Standard Transformation Exercises

1. Surfacing Memories and Feelings
Holding the card you have drawn, find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Pay close attention to physical sensations, noticing the points in your body where you hold this issue. Pain, tightness, heaviness, or agitation, are all indicators. Once you find the place, breathe deeply into it, allowing it to open and release the feelings and memories associated with the issue. Make a list of all memories that surface. Trust that everything that surfaces is appropriate, even if it does not initially seem related to the card drawn.

If memories don’t flow easily, here’s another technique to help them surface. Note physical sensations and emotions that arise while you think about the topic of the card. Try to remember the last time you felt that way. And the last time before that, and that, and so on until you reach your earliest memory.

2. Identifying Beliefs
Beliefs are held in our conscious and subconscious minds. When we are conscious of them, we can see how they influence our lives and can choose to keep or exchange them. This exercise is designed to raise your beliefs to a conscious level so that you can make that choice and consciously create the life you want.

Review the list of memories surfaced. As a result of those events, what conclusions did you form about yourself, others, and life? For example, if your father worked long hours and rarely spent time with you as a child, you may have formed a belief that “I am not worthy of love.” Or “I am unimportant.” Or “I am unloved and unlovable.”

If it wasn’t acceptable to openly express feelings while you were growing up, you may have formed beliefs like, “My feelings don’t matter” or “Showing my feelings is a sign of weakness” or “Anger is wrong.”

Look at the events listed in Exercise 1 and make a list of the beliefs or conclusions that you formed based on those events. You may see common themes in the memories surfaced. The beliefs you identify create patterns that carry through your life. For instance, carrying a belief that you are not worthy of love will influence relationships. You will likely see similar dynamics across multiple relationships that reflect that belief.

Identify as many beliefs as you can. There is no limit to the number of beliefs you hold. Whether you have three or thirty, they are each worth writing down. If you’re unsure about a belief, say it out loud and you will know by your reaction whether it rings true. There is no such thing as a wrong belief. Trust your intuition to guide you.

3. Expressing Your Feelings
Key to resolving an issue is allowing yourself to feel and release your feelings. By doing so, you honor them and allow them to transfer from inside to outside of you. Writing them down, telling them to a friend or therapist, or expressing them through art or poetry are all ways to do this. Refer to the list of memories from Exercise 1. For each person who played a meaningful role in those events, write a letter (unsent) telling them exactly how you felt as you experienced the events. Whether they are still alive or not, tell them how their actions affected you at the time, and again and again as your life unfolded. All feelings are appropriate, including anger, sadness, regret, disappointment, shame, guilt, betrayal, etc. Many of us carry a belief that our feelings don’t matter. Set aside that belief as you complete this exercise, for they have never mattered as much as they do now.

As you write letters, be sure to include a letter to yourself. While you may not have caused an event or been the originator of an issue, once a belief is formed, you began playing a part in the perpetuation of that issue. We have all made choices that have contributed to our pain.

For example, if our parents mistreated us when we were young, we may grow up with a belief that we are unworthy of love. As we go through life with this belief, we may choose relationships with partners who mistreat us. While we did not cause the original mistreatment by our parents, we did go on to make relationship choices that brought a great deal of pain into our lives. As we work through this issue, we may uncover a great deal of anger at ourselves for contributing to our own suffering. Feelings of self-anger and self-betrayal are natural and need to be surfaced and expressed for healing to occur. As we come to understand this and break old self-destructive patterns, we learn that it is ourselves we must learn to trust first and foremost.

If you like, sign the letters.

Crying is a natural, healthy release mechanism. It is a wonderful way to move painful feelings from inside to outside of you. Regardless of what you’ve been taught or what beliefs you carry about crying, do your best to let your tears flow.

If you are more comfortable with a form of expression other than writing letters, such as poetry, art, song, writing a fairy tale, etc., feel free to do so in lieu of writing letters. If you are working with a partner, therapist or group, verbal expression or a combination of written and verbal expression may work best. Read and understand the intent of the written exercises and apply it to the form of expression you choose.

4. Reliving/Forgiving
With as much compassion and objectivity as you can muster, revisit the events listed in Exercise 1 and relive them through the eyes of the other people involved. What thoughts, feelings, or fears may have motivated their actions? For example, (referring to the example in Exercise 2) what were the motives of the father who worked long hours and rarely spent time with you? Did he think you were unworthy of his love, or was he trying to provide a secure standard of living that he never enjoyed? Or was he insecure with his role as a parent and avoiding something he feared? Observe how hurtful behaviors were not necessarily intended to hurt you. Observe how fear was a factor in the lives of those who hurt you. With compassion, speculate about the legacy their parents may have left them and the beliefs that shaped their lives.

Assume the role of the persons to whom you’ve written letters in Exercise 3. One-by-one, have them respond to your letters. Explain the situation from their perspectives, providing the answers you’ve longed to hear. We don’t always have the benefit of knowing what motivates others, but we do have the power to grant the benefit of the doubt. Be generous as you speculate, filling in information gaps with facts that will allow forgiveness. By doing so, you are being kind to yourself. Remember, forgiveness is a gift to you, not them.

Finally, as yourself, respond to their letters. With compassion and forgiveness, explain that you understand how their fears and beliefs robbed them of peace and led to the actions that hurt you. Express to them your new awareness that their actions were not intended to harm you. Express forgiveness for any pain they have caused in your life.

Apply these exercises to the letter you wrote to yourself, so that you may forgive your self as well. Close and sign each letter, thanking the persons for the lessons and compassion they have helped you learn.

Note: If you have chosen an alternative form of expression, develop a way to express compassion and forgiveness through your creation. If you are working with a partner or group, you may choose role-playing as a means to complete this exercise.

Now it is time to remake history. This exercise is simple, creative, and feels wonderful. Choose as many of the events listed in Exercise 1 as you like and visualize a new outcome for each. If you didn’t get the love or nurturing support you wanted and deserved, imagine an outcome in which you did. If you didn’t defend or speak up for yourself, picture yourself saying what you wish you had said. In a loving, compassionate way, not a shaming or blaming way. Imagine getting exactly what you want. Take pleasure in giving yourself the experience you deserve. As you remake your own history feel the difference in your body, compared to the original outcome. Feel your reclaimed power.

5. Finding Divinity in Demons
Sometimes the best way to find out who you truly are, is to find out who you are not. We’re often ashamed of our issues, viewing them as weaknesses that must be hidden. But while they have caused difficulty, they have also created some of the most beautiful aspects of who we are. They have shaped our personality, taught us valuable lessons that have made us stronger, and above all else, have taught compassion, which is a gift to all humanity.

This exercise is intended to identify the positive and negative ways this issue affected your life so that you can learn to love all of your Self – even the parts that you choose to change. When you can look upon your past with gratitude and compassion, you see your issues as a source of strength, not weakness, and you reclaim the power you have lost.

Make a list of all the negative ways this issue has influenced your life. Make a list of all the positive ways – beautiful traits, lessons, wisdom, compassion, strength - this issue has influenced your life. Give thanks for the good things this issue has brought to you.

6. Considering the Payoffs
In some way, our fears and doubts serve us. The difficulty of change alone can motivate us to cling to the status quo, but if this issue weren’t serving some purpose, you would have abandoned it long ago. Often its purpose is simply to protect us from pain. What has been (and would be) the payoff for keeping this issue? Think it through and write down your answer.

For example, if I have lived with unhealthy relationships because I believed I was unworthy of love, releasing that belief may cause friction, or even the break up of my marriage. Perhaps I’m not ready to release this issue.

Or perhaps feeling unworthy of love kept me from taking risks in relationships. As long as I avoided intimacy, I avoided pain. Pain avoidance is one way this issue has served me. Think through the issue you are working through and list the benefits of keeping things as they are.

Now list the benefits of releasing this issue. Using the same example, if I now believe I am worthy of love, I will choose healthier relationships and will enjoy deeper connections to loved ones.

Take some time to anticipate the changes that will occur when you release this issue. When you are ready to initiate those changes, proceed to Exercise 7.

7. Releasing the Old Reality
You have unlocked memories, released emotions, looked bravely into the face of the demons that held you back, and made a conscious commitment to change. You are ready to release these obstacles forever so that you can move freely into a new reality.

Create a ritual that symbolically releases – with love and gratitude – your pain, old beliefs, fears, and doubts. Here are some examples:
Shred, tear up or burn some or all of the completed written exercises. (If you choose to do this, you may want to temporarily set aside your list of old beliefs. It’s helpful to have them for Exercise 8.)

Sit near a body of water and pick up one stone for each old belief or painful memory. One by one toss the stones in the water. As you watch them wash away, bless them and thank them for the lessons they have taught.

Similar to the stones in water idea, link a leaf with each old belief and/or hurt and release them into the wind. Bless and thank them for helping to make you the beautiful person you are.

Create your own ritual. Remember to release with love and gratitude. To release this issue from your physical body, breathe deeply into the place(s) you carried it and blow out strongly. Imagine that each in-breath is pulling the pain, distorted beliefs, fears, and doubts up and out of every cell of your body. With the out-breath, blow it all high into the heavens. Repeat this several times. You may also want to take a long walk in nature, or complete some other activity that allows you to physically release remnants of the old beliefs, fears, and doubts. Do what feels natural to you, and trust yourself. Your inner voice will guide you to the techniques that are best for you.

Now pat yourself on the back for completing the most difficult portions of the transformation process. You deserve the rewards that will follow.

8. Creating a New Reality
Find a quiet, peaceful place. Get comfortable and take some deep breaths until you are relaxed. Visualize a new reality in which this issue no longer impairs your life. Imagine the beautiful ways your life will change. Watch your future unfold in ways you’ve always dreamed. Feel this new reality with all of your senses.

The breath is a powerful creative tool. Breathe deeply, imagining that each in-breath is drawing to you the wonderful new reality you’re envisioning. Each exhale is delivering that new reality to every cell of your body. Put yourself into the feelings – or energy - of that new reality, as though it is already in existence. Spend as much time as you like, as often as you like, visualizing this reality. Since like attracts like energy, the more time you spend in this new energy, the more you will draw the new reality into being.

Help create this new reality, bringing more of what you want into your life by giving what you want to someone else. For example, if you want to feel more worthy of love, show others their worthiness through acts of kindness and love. Or encourage others to let go of unworthiness. If you are working through Fear of Rejection, reach out to others who feel unsure of themselves. And remember to give yourself more of what you want. If you want more love, love yourself more.

Affirmations are another way of placing yourself in the energy of the reality you seek to create. They are new beliefs that will help manifest your new reality. A simple way to do this is to reverse an old belief. For example, if you identified a belief that “I am unworthy of love,” you may create a new belief that states, “I am worthy of love.” Or “I am loving, lovable, and loved.”

Weave these new beliefs into your daily routine, repeating them as often as you like, until you see the desired changes.
Ask your Higher Power to bring to you the people, situations and intuitions needed to manifest this new reality. Thank your Higher Power for this releasing and thank your Self for having the courage to reclaim the power of your destiny.