Today’s blog is the last in the authentic relating series where I’ve been using the tools of NVC (Non-Violent Communication) and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) to build authenticity, harmony and conscious communication skills to allow you to create authentic relationships with yourself and others.  In today’s episode, Timeline Healing, I will guide you in an exercise and meditation to uncover and repattern childhood conditioning that are underneath emotional triggers that keep you from staying grounded, embodied and authentic when faced with conflict situations, internally or externally.  I’ll also guide you to revise limiting beliefs into empowering ones to support authentic relationships.  

Key Topics include:

  • The importance of being able to skillfully identify feelings and needs to create a sustain authentic connections.
  • How to take responsibility for how we fee and what we need in order to negotiate genuine, heartfelt connections with ourselves and others.
  • Revise limiting beliefs and childhood imprints that hinder you from staying compassionate, mature and resourceful in conflict situations
  • Experience a guided exercise using the NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) timeline therapy to identify and release emotional triggers that cause overwhelm and conflict.

You can also listen to this as a guided exercise on Episode 52 of the Healing Codes Podcast (link below).

In order to create authentic connections, the ability to be able to identify feelings and needs is essential.  When we can bring an experience back to ourselves, and take responsibility for how we feel and what we need, we become available to negotiate a genuine, heartfelt connection with ourselves and others.  This helps us stay compassionate and negotiate conflict from a mature, resourceful place.

Many times, when facing opposition, we can be overwhelmed with heightened emotions that limit our ability to act from a compassionate, grounded place.  When there is emotional overwhelm, this is a sign that triggers from childhood experiences have been activated that causes us to regress to the age where we first encountered these big emotions.   When this happens, our inner child essentially takes the wheel to drive our experience.  The childhood version of us is far less resourceful than the adult version and becomes overwhelmed more easily with complex emotions, causing confusion dissociation and reactiveness.  These triggers are stored deep within our subconscious mind and can overtake us in a matter of seconds without us even realizing it is happening. 

Identifying and unwiring trigger reactions is key to advancing the personal growth process and creating harmony, happiness and compassion in our daily lives.  Triggers can be caused by childhood trauma, so it’s important to note that unpacking them may need to be done by a skilled trauma-informed therapist to hold a safe space that does not risk re-traumatizing someone.  Triggers can also imprinted from significant, stressful or frustrating childhood experiences.  These can also include programmed responses to parental emotions a child witnessed in certain situations.  These are the kinds of triggers we will work with today in the guided timeline healing exercise.

Timeline therapy is a powerful tool to release negative emotions that evolved from hypnosis and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) developed by Tad James in the 1980s.  The idea is that when we can understand what age in childhood an emotional trigger was imprinted, we can use timeline therapy to go back and identify the unmet need of the child and bring healing to unwire a regression response when faced with a similar situation as an adult. Timelines can be applied in many ways, and in this exercise, I will apply it to the authentic relating theme by exploring a present state experience you have in a current or past conflict situation. 

These childhood experiences not only cause emotional triggers, but also become the origin of limiting beliefs that form the foundation of who we are and how we see the world.  For this reason, as we unwire emotional triggers from childhood, I’ll also take the opportunity to uncover the associated limiting beliefs and revise them to empowering ones as we explore the different positions on your timeline.

Before we get started on the timeline healing journey, let’s do a little preparation to make it a smooth and effortless experience.  If you have a notebook or journal handy, get that now.  First, take a moment to think of the issue you would like to work with today.  Following along the authentic relating theme, choose a recent situation where you felt triggered trying to connect with another person, where there was a conflict, misunderstanding or miscommunication. You can also choose an internal conflict you want to get clarity on.  If you listened to the last episode (#51, Connecting Authentically) you can use the same issue you used in the exercise of the perceptual position if you wish to explore it more deeply, but it is not necessary to do that exercise before this one.

On your paper make 2 vertical columns and label the left-hand one Present State and the right-hand one Desired State.  Now, think of the conflict situation you want to work with.  Let’s apply the NVC formula here.  You can listen back to the previous episodes 47-51 for a deeper understanding of NVC formula to harmonise conflict.  First, list the specific thing that bothered or triggered you and the associated feeling. When this specific thing happened, I felt… For example, When I saw the freshly baked chocolate cookie in the bakery window I bought a dozen and ate them all.  From this, I felt disappointed in myself for eating so much and frustrated that I couldn’t choose a healthier option at that moment for a snack.

Now in the desired state column describe the experience you would like to be having instead.  For example, I would like to be able to eat sweets in moderation in a mindful way and feel enjoyment, satisfaction and celebration for my choices. 

Now we will unpack the deeper components of these experiences along the timeline.  We will use the NLP tool of association and dissociation along the timeline.  You can do this by placing pieces of paper or objects on the floor and stepping onto and off of each as I guide you through.  Have your notebook nearby to capture notes, observations and ah-ha moments if you wish.  You can also place the papers or objects on a table in front of you and move your awareness in and out of each position to get the information.  If neither of these options is available to you, you can also step through each position in your mind’s eye as a meditation, although it may be more difficult to get clarity using this method.  I will guide the exercise as if using positions placed on the floor you will step through, so if you’re using a different method adjust it as needed.  Also, feel free to pause this if you need more time to unpack your experiences as we go along.

Take 3 pieces of paper or objects and label one ‘present state’, one ‘desired state’ and the other ‘younger self’.  Place the present state paper in front of you on the floor.  Place the desired state paper to the right of the present state paper to represent a future place on your timeline.  Place the younger self paper to the left of the present state paper to represent a past place on your timeline in your childhood associated with the emotional trigger you experience in the present state.  If you can, get a sense of the age associated with this and if possible try to use an age under 10 years old. The younger the better.

Now, take a look at each paper from an objective observer perspective, or dissociated place.  Step onto the Present State paper and associate into this experience.  Remind yourself of the specific observation and feeling in this experience.  Now, take a moment to sense into the unmet need underneath this feeling.  What do you need that would help you feel better?  Is this a need you can give to yourself or does it involve someone else?  Take responsibility for the feelings you have and be compassionate with yourself as you are honest with yourself to uncover what the need it associated with this experience.  Note this in your journal.

Using the bakery example, the unmet need might be the need for sugar for quick energy to counter fatigue.  Or it could be the need to lift a low mood, as an emotional supplement.  It could be a need to give the addictive impulse what it wants to quiet the mind.

Now step off of the PS position and release the energy by moving around with cross-lateral motions that cross the midline of the body. Or recite your phone number backwards. When you have completely dissociated from that state take a look at it from the neutral observer position.  What would someone have to believe about themselves or the world to have this present state experience?  Write this down in your notebook or journal.

Continuing with the bakery example, a belief could be that “I’m not strong enough to make healthy choices” or “I am powerless over my cravings”.

Now step back onto the PS position, and take a look back at the younger self position associated with this trigger.  With compassion, send love and words of support to that younger self.  Let them know you see them and appreciate the struggle they are experiencing.  Stay fully in the present state position and observe the childhood position from a distance, or a dissociated perspective.  Allow that younger version of you to see your current day self as you let them know you are ok here, you have lived a few decades on from that experience and thank them for being part of your journey to get here.  As you do this, is there something this younger version of you needs to know to make their experience better or different?  What piece of advice would you give your younger self?  Load this up in your present state self and when you’re ready step into the younger state position to deliver this important message.  Take a few breaths here in the younger state position holding this empowering, supporting and loving message.  Step off now and break state by moving around or counting the number of windows of your house to break the state, completely disassociate and release the energy of the present state and childhood positions. 

Now, move to the right and face the desired state position.  Ask yourself what would someone have to believe about themselves or the world in order to have the experience of this desired state.  These are empowering beliefs.  Come up with as many as you can, 2 or 3 minimum. 

Using the bakery example, empowering beliefs could be “I am empowered to make healthy choices”. “I love myself fully and choose to eat healthily to show that love”. “I can enjoy sugar in small doses a way that allows me to stay healthy.”

Now step onto the desired state experience as you fully embody these empowering beliefs and the desired state you wish to manifest.  Take 3 deep breaths from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, breathing in the desired state experience and energy into every cell of your being.  Look back at the present state position and childhood positions with love and gratitude for being part of the journey needed to get to this desired state.   Thank each past version of yourself and let them know you will manifest what you desire.  Is there any wisdom or advice or words of encouragement this desired state version of you would like to share with the past versions?  “I believe in you, keep going”. “You are doing great, I love you” “Thank you for your hard work to help me be able to have what I want.”  Send these messages with love across your timeline to these other positions.

Now step off the timeline taking your empowering beliefs, and gratitude for where you are today and holding the wisdom and learnings from your future self in your heart to support you in the present moment.  Take a moment to come fully back into this present moment, and perhaps you notice as you look at your timeline that the present state position has moved closer to or has now become integrated with the desired state position.

Take a moment now to write down your experience in your journal and reflect on your timeline healing journey.

Interested in learning more about NLP?  I have an eBook that can help.  Check it out here:

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