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Friday, June 27, 2014

"Mastery of Change" by Sean Morgan (Part 1)

Today's post is the first is a series of 7 by my guest, Sean O'Donoghue Morgan. When I read Sean's book, I felt compelled to ask him to share his story and his work with my readers.

This is the review I published on Amazon:

Sean's book is simply wonderful! It's perfect for people wanting changes in life but are either overwhelmed or don't know where to start. I love the simple examples and the applications he provides at the end of each section. It is simply genius! I can see all the research he has put into this book, and I love how he simplifies so anyone - ANYONE can apply themselves to begin taking their thoughts and life in a new, better direction. ~ Xpressive Handz


Hello, my name is Sean Morgan.  I just met Joyce and her husband and we hit it off due to our mutual appreciation for the healing art of Reiki.  I recently self-published a book about mental and emotional healing.  Joyce was gracious enough to allow me to share this book with you on her blog.  I'd like to start out by saying that I do not have a lot of experience writing to people with special physical needs.  I have not been in connection with the deaf/hard of hearing and hearing loss communities until now.  However, I do write about challenges.  We all have major and minor challenges that come in waves throughout each particular phase of our lifetime.  Just like all challenges, deafness and hearing loss are both a difficulty and a gift.  If one views it as a curse, it will become one.  If one is open-minded, it can become an opportunity.  
My book was born due to a few of the challenges in my life. 

From adolecense, I was prone to introversion, rumination, anxiety, and depression.  In my twenties, I was infected with Lyme disease and suffered tremendous physical challenges and pain.  I learned first hand what it is like to blame others and the world.  I learned what it feels like to believe I was a victim of circumstance.  That kind of mindset sent me on a downward spiral deeper into depression and fear.  I continued to lose the things I loved such as health, happiness, financial security, and even my fiance.

It wasn’t until I hit bottom that I was willing to try a different mindset.  At first it was just an experiment.  If I could create my life and if I did have power, what would I do?  I then made every day a laboratory to see how much I could improve through positive actions.  The results were very immediate.  I improved my health, mood, finances, and I’m back with my fiance.  I looked back and reverse engineered why I spiraled downward and how I bounced back.  I did a lot of research to make sure that what I found to be true for me was actually evidence-based.  I hope that you find my story inspiring.  I encourage you to embrace change and try new behaviors in your life when you encounter challenges.  You might find that a curse is actually just a blessing in disguise.
The path of negativity is a path toward death.  You may be in the thick of darkness right now.  I know how it can be, that’s why I’m writing this message right now.  I had a wrong-minded view of the world, and I suffered as a consequence.  I was mostly functional, meaning I could still take care of my minimum responsibilities in the world, such as school and work.  Yet, at times I would go into darkness to the point of suicidal thoughts, especially in the winters.
Sometimes I would spend over 10 hours a day on the computer.  After I tried to find the answers to life by trying marijuana, I developed panic disorder and a dissociative disorder called depersonalization/derealization.  I was hospitalized and medicated.  The anxiety and depersonalization attacks were very traumatic for me.  Earlier in my life, I couldn’t imagine that it would have been possible to live in such terror.  I didn’t want the answers to life anymore...I just wanted to feel normal again.  The medication caused more problems such as rage attacks.  Later, my medication was taken off the market for minors because it was shown to cause suicidal thoughts.  Luckily, I had enough of a sense of autonomy to take myself off of the medication, even before this was known.
 Social anxiety and introversion have always affected me, making it difficult for me to connect with others or “put myself out there” in social situations.  As a  result, I went through college without a social life.  I spent hours a day alone in my room singing songs with my guitar.  Even though music was cathartic for me, I also romanticized the victim story of myself through the sadness of the music.  I went through cycles.  Times weren’t always bad.  I met an amazing woman, but we argued a lot. Then I became infected with a debilitating case of chronic Lyme disease, and it reinforced the victim role I had carved out for myself.  Some days I couldn’t walk, and I developed a more chronic form of depression.  
I  had always wanted my girlfriend to play the nurturing role for my victim story.  She wanted me to help myself.  I refused to take antibiotics because my research had confirmed that it made things worse for many people.  Looking back, I was clinging to my illness as a way to keep my victim story relevant.  Luckily, after a year of hell I began to change, grow, learn, and take responsibility.  I took antibiotics and was cured within weeks.  Although antibiotics cured my Lyme disease, it seemed to make my depression a lot worse.  How ironic that as I escaped physical pain, I started to feel terrorized by mental pain.  Slowly, through healthy lifestyle choices, I fully recovered and started to feel normal again.  Sometimes you don’t realize how depressed you really are until you begin to feel like a normal balanced person.
Shortly after my Lyme disease recovery, my girlfriend and I got engaged and went on a long-term trip to Puerto Rico.  We continued to have problems, and I continued to blame her because I felt unloved.  My neediness became too much for her to bear, and she shut down her affections.  I had created a monster, which made it easier for me to blame her more.  The blame finally ended the engagement.  The lack of independence, self sufficiency, and responsibility for my emotions ended a beautiful love story.  After we broke up, I continued to blame her and play the victim for the following months.  Being alone forced me to sink or swim.  I chose to swim.  I chose to better myself and challenge myself.  I changed my diet and fitness routine, took dance lessons, and challenged myself to be social.  I worked with the loneliness and neediness inside myself.  I applied myself professionally and gained financial independence and power.  The healthier I got, the more the victim story crumbled.  Finally, I let go of the ignorant mental disease of blame and resentment.  
Today, I’m happy to say that I feel even better than “normal”.  I feel joyful every day and I have the confidence to achieve things I never dreamed for myself before.  I still have challenges in my life and I have experienced anxiety and depersonalization attacks pretty recently, but now I am ready for them.  I know that I have the tools and the strength to meet them if they visit me.  In fact, the more challenges I meet, the stronger I get.  Being a master of change is not about being the best, it’s about being courageous and smart enough to dance with life instead of against it.
I’ve been in the thick of darkness, and now that I’ve seen the light I want to share it with others.  I’ve spent years discovering the most effective methods for self-transformation and empowerment.  It didn’t matter where it came from; if it worked I would use it.  I learned from resources including many religions, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, Reiki, massage, yoga, inquiry, hypnosis, Western research, and many wonderful teachers.  Using my intuition and intellect, I created a lifestyle with habits that deliver.  Only recently have I begun to understand why the practices work.  I have connected the dots to the point where I can now explain them in a holistic model.  I hope my model can give you a framework for understanding why every action you take makes such a huge difference.  You are powerful, but you may have been using your power against yourself.  You have the power of your consciousness, which is your attention and focus.  Perhaps you have just been pointing it in the wrong direction.  
At the end of The Mastery Of Change is a workbook, which will allow you to put the practices you learned about into action.  I call it The Darkness To Daylight 30 Day Challenge.  It is designed to take someone with low energy and low motivation to a place of achievement and happiness.  
Thank you for reading my story.  We all go through a sort of “hero’s journey”.  The further into darkness we slip on that journey makes the light of day that much sweeter.  May your journey through this book and through your healing be exciting and rewarding.  As the Navajo blessing goes… May you walk in beauty:)
It might seem that we are born into a cold and dangerous world.  Our first emotion may be terror from the traumatic change of going from womb to alien environment.  At first we are defenseless and dependent creatures.  Some children suffer and some die.  But that is not what usually happens.  We have mechanisms to deal with crisis.  We are beings of resilience because there is a vast intelligence within us.  We have genetic programming to nurture our own and others’ offspring.  Nature’s intelligence strives toward life.
Our genetic programming gives us instincts.  Some of them are useful for our particular environment and some of them are not.  Luckily, we have been endowed with the capacity to adapt.  We can consciously choose behaviors even if they run counter to our genetic programming.  Modern science is now realizing that we are more adaptable than we first assumed.  Neuroplasticity is now an accepted phenomenon, but to relegate adaptability to the brain would be shortsighted.  We operate as whole beings.
We are easily influenced by our environment and programmed by our caregivers and community.  Just like genetic programming, some of this programming is useful and some is not.  The useful conditioning encourages wellbeing.  Wellbeing is toward life, health, happiness, growth or homeostasis.  Unhealthy conditioning is toward death, pain, suffering, and danger.
One exception is the pain (discomfort) of rapid change for the purpose of adaptation.  This is where our conscious mind really comes in handy.  Our bodies have a strong survival response to protect us.  However, sometimes it is triggered when we aren’t really in danger.  One example is the common fear of public speaking.  Our conscious mind can override our survival response in order to adapt to our environment in the way we see fit.  
Changing ourselves takes resources from our being; therefore, there is a natural resistance to it.  It can also trigger our survival response to a certain degree.  As an example, tearing too much muscle in a short amount of time in weightlifting would be damaging.  Pain is a sign that we need to change, but it also protects us from potential danger.  If we resist the perfect amount of challenging weight, we experience some pain (discomfort) but not to a dangerous level.  We use resources such as energy to lift a weight, and we tear muscle to build it.  In the end, a somewhat painful process allowed us to adapt and gain a layer of protection in times of crisis.  
It was not easy to change.  Something had to be destroyed in order for something new to emerge.  Change is awkward. The pain and resistance we feel is the physical experience of rewiring our being.  It may seem easier not to change when we meet a challenge, but if we don’t change and grow, we will inevitably suffer.
Free will is our ability to consciously participate in the evolutionary process. To choose when, where, how, and how much to challenge ourselves to change for the better or for the worse.   Some change happens automatically, such as body temperature regulation, but we also have the conscious choice to wear warm or cool clothing or build a shelter.
I propose that the world is a nurturing place that supports our survival and happiness.  Most children are happy by nature and grow to an important point: The point of conscious evolution.  This is the point when we begin to take responsibility.  That’s when the greatest opportunity arises if we have the grace to recognize it.
All of this seems obvious, but it is not.  If we were all aware of our free will, we would choose not to suffer.  Yet suffering can be one of the greatest gifts of life because it is through its unignorable alarm that we can be notified that we are not in the flow of nature.  It’s the way we can tell that we are not adapting toward wellbeing.  You could also look at it as God’s call to us that we have missed the mark (the literal translation of sin).  It notifies us that we have taken a step toward death and away from life.
Let’s say that you normally feel great after you eat pizza.  If you get sick every time you eat at Tony’s pizzeria, you would be crazy to continue the pattern.  If you get sick with suffering every time you think negatively about your body, why would you continue to do so?  Humans continue to consume the poison of disempowering beliefs and negative emotions even when they are easily seen in predictable patterns.  This is all due to lack of awareness and habitual behavior.
This book’s purpose is to bring hope that you can choose to be happy.  There are many paths, but the basic message is to notice the patterns in your life that bring pain and notice the ones that bring joy.  Choose to be kind to yourself and those around you by embracing positivity.  Changing from a victim to a responsible being takes focus and effort.  It doesn’t always feel comfortable, but it is the only path of sanity.  Notice that virtually everything is in constant change. Any attempt to hold onto anything will stagnate the flow of life’s energy through you.  This stagnation of energy is what causes pain and suffering.

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