Vivation Blog

There Are No Negative Emotions

Only different kinds of bliss.

Before he died, Jim Leonard wanted to make sure that Vivers worldwide knew this important aspect of Vivation, as he believed that really understanding this concept was at the very core of the ability to be successful with Vivation as a valid and complete path to enlightenment. Along with mastery of the third element, Awareness in Detail, the understanding of this aspect of the Fourth Element can transform your Vivation practice and your life.

What this means in practical terms is that, no matter what our judgment of a certain circumstance might be, we can use our understanding of the Fourth Element, “Integration into Ecstasy,” to find a way to enjoy it, even if it is simply appreciating the fact that we can be open to the idea of enjoyment in every situation. That in itself might be enough to transform the feeling to one of happiness. Remember, “ecstasy” actually means allowing the moment to be as it is, warts and all, and appreciating the fact that you are alive to experience it. Ecstasy is being open to the entire human experience, bliss is the experience that life is good.

To put this another way, I quote the Persian poet Rumi:

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all, Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.
Still treat each guest honorably, He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
–Excerpted from the book “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,” by Jack Kornfield.

Paul in Japan

Paul Hughes is teaching Vivation in Japan this month, both the 7 Basic Lessons for the general public, and an advanced Vivation Mastery Training to a group who are interested in becoming Vivation Professionals. We welcome them to the worldwide Vivation family! Stay abreast of Paul’s travel on Facebook.

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Chasing the Elusive Bliss

Do you realize that when you are frustrated, angry or miserable, you create your own hell? It’s true. Too often, we simply do not want to acknowledge and take responsibility for our experience in life, preferring to shift the blame for our own funkiness to someone else or the situation in which we find ourselves. But here’s the reality –  by comparing your experience in the moment with that of some imaginary “perfect” moment, you disconnect yourself from appreciating all that the present moment holds for you, including humor, humility, empathy, acceptance, learning, and yes, even bliss.

And not only is your judgment of the situation making your life hellish, but it robs you of the power from which you can do something to change the next moment.

Think about this–when you want to make a change in your life, is it better to come from a negative or a positive context?

For example, if you want to change a bad habit, do you think that if you beat yourself up long and hard enough, you’ll finally make the change you’d like? Or instead, would coming from a position of good humor and acceptance get you to your goal faster? In other words, a position of power.

Are you good at catching and holding bliss, or is it some mysterious and elusive emotional state that seems to come and go of its own accord? We’ve heard people talk about ‘following your bliss’, and it seems like a good idea, but what is bliss anyway? Bliss is simply having a positive relationship to your circumstances to achieve greater happiness, power and productivity. It’s being in harmony with yourself and discovering how you can not only manage, but transform negative emotions into creative action.

Vivation has proven to be one of the most effective ways for anyone to integrate all emotions quickly, thus increasing both enthusiasm and motivation. WithVivation, negative emotions that would have previously resulted in unhappiness and struggle are integrated into useful energy for more productive and creative pursuits.

By learning Vivation, you are able to create an abiding sense of personal well-being, enabling you to be happier and more successful by reducing internal distractions and emotional turmoil at will, not dependent on your environment, but relying on your own inner skills to create happiness on a daily basis. The moreVivation you do, the better you are at resolving negativity on your own. Take advantage of this valuable opportunity to learn Vivation Breathwork with a world-class teacher.

We are happy to announce that Vivation sessions via Skype are now available, call Paul Hughes @ 800-514-VIVE or Patricia Bacall 800-931-7007.

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How I Ended My 20-Year Chocolate Binge

Have you ever wondered WHY it is so hard to change persistent, negative habits? We all have something that we want to change, whether it be to stop smoking, get more (or some) exercise, drink less alcohol, lose weight, eat more fresh foods, try out for that acting gig, or change negative ways of interacting with others.

If you’re NOT moving toward making the changes you want in your life–there’s a REASON for that. Why are you not doing what you say you want to do? From years of coaching Vivation, we have found that when you heal the deep-seated, long-held negative emotions that keep you stuck, you can move more gracefully toward creating a flow of the things you want in your life.

Here’s my story (Patricia) of how Vivation helped me uncover and heal the negative emotions and feelings that cause me to feel “less than” and engage in constant self improvement for years.

Because of deeply held personal trauma and negative feelings from my family situation, I never felt like I was good enough, and had to “get better” or somehow be more perfect to be acceptable to myself.

One way that I felt I could control my life would be to be physically perfect as I could be, and that included a lot of working out, lifting weights, body sculpting, and of course, dieting. I was not overweight, but the creation of a perfect body became an end in itself, bringing with it new and more interesting ways of beating myself up: the joy of losing a pound or two, or my disappointment in myself if I “went off my diet.” Because of the restrictive nature of dieting, I became a compulsive eater. (Thus the blog title) I would try to figure out ways of cheating and eat what I craved (chocolate), but still felt bad if it was not up to my standards of what I thought I should be eating. (Not chocolate.)

I can see that all of this was merely a “tempest in a teapot,” because I was unaware of how my suppressed negativity was affecting my actions and my perception of myself.

Then, when I discovered Vivation and started practicing it as a way of life, things began to change for me. I actually started loving and appreciating myself as the unique individual and beautiful person that I am. Continuing with Vivation, I was able to gradually heal the underlying feelings that had caused me to use food to deal with my negative emotions. And today, I eat what I want and weigh less than I did in high school. I don’t diet, I base my food choices on the values that are important to me, mainly health and longevity. I know that if something is bothering me, the first thing I do is Vive, rather than engage in any kind of suppressive behavior, which will not serve me in the long run, because the negativity will still be there, ready to be activated over and over again when similar situations arise.

Then from my own experience, I created a program called “Loving Yourself Thin,” (including a workbook and CD set that teaches the Vivation technique and offers a complete Vivation session,) so that people who cannot come to me to learn Vivation will have all the tools they need to heal themselves from the unpleasantness of compulsive behavior.

Oh yes, now I allow myself to eat chocolate when I like, I just don’t see it these days as an all-purpose solution for any and every problem and negative feeling in my life.

Warmest regards, Patricia

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Vivation Coming to Japan!

Paul is heading to Japan this month to teach Vivation there for the first time.

Jim had long wanted to bring Vivation to Asia, and now Paul is finally getting the oppurtunity to share this wonderful gift in the wake of the Tsunami.

For updates on Paul’s travels, visit his Facebook page.

Posted by Patricia

Guest Blog: 20 Reasons to Be In Your Body

I loved this and thought it appropriate to forward to my fellow VIvers…from Dr. Rankin. Let us know what you think—PB

Guest Blog from Lissa Rankin, MD

For years, people have been accusing me of not being in my body. I used to have no idea what that meant. I mean, of course I’m in my body, right? I have a body – and I’m alive. So by every medical and spiritual definition I could imagine, I’m in my body.

Yet, my mentors kept telling me I’m not – not just Tricia Barrett, my dear friend and spiritual counselor, but Debbie Rosas, the founder of Nia dance.  When Debbie and I were talking awhile back, she said, “Lissa, I know you’ve done a lot of personal growth in the past few years, but I feel like embodiment is the missing piece.” And she invited me to come train with her at her Nia White Belt Intensive in Portland. Since Debbie is the most grounded, solid, rooted, sensual woman I know, I decided that I wanted some of what she was having – so I said yes. And WHOA, NELLY! Debbie was right. I haven’t been in my body.

What Do I Mean By “Be In Your Body?”

I’m pretty much a walking cerebrum. I identify primarily with my mind, so much so that when I showed up for my Nia training, I couldn’t feel a body part in space unless it was hurting. Like when Debbie asked me how my arm felt, I was speechless. If I touched it – or if it touched the floor, for example, I could feel it. But a body part floating in space? I was completely numb.

After only three days into the training, I couldn’t believe how much sensation was awakened in me. Like WOW! I could feel my nose. I could feel my hips. I could feel my belly button. I could feel my pinkie finger – and none of those body parts were in pain. When I woke up in the morning, instead of noticing the racing thoughts in my mind first thing, I actually noticed the slippery, soft, sensual sensation of the sheets on my bare skin.

Holy sheet! This is revolutionary for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt my sheets before.

So what does this mean? What do you get if you make the journey out of your mind and into your body? Here’s a list Nia founder Debbie Rosas and I wrote together.

20 Reasons To Be In Your Body

Increases pleasure. If your body is numb – and you don’t reside within it, you can’t enjoy pleasure. How intense can an orgasm be if I barely feel it? How much pleasure can I receive from the soft touch of someone who loves me on my arm, if I’m not even aware of my arm?

Ramps up your vitality. When you feel more sensation, you feel more alive. Yes, you notice the little aches and pains of the body more, but this also translates into feeling loads of intense joy.

Helps you tweak what’s not working. When you’re living in your body, you notice the subtle messages your body sends you. When you hear them – even as soft whispers, you can tweak your body movement – or even something bigger in your life – like ending a relationship that isn’t working or saying no to a job you don’t want to do.

Keeps your body safe. When you’re not in your body, you might overdo it. You might ignore the first warning signs of disease. Pain is meant to protect you from danger. Feeling pain is good because it can keep you safe if you listen to the signals and “tweak” your movement, posture, or life circumstances in reaction to the pain.

Is the first step to self-healing. The body is the first thing to get knocked out of balance if your whole health (which includes your relationships, your work/life purpose, how you express yourself creatively, your sexuality, your environment, your financial situation, your spirituality, and your mental health) is out of whack. If you’re not aware of the sensations of your body, you can’t self-correct and begin the process of healing yourself.

Cultivates a deeper emotional connection. This allows emotions to be experienced, embodied, and quickly released, increasing emotional agility and fostering the ability to quickly let go of negative emotions and fully enjoy positive emotions.

Helps you make conscious choices. When you feel undecided, get in your body. The body will tell you what to do.

Keeps you more grounded. You won’t feel chaotic, spinny, buzzy, or floaty the way you might when you’re in your head.

Helps you sleep. When you tap into body sensation, you can help turn off the mind.

ROCKS your sex life. It’s much more fun to get it on when you’re actually in your body.

Helps you be in relationship with yourself and others. When your body is in relationship with someone else’s body, you’re communicating on a whole different level.

Guides you in being able to read other people’s bodies. There’s a conversation going on without words. You’ll get a better sense of who that person really is, how they’re feeling, and what you need to know about that person.

Helps you feel the sensuality of the world. When you’re in your body, you’ll feel things deeper, smell things more vibrantly, taste things more fully, hear things on a whole new level, and touch with more sensitivity.

Helps you dance through life. When you feel more sensation, you tap into the joy of even subtle movements of the body. Every aspect of your life can become a dance.

Helps you lose weight. When you’re paying attention to sensation, your food is more enjoyable, you’ll notice when your belly feels full, you’ll appreciate the yumminess of your body, and you’ll probably eat less and lose weight.

Helps you see life as art. When you enliven sensation, you see the world with fresh eyes that can turn even the most mundane thing into art.

Improves confidence and sex appeal. When you live in your skin, you can’t help but shake your hips, throw back your shoulders, and step into your sexy greatness.

Awakens intuition. When you feel your body, you’re more able to tap into gut sensations and other somatic feelings that will help guide your path.

Helps you reclaim your personal power. You’ll feel the visceral sensation of your power right in your belly, and you can use that feeling to stop giving your power away and bring it back into your body.

Helps you create stronger boundaries. You’ll learn to be able to recognize the difference between your body and someone else’s body so you can erect personal boundaries that increase your capacity for love and empathy, while also protecting you from energy vampires who long to suck you dry.

Do you want some of that, love? Stay tuned for Part 2 of How To Be In Your Body, wherein I’ll give you some tips for actually being there!

Somatically yours,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of

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Accepting Unwillingness

Sometimes creating our own happiness seems like too much trouble. We want to just kick back and try to rely on other people’s love, substances, television, shopping, music, or a myriad of other things to create happiness for us.

The problem is, often that happiness is an illusion, imaginary, a phantasm, and later or the next day, we’re left with ourselves again, only to again confront the reality that our happiness comes from within, and is, at best, supported by ‘stuff’ outside ourselves, not created by it.

We as Vivers, know that we can reliably create that ‘peaceful, easy feeling’ of wellbeing any time we want, by engaging in our Vivation practice. But how do you deal with that occasional unwillingness that crops up, that “oh-it’s-too-much-trouble-to-breathe” feeling that signals lack of willingness to enter into ecstasy?

Even experienced Vivers have this feeling occasionally, and for me, it is especially guilt-producing, because I teach this stuff. It’s like getting started in a yoga class, sometimes you have to go through all your resistance and tightness before you can feel warm, loose and strong. But, damn, sometimes it’s hard.

So here’s what I do when I am unwilling to take any action for my own wellbeing. I watch. I feel. And I allow. I allow the unwillingness to be there and begin to develop a curiosity about it…where is it in my body? Is this familiar or unique? How does the energy move from moment to moment? Is it stronger on the inhale, or stronger on the exhale?

And voila! Just like that…gently, easily, I’m Viving, and ceasing to make myself wrong for my own feelings. No pressure, no drama, no forcing myself to do anything I don’t think I want to do. Just easing myself into being in the moment without make-wrong and judgment. And my unwillingness to Vive…uh, what?

I found that I’m willing after all.

Posted by Patricia

Become More Creative with Vivation

No matter how creative or uncreative you have been so far in your life, you can become a lot MORE creative. Undoubtedly you have experienced being more creative some times than others. Did you know though, that you can learn to create those ‘more creative’ times at will? Did you know that through simple exercises you can make both your most creative times and your least creative times more creative?

You may have some myths about creative people. You may have an image in your mind of “creative types” wearing berets and listening to jazz. Or maybe you imagine the mad inventor working in a basement laboratory. If you’re like most people, you certainly think of creative people as being different from yourself, maybe even a little eccentric.

The truth is that there is every kind of creative person. You can be yourself more than ever by increasing your creativity. You will not become more creative by imitating your stereotypes of other creative people.

One of the great myths of creativity is that everything has to be just right in order to be creative. Some people get hung up thinking that their environment has to be perfect first. Many people think they have to be in a “creative mood.” Some don’t move ahead because they don’t feel that they have the support of those around them. It is quite worthwhile to dispel these myths so that you may be in charge of your own creativity.

That your environment has to be right for you to be creative is only true to a limited extent. Obviously being interrupted every thirty seconds is not good for creativity. On the other hand, putting off being creative until the environment is just right is not very good for creativity either; you will do better not to think your creativity depends on your environment. I suggest that you learn to think creatively in traffic, at the dentist’s office, while waiting for the bus, or wherever you find yourself.

Creativity is not a mood and is not dependent on being in any particular mood either. No emotion can stop you from being creative. What can stop you is thinking that the emotion needs to change first before you can start being creative. If emotional well-being were a prerequisite of creativity, most of the great artists, writers and composers never would have created anything.

Vivation lends itself exquisitely to cultivating the characteristics of creativity, such as Curiosity, Initiative, a Flexible Mind and High Self-Esteem. Find out for yourself what delights you can create when you learn this transformational self-development technique.

Follow us on FaceBook to learn about upcoming events and see what’s new here.

With warmest regards….keeeeep Viving!
Patricia Bacall and Paul Hughes

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Healing Performance Anxiety with Vivation

Working with “Performance Anxiety”
Performance anxiety exists, at the level of the body, to improve performance, yet performance anxiety is also an enemy of performance itself. We have taught Vivation to hundreds of actors, performers, speakers, and martial arts practitioners specifically to overcome performance anxiety. The perceived “anxiety” really is an added burst of energy, from adrenaline and other bodily resources for the exact purpose of giving a better and more conscious performance. It is not something bad at all; in reality something extremely good. If this feeling of added energy is resisted, then the resistance both prevents the energy from doing any good, but also diverts attention away from the focus necessary to speak or act well or take appropriate physical action. The skill of Vivation ensures that this energy will be received as the prize it is: our body’s natural way of preparing us to do our very best. All anxiety is caused by the restimulation of suppressed fear and other emotions. Vivation permanently integrates the underlying emotions and makes it possible to receive the benefits without any hint of harm or discomfort.

You’re breathing anyway….you might as well be Viving!
The easy guide to Vivation-in-Action, everyday
One of the most basic components in doing everything, enjoying any experience, (and this is so basic, it should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway) is Paying Attention. Yes, being mindful or paying attention to the thing that you’re doing and the strongest feeling in your body as a result of the experience. It’s the strongest feeling in your body that is the most obvious and the most connected with the here and now. This basic skill of Paying Attention is also described as Presence, Being in the Moment, Focus, or The Zone.

So, if you are paying attention to the strongest feeling in your body as a result of the thing you’re doing, then it is easy to begin to apply the 5 Elements of Vivation. You will either glean every drop of pleasure from whatever it is you are already doing; or, “integrate” the negative emotions and feelings that are preventing you from enjoying what you’re doing, so either way, the experience is giving you more pleasure.
This is pretty easy to do if you know how to Vive. Since it’s probably safe to say you’re already breathing to some extent, you can begin to apply the First Element, and make your breath circular. Becoming sensitive to the First Element sometimes will make you aware of how shallow your breath is, and therefore, simply taking in more air and energy, will begin to make a difference in your experience.

Often, if I am having an intense conversation or contemplating something unpleasant, I become aware of how SMALL my breath is, and merely changing the depth at which I’m taking in my important life force energy changes the experience dramatically.
Then, as part of my “integrative lifestyle,” sometimes I jump directly to the Fourth Element, the use of which allows me to feel good about, and gain benefit from my experience, whatever it is. If I’m doing something enjoyable, I get to find many more ways to enjoy the thing I’m doing. If it’s not enjoyable in and of itself, I can explore different Fourth Element techniques, until it “integrates” into pleasure or benefit. One of these techniques that almost always works for me is gratitude that things are as good as they are, and that I don’t have to look very far to see how much I have to be grateful for. Another is the integrative idea that, no matter how bad things seem, they could always be worse. Somehow that thought always cheers me up.
So if you want more laughter, enjoyment and joy in your life, consider scheduling a time to learn the 7 Basic Lessons of Vivation.

With warmest regards….keeeeep Viving!
Patricia Bacall and Paul Hughes

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Increasing Personal Power with Vivation

Being completely relaxed in your own skin is one of the definitions of personal power, not, as some people may think, exerting your will over others. Finding a way to achieve what you want without hurting anyone else, and benefitting everyone involved is also another definition. Being true to yourself, without trampling or disregarding the advice of others shows that you have a strong belief in who you are and what you are doing.

Some people think that to exert personal power, you must do it at the expense of someone else. That someone loses in the exchange…but true power is creating win/win results in every situation you find yourself, whether it be within a relationship, your work, etc.

Personal power enables you to have strong, yet serene confidence in yourself, being neither overly assertive or modest. Having it allows you to express yourself as being worthy of being heard, and assume that your “beingness” is worthy of respect. By being secure in your self, you can also extend that respect to others around you. So, there is no downside to owning your power, on the contrary, it makes you more sensitive and compassionate to those around you.

You can connect with your personal power simply by breathing into your solar plexus and feeling what that feels like right now. Is it tight, weak, or heavy, or does breathing there feel relaxed and expansive? Does this kind of expanded breath into your belly give you a feeling of satisfaction or does it create a sense of anxiety?

Vivation increases personal power by enhancing self-esteem. You indeed feel like a unique and worthy individual and that your thoughts and aspirations mean something. You feel that you have an important contribution to make by being yourself, and that uniqueness begins to shine through the more you realize that you ARE okay, and always have been.

So begin to develop a more positive relationship to your own personal power by Viving into the activating feelings created by facing challenging activities in your life. Use that activation, and its eventual resolution, as a means of gaining confidence in your ability to integrate any and all of your negative emotions, and watch your personal power grow!

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Vivation and 12-Step programs

Excerpted from an article by Stacy Resnick in the Vivation Newsletter, October 1992

There are many, many people involved in the growing 12-step community, including but not limited to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Codependents Anonymous (CODA), Debtors Anonymous (DA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA). There seems to be an Anonymous group for every addiction, and it seems that nearly everyone has been or is addicted to something.

As Vivation professionals, we know the reasons. Addiction is described as a way to suppress and/or change feelings, an escape. Addictions are anything that we habitually, and probably compulsively, try to substitute for God in our lives. In my belief system, the only healthy was to change of accept my feelings is to feel my connection to God. Vivation is one way to do that. Integration into Ecstasy (4th element), for me, is when I feel my “conscious connection to God.”

Step 11 of the 12 steps states “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious connection with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Vivation is an 11th-step process

One of the most useful and widely understood ways to describe Vivation is to “create conscious connection to God.”

To me, the breath is your most obvious and vital connection to your Higher Power, God or Spirit. The word “spirit” has as its Latin root, “spirare”, a word that means breathe. Genesis 2:07 says, “then the Lord God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.”

Breath is essential to life. We can live without food and water for days, but without breath we would expire in a few minutes. Oxygen from the air reaches and nourishes our cells through breathing. The deeper and more relaxed your breath, the more oxygen you are getting and the healthier and more relaxed you will be because your body has constant access to its most vital nutrient.

When we feel our connection to God, we breathe fully and freely. We feel joyful and relaxed. When we feel separate from God, we hold our breath, we shut down at every level. We feel fearful and tense.

So, you could say that the quality of your breath is the quality of your connection to God. By consciously practicing full, circular breathing, we are opening more and more to “improving our conscious connection to God.”

Vivation is a kinesthetic (feeling-based) process for integrating our emotions. It is a meditation on the present moment. Using circular breathing, complete relaxation, detailed body awareness, integration and willingness (the 3rd and 6th Steps of the 12 Steps and the most essential Element in Vivation), Vivation allows us to accept our feelings and shift our awareness from a “negative” to a “positive” context. The result is a feeling of internal peace and serenity.

Nearly every 12-Step group either opens or closes with the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This prayer practically describes the 4th Element, integration. It is exactly about making peace with our feelings in the present moment.

So, for anyone looking for better ways than their addictions to resolve their negative feelings, Vivation is obviously one of those ways. Vivation makes practicing Step 11 an easy and reliable way to create lasting well being, and establish an experiential connection to your “higher power.”

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