“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is true wisdom” – Tao Te Ching
I spent most of my formative adult years stumbling from one disaster to another. From dysfunctional relationships, co-dependencies, health issues, financial poverty and loss to isolation. I sampled a whole kaleidoscope of imbalances that many of us can experience throughout our lifetime.
As I didn’t recognise my life was out of balance back then, it became more extreme with life shattering situations such as losing my child through abduction, being stalked for years, suicidal tendencies to finally having a fatal illness which nearly cost me my life.
It took that fatal illness to at long last register my life was completely out of balance. That’s when I finally acknowledged that something deeper lay within me which was attracting the out of control situations and that it was not just down to a run of bad luck. I came to understand finally that I was running programs which were simply playing out in my environment as instructions from my subconscious mind.
When I discovered this, I felt betrayed and duped. I felt that I was the obvious cause of my own misery and mayhem and therefore in some way I was self-sabotaging. I even convinced myself that I deserved all the punishment, as I’d probably somehow asked for it.
At first it took me down a very long dark tunnel which I resigned myself to explore even though I felt I was somehow going to seal my fate and exit this world. The truth of the matter was, whilst imprisoned in the darkness, where there seemed like there was nothing left in my life, a tiny spark of light emerged in the distance which shone just enough on a thought which both dumbfounded and intrigued me. Why had I created such a catastrophic life for myself?
That for me was the starting point. I had finally asked the question.
So many of us can look back and recognise, at some stage in our lives that familiar feeling of being caught in a drama of some kind and thought we had no control over it. Or we accepted it and carried on regardless as we thought it was our lot. I spent most of my life thinking the latter as I just assumed that I’d come from a severely negative upbringing which had imprinted a violating program of mass destruction and I had no power to do anything about it.
A lot of this is compounded by the way we’re taught as we grow up with statements from our parents, teachers or piers such as “You’ve got to put the work in at school if you’re going to succeed in life” and “Be careful when you go out tonight with your friends.” Simple and well-meaning statements such as this have an underlying message in the subconscious mind when it’s something we’ve been used to hearing for some time.
In fact, it only takes approximately 30 days for us to create a new program (or habit) in our mind. That in itself can show how quickly and powerful it is for us to create them and most are ones that we’re not even aware of as they form through the subconscious.
So repeatedly hearing “You’ve got to put the work in at school if you’re going to succeed in life” could ultimately create negative programs that later on in life push you to be a workaholic, to become a people pleaser, always trying to do whatever it takes to make others happy.
The statement “Be careful when you go out tonight with your friends” could eventually translate to a program that always puts you in fear mode every time you go out or enter into new situations, so you become fearful for your security or wellbeing. It can be limiting and debilitating and this is just an example of the well-meaning stuff that perhaps our parents teach us.
Even more debilitating are initial negative programs we learn when we’re young which can create further harmful programs that compound and can lead to chronic and debilitating situations later in life.
When I was a little girl, I used to run up to my father, excited to share with him what I wanted to achieve and he would always reply “Don’t tell me what you’re going to do, tell me when you’ve achieved it.” He was an entrepreneur, a high achiever, ex top athlete, deep sea diver, photographer and all round James Bond double and excelled at everything. So I lived life as a child, feeling I couldn’t impress him enough. How could I ever accomplish anything that would amaze him, when he was the best at everything?
As it put so much fear in me because of his high achievements it pushed me further into self-doubt, which amplified the already developing negative conditions of my upbringing. I simply couldn’t work out how I could impress such a giant of a man so I resigned myself to giving up every time I started a new hobby or interest. That programming of ‘giving up’ stayed with me for years through failed relationships, work commitments, security, money, health and fighting for justice. Everything I set my heart on, failed.
Even though I spent many years searching for answers to rid the programs that seemed to have cast a spell on me, the very program I was trying to overcome, was trying to tell me I would fail and constantly challenged me to give up. Fortunately, my blueprint (this is our instruction manual on how to live our best life) or my higher self, had more power to try to influence me in ways to keep going regardless.
I was naïve at the time, but eventually learned how energy (connected to Source or God) links us to each other as human beings, to the animal and plant world, the planet and the Universe. It’s like an invisible soup that flows through all living matter and effects everything that resides here on this planet. It is the life force that feeds us, our fuel to navigate us in this world and contains all intelligence.
So eventually I started to tune into this invisible force when I recognised it had all the answers. You could say I had nowhere else to go and had run out of options, so even though I didn’t trust it at first, I dipped my toe in the water to see what would happen.
Consciousness, another term for the energy world, contains all information about who you’ve been, who you are now and who you will be in the future based on your potential choices. So even though it was alien to my thinking at the time, I was so desperate for guidance, I gave it a shot. I had nothing and no one else in the world to guide me other than this invisible force.
When I discovered I had a blueprint, like we all do, even though I wasn’t exactly sure what that was at the time, I was armed with enough information to know it contained my plan or instruction manual to navigate this world. It came with me into this life from the moment my cells started to develop and contained information that would be crucial for me to survive.
The animal and plant kingdoms work perfectly in harmony as they honour their blueprint and know how to reproduce themselves in alignment with the planet. We have the same ability however having free will gives us the ability to make choices. Those choices depend on whether we’re in alignment based on programs that best serve us, or whether we’re making them from a place of imbalance or negative programming that’s running the show.
I learned a vital lesson in those years of struggle. Don’t ever give up. I would have given up over and over, but my ingenious blueprint had given me reasons to keep going regardless and my excuse in a nutshell came in the form of my children. Unconditional love is embedded in our blueprint so the switch was on fully. If it weren’t for them I would have exited this world and never had the ability to finally see myself in my true authentic state, negative and destructive program free.
So my children were my reason for existing, the questioning of “why had my life been so corrupted?” was the energy and focus I needed to keep searching for answers and the sheer uncomfortableness of my out of balance life, was the driving force which led me to overcome the cause. It was like holding onto a rope hanging off the edge of a cliff face sometimes. There were days when I felt I couldn’t hold on any longer and other days where I was so driven to hold on for dear life, regardless of the exhaustion and pain.
Recognising imbalances which sometimes can be subtle, can be very deceptive to our conscious mind. I was completely bowled over when my memoirs The Guys Upstairs were released at the same time as a law change had occurred to The Serious Crime Act 2015 in the UK.
I had attended a Coercive Control Conference one month prior to my book being released. I didn’t realise at the time the impact that conference would make on my world. I was stunned to discover that the law was about to change to recognise imbalances at last that had otherwise been overlooked with the judiciary system prior in relation to domestic violence.
Was it a coincidence or was it part of my path that then led me on to be invited to become part of a wider campaign to raise awareness?
“Victims who would otherwise be subjected to sustained patterns of domestic abuse will be able to seek protection under a new offence which came into force on the 29th December.
The new coercive or controlling behaviour offence, which is contained in section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015, will mean victims who experience the type of behaviour that stops short of serious physical violence, but amounts to extreme psychological and emotional abuse, can bring their perpetrators to justice.
This type of abuse in an intimate or family relationship can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps and dictating what they wear. Controlling or coercive behaviour causes someone either:
- to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions; or
- serious alarm or distress which has a substantial effect on their usual day-to-day activities.”
The Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation, Karen Bradley said:
“Our new coercive or controlling behaviour offence will protect victims who would otherwise be subjected to sustained patterns of abuse that can lead to total control of their lives by the perpetrator. We are sending a clear message that it is wrong to violate the trust of those closest to you and that emotional and controlling abuse will not be tolerated.”
I was astonished that my book was so aptly timed to convey a mutual message which the new law change at last recognised. This law change meant that it was at long last supporting a way forward for victims of repeated cycles and therefore historical abuse leading back to childhood and negative programming.
After the conference I was compelled to write to Professor Evan Stark as I was intrigued with his findings which were referenced throughout the debate. I sent him a copy of my book which he endorsed:
“In The Guys Upstairs, Amanda Hart vividly demonstrates that abuse has less to do with what families and coercive and controlling men do to girls and women than with what they keep them from doing for themselves. And it shows something else, that the antidote to power over human beings is the power of self-creation, a power that shines through every page.”
Evan Stark, Ph.D., MSW Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University, Author of Coercive Control (Oxford, 2007).
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey in the UK, Kevin Hurley stated:
“Dr Stark’s innovative work on the legal, policy and health dimensions of interpersonal abuse was an important basis for the new offence of coercive or controlling behaviour within an intimate or family relationship, which came into force on 29 December 2015. His work and critically acclaimed book, Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life (Oxford, 2007) has developed understanding worldwide and is referenced in the Home Office Statutory Guidance.”
What I hadn’t bargained on was that as my book came into publication I would become involved in a campaign to raise awareness about this plight and how I help people address imbalances and negative programming. Professor Stark’s research points out clearly that before, 90 – 95% of domestic violence was behind the veil of the judiciary and health sector. Clearly he recognised through his research and now equally does the UK law, that a huge percentage is coercive controlling behaviour.
This is something I’ve recognised for many years of my life throughout many controlling relationships however, like the vast majority of people in similar situations, I didn’t recognise nor thought I had the power to do anything about it at the time.
Ironically, I’ve helped countless clients through my consultancy to help not only move out of these controlling relationships, but most importantly, to let go of the programs that attracted them in the first place and eventually found myself becoming a spokesperson for this subject. Again, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Did I attract these clients and have a valid discussion with solutions or did I attract these clients because it was my destiny to help people overcome these programs? Either way, it all led to the same conclusion. This is the flip side of victim to survivor when we embrace our power and voice.
So coercive control is a classic example of an imbalance in our life which we may ignore for the sake of self-preservation or fear. Those imbalances can be subtle but over time take away the human right to live a life of safety, freedom and security. Those behaviours can include controlling communication with friends or loved ones, what you wear, where you go, who you connect with, your social media, your phone and email messages, your finances, decisions, work, your hairstyle, the way you speak/what you say and so the list goes on. It’s endless.
I’ve had men and women come to see me as clients in a desperate attempt to regain control of their lives and many of them have been in long term relationships which lasted decades. For much of that time, they were oblivious to the fact they were being controlled. They just accepted that was the way it was and thought they could do nothing about it.
I can’t express enough the relief the client feels and often break down in tears, finally recognising that they weren’t ‘mad after all’ and their instincts were right and finally they could not only talk about it but could ‘do something about it.’
Apart from the subtle, undertones of imbalances in our lives, we can also experience the obvious ‘biggies’ like knowing our partner is wrong for us, our job is depressing and tedious, our financial situation is at crisis point or our health is challenging us.
It doesn’t mean to say though that we have more control over it when we recognise it, but it’s the starting point. It then gives us the ability to do something about it through right choice and that then gives us back our power. We’ve always had power as it flows through us from Source. It is only through negative experiences and learned behaviour that doesn’t serve us, that we think we lose our power.
When I see clients, they pour out the dilemmas and dire situations they’re in. More often than not they have multiple symptoms of imbalance such as relationship, financial, emotional difficulties and mental stress and this can affect so many areas of their lives and that of their loved ones too. In fact, it can affect more people than we can possibly recognise because of how we’re all connected.
Many of us know what it’s like if a colleague has had yet another argument with a family member and then come into work and caused tension and upset around them. The office could be open planned and filled with 20 to 30 other colleagues. Everyone can relate to ‘bad atmospheres’ and as humans, we tend to try to cope with it as best we can. How many colleagues do you think working around that person, go through their day feeling dreadful themselves and counterproductive with their work output because of atmosphere or tension? Then, how many of them go home to their families and pass that negativity onto their loved ones? So the ripple continues.
Being in alignment is not just about taking responsibility for our own energy but it stops us from passing on negativity to others, which as you can see in this example could affect hundreds of people if not more, from just one person alone.
When seeing clients, we go to the root cause which tends to be the catalyst to all the imbalances in that person’s life. More often than not we go back to childhood and go on a journey of discovery to find the initial ‘learned behaviour’ or program that is the origin.
The human mind is incredibly clever at putting things into perspective and once we learn that something is not good for us and we can replace it with what is stored in our blueprint, all the cells in our body become responsive and obey our new positive program. With that, our external world shifts and we see the result of attracting new and positive experiences which serve our highest good.
When I talk to my clients about our energy I incorporate an analogy to explain how we should address ourselves as a whole, including our health and wellbeing, our mental and emotional state, our spiritual nature, our physical body, relationships, finances, work and creative outlet.
I explain it as if we’re a beautiful garden. Each section has to be tended to lovingly to create balance and harmony for the whole. If we only focus on certain sections of the garden or ignore problem areas, it has a knock on affect to the harmony and natural beauty of the entire landscape.
It’s interesting to note that Professor Steve Peters who wrote the book ‘The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness,’ talks about relationships and how to detect imbalances. He describes how you can summarise your relationship with a partner and test to see if it will last by drawing 3 columns on a piece of paper.
In the 1st column he suggests writing all the things you love about that person, in the 2nd column, all the things you find irritating about that person but you can overlook and then in the 3rd column, the things you cannot tolerate about that person and can’t overlook.
He describes that if somebody writes anything in the 3rd column which would indicate there are things that they cannot tolerate about their partner, it’s like the equivalent of being served a beautiful meal but putting a drop of poison in the middle of it. It completely ruins the dish and likewise the thing they cannot tolerate about their partner slowly poisons the rest of the relationship.
Likewise, if we keep making the same mistakes in life through repeated negative programming it poisons all the goodness we create in other ways. It debilitates us, is destructive and uses energy needlessly which ultimately attracts other negative experiences.
So the garden analogy is a good way of looking at your entire life to see where there are imbalances. After all, keen gardeners can relate to this as they regularly go out into their gardens and work on what areas need to be frequently addressed to keep it healthy and beautiful.
So the importance of this chapter is pretty much the first port of call for many of my clients. They may have been suffering for many years before recognising their imbalances, or they may well have had wake up calls or prompts as I did through illness, that finally got them to make a decision to change.
I’m certainly not saying it’s an easy decision for many people, but something triggers their higher self to kick in and to take the action necessary to change. Often it is not clear how to make the adjustment but they have a strong conviction that they will find the solutions through their guidance system. This opens the door of faith which is all that’s needed.
Often, just the recognition there’s an imbalance can bring tremendous relief to many which in itself provides a space cleared in our energy system to allow for new opportunities to emerge.
Listening to our higher self through our intuitive faculties gives us the power to move forward and make those changes which I will go into as we progress through this book.
Finding empowerment through re-alignment, discovering our authentic self and honouring our blueprint is our birth right. Therefore, as you start to open the door of faith, honour your worthiness and take right action based on positive choices you will start to discover your true power and voice.
When 29-year-old Joanna became a client of mine, she explained it as being one of the most profound and touching experiences of her lifetime. When she first visited me she had been journeying through one of the darkest and most challenging periods of her life.
She’d been in an immensely painful place for many years, carrying unresolved childhood traumas and fears surrounding her relationship with her father and as a result, men. Her life felt empty in all areas including her work. She felt she was literally dying as her body started to shut down and it looked like she may end up wheelchair bound.
After visiting seven specialist doctors, having brain scans, up to 9 injections in her neck and diagnosed with all sorts of terms and labels, in desperation she resorted to a holistic energy healing session and noticed something life changing beginning to take place. Even though the results were bringing about remarkable healing of her physical body, she still experienced endless nightmares day and night, as well as anxiety attacks.
She started to meditate and spend time in nature and that’s when she began to experience synchronicities which couldn’t be explained with the rational mind. She also started to attract people who helped her find her way to be healed and release her from the constant pain she experienced.
Joanna finally found a job after 2 years but was still attracting destructive relationships which were getting worse. However, she began to recognise she was looking for love in all the wrong places, never taking the time to start rebuilding from within herself. The final straw came as she felt pressure at home from family and friends to leave her last destructive relationship for the sake of her health and wellbeing.
That’s when she came to see me through a series of synchronistic events. At her first appointment with me, she came without any expectations, considering her years of pain and all the treatments and therapies she’d tried. What took place then changed and shifted her life rapidly.
I worked with helping Joanna to shift the negative programs which she recognised no longer served her and helped her tap into her fullest potential in life. She said “each session felt like an eraser was wiping out the old inside me and bringing forth new and productive patterns.” The shifts were swift and radical, aligning her strongly with her power and inner voice so she gained clarity and understanding of her life’s path and purpose.
Joanna finally found the peace she’d always searched for, better relationships in all ways, a deeper connection to who she was and today shares her love of writing through which she offers profound messages of healing and support to others. She now teaches other women about their own power, has written a book of poems which touches on her own experiences of transformation and works with people inspiring them to become their best self.
People know her as Smiley Jo and I have to say, it touches my heart to see her light up a room as she walks in. She ignites something deep within people with her love of life, that’s profound. Everyone she meets, she touches at such a deep level which opens them to yearn to become their best self and that is her true gift to the world and life purpose.
She is a remarkable example to us all that regardless of our limitations through imbalance, we have an obligation to ourselves to become our best self for our own sake and the highest good of others. Can you even begin to imagine the enormous ripple effect of positivity and hope that she creates on a daily basis to all the people she meets and beyond? It’s limitless. With more inspirational people like Joanna in our world, we can achieve anything.
This Chapter is taken from Amanda’s latest book, ‘How to Find Your Power & Voice – A Journey to an Authentic Existence’ which will be serialised monthly, published on this blog and through her newsletter. Copyright © 2017 Amanda Hart