break through

“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you.
If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you.”
Tony Robbins

Recently someone told me that the reading I had done for him was “embarrassingly” off. He listed the ways what I said was wrong, which shook me in a core way.

Not in the sense of doubting my abilities or my work*, but because I fear rejection. I am driven by the need to be liked, and negative feedback is a very scary thing for me.

Being directly confronted by my biggest fear broke down the ways I insulate myself from necessary change, because it took away the feeling of being comfortable. I found myself in a very raw state, and once there I couldn’t hide any more.

The value of pain is that, when confronted, our pretenses are abolished. When you can withstand the discomfort to look at what’s there, revelations abound.

In this case, I have spent my life limiting myself in key ways so people will like me. Every once in a while it doesn’t work (or I imagine it doesn’t), and I discover any feeling of safety was an illusion.

Since I have so much anxiety around being accepted by others, any evidence that I’m not is experienced as a five alarm fire. Rejection triggers a fight or flight response in me that creates an emergency state of, “Something has to change!”

While this is not a good state to make decisions in, it is great for shining a flashlight on what’s not working. In this instance, receiving negative feedback prompted one very clear awareness that stood out above all others:

“If you play small people are going to think you’re small.”

I realized I have kept myself small in numerous ways so people will only have positive reactions to me, and this has had the effect of trapping me in a very tight circle.

I’m surrounded by an invisible fence I can’t cross for fear other people won’t like it, and this is how I limit myself. Then, when someone STILL doesn’t like me or my work, any illusion of a benefit to limiting myself is abolished.

I’ve charged less than other psychics, led only small events, procrastinated on writing books and other important projects, all because I don’t want to offend anyone.

It doesn’t work and has never worked, but as long as other people are nice to me I can pretend it does. That’s why his e-mail served as a liberator.

Here are a few facts about pain: 

  • The fear of it is worse than the reality of it
  • It cannot be avoided
  • When allowed the intensity of pain fades or disappears entirely
  • The willingness to face pain directly is the secret to a fearless life

All of us have the potential to experience pain at any moment, and frequently do. Accepting this fact, and making the course of one’s life not about avoiding pain but embracing potential is a key secret to a limitless life.

If you realize you’re going to experience pain no matter what, and facing it makes it less painful than trying to avoid it, then what’s to stop you from going for the things you really want?

You can think of yourself as a daredevil, or an extreme sports athlete. When faced with something potentially dangerous (pain-inducing), there is a thrill of aliveness that accompanies it. A sense of not just getting through the doldrums of daily life, but doing something challenging and beyond the safe zone.

It’s exciting and terrifying, and makes life worth living. And you don’t have to dive off a cliff to experience it. It can be as simple as opening a letter from the bank.

For me, one change I came to that I’ve been putting off for years is the need to raise my rates. I realized charging less than what my sessions are worth has been a way of protecting myself from imagined rejection, but it’s not respectful to my work or the realities of my life.

So, starting October 1st:

Sessions will be $150, or $125 for those who commit to the Mind/Body Revitalization Plan.

First time, introductory sessions will be $75. They are still $50 for anyone who schedules a first time session during the month of September!

Rates for current clients and anyone who commits to the Revitalization Plan before October 1st will remain locked in at $75/session.

To help underscore the point of this newsletter, writing this is scary for me. It’s an action that in my brain invites rejection. But in this moment, it’s my way of living on the edge, so I brave the storm and go forward.

**The context for why I didn’t take negative feedback as a cue to re-evaluate the quality of my readings:

The day after I received his e-mail, I got two others praising me for their mini-readings and saying how I had helped. I also saw multiple long-term clients over the next several days, all of whom told me during their session how I had helped them and why my work was so important to them.

Also, in seven years of giving readings this was only the third time someone told me it wasn’t accurate, and all of those were in response to “mini-readings”, that is 5 minute readings I give at the end of a workshop. I have a strong guess that this context is a key factor in my being off. However, since I give those readings as a bonus and they frequently lead to people scheduling sessions with me, I see no reason to discontinue them.

Lastly, it’s very possible more people have had the experience of not resonating with a reading I gave them and not told me. However, since I receive positive feedback on a regular basis I can guess that the number of people who have a negative response is negligible enough not to warrant concern.