fail or succeed. By changing B, your reaction, you change C, your outcome.
You will learn how to identify what is going on in B which might be getting in the way of the comfort and success you want to achieve. Further, you will learn how to use Inner Dialogue to improve B and clear the way for the positive outcome you want.
You can decode the message of any waking dream. Whether it involves a real event or an internal conflict, Inner Dialogue will help you turn your waking dream into an opportunity to learn about yourself and enlist the support of your subconscious.
When you have a problem with a particular part of your body, such as a backache or an infection, these health concerns can also be viewed as a waking dream. Many of my clients and students have reported that their physical symptoms improved after doing Inner Dialogue on a certain part of their body. This is because Inner Dialogue helped them to uncover how their subconscious might have been contributing to the problem and slowing their recovery.
Inner Dialogue on a waking dream serves a dual purpose: providing insight, and changing a limiting blueprint into a Blueprint for Success. Inner Dialogue also activates the power of your subconscious to support the immune systems efforts to heal the body.
Inner Dialogue can show you how you may be stopping yourself from fully enjoying or entering into a relationship with someone. By exploring your relationship with yourself first, you can discover ways in which you can improve your relationships with others.
One of my clients, Louise, had a scary dream which seemed, at first, totally unrelated to her real-life relationships:
I get into the elevator of an office building. I push the button for my floor, #7. The elevator goes up, but instead of stopping at my floor, it gathers speed at an alarming rate. Now Im frightened. I try to stop the elevator, but the buttons dont respond. The elevator goes faster and faster, then shoots out of the top of the building and goes into outer space! By now I am hysterical. I dont believe there is a way for me to return to Earth. I am trapped in this runaway elevator.
To Louise, this was a horrible dream and the elevator was a very upsetting symbol. She could see no redeeming value in this dream. She could not even make a guess as to why she would have such a dream.
I guided Louise through the Inner Dialogue steps so that she could arrive at her own understanding of the message her subconscious was sending her.
THERAPIST (T): Louise, Id like you to imagine your dream again (Step 1). And now, I am going to ask you to shift your awareness so that you can take the point of view of the elevator. Imagine being the elevator. Id like you to describe yourself, as the elevator: what do you look like? (Step 2)
LOUISE: I am the Elevator. I am a large metal box. I have doors and a control panel inside.
T: Now, as the Elevator, just tell me what elevators normally do. (Step 3)
LOUISE (As the Elevator): I take people up and down. Up and down in the building.
T: Speaking to the Elevator, please tell me about yourself - what is unique about you, and how you are different from other elevators. (Step 3, continued)
LOUISE (As the Elevator): My unique qualities are...my walls are a golden color, inside me, where people ride. Im a gold-plated elevator! I have unusual powers. I can shoot through the top of the building and go into outer space. I am different from other elevators because I have a much wider range of where I can go. Also, Im gold-plated. That makes me more valuable and special.
T: And what is happening from your - the Elevators - point of view? (Step 4)
LOUISE (As the Elevator): What is happening from my point of view is...I am going up in the building, and I just keep going up. I shoot out of the top of the building and start traveling in outer space. Louise is inside of me. Shes going nuts, shes so scared - but Im having a wonderful time! She thinks something is wrong, but this is what I do naturally!
(Already Louise looked surprised at how different the Elevators personality was from her conscious personality.)
T: How do you, the Elevator, feel as this is happening? (Step 5)
LOUISE (As the Elevator): How I feel as this is happening is...I feel great. I like not having any limits on where I can go.
While speaking as the Elevator, there was a dramatic change in Louise. Her voice and body language became bolder and more zestful than they were before. These changes were also a marked contrast to the fear and powerlessness that Louise previously felt as the dreamer.
The Elevators different point of view represented a valuable subconscious part of Louise. Speaking as the Elevator has shed some light on the subconscious, unused abilities which the Elevator represents: a zest for life that encourages adventure and a desire to push beyond the normal limits which Louise assumed her life must have.
Now Louise was ready to continue her Inner Dialogue and clarify the source of the conflict between herself and the Elevator:
THERAPIST (T): Louise, Id like you to imagine and feel yourself the way you were in your dream. Visualize the Elevator in front of you now. You can talk to it. This is your chance to tell this runaway Elevator how you feel about it. (Step 6)
LOUISE: Elevator, what I feel about you is...You scare me to death! I dont like what youre doing to me! I dont like where youre taking me.
T: Now I will give you some phrases that Id like you to complete, still speaking as Louise. Tell the Elevator, What I dont like about you is...
LOUISE: What I dont like about you is...I just wanted to go to the seventh floor, not into outer space! You didnt give me a clue where you were going, and Im not ready for this!
T: What I want to say to you is...
LOUISE: What I want to say to you is...I want to go home! I dont want to be here! This isnt fair!
T: Now Id like you to shift your perspective and speak again as the Elevator. Id like you to complete these phrases. (Step 7) As the Elevator, tell Louise, What I feel about you is...
LOUISE (As the Elevator): What I feel about you is...Youre not giving me a chance! Im really not so dangerous.
T: What I dont like about you is...
LOUISE (As the Elevator): What I dont like about you is...Youre not letting me have any fun! I am a special elevator and I was made for more than just going up and down in an office building.
T: What I want to say to you is...
LOUISE (As the Elevator): What I want to say to you is...Give me the benefit of the doubt. Loosen up and have some fun with me! Trust me and enjoy the ride! Lets go have an adventure, and then Ill bring you back.
At this point, Louises face melted into an expression of wonder. Suddenly, she could feel the confidence and power of her Elevator. Inner Dialogue had transformed her earlier perception of the Elevator as out of control and holding her hostage into an appreciation of it as something valuable. She had difficulty putting it into words, but Louise could sense that the Elevator was a part of her that she needed.
By now in the session, Louise realized she had misunderstood the Elevator. In fact, she said, this was not really a scary symbol at all. Once she recognized the adventurous intentions of her Elevator through Inner Dialogue, she understood that her subconscious was encouraging her to have more fun and take more risks. In fact, her fear and reluctance to enjoy the ride now seemed humorous to her.
Next, I wanted to help Louise understand more fully the message her subconscious was sending her. I translated the action of the elevator propelling Louise into outer space into a metaphor for her life. I asked,
...Are you at a time in your life when you feel like youre being propelled into something you are not ready for?
The Elevator reflected something significant about a subconscious part of Louise. The Elevator wanted to go beyond normal limits and have an adventure - and more importantly, it was quite capable of doing so. But the Elevators boldness and enthusiasm was in sharp contrast to Louises fear and need to be safe. I asked,
...Is there a way in which you might be limiting yourself, when your abilities could take you much further?
As Louise and I explored these subconscious metaphors, I gave her room to discover her own meanings and apply them to specific areas of her life.
Louise realized that her subconscious was pointing out that she needed to reclaim the very capable, confident adventurer in her. Up until now, she had been afraid to use the valuable gold-plated elevator part of her - the part that wanted to take risks and meet challenges. Because of her Inner Dialogue, Louise was willing to begin to change the safe and habitual limits she had set for herself, so she could really use - and enjoy - her abilities.
Next, I asked Louise,
...To what areas of your life might you want to apply this subconscious message to take more risks and use more of your abilities?
Louise said she was in a good relationship, but she was confused about it. She liked her boyfriends self-confidence, and at the same time she didnt like feeling pressured to keep up with him in areas where she wasnt as confident as he was. For instance, when they went skiing, he liked to go fast and take chances; she didnt. She said she preferred to ski safely, which meant going more slowly and staying on easier slopes.
I asked Louise if her Elevator might also represent the adventurous energy in her boyfriend that was pulling her toward taking more risks.
As she thought about her responses to the Elevator, and then to her boyfriend, Louises eyes widened. After we talked about it, she said she was convinced that her relationship was a waking dream. Her subconscious was sending her the same message, both in her dream and in her relationship: Take more chances and enjoy the ride. In fact, she told me, it was her boyfriends ability to enjoy himself which had attracted her to him in the first place. Now it was time for her to learn how to more fully enjoy herself, too.
A similar pattern could now be seen in both Louises Elevator Dream and in her waking dream: Louise was struggling with a part of her that wanted to stay in a predictable but safe routine (conscious), and a part of her that wanted to push beyond the normal limits and have an exciting adventure (subconscious).
Further, the opposing energies or contrasts present in Louises dream and waking dream were the same: safe-risky, limited-unlimited, slow-fast, dull-exciting.
A new appreciation of how her subconscious conflicts influenced her reactions to her boyfriend and her expectations of herself began to dawn on Louise. Now it became apparent to her that her subconscious conflict was also making her reluctant to get married.
Louise had been in the relationship for three years and considered it a good one. But now that she and her boyfriend were talking about getting married, she felt apprehensive; she didnt want to give up the safe limits of the relationship they had been having or risk a change.
Marriage would feel scary, she said - like going faster and further than she was used to, as with the Elevator in her dream. The prospect was exciting, but also risky. She wasnt sure if she was ready for the challenge of marriage. Unlike her Elevator, she doubted that she could experience marriage as an adventure or trust herself enough to enjoy the ride.
For the first time, Louise recognized the part of her that wanted to break out of her safe but limiting routine. While it would take more than one session to be fully comfortable with the adventurous part of her, Louise could use the elevator symbol as a helpful reminder on a daily basis. For instance, in considering the possibility of marriage, she could now consciously weigh her desire for maintaining a safe status quo with her desire for enjoyment and personal growth.
During the year, Louise used Inner Dialogue to discover the value of many more symbols as subconscious aspects of herself. She regularly noticed the theme of needing to take more risks and have more fun in her symbols and dreams. Gradually, Louise became more comfortable with the adventurer in her, more confident of her strengths and abilities, and more willing to test them in her relationship and in other areas of her life.
Louises explorations became a catalyst, inspiring in an increased appreciation of her abilities and the rewards that risk-taking could bring her. She used Inner Dialogue to learn how to embrace and accept even the troublesome symbols - as she had done with her Elevator. Symbols representing subconscious parts of her became powerful allies. Louise was in the process of developing an exciting partnership between the conscious and subconscious parts of her.
A transformation was taking place that manifested as beneficial changes in Louises life. Now Louise enjoyed the challenge of new situations that were outside her old, safe routine. The resolution of conflicts in her subconscious had set her on a different path, moving toward a more fulfilling outcome. Louise was now using her subconscious in a new and more empowering way.
Later that year, Louise told me that she had experienced a breakthrough in her skiing, and now she had fun going faster on steeper slopes. Her new confidence gradually rippled out into other areas of her life - including her relationship. Significantly, a year later, she made the decision to get married. She was ready to enjoy the ride.
Embracing Your Subconscious will help you to increase your awareness on all levels: awake and dreaming, conscious and subconscious, rational and intuitive, intellectual and emotional, physical and spiritual.
Your subconscious is always at work, influencing your feelings and behavior much more than you realize. The methods you will learn from this book can be applied to all areas of your life, including your relationships, career, creativity, health, and self-esteem.
As you read this book and do the suggested exercises, you will gain a deep appreciation of how your subconscious can help you every day. You will also develop a rewarding relationship with the deeper part of your mind.
Conclusion: Personal Myths for Lucid Living
"Lightning is All Around Me"