The Shift

the shift — seeing and changing your perspective


Image from the new “Watchmen” trailer. As shown at the 2008 Scream Awards on Spike TV

Finding Your Self

So, last week I finished the Relationships Series, and suggested that I might start writing about self-responsibility. As I was thinking about this article, I was bouncing around between reflecting on the state of the world, (by definition, out of our control) and how one relates to the world (by definition 100% under our control.)

And then I saw the trailer for the movie of the graphic novel “Watchmen,” caught the above image, and thought, “Perfect!”

In case it’s too blurry (it’s a screen capture taken off of the trailer) that’s two of the heroes kissing as all hell breaks loose in the near distance. A key plot element in the Watchmen, (who are super heroes in a parallel universe) is the deconstruction of the hero/rescue mentality.

Perhaps we need fewer heroes riding to the rescue,

and more personal, heroic action

I find this interesting, in this time of elections and economic meltdowns. Canada just re-elected a minority Conservative government — and many would argue that this happened less because of the virtues of Harper’s Conservatives than on the the public perception of the Liberal’s Dion as being a weak leader. Neither candidate, thinking in terms of the “Watchmen,” is a hero, so 30-some-odd percent voted for the status quo, the majority fractured among the “Left-leaning” parties, and voila, a big pile of uncertainty.


And–wait for it–Canada is next door to Alaska!

I’ll just be a Canadian and avoid too much conversation re. the madness to the South. I find it hilarious that the Republicans are reduced to parody, that they think “spreading the wealth” is socialism, and that the other half of the ticket is Tina Fey’s weaker sister. ‘Nuf said.

On to the Point

If I could explain why people come for counselling, it would be this: they are scared and dis-satisfied. Because of conditioning, they blame externals: others, the situation, or some higher power for the uneasy feeling.

Because of this prevalent external focus, they also want someone (a hero) to swoop in and make it all better.

If they are having relationship issues, it’s because their partner did not live up to their expectations–the rescue was not forthcoming, or the wrong kind, or their partner actually expected rescue from them!

Markers of Discontent


The neat thing about Bodywork is that stuff comes up, and it’s pretty hard to not notice it. The jaw points (hinges) are major blockages for most people. This is where we “bite off” how we express ourselves, and what we mostly repress are our passions (for life, sexual and sensual expression, etc.) Pushing there often elicits pain at the point, movement of the pelvis, and nausea.

Nausea could be described as “sickness over all the shit I’ve swallowed.” In other words, it’s like the body acknowledges that, by looking outside for satisfaction, and for swallowing our passion and zest for life, we’ve become sick to death.

If Only “I’m sick to death of this way of living”

Automatically Led to Change–

Mostly, this “sick sense” lasts for a day or two, and then it’s back to the status quo. Better the devil you know… So, the recognition of blocked-ness retreats ever again, hiding in the aches and pains, the illnesses, and in skewed and dysfunctional relationships that go on and on and on, ad nauseam.

What to Do?

It’s time to take you and your life seriously. This happens as you direct your attention inward, seek your strengths and personal path or direction, and then act from there, in concert with like minded others.

I suggested this to a client yesterday. Her mother, who has had nothing but failed relationships, constantly gives her advice about her marriage, and my client actually listens! Time to stand on her own feet, stop listening to bad advice, and act in ways that promote wholeness.

I’m going to give you three assignments.

Rather than a long article, do some homework. Be serious about this. We’ll explore the answers to these assignments over the next week or two.

1) Make a list of people whose opinion you trust. This should be a short list, and will contain people whose lives match their words. My list contains 5, one of whom is Darbella, and none of whom are or ever were, relatives like my parents, people who talk a good show but haven’t a clue, or people out of integrity.

Do not add people that you think “should” be on your list — spouse, partner, parents, etc. — unless they meet the above criteria. And don’t add people that play the “I really value you, so you should value me” game.

2) Answer this Question: “What do you want?” No generalizations.

  • I want to be happy” is a dumb answer. What the hell does “happy” mean? Define your terms!
  • I want to express my inner nature through my practice of…” is closer to the mark.

Be specific. Be clear. This is a chance to actually chose a direction and focus for your life, as opposed to just going through the motions. I see people working their asses off, and when I say, “To what end?” they don’t know. “So I can retire in 30 years with a lot of money” seems to me a strange way to spend 30 years.

3) Describe your perfect day. I used this in a Workshop years ago, and love this exercise. Set aside 30 minutes, and write about what your perfect (working) day would look like. In other words, don’t do a vacation day. Describe how enacting “what you want” from question 2 would get played out. What would you do, read, create, plan, and who would be close at hand? Clear the decks of dumb projects, mindless activity and hangers-on, and be creative with your day.

Next week, we’ll look at how to “unpack” your answers.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

6 thoughts on “The Shift”

  1. Hello Wayne and Dar.
    Great article,really got us thinking. Our 2 friends were with us and I posed the question about who we would trust for an opinion/advice. We all agreed that it would depend on the problem (i.e. illness, financial etc.) BUT we all agreed that the spouse has a large part in the decision and is (in our case) a valuable asset. We all agreed that the list of trusted advisers would be very small. In fact the list of people we wouldn’t ask for advice is MUCH larger than the ones we would ask. Based on our relationship with (both professional and social) you and Dar we would definitely ask for your advice/opinion. As we have in the past. Keep up the great articles.

    • Hey guys,
      Thanks for the comment! I think that my “utility” test applies here. I think that someone knows what they are talking about if they do the thing successfully. Example: one of my clients gets relationship advice from her mom — who then talks about how terrible her own marriage is. The advice tends to be: “You made your bed, lie in it.” In other words, :My marriage sucks and I want yours to suck too.” My client actually listens to her mom about this!
      And for the record, we’re glad you two are our friends, and have always valued your opinions, too!

  2. I’ve already started my homework and am excited about it! I’ve done similar things many times, but not for a while. I see that after thinking about what I want to do, after typing and erasing and changing, after testing it to see how it feels, I come up with much the same thing I did 2 years ago and 5 years and even 40 years ago.

    I can’t wait to see how you unpack this next week!

    It’s also pleasant to note that I’m doing many of the things that I want to do. Some fine tuning is needed, but it feels good to be on a path that I’ve freely chosen.

    • Hey Beth,
      Yeah, that’s the thing — once you are on the path, the confirmations are steady over time. I amaze myself over people who start this and say, “I knew this when I was 20, but I ignored it.”
      I’m glad I stuck those exercises in — I was heading into an explanation, and that old workshop popped into my head.
      I’m looking forward to unpacking it, too!

  3. I love your “homework” approach to this article. It gives the reader a tool to begin working on ourselves
    rather than reading and wondering. Excellent! Please include more processess like this in future articles.
    Or … why not put it in a book format!

    • Hi, Susan.Thanks for the suggestion re. homework. I’ll certainly work on coming up with more of them.Or, maybe I can get Dar to do the homework part (he says with a grin…)


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