Vivation Blog

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.

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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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