“The farther backward you can look the farther forward you are likely to see”
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
It is difficult to take the vast subject of personal transformation and conceptualize it into small manageable parcels. However, within the acronym N.O.S.E. we have attempted to do just that. If the person is able to grasp the point of the journey stretching out before them and can see how the destination can be reached, there is no greater propeller for their progress. N.O.S.E. offers the clarity most people are looking for in an attempt to find their own solution. So, let us define exactly what N.O.S.E. means.
Name ‘it’ : The journey of personal transformation is not possible until one has defined what it is that is blocking one’s path. Until you have named your demon, your shortcoming, your sickness, it will continue to have power over you. In fact, the reason why most people are unable to break out of their negative loop is because they have not yet named what ails them. For example, if you think your problem is anger when it is in fact fear, whatever interventions you make to overturn your anger may well deliver short-term benefits but are unlikely to offer a sustainable solution. In other words, if you do not trace (which for many will require help) the previous incarnations of your anger you will simply be treating the symptom and not the cause, leaving your fear to continue transmutating and deceiving you under its different guises. So, the first step along the path of positive change is to name ‘it’, i.e.: pain, hurt, anger, fear, shame etc. (see handout Name ‘It’ – below).
Own ‘it’ : Having named your ailment, the next critical step is to own it (embrace it). Far too many of us engage in non-ownership activities, i.e. : justification, denial, pretence and blame. All these activities allow us to continue deceiving ourselves. In other words we do not take responsibility for who we are or where we find ourselves, which in turn means we are denied a solution. To own your ‘stuff’ in whatever shape or form it exists is an extremely courageous act. This is why the dividends are enormous. Once you own your pain, fear, anger etc. the realizations, the awakening inside, is life-changing. Instead of drowning in feelings of blame, shame and guilt etc. you are able to see, probably for the first time, beyond your sickness and witness your true beauty and worth and with that the possibility of a better tomorrow (see handout Own ‘It’ – below).
Surrender ‘it’ :To truly surrender something, which in this context means letting go, is only really possible when you’ve accurately named it and fully owned it. These two processes will give you real power over your ailments, issues and concerns. The naming and owning ceremonies make it possible for you to cut the negative ties that you have with your ‘stuff’. To surrender means to disassociate yourself from attitudes, behaviour and moods that no longer reflect who you are and your aspirations. It is a conscious detachment from those things that burden your spirit. It’s achieved primarily through the practice of forgiveness and gratitude (see handouts on Forgiveness) and (The Power of Thank You) both of which are difficult to carry out with any success until the ‘truth’ about your condition has been honestly faced. When the ‘non-ownership’ activities have been put to one side and the ‘truth’ has been embraced, surrender becomes easy (see Surrender ‘It – below’).
Empowerment : To surrender unblocks the pathways in the mind. Disease is a state where the organism (the body and the mind) is unable to express its energy freely. This leads to disharmony and malfunction. Health, on the other hand, is the state where the organism’s energy flows without restriction, expressing its power and potential in an optimal way. This is what happens when we let go. The mind is able to fully express its boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. Empowerment is not something we have to strive for, it’s the natural consequence of surrender. Once your blockages are removed your true value, meaning and purpose become clear. With naming, owning and surrendering you are automatically empowered which means you’re able to fully embrace life and express your truth (see handout Empowerment – below).
To name ‘it’ means to take the first step towards your solution.
To name ‘it’ means no longer hiding behind excuses, justifications, blame or victimhood.
To name ‘it’ means understanding real power is found in facing the truth about yourself.
To name ‘it’ means to turn and face the darkness in the knowledge that you’ll in fact find your light.
To name ‘it’ means to no longer hide behind your position, role, status or relationships.
To name ‘it’ means looking into the mirror of your behaviour and see what is staring back.
To name ‘it’ means being still and listening to the songs of your own heart.
To own ‘it’ means taking responsibility for who you are and where you are in life.
To own ‘it’ means finding the courage and the honesty to fully ‘embrace’ the truth about yourself.
To own ‘it’ means no longer deceiving yourself or needing to blame others for your shortcomings.
To own ‘it’ means to stop beating the drum of denial and self-righteousness.
To own ‘it’ means having enough compassion in your heart not to condemn yourself.
To own ‘it’ means to understand that what you’ve done is not who you are!
To own ‘it’ means to cut the umbilical cord attaching you to your anger, pain and hurt.
To surrender ‘it’ means having faced your demons, you realise you can now be free of their influence.
To surrender ‘it’ means forgiving yourself for your mistakes and affording others that compassion.
To surrender ‘it’ means letting go of anxiety, doubt and fear with joy in your heart.
To surrender ‘it’ means having found your beauty, never letting it go.
To surrender ‘it’ means flying fearlessly with wings of honesty and courage in all situations.
To surrender ‘it’ means a life-long kindness and compassion for yourself and others is born.
To surrender ‘it’ means having found you, remaining true to yourself, your beliefs and principles.
Empowerment means having given birth to yourself, a fresh start, a new beginning.
Empowerment means being comfortable in your own skin, truly content with who you are.
Empowerment means all blocks are removed so you live your life transparently.
Empowerment means remembering you are indeed your own best friend.
Empowerment means always meeting your own needs and encouraging others to do the same.
Empowerment means remaining true to yourself and fulfilling your life’s purpose.
Empowerment means living far beyond the stagnant waters of shame, guilt, fear, doubt and regret.
To further help your understanding take a look at the N.O.S.E diagram. Please click here
The acronym N.O.S.E. was conceived out of a desire to further simplify and clarify the Reach Approach. It is our experience and belief that the more you understand the journey you are taking and thereby fully participating in your own process, the more you can orchestrate a positive outcome. So we are always looking for ways to help those who have the courage to take this journey to deepen their understanding and take back control of their lives. We believe N.O.S.E. does just that. It completely embraces the way that we work and provides a simple and clear rationale for our approach (see handout N.O.S.E – above). This handout is one of four explaining in a little more depth each of the core components.
We believe that until you name ‘it’ (your pain, hurt, fear, doubt, in fact whatever it is that ails you) you will be unable to break the negative cycles that enslave you. In fact, we would go even further than this; until you accurately name your ‘stuff’ your capacity for peace of mind, contentment, stability and happiness is significantly reduced. Many people are busy living the lie that they’re ok when in fact if they looked beyond the surface what they would see is panic, fear and insecurity lurking deep within. It’s within these murky waters that the stench of dissatisfaction, repeated disappointment and periods of delusion and even depression can be found. All of this exists because the individual has not truly identified what is wrong. “Why can’t I break free from these patterns I despise?” “Why don’t I have the courage to be true to my beliefs?” “Why do I busy myself fitting in when I don’t even respect what I am a part of?” Do you recognize any of these voices? Can you see yourself in these internal chantings? If so you have not named what is limiting you. How do you name ‘it’?…
Naming your ‘stuff’ is not as easy as it might first appear. It requires excruciating honesty, quiet reflection and a fearlessness that enables you to look into the dark recesses of your mind. If you take a close look at yourself through your moods, attitudes, ways of being, interactions and most intimate relationships, you will be able to see the multifaceted personality that you’ve constructed over the course of your life. And in this mirror, if you look closely with the piercing eyes of honesty and courage to face the truth, you will see those things that are less desirable about you. This is where the process begins. Once you’ve gathered such a list of undesirables, the next phase is to take a closer look and this requires stillness and silence. Under the microscope of quiet reflection you are able to understand the ‘viral-like’ nature of emotions and their incredible ability to transmute. Just like a virus constantly seeks to re-invent itself within the cell in order to ensure its survival, in the same way emotions are very protective of themselves and once under scrutiny or sensing any attack, they find a way to metamorphose in order to maintain their survival. It’s an instinct of all life force/energy. This is why naming ‘it’ can be such a challenge and without a deep desire to see the truth one remains a victim to this ‘viral-like’ activity.
So, in order to trace the previous incarnations of your emotions look at yourself closely in the mirror of moods, attitudes, interactions and relationships etc., regularly sit in silence and listen to the songs that your heart sings and the origins of your present day activity will become clear. The whole purpose of the life mapping phase within our work is to help you to name your ‘stuff’ because until you do, the prospect of setting yourself free remains only an intellectual and theoretical proposition. Realise that what currently stands in front of you is unlikely to be the whole truth, so don’t be afraid to take a closer look because whatever you find, even though you may at first be afraid, offers the keys to your mental emancipation.
To own your ‘stuff’ takes enormous courage. For many it will involve ending a long career of blaming others and pointing the finger of responsibility elsewhere whilst sitting comfortably on the seat of self-righteousness, wearing the crown of ‘not guilty’. Without naming your demons and shortcomings, you can’t begin to own your ‘stuff’. To own it means facing the truth about your attitude, your approach to life and your actions and taking responsibility for all three. Through the naming process one learns about one’s familial inheritances and how these have shaped the person you are today, and by understanding how your past has defined you, there are many wonderful insights to be had.
However, the point of the exercise is not to apportion blame to those who may well have failed you. The real point is to understand how the past has made you the person you are today and to illuminate what you can do to change those things you wish to change.
Life mapping is an excellent tool for helping the individual to begin seeing and naming the anger, fear, pain, hurt, guilt etc. The Hall of Shame, which follows on naturally from that process, begins the journey of owning. It’s where the person, probably for the first time, not only sees what the world has done to them, but can see his/her negative contributions to the world. Without understanding both sides of this equation the individual is unlikely to be emotionally and psychologically balanced. How can we be balanced if our view of the world is based on the idea that we have played no part in where we stand today? Whenever we stand in the place of victimhood i.e. not taking responsibility for our actions, we deny ourselves the truth and beauty of personhood. Personhood is the recognition that I am the major shareholder in my life and if I do not exercise that authority I give my power and destiny away. Shame work, for most, is extremely difficult because the ugliness of some of the attitudes and behaviours that are unveiled is such that the individual would rather not take a closer look at the undesirable aspects of the self and that is why owning rarely takes place. If we find it too difficult to look into those dark and less desirable aspects of our being how can we see what’s there and what needs to be changed? If you are able to look your shame in the eyes, as difficult as that might be, you can retrieve the power that your shame continually leaches away from you. Your shame is like a parasite. It lives off you the host, persuading you never to truly face it because if you did that would lead to your demise. In fact the opposite is true and by not facing your shame your demise is almost certainly guaranteed.
So owning ‘it’ takes nothing from you, in fact it gives back the power you have long lost. Every time you have concealed, denied or justified some aspect of your behaviour you have simply strengthened the parasitical power of shame and in turn weakened yourself. Now turn and face your shame, guilt, anger, fear, pain etc., and you will be able to reclaim the power that has been lost. Although this journey can be taken alone, for most the challenge of ‘owning’ their stuff is best undertaken with another. This is because the mirror of feedback is important in this revelatory process, as some of the challenging and, at times, painful discoveries that will unfold are easier to make sense of with the aid of feedback. However, you need to take this journey with someone who understands the challenges of this courageous undertaking and who can offer the compassion and support required. It is only with the balance of constructive feedback and kindness that you will be able to see yourself clearly. It is our experience that when you have the courage to embrace the whole truth about yourself, rather than disliking yourself even more, you are able to discover how beautiful you really are, so do not fear what you consider to be ugly about yourself because even that has something really beautiful to offer you.
When you face, with honesty, the ‘truth’ about your condition, you will be able to let go of the obstructions and limitations to your growth. Surrendering only happens after the naming and owning ceremonies have taken place. You will by now have understood that sustainable transformation becomes possible once you’re honest about what needs to change and you have stopped making excuses for why you act and behave in certain ways. To surrender is easy in principle and yet in practice it can be a huge challenge. It’s like a bird holding onto a branch really tightly, flapping its wings with all the energy it can muster and yet asking the question, ‘why can’t I fly?’ Of course the answer is the bird cannot fly because it refuses to let go of the branch. The branch represents all those things that we hold onto out of fear. Fear that the world would not like or love us were we to own up to our ‘stuff’. Fear we will be rejected and abandoned. Fear we won’t be good enough and will be found wanting. Because of our fear, which is entwined with shame, we hold onto the branch as if our lives depend on it, flapping our wings desperately because we ache to be free. The wings represent honesty and courage. Without these two qualities we have little chance of being free.Honesty and courage will lead you towards authenticity (your true nature) which disables the ‘acquired selves’ (what you’ve become) and making it possible for them to fall away.
So, in order to appreciate the beautiful feeling which surrender evokes within the spirit, simply let go of the branch. Naming and owning begin the transformational process and the honesty and courage that both these activities require make it possible to experience the beauty and power of surrender. Surrender is not an intellectual journey, it is a journey of the heart, which is why we invite you to plunge into the challenging and creative process of dark room work. This is a process which exposes you to your feelings of shame, regret and fear and as a result your emotional/psychological blockages are removed. To surrender ‘it’ is to truly feel your feelings and dark room work exposes one to this, followed by the joy of letting go of the pain and hurt of the past. The journey of forgiveness and gratitude can then begin in earnest. Facing what holds you hostage with sincerity and compassion enables you to let go and fly freely!
Make time to undergo the journey of forgiveness (see handouts Forgiveness and Gratitude 1 & 2). Even at a sprint this is an activity which will take some 2 –3 months. Forgiveness deals with any residual emotional rubbish that remains and makes room for a better today and tomorrow. Forgiveness is like the air beneath your wings. It will ease your transition and maintain your flight. The more you forgive yourself the more you will have the capacity to forgive others. In time forgiveness then becomes a way of being, a way of life. Gratitude, its divine companion, will equally keep you soaring like a bird in the sky, flying way above all the things that bring you down. Gratitude is not something to start today with a view to stopping at some time in the future. Gratitude is a lifelong appreciation of things that you take for granted, especially the gift of your own life. The more things you find to be appreciative of, the more your heart will sing. To surrender is to have found your beauty and to promise never to let it go. This is achieved by remaining true to yourself, your beliefs and principles. It’s based on a life of forgiving yourself for your mistakes and affording others that compassion too. Surrender is to live within the ‘generosity of gratitude’ and by doing this you will no longer be that bird flapping your wings, yet unable through fear to let go of the branch.
The whole point of personal-transformation is to reach for the ‘jewel within’. Empowerment is the jewel. A place of true freedom, where the mind is no longer shackled by doubt, fear, shame, anger and regrets and truly cherishes itself. Empowerment is a proper and just reward for those who have had the courage and the honesty to look deep within. The empowered state recognises that negative thoughts simply sap one’s energy, strength and sense of perspective. The empowered person is like the flowering plant searching for the light of the sun, intuitively knowing that this is the source of its enrichment. In other words, s/he looks only to the ‘light’ of quiet reflection, positive thinking and meaningful relationships because it is from here that the individual finds further learning, the opportunity for growth and happiness.
The N.O.S.E. concept helps clarify, for those seeking sustainable solutions, a way forward that is clear, simple and concise. There are now so many models, methods and strategies showing the way to the ‘promised land’. The problem is that the current plethora of information is leaving the masses often more confused about what to do and how to find their way out of the maze. N.O.S.E. simply states ‘to be free of what ails you, you first need to name ‘it’’. How can you heal what you don’t recognise or understand, or even realise is there? Once named, you need to own ‘it’, then you can unshackle yourself from whatever ‘it’ is by taking responsibility for ‘it’. Whilst caught up in a culture of blame and victimhood, one can never find the solution. Having embraced your stuff, the endeavour of surrender then becomes a real proposition. How can you let go of pain, anxiety and fear when you don’t even realise how you are contributing to these negative patterns? Surrender sets you free. It is at this point that those dams that have been blocking the pathways in your mind begin to disintegrate. It starts with a trickle of water finding its way through the cracks and as that water gathers momentum, its force widens those cracks, destabilizing the dam and reaching the point where its structural integrity is compromised. What begins as a trickle eventually completely demolishes the dam! In the same way, the moment the person begins naming their stuff, the first cracks appear in those blockages within the mind and by the time they are surrendering (actually letting go of their personal limitations) the energy of the self can once again flow freely.
The above analogy is a very powerful way of visually relating to the journey you are actually taking. It helps you to understand that empowerment is not something you create, it is something that is always there, all you’re really doing is creating the conditions to enable you to access it and then express it. We are all empowered beings and our dysfunctions exist because of the experiences we have collected along the way. Some of our experiences are affirming, liberating and uplifting, whilst others shut the door on our potential, confuse us about our purpose and keep us enslaved to ideas and illusions that do not mirror what’s in our hearts. Empowerment is the point where one is no longer living a life of apology. It is where the energy, enthusiasm and joy for life is abundantly visible and is constantly seeking a means of positive expression. To live in such a place is to live in a consciousness of creativity, contentment and joy and it is our invitation to you to truly name your stuff, embrace it and then let it go. Once done, being true to yourself will be your primary objective in life and encouraging others to do the same. Don’t think this is a journey that others are qualified and better equipped to make than you. This is a journey that anyone who has the courage and the honesty to look into their own abyss can take. Empowerment doesn’t belong to someone else. It belongs to you. So why not claim it today!