Updated: Oct 5, 2022
What if there were a simple way to resolve tensions in as little as 3 breaths?
What if you could permanently heal lifetime traumas in 90 minutes or less?
What if you could almost completely reduce your stress and increase your personal ease and freedom by simply cultivating a 20-minute practice once or twice a week?
I created this practice in 2002 to help me resolve my own and my clients' stress, traumas and life issues. It's called SORTTing It Out. That's not a spelling mistake, the five letters S.O.R.T.T. represent the 5 steps of practice.
One of the advantages of the SORTTing process, is that you can use it to get relief in as little as three breaths once you fully learn the habit.
resolve issues quickly
transform upset to relief easily
improve self-care and self-connection
improve your ability to understand others empathically
help others find relief and solutions
It integrates the human system, working with the mind, body, spirit, heart, gut (needs awareness), action and interaction.
It also combines topics we have explored earlier - presence, needs-awareness, circular breath and making powerful requests.
I hope you find this practice supports you as much as it supports me.
In this article we'll overview this 5-step practice.
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The SORTTing Process
You'll also find, below, a more complete description, and a link where you can experience an actual texting-dialogue using SORTTing It Out to help a client find relief and resolution at work.
In short, you can think of the 5 steps to SORTTing It Out like this:
S - Say (or write) all of the one-liners that need to be said. What are the thoughts, phrases, and inner voices that represent the upset you're feeling?
O - Observe (the core value) - Notice that each one-liner / upset is trying to point your attention to some unconscious underlying need or core value. What core value or underlying need is this line trying to point out? Observe the need without judgement.
R - Releasework - Using your circular breath practice, inhale the yearning (the underlying need / core value) and exhale the unhappy emotion, with as much vivid felt sense as you can, and as much physical out-pouring as you need.
T - Track your emotional charge on a scale of 0-10. What number would you give it? If it's not a 2 or below, do another 90-seconds of Releasework.
T - Take Action - Now that you've gotten to a 2-or-lower of emotional charge; make a request of yourself or others to feed the need right now.
Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your SORTTing Practice, to be sure it actually works:
- S - Say it (or write it down, if you prefer). What is the voice of the upset? Capture the one-liner on paper, or say it to yourself. Try not to tell long stories. Try to boil each story down to 1 line that you will recognize that represents the story. You already know the story. Your unconscious already knows the story. Just put a one-line place-holder on your list, for now. If you absolutely must, add 3 or 4 one-liners, if it will help you better capture the whole story. Also, if this is the first time you are deeply listening to your inner aspects, inevitably a mountain of voices may want to be heard. Help yourself care for every part of you by making a list of all the voices. You'll only choose 1 to work with each time, but over time you can care for every item on the list. When you think you have said or written every pained, grumbling, upset one-liner that needs to be said, reread your list. More may show up that wants to be added. When you think you're finished again, re-read the list again and add any other loose threads that want to be added. When you're sure that the flow of one-liners has come to a rest, then it's time to move on to the next step.
- O - Observe the Need - Now that you have a list of upsets / complaints / grumbles / painful voices, choose one that is the most urgent, the hottest, the one bothering you the most right now. You can always come back later to attend to the next-urgent voice. But we can only climb a mountain one step at a time. Choose just one to start with. Once you've made your choice, to find the underlying need / core value behind the one-liner ask yourself, "What is the yearning that this one-liner is trying to express?" For example, if the one-liner is, "They didn't give me the raise I asked for," is it that you wanted acknowledgement for your hard work? Or maybe you wanted support for your family's needs? If you still can't find the underlying yearning, try this: If you got the ideal outcome, the perfect scenario your body wanted, what would it look like? Then try to see what core values are being represented by your answer. If necessary, get the help of a qualified life coach, or use the needs sheet here to help you connect the one-liners back to the underlying core values / needs that the grumble is trying to point out. Once you find the underlying core value, embrace that you really, really wanted that. You really wanted that care. Or you really yearned for that kind of respect, or understanding, or play and joy! Let yourself feel the self-connection you get when you acknowledge that, yes, you really really really wanted that. This may bring up a desire to cry, or bring up grief. Let it, being with your grief is your key to freedom. That brings us to R.
- R - Releasework - Using your circular breath practice, inhale the yearning (the underlying need / core value) and exhale the unhappy emotion, with as much vivid felt sense as you can, and as much physical out-pouring as you need. For example, if the one-liner is, "s/he attacked me", and you discover that your underlying core value is the yearning to be treated with kindness, use your circular breath practice to focus on the beauty of this kindness, this yearning, with each inhale. With each exhale, breathe out the pain, the black smoke of frustration, the icky heaviness of grief, or whatever unhappy emotion you are feeling. Inhale the yearning, exhale the pain. For example, (exhale) I feel so angry, (inhale) because I really need respect. Repeat this same self-awareness phrase again with the next exhale and inhale. Don't change the subject. Don't squirm away to avoid the emotion of this. What you resist, persists. What we shove under the carpet, just gets bigger over time. Give yourself the gift of self-care and self-empathy - just breathe in the yearning and breathe out the pain. Unresisted, emotion always shifts in 90 seconds or less. Let the fire of this breath burn until you feel the emotion subside. This shift is your emotional body telling you it feels heard, seen, understood, and more cared for. Do it again. Inhale the yearning, and exhale the pain, anger, frustration, grief, heartbreak, whatever you are feeling. Stay here in this self-care for just 90 seconds. Then notice how different your body feels. You may feel tingles. You may feel dizzy. Just breathe. Your emotional body is responding to the self-care. It sometimes helps to give the emotion a visual or felt sense. What shape, color, texture is it? Is it large like a big black lump of coal, or does it look and feel like grey prickly mud? Give vivid detail to the exhaled substance. Keep doing this circulated breath and release until the substance is nearly gone. For some people, using the body helps. Release by screaming into a pillow for each exhale. Or you can release by standing up and shaking out your entire body for each exhale. Or cry for heaven's sake. Sob, grieve, let it out. Being the non-judging witness for your inner self will burn out the fire of unhappy emotion and leave you with the diamond of self-connection and clarity about your underlying needs and values.
- T - Track your emotional charge on a scale of 0-10. Now that you did 90 seconds of R, on a scale of 0 to 10 (where 10 is the height of anger/pain/heartbreak/sadness, and 0 is no more emotional charge at all), where are you now? 8? 5? If you are not at a 0, do the R part for another 90 seconds. Now Track again. Do you notice the number decreasing? Is the emotional charge higher or lower than 90 seconds ago? What number would you give it now? If it's not a 2 or below, do another 90-seconds of Releasework. Rinse and repeat until you get to at least a 2. (With practice, this O/R/T cycle gets easier and easier, until you can do it in just a breath.)
- T - Take Action - Now that you've gotten to a 2-or-lower of emotional charge, and you are deeply and intimately connected with the yearning (core value / underlying need) within yourself that was grumbling for attention, now it's time to take action to feed that need. What request can you make of yourself or of others to feed that need right now? If necessary, use the article on Generative Requests to get some ideas. Remember, if you can't imagine anything you could say or do to feed the need, you can always ask others, for example, "I discovered that I have this deep yearning for XYZ, but I don't know what to do about it. What would you do in my shoes?" Ask 5 friends, and I guarantee someone will have an idea.
When you finish SORTTing, be sure to drink pure water, and be gentle with your body for a day. Process work can leave you feeling a bit drained. If you eat, sleep and gently exercise, after SORTTing you'll recover even more vitality than you had before SORTTing.
Click here for an actual conversation using SORTTing in action.
For $30, you can also join group phone calls practicing SORTTing It Out (email info at tipsforsanity dot com for details). You can be as anonymous as you want (use a nickname), or join the call as yourself to meet friends and practice partners. You can even silently observe the group and experience how powerfully people find stress-release, ease, and resolution using this process.
With experience, you'll be able to use SORTTing It Out quickly and easily on any degree of stress or emotional charge:
low-level challenges (something that mildly irritates you)
medium-level challenges (something painful or a bit scary)
high-level challenges (something with more fear or more emotional charge)
highly advanced applications (childhood or adult traumas, lifelong recurring issues)
The higher the level of challenge, though, the harder it is to do the work alone. Doing this practice with a skilled friend or a qualified life coach gives you a caring, supportive witness that can help you stay on track even when it feels really hard. The more experience you have, the more you'll be able to SORTT out by yourself.
By providing ourselves with this self care, uncovering our core values and allowing our emotional charge a safe, non-judging container to express itself, we can clear the path to greater self-understanding, relief and generative action.
Eventually these three steps become as easy as three breaths: uncover the yearning, release, take action.
Helping Others SORTT It Out
You can also informally help others SORTT out upsets this way:
offer non-judgmental companionship as they speak out, but don't encourage extended venting, complaining or story-telling, instead -
ask them questions to help uncover the underlying needs and
ask them questions to help them find immediate ways to feed those needs.
SORTTing Beyond the 3-D Reality
SORTTing can become a transcendent practice. It can be a vehicle for resolving interpersonal issues, family tree / family constellation issues, human issues and beyond. It can reveal the difference between personal-level needs seeking to resolve pain, and certain needs which reveal the face of the Divine in each of us.
It can awaken us to ways we companion The Divine, sharing the dilemmas that are natural to the Divine Masculine, the Divine Feminine, and Creation. It can bring peak states of experiencing The Infinite Is-ness, helping us to live 3D life including challenges but not experience the same depth of suffering them.
With SORTTing It Out, I hope that you, too, will find greater ease, relief, expression for your Highest Self, and greater power to be of service to you and those around you.
Walking the Talk
What are the 5 steps of the SORTTing Practice described here?
In one line, name one issue (a mild-to-medium charge issue) that bugs you.
What underlying core value(s) is your upset yearning for?
For 90 seconds, try to exhale the upset and inhale how much you want the core value. Notice if there are shifts in your body or state. What requests can you make of yourself or others to feed this core value?
Compare the SORTTing practice to how you usually address your frustrations, stress, pain or grief. How might this help you care for yourself better?
Where else might you SORTT out issues in your life? In your relationships? At work?
In what ways can you imagine helping someone else SORTT It Out?
What do you value as your biggest learning from this weeks TipForSanity?
For more help with this tip, or if you’d like a free phone consultation toward an ongoing coaching relationship, call Maya toll-free +1 (800) 889-3829 Tue-Sat 1-4pmET or click here to book an appointment.
Maya Gail Taylor's work with more than 10K clients as a consultant, coach certification school owner, wellness coach, tech developer, author and human evolution trainer has earned her more than 500 LinkedIn endorsements. She trained extensively with Marshall Rosenburg, David Deida, Ken Wilber, Newfield Network, BayNVC, Integral Institute and many others, while delivering her own body of work called "The Integrated Approach" (TIA), a meta-catalogue of skills and technology supporting the evolution of human consciousness through psychographic awareness, balancing, empathy and a 10-point integrated emotional intelligence informed by needs-consciousness and the transpersonal. To learn more about this method, follow LIFTnibbles on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook.
In sessions with Maya, you can trust you will get care, confidentiality and extraordinary results.
Click here to schedule a session or call +1 (800) 889-3829 Tue-Sat 1-4pmET.