Tag Archives: change

Magic Bullets or Bottomless Pits

Three Approaches to Change (Article and Podcast)

Did you ever experience something that felt as if it had transformed you to the core of your being?  Was there ever a time when you were certain that an old issue that had been nagging you for years was gone forever?

A powerful insight has shifted your understanding, and it’s as if you are stepping into a whole new way of being and living!

Then things gradually slip back to how they were before, as if nothing had really changed. Except that now you are even more frustrated, cynical, and disappointed than before.

flow by Michele Benzamin-MikiHypnotherapy and NLP Coaching

People often come to NLP or Hypnotherapy as a last resort. They have had no success in dealing with issues like chronic pain, or emotional addiction, or the self-destructive mindset that results in continual personal and professional disappointment. They may have visited numerous healers and professionals and it all helped to a certain degree, but nothing has addressed the root of the problem. They have learned to cope, but they haven’t t learned to change.

Often something entirely different happens through hypnosis to tip the balance; and a year, or ten years later, they are still enjoying the fruits of that shift.

How is it possible that hypnosis and NLP Coaching work when other modalities fail? I remember a client who was suffering from chronic back-pain. She had gone through multiple surgeries, and years of visiting pain-clinics and psychiatrists. The pain had worn her down, and she felt completely powerless to change it. It was affecting her work, her health, and even her ability to sustain a romantic relationship. She was about to break up with her boyfriend of several years.

The hypnotic state gave her the ability to reclaim the part of herself that she had only known as ‘pain’. Think of this as a metaphor, because it may be the best way to describe how hypnotherapy works. We disown our ‘problem’, and try to fix it by getting rid of it. But it’s like cutting off a limb because we sprained a joint. We separate ourselves from the very thing that can make us whole. You might think that this wouldn’t apply to a physical symptom, like pain. But after the organic cause of the pain has gone, there is nothing there to support it except the habit, and the unconscious need, to recreate it. This is even more true when it comes to issues like your mindset, negative emotions, self-limiting beliefs, or addictive behaviors.

There’s no blame in this. You do the best you can at any given time. Hypnosis is simply a way to give you more options and choices.

After her first session my client’s pain disappeared, never to return (the last time we spoke was ten years after our work together). People call such things miraculous! But how it works is very simple. Hypnosis has the marvelous ability to help us address unconscious dynamics while we remain conscious. Hypnosis is not like sleep. It is simply a way of bypassing the filters that our conscious mind uses to process experience. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind that you experience several times a day – every time you go into a daydream, for example.

The Hypnotherapy process allowed my client to address the reasons why she had unconsciously perpetuated the pain. Of course, had there been physical reasons for the pain to persist, I would have referred her to a physician or a chiropractor. The fact that the pain disappeared so rapidly, and that she remained pain-free, told me that it was no longer a physical issue.

We continued to work together so that I could teach her how to use the hypnotic state to empower herself, and to apply it to every area of her life. I taught her different ways of self-hypnosis and gave her the tools to cultivate her creative unconscious, set a vision and develop the strategies and skills for attaining it, and to learn how to master her own psychology. After all, if she could overcome chronic pain that she had been told was incurable, what else could she do?

Three Approaches to Healing and Transformation

Personal transformation and healing depend on your expectations. They also depend on the expectations of the person who is mentoring you.

George Estabrooks noticed  in the 1940’s that the client “tends to fulfill the expectations of their therapist.” In our Hypnosis and NLP Training we emphasis the importance of setting no limits on the results you can expect from a client, to expect miracles. When you do that you will constantly be astonished by the positive results you get with clients.

If a therapist sees you only through the filters of neurosis and pathology, they will be incapable of seeing anything beyond that. Teaching you to cope with your ‘pathology’ will be the best you can expect from them.

If you have a physical illness and your doctor sees your body as something separate from the rest of you, they may be able to treat your symptoms, but they never actually ‘heal’ you.The symptoms will probably return when the conditions for them occur again.

If a coach sees you through their own preconception of success or failure, they will be insensitive to your own unique gifts and the journey that you are on, and they will unconsciously set limits on what you can achieve, based on their own projections.

Three approaches to change:

dugging-bottomless-pitThe Bottomless Pit Approach: The old-school approach to transformation is that life is long and arduous and filled with difficulties. You must spend half a lifetime as an apprentice, years in therapy, decades of arduous spiritual practice. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with dedication and ongoing training. But the idea that deep change must take a long time is simply not true. Some of the unspoken assumptions that drive that idea are:

  • Life is always difficult and complex.
  • Learn to accept things as they are or you will be disappointed.
  • People don’t change, they just become more of who they are.
  • Your problem is so complex that no one can really fix it, but you can learn to manage it.

magic-bulletThe Magic Bullet Approach: Fueled by wishful thinking and a desire not to have to take full responsibility for the miracle of your life, the magic bullet approach is characterized by attitudes like:

  • If only I could find the right person, technique, mentor, place, etc.I know it will fix everything.
  • Here’s a new bright shiny object. It will will give absolutely, positively give you everything you need.
  • I had an amazing experience doing such-and-such, or with so-and-so, and I want to have that experience again (and again, and again).
  • If you do more of what you are doing things will eventually work out. (I will be healthy, have the relationship I desire, have all the money and success I want)

It’s not that magic doesn’t happen, nor is it true that some things aren’t hard. It’s that having a strategy is essential, for everything important that we do.

The Five Changes Approach: Integrated Praxis and NLP Coaching

Praxis simply means putting what you know into action consistently and strategically. It doesn’t mean preparing for something. It means that what you are doing right now is already having an impact on your life.

It means using the appropriate tools and skills and continuing to use and refine them on an ongoing basis. Unlike the ‘bottomless pit’ approach, you’re the one with the power. You’re the one taking responsibility for your actions and for the results of your actions. Unlike the ‘magic bullet’ approach you’re not just hoping for a miracle to suddenly change everything without your having to commit to making the change happen.

In the Third approach big changes can happen quickly, but you are developing the insights you get from them to adapt what you do, to course-correct, and go deeper on an ongoing basis. When you find the support and mentorship that works for you, you know that it works as a collaboration, because you know that no one else can ‘fix’ your problems for you. They simply give you the support, the skills, and the perspectives that you need.

Anyone with enough time and patience can learn to give their car a tune-up or rebuild the engine; but unless you are a car mechanic you’d be better off getting someone else to do it. This applies even more when it comes to getting the perspective for your life and business that you simply can’t get on your own, simply because you’re too close to them.

The Third approach is not a compromise between the other two approaches. Energy and consistency are required, but not in order for you to bury yourself in the process.

When change happens it’s not because you stumbled on the right magic formula. The obstructions we put in our own way are not be as insurmountable as they seem, but we can’t fix them by driving blindly into the dark and thinking that if only we could go faster we’ll get where we need to be.We won’t fix them by giving our power away, or by hoping for a miracle. There is an art to it, and it really is possible to master that art. You just have to start taking the steps to do so. Want to take the time to talk?

Re-Define Creativity. Life Coaching Tools – Blog and Podcast

Michele Benzamin-Miki Re-Define CreativitySTAYING ALIVE: PART THREE – RE-DEFINE CREATIVITY. We have to be honest, we’re biased in favor of people with a creative sensibility, whether they’re artists, designers, photographers, musicians, writers, performers, or simply people who bring the spirit of creativity and spontaneity into their lives. Here’s five reasons why.

Life coaching tools and resources from Five Changes

1. To be human is to be creative. Creativity is the essence of human experience. It is change and innovation, experimentation, wonder, curiosity, or the simple desire to do something new. We express it as play, travel, conversation, work, day-dreaming, and lovemaking. Everything is enhanced by the quality of creativity we bring to our life. Repetitive tasks can be transformed by changing your thought or intention behind that task, or by simply changing how you do it. Creativity is what gives you choice; to stretch, to challenge yourself, to play, and to grow. Creativity is not just for children and artists, it’s our life-blood. It’s how we stay alive.

2. Play. Let’s play! Creativity is as simple as a child’s laughter, spontaneous and free. How much can you let yourself feel? What is more important than your ability to wonder and respond, or to see with new eyes, hear with new ears  .. another’s face, another’s words, sunset or sunrise, what was called in classical Chinese, “the ten-thousand things” – the whole wide world. Creativity is the pleasure of being present to the world. Why not ask yourself when you wake up in the morning, “How much pleasure can I let myself feel today?”

Re- Define creativity - communication - play

3. Communication. Creativity is communication. Wherever we happen to live, our language is the roof and walls, the windows and doors of our experience. Even in silence, how we speak to ourselves will define how we experience the world. Our words are constantly changing. No two sentences are alike. How we speak is how we make friends and allies, or how we make enemies. It’s how we tell the world who we are. If actions speak louder than words, then actions are the verification of the internal conversation we have with ourselves.

4. Self-care. Creativity is how we care for ourselves. The impulse for innovation and change, the instinct to adapt, or to celebrate, to pause or to move forward. Whether through unrestrained improvisation or a ritual act, through an artist spending a lifetime on a body of work or a spontaneous instant, the confluence of elements that make for a perfect moment. There’s something about living at the edge of your comfort zone, and dancing with the unpredictable and spontaneous creative. True self-care is also cultivating your limitless imagination.

5. Problem Solving. Everyone has challenges, everyone is faced with change. Creativity is an essential element for problem-solving and fluid adaptation. Sometimes just doing what you have never done before to address an old familiar problem is all you need to do to change everything, including your sense of whatever it is being the problem you thought it was.

Re-define creativity exercise play self-care

Exercise, Re- Define Creativity for your self: Here’s a simple strategy you can use – to start a new project, or inspire you when you’re stuck. Take a book, a large book is always best, and open it at random. Point to a word on the page without looking. Then write the word down. Repeat this two more times. Now you have three words selected at random. Use those words, whatever they may mean or signify to you, to come up with a new approach to your problem or project. For more on mentoring, training and coaching follow this link.

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Life Coaching Tools and Resources. Podcast

Life coaching tools and resources STAYING ALIVE – ONE.  By staying alive we are talking about living at you peak emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. There is no belief associated with this, other than the assumption that it is better to be more alive rather than less .. and that many systems actually encourage resignation and distancing from experiencing life, fully and simply .. as it is.
Life coaching tools and resources from Five Changes


Did you ever learn something that immediately became so obvious that you couldn’t imagine there was ever a time when you had not known it? Like learning a shortcut that made a task quicker and easier than you’d even dreamed possible, or learning new skills you never thought you would, or realizing possibilities that were once completely out of reach.

Afterwards you may still pinch yourself occasionally to make sure it’s real, but you would never think of going back to the old way.

It happens a lot when we’re growing up – learning to walk, or learning to read; learning to ride a bicycle, or to drive a car; or leaving home to go on your first big trip; or falling in love for the first time, or having your first ‘committed’ relationship. There’s a first time for everything, and it’s good to keep going too, with new experiences, new challenges, new accomplishments. It’s either that or resign to the fact that life, and learning, and creativity, is over.

There are other sorts of firsts, less visible breakthroughs, like learning you can be free from an addiction, or healing from a supposedly ‘incurable’  disease, or ending a destructive relationship for which there seemed to be no way out; or breaking a bad habit that had dogged you all your life.

For me it was a huge moment when I realized that I could change my designated gender, and that I could show up in the world representing who I was on the inside. That may sound like a big deal, being transgendered, and it may lie outside the experience of most people. But actually it’s not such a big deal, because most of us have questioned how we want to represent ourselves in the world, so that who you are matches how you live. Some people end up hiding. But it’s never too late to come out as who you truly are .. who you truly can be.

Living a conscious life usually means just that ..  making conscious and sometimes difficult choices and changes .. not constantly, but certainly more than once in your life. That’s how you stay alive, because for our life to be alive it has to be a work in progress.

No amount of strategy or expertise will help if you’re still putting roadblocks in your own way. No amount of hedging and dodging will make up for seizing the opportunity to live (in the words of Mary Oliver) “ .. your one precious, wild life?”


Here’s the first of five qualities that’s essential for bringing out and nourishing this spirit of living. Because the question is always –  How is it possible to embody your truth when life tests you, pushes you to forgetfulness and compromise?

Life coaching itzhak-perlman

So ingredient number one is congruity. Congruity means that two things reflect each other—the inside and the outside, who you are and how you show up, your walk and your talk. If those things don’t match it will wear away at you, costing you time, energy, pain and frustration. Being congruent is an action, an activity, checking in with yourself, so that you remain true to who you are.

Congruity is also feeling and knowing that you’re on track. It’s like being in rapport with yourself. Not creating roadblocks, living the life of your own choosing, and loving it

You recognize it when you see it in others, and you recognize some other qualities that usually come with it .. focus, curiosity, adaptability, a willingness to help others .. the ability to see how best to do that.. in ways that are appropriate. So it also entails having healthy boundaries.

There’s a well-known story about the virtuoso violinist Itzhac Perlman breaking a string in the middle of a symphonic concert and rather than stopping and changing the string he just went on playing and improvised the fingering necessary to play the piece on three strings. He pulled it off brilliantly. The question is whether he knew he could, or simply trusted that he would find the way? So often we may imagine we must know ahead of time, when in fact your strategies are most useful once you know you can. This is more than simple faith, it’s a degree of congruity that lets you trust absolutely the life you’re living, even though you have no idea what’s going to happen next.

Life coaching tools and resources from Five Changes

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The Trade-offs We Make : Deciding Life’s Choices

The Trade-offs We Make : Deciding Life’s Choices

To get something you may have to give up something else

jati The trade-offs we make


It’s been a couple of years now, but we still miss them, the long walks they insisted on taking, their wet noses, even their bad breath..

The good thing is that the land where we live at Manzanita Village, where we had dogs since we first came, is now filled with all kinds of wildlife.

Bobcats drink at our pond, packs of coyotes race around the houses at night, sounding like hooligans, wild turkeys and deer have taken up residence.

And with predators no longer troubled by our dogs, the ground-squirrel and rodent populations are leveling off.

The point is this ..

The Trade-offs we make


 A trade-off needs to be made, you have to give up something in order to have something else.

It may be a relief or it may be a sacrifice, but in order to live by the ideals and successes you aspire to,
you have to make a trade-off and give up something.

Now, we love dogs, and we’ll probably have dogs again. And .. things will change again.

We’ll have to give up the bobcats, the deer at the pond, and the rabbits and the ground-nesting birds.

The choice is ours. The choice is always ours. For every change you make, something you may not have expected will also change, and with the trade-off’s we make, you might have to give up something you didn’t expect to.

Think for a moment about what could be yours if you only traded-off some of the things that were preventing you from changing:

  • self-limiting beliefs
  • assumptions and attitudes
  • habits
  • fears
  • friendships that hold you hostage
  • what else .. ?

More to come

The Trade-offs we make , To get something you may have to give up something else, Deciding lifes choices, worrying about the choices in life, Mediation, NLP, spiritual practice, Neuro linguistic programming, Hypnosis, personal development, unconscious mind.