Using Neuroscience to Boost Motivation

Too many people fail to achieve a goal and internalize self-blame, failure, shame, guilt.  These invited guests, in turn, make it far more likely you won't accomplish much going forward.

Here's the good news: You don't possess an internal lack, a defect, a fatal flaw. Your perspective does. You are chasing "bright, shiny objects" out there, rather than connecting with your power, "In here" (points toward your body). Your motivation is not in the object or state you are chasing. It is in you.

1) Get clear on what YOU want to get out of it. What's the difference for you. 

2) Connect to that motivation through.... (drum roll please).... your emotions. 

3) Let those emotions move you. They make your motivation come alive so that it becomes momentum. (The word 'emotion' originates from an Ancient Roman word for "move". ) Your emotions are very special critters indeed!  Stop judging them,  accusing them, rejecting them, and start befriending them!

Keep in mind that your feelings aren't just 'there', they are attached to you. Rightly so, since they are a part of you. Every time you judge, blame, and shame them, you are doing that to yourself. But this is another post. Ahh... the power of association.

I leave you with a guide I created for you so you can "Move into Action".  

Activating Neural Pathways to Boost Motivation

100% Of You

“Be there with one hundred percent of yourself. In every moment of your daily life. That is the essence of  Buddhist meditation. Each of us knows that we can do that, so let us train to live each moment of our daily life deeply. That is why I like to define mindfulness as the energy to helps us to be there 100%,  It is the energy of your true presence.”

Thich Nhat Hahn

Being fully present requires 100 percent of you. .So does the experience  everyone craves: wholeness. What can better capture the experience of "healing" of "recovery" than wholeness? To be whole, to give 100 percent, you need to do more than simply accept what's ‘easy'. After all, its easy to accept yourself when you are feeling at “ease”. 

The challenge is this: Honor your self enough to accept all of yourself. Especially what makes you most uncomfortable! Honor yourself by allowing all of your feelings. Make space for all of you, without judgment and without censure. Celebrate all of you because without all of it, you wouldn't be who you are;

Ask yourself, in each day, how much of yourself do you really allow in? How much of you is actually present, and exposed to the light?

Lessons in Acceptance

I remember very clearly in August 2017 writing my post, "Change is In the Air." You really should review that one now.  Go ahead. I'll be here waiting for you. 

You really need the continuity to appreciate what comes next. In that post i spoke about the importance of acceptance, especially in reference to loss and painful experiences.

***Important lesson alert***:  There are degrees to everything, including acceptance. The Universe wasn't done with my Smackdown to get my attention. I needed to realize a very important blindspot in my own acceptance. Not "acceptance of .....".  Simply acceptance. Much like vision, hearing, and motor control, acceptance requires practice to master, to really develop it to its fullest potential. 

Oh- excuse this tangent for a moment. A client recently asked me a question after hearing me use the word "Universe". I presumed everyone understood it the same way but in some cultures it has a different connotation. It meant, to him. "evolution", so "atheist".  I didn't mean it that way at all. If you read me for even a little while, you know I do not use the word as a stand in for a Supreme Being, or the lack thereof.  I do not do "who" or "who;s". I do "How".  "The Universe" is my shorthand for the organic intelligence that instructs and coordinates the balance required for the continued growth of all life on the planet. The life includes me. 

So back to Acceptance. Since my poor car was totaled, I suffered a string of blows, surreally similar to one another. Several crooks separated me from a substantial sum of money each time in a series of car related fraud. The details are really irrelevant.  Let me focus on the outcome. To make the story short, I suffered the effect of losing several thousands of dollars in less than 80 days time, and realized the extent of the deprivation mentality around me.

I reeled from it all and thought: "How could I get it so wrong?"  Yes, the pity party was on and I was mad as hell. Until the lesson on acceptance penetrated deeply enough that it transformed me.

The moral of the story: Partial acceptance is really another way of saying partial denial. The glass is definitely half full but you still run out of water more quickly nonetheless. 

Yes, I was determined to not let certain realities about my newish environment get in the way.  That's easy for me. I really bought into the belief early in life that, "If you want something bad enough, apply equal amounts of will and determination until you make it happen." "Fight for what is important to you." Another word for fight is: struggle. The opposite of struggle is ease. Who would prefer choosing struggle over ease? Why?

There is another side to that too: If it requires Herculean will and determination perhaps you should consider more closely whether you should want it.  This idea brings us back to the organic wisdom that governs life in the Universe. The same organic wisdom that you feel in your belly which we call intuition. Its a different kind of "knowing".

The presence of struggle is also the absence of synergy. The tell tale sign of synergy is ease. The absence of synergy lets you know hat all the necessary ingredients are not present in the appropriate proportions. In other words, your instrument is out of tune.

Now, its one thing to tune your instrument. Its an entirely different thing to try to rebuild it so that it plays in tune. The latter is not in keeping with the balance, or the wisdom, that already exists in the Universe. Its out of balance. That's a sign to: "Think again." Reevaluate. Reconsider.

People make this error most often in relationships with others. You see the potential of the relationship if the other person changed, in one form or fashion,  and so you enter into a relationship with the changed person (who only exists in your mind). Then you wonder why you are unhappy with the real relationship! 

I failed to recognize the real reality of my circumstance. I only saw its potential. Trust me, that is no longer the case. I got the message! Not only do I see it in regard to this issue but I see how deeply my beginnings as a scrappy young girl who had to fight for what she wanted, on her own, in the concrete jungle of NYC, lodged within me, so much so they are still active. I developed an over-reliance on will and determination, so much so that I missed the implications of that on my very own needs.  I wasn't listening to myself. I was deaf to a part of my relationship with myself.

If I listened I would've heard this: "There is a better way for you, provided that you are willing to accept the reality of your circumstance NOW. You can't raise the bar and ask that your needs be met if you are ignoring the fact that they aren't met NOW. Stop focusing on the "potential", and how good it'll be in the future. You know, the future?  One of the 2 times that aren't real, for all intents and purposes? (The past being the other). Your quality of life is only meaningful in the Here and Now.

I ask you this:

Are you satisfied with it? If so, why?  If not, why not?  What are you going to do about it?

Growth is the purpose of life


One of the limitations of practicing as a therapist is that labels, namely of symptoms, or “problems”,  have increasingly dominated the work over the past 20 years. The more the problems dictate the work, the more freedom and creativity gets pushed out. Therapy is both science and art. As I shared in Being Luminous, I started The Manifest Project, an online self development workshop series, so that more persons can discover how to overcome the near centrifugal force that "problems" exert over their lives. The more you move into the solution, the more you embrace a more constructive, creative process. Growth is the definition of living, as well as the ultimate goal of therapy, so we keep our focus on that organic truth.  The Manifest Project embraces the goals of Self Mastery and Life Mastery, NOT to "Overcome ___________ (insert problem here)”. As long as you focus on what is wrong or missing, you do not see the opportunities in the moment to achieve your vision. You remain defined by what you most want to be free from.  

When I first began working on The Manifest Project,  I set out to create a process that tapped the most powerful mechanisms we know of to date, enabling you to have maximal influence over your own life, your very self. That is how it should be. Your life is your masterpiece, beginning with your very self. You are here to unfold the ultimate creative process. Your purpose is to craft an authentic experience in the world that enables you to reshape it according to your unique vision. It is a sacred journey, a heroic one. The material world constitutes your raw materials. It provides you with the tools we need. It is the means, not the point. As you develop your skill in manifestation, your material conditions will expand, according to your ability, to your purpose. By focusing on the material first, you lose most of the power you have over it.

My life has been nothing if not an immersive experience in transformation. My own life experience demanded it, starting at an unnaturally early age.  It has been a quest to uncover any and all effective tools and resources by which the essence of self-mastery and life mastery could be distilled. Beginning with self-study in psychospiritual methods, to formal study in the cutting edge of psychological research, neuroscience, even at the doctoral level, I dedicated my life to share my discoveries with my clients', who desperately sought to transform their lives and their persons from deeply afflicted states of suffering (most commonly trauma and addiction).

As I indicated in Being Luminous, I did not create the method (TMP) out of thin air. A more appropriate way to describe the process of creation is that it began to crystallize. The more I synthesized what I knew in the service of helping people, including myself, both psychotherapeutically and spiritually, the more feedback I received by way of the universal elements that run throughout our world and ourselves.

My vision deepened beyond what I ever imagined, especially once I published my first book. Being Luminous was the sweet spot in my own cycle of manifestation. Much like a rosebud that unfurls its petals and reveals what it was meant to be all along, I tapped the mother lode, and I have been cultivating the treasures that are springing forth. With gratitude and pleasure, I will share the simple, graceful, yet powerful method to master the principles of manifestation and transformation. Evolve from student to Master.  

The Manifest Project is a synthesis of all the powerful change technologies, interconnected at the point of their synergy, the sweet spot of transformation.  As I described in Being Luminous, you are not separate from what you do. The writing of it led me to a peak experience, an explosion of exponential growth of my own.  Undoubtedly it is a function of my alignment with the sacred lands and sacred animals of my new home, the Black Hills, as it is in my immersion in the techniques.  It led me to uncover a receptivity that transcends intuition and inspiration, something I can best describe as “channeling". Whatever the label, receiving guidance from the abundant natural elements, the intersubjective matrix that runs throughout my (and your) experience, continues to help me evolve the Manifest Project, to make it as simple as possible, suitable for widespread dissemination online.

I will be speaking online on September 4th, 2017 at 6pm MT/8pm ET on The Manifest Project which will be broadcasted.  Check it out here:

Be well.

Elizabeth Renee

The Relational Matrix

The natural world has much to teach. The conquest mentality has not served us.  I firmly believe animals and other organic life forms were intended to teach us how to relate to our environment, for the highest benefit of all who shared this planet. They could be our mentors to show us the most effective way to be, if we would only develop the capacity to hear and see, on the subtle level required.

We work with subtle qualities of mind through the relational matrix.  It is a false premise that we effect change in other’s by appealing to their reason. If that worked, we would be out of business. Nobody would need a therapist. You only had to read a book, listen to someone and you would “understand”and be changed! It doesn’t work that way at all. 

Therapists’ are able to sense intuitively what a client feels and needs, even when it is still unconscious to the client. Sounds pretty remarkable, no?  To access emerging data from someone else’s unconscious realm, and then to collectively illuminate and transform it, is nothing short of miraculous. The subtle qualities of mind are what attune me with my client so that I can reach him. This connection is the bridge by which I can do anything for, or with, my client.  

 Sometimes I actually experience physical sensations that my client has, although they may not have shared it yet. A knot in my throat, or a tight chest,  gives me exactly the information I need to proceed. Through this intersubjective field, I can read the room, implicitly and nonverbally. I can intervene more effectively. This skill guides me to the next indicated step.  Sometimes it is the lack of vitality, inertia, that enables me to penetrate resistance in the moment. Sometimes that is exactly what lies undeneath a flood of words, which is a very different thing than “mania.”  Being with a client is the only way we can be sure we are on the right track. 

Then there’s the “us”, the unconscious relational matrix in which we, client and therapist, find ourselves. The deep unity that can manifest fear, desire, hate, in transference, and sometimes all of the above.

The ability to attend to the relational matrix is my emphasis in psychotherapy training and supervision. The therapeutic relationship is documented to be one of the most powerful outcome predictors. Most EBTs acknowledge the relationship as a confounding variable.  Depending on the qualities, including the strength of the therapeutic relationship, an evidence-based treatment may not be effectively experienced.

I like to describe therapy as a treatment, in which the relationship is the vehicle by which the cure is delivered. If we were talking about medicine, perhaps an antibiotic, the active ingredient, the cure, like penicillin, would be delivered in a way that the person could ingest and be bioavailable so that the system could utilize it. The cure in our arena is more subtle, yet it behaves in a similar fashion. In order to take effect, what we have to give by way of intervention, has to be taken in and digested. Otherwise, it remains at the level of “information”.

The therapeutic relationship is like none other in the world, except one: the kind of relationship we have with our beloved pets. On a qualitative level, that is.  My photo is of my two furkids: Hope (Rottie) and Cicero (Juliana pig).  Any animal lover will tell you their relationship with their pets is wholly healing.  Now, I love all animals, and I've had amazing relationships with cats. But there’s something about the relationship we have with dogs that most closely brings this to life.

The relational matrix is neglected in psychotherapy outcome research. This, despite all evidence-based practices acknowledging the power of the relationship independent of method! All nod their head at the import of the therapeutic relationship, that it has the power to render an effective treatment ineffective.  Relational dynamics are too qualitative a field to be adapted to objective, quantitative research, at least for now. Eventually, technology and our minds will be capable of more subtle functioning and will discern the nuances and the dynamic elemental patterning that underlies relating and its influence.

I specialize in this area, spending as much time as I can to master the relational arts. It has been the most powerful clinical strength that I possess, my ability to engage and sustain relationships with my clients. You can’t help someone who isn’t in the room. Attrition is the death knell of a therapy practice.

I would love to hear how I can help psychotherapists, especially rural psychotherapists, who have very different reference points for practicing. So, let me know how my training and professional development workshops most useful to you.  Please let me know what you’d like to see, and any thoughts you have. 

Nuances of Growth

Incubation. A potent process. Unconscious processes rule the period of incubation. Energy is latent, quiet, inward. Unlike planting our garden, we do not know when this process ends and something new germinates.  We need not be mindful of it, as it unfolds, although its always optimal to be mindful.   Its an organic process, and as such it operates autonomously, with its many threaded wisdom, working toward a collective goal of growth and evolution. If we do notice it,  we should engage in gentle actions of self care, protecting, nurturing our vulnerable, incipient self.  Our lack of mindful awareness may very well hurt us, if our subjective experience of 'self' during this process mistakes it for inertia, lethargy, laziness, or depression. The first step is to stop judging and to approach ourselves with an openhearted curiosity. If we approach ourselves in this way, we make contact as 'friend to friend' and consequently we will be far more likely to get something beneficial in return.



An Uncommon Therapy: Healing Arts

We embark on a journey together, when we come together in this unique relationship. The voyage requires respect, trust, and close attention to the passages. No journeys are ever identical. Each voyage requires a special map, one that is elaborated as we journey.  As your guide, I keep us on course, and when necessary, change direction so we can arrive where we intended to.

I am skilled in different methods. Methods are tools, instruments we apply to our enterprise. They are not the destination.  We are whole persons, not symptoms. I relate to you, as a whole person, empowering you to co-navigate with me. Your journey is tailored uniquely to you, and the currents at hand.

To help us understand the passing landscapes, I draw from many wisdoms and many cultures. The East offers much insight and practices to achieve a treasured life. The ancient and integral practices are increasingly being validated as effective by Western scientific inquiry. From the West, Humanistic and Psychoanalytic methods, as well as Empirically Validated Therapies (research based) often represented by initials (CBT, ACT, DBT, and even four lettered ones like EMDR and MBSR). I may even encourage you to use some complementary therapies, like aromatherapy. 

The holistic vision, of you, and of the areas of attention, is one of the qualities that makes this an uncommon therapy.  More qualities to follow.... In the meantime, I offer you a quote, one of my favorites, as there are many, that is fundamental to what I consider therapy to be about. Living! Therapy is an inquiry and instrumental guidance that enable maximal living! My method, Dynamic Mind, emphasize the -ing part of living. To live is to act in the world. We act every moment, whether we are aware of it or not, and whether we choose our action or not. Take control of that and change your life exponentially.

“I beg you... have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms, or books written in a strange language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you know, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, some day... gradually, without even noticing, you may live your way into the answer.”
— Rainier Maria Rilke