In Tip 006 we combined previous skills into a 5-step process called SORTTing It Out. Then in Tip 008 we applied SORTTing It Out to rackets.
What other issues keep us disconnected from our happy sanity?
Fear, unresolved hurts, and traumas are great opportunities to SORTT It Out and uncover the underlying power and love that returns our sanity, strength and happy again.
Keep in mind, the more challenging the topic, the more time it might take to SORTT It Out. However, skilled practitioners can SORTT Out even lifetime issues in as little as 20-90 minutes.
Also, the more upset you are about a subject, the more you might need another person to hold the process for you so that you can go deep into the work. When SORTTing Out difficult challenges, you might want to engage a qualified coach or trusted friends who know how to SORTT It Out.
How can we use SORTTing It Out to reveal the divine, creative spark behind fear, unresolved hurts and traumas?
Recently a client, Janet, asked this question: "Why am I so nervous, shy and self conscious in public – and how do I overcome it?"
Here's a story about how we can apply SORTTing It Out to something like Janet's fear.
First we did the first two steps: S and O --
S: Say what needs to be said. Write down the voices of the fear.
O: Observe the core value behind the voice.
Remember, feelings like shyness or nervousness are, just like a grumbling stomach, symptoms pointing to underlying needs that are hungry to be cared for. Care for the core values, and the grumbling resolves itself.
One of Janet's voices of fear said, "People are mean and judgmental. I'm scared they won't like what I'm saying." Obviously this aspect wants to be liked, valued, and cherished.
Another one of Janet's fear-voices said, "I'm afraid they'll make fun of me." Obviously this aspect wants to be safe from ridicule, wanting safety and appreciation.
Now that we had a handle on Janet's underlying core values, it's time to care for them. The next step is R.
R: Releasework. Care for the core value while you release the anxiety.
In Janet's case, she got the most release when she stood up and shook her hands out vigerously, like shaking off water. With each inhale, I reminded Janet to breathe in the feeling of being safe, appreciated, valued and cherished. With each exhale, I invited Janet to shake out her hands even more, and release even more of the anxiety and self-consciousness.
After 3 breaths of this, Janet said, "Yeah, I just really, really want to be safe and appreciated." Her body was visibly less tense.
Next, we moved on to the first T in SORTTing It Out.
T: Tracking. On a scale of 0-10, how much more tension remains?
After Janet's first releasework, she had gone from a 7 of tension to a 5.
"Do you want to go another round of release?" I asked.
"Yes, I do," she said.
So we went back to R - Releasework. Again I reminded her to breathe deeply into her belly to help her relaxation response. We had her close her eyes and vividly imagine feeling safe, appreciated, cherished and valued. She even visualized feeling nurtured as an infant, drinking in the sweetness of feeling safe, appreciated, cherished and valued.
After two breaths, Janet spoke up. "Actually, I know my audience wants me to succeed," she said. Obviously she was shifting, and so was her thinking. "Breathe in more of that," I told her. "Exhale even more of the shyness, tension and fear."
After this second round of SORTTing, Janet landed at 3 out of 10. Janet was confident she could return to this process any time she needed it. So we went on to the second T in the SORTTing It Out process.
T: Take Action. What request(s) can you make of yourself or others to feed those needs right now, in 10min or less?
I reminded Janet that the shyness she felt was simply a voice, trying to tell her about her need to feel safe, appreciated, cherished and valued.
"What request could you make of yourself, or others, that would feed that need, right then and there, when you feel it?"
Here's the list we came up with for Janet:
- She could ask herself to breathe and SORTT right then and there - She could ask herself to remember that her audience wants her to succeed. - She could ask her audience to applaud if they were curious to learn what she was there to teach. Then she could play with them and ask them to applaud louder, "Is that all you've got? Applaud again if you are excited to hear what I have for you today!" In this way, her play would help her relax, and help her feel that she was appreciated and valued by the audience.
Even though Janet started out afraid to speak in groups, once we SORTTed It Out, Janet's shy, nervousness self-consciousness was replaced with simple requests, confidence, ease and natural, playful radiance.
In this same way, SORTTing It Out can be used for any fear, unresolved hurt, or trauma. Even old childhood wounds, like parental ridicule or child abuse, can be healed using the SORTTing It Out process.
5 Steps to SORTTing Out Fear, Unresolved Hurt or Trauma:
1. S: Imagine that the fear, hurt or trauma aspect of you is another person. Put a chair out, imagine them in the chair. Have a conversation with them. What is it afraid, hurt, or traumatized about? What sentence most wants to be heard? Listen attentively. List the answers.
2. O: For each answer you get in number 1, notice the underlying core values the voice is trying to feed. For example, if one line is, “I’m scared I’m not good enough,” ask yourself, “what underlying need or value would be fed if I trust that I am good enough?” Maybe you will discover that you’d want to be good enough so that you will accomplish your dreams. Or maybe you will discover that you want to be good enough so that you will be loved, included and wanted. At some level, we all need to feel accomplishment, or be loved, included, and wanted. Notice that there is an innocent desire underneath every fear, hurt or traumatized voice.
3. R: Give yourself empathy for the underlying core values, or find someone who can. Exhale the upset or fearful or hurt feelings, and inhale how much you just want to be loved and wanted (or whatever the core value happens to be). With loving appreciation, just notice the underlying desire. Like a loving friend, just sit with the yearning and breathe deeply. If breathing doesn't work, other forms of release are fine: crying, screaming into a pillow, shaking out your body, punching a mattress. But whatever you do for the exhale and release part, keep coming back to inhaling the core need, imagining the sweetness of that valuable thing you want. Feel it. Experience it.
4. T: Notice the ways your body shifts. Notice how even just a little self-empathy helps you feel better. When you start to feel better, that’s proof that your psychology is getting some of the empathic care that it needs. Track it on a scale of 0-10. If it doesn't get to a 2 or lower, go back and do steps 1-3 again.
5. T: Once you are fully connected to the underlying core values, ask yourself, “What request can I make of myself or others to feed this need right here, right now, in 10 minutes or less?” Take action to feed your need right now. For example, if you discover that you feel shy because you want to be appreciated, what request could you make of yourself or others right now to feel appreciated? Maybe you will make a list of three things you appreciate about yourself. Maybe you will ask three friends to tell you something they appreciate about you. If you don’t know what to ask for, ask other people what they ask for, “What requests do you make when you want to feel appreciated?”
As you get more and more powerful at both self-empathy and making requests to care for your underlying needs, your mountain of fear, unresolved hurts, or traumas will get smaller and smaller.
Eventually, you may even discover that the very needs themselves, well cared for, begin to simply evaporate.
Doing the practice well, over time, we discover and reconnect to the infinite beings that we must truly are.
We connect to our infinite Highest Selves.