"Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I'm possible" - Audrey Hepburn
Albert Einstein shamelessly stated, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” A renegade physicist most known for his equation E=MC2, he believed that energy could not be created nor destroyed, “ just changed from one form to another.” His ideas spoke to the heart of the culturally diverse and timeless fascination of “Shape Shifting”.
“Shape-Shifting” means “the ability of a being or creature to completely transform its physical form or shape.”* A common theme in ancient mythology and shamanism, it involves a magical transformation from one state to another -often from human to animal. In the modern era, “Shape Shifting” has become a widely used metaphor for variety of genres.
Sports is one such genre. Remember the Boston Bruins 2011 playoff series ? Fans road the rollercoaster of constant come from behind wins (accompanied by Jack Edward’s historic commentary) from the quarter finals in Montreal all the way to Lord Stanley's Cup in Vancouver. The B’s “shape shifted” again and again until they emerged victorious. Then there was Malcolm Butler’s against all odds and ergonomics game winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX . With :26 seconds left in the game and Marshawn Lynch inches from the end zone, Seattle Seahawk players and fans began celebrating the seemingly inevitable game winning touchdown. The Patriots then “shape shifted” and dashed the Seahawks’ hopes. In 2017 they did it again. Down 23-3 in the third, the Falcons smelled victory. Tom Brady marched down the field and showed the world once again, that miracles do happen- sometimes. What seemed fated to be an epic loss “shape shifted” into one of the most legendary Super Bowl victories to date.
“Shape shifting” happens in psychotherapy too -though in this genre, most keep bragging rights to themselves. People come to therapy when they feel down for the count and desperately seek to transform their lives. While therapy may not be for everyone, almost everyone has found themselves at some point in time in dire need of change. If you can relate to that sentiment, then here are seven simple “shape shifting” techniques you can practice on your own to begin turning your life around.
Ask yourself the following question: If anything were possible and nothing mattered, what does my heart long to be, do or have? The sky's the limit, so be brave. Right now this secret desire gets to live privately and safely within the walls of your imagination. No one has to know about it, except you. Feel what happens in your body when you do this. Compare that “in the body feeling” with your feelings towards your current situation or whatever it is you think you should be do or have. Notice the contrast. Without thinking, kinesthetically feel which thought or idea makes your heart lift.
Focus on what does lift your heart, imagining yourself being, doing or having it. Sense and feel what happens in your body.
Allow the parts of you that tell you why you can’t or shouldn’t be, do or have this to come forward. Sense and feel them in your body.
Send all those naysayer parts of you lots of compassion. Contrary to what many people say, pushing aside or ignoring fears doesn’t work. Those parts of you have important messages and concerns that need to heard. They have good intentions and are trying to protect you from deeper held beliefs and fears in your inner system. Listen to all their concerns and then channell Aaron Rodgers’ invitation for relaxation towards them all.
Allow the deeper fears to emerge in their own time and way. (If this becomes overwhelming, than you may want to consider psychotherapy.) Listen with compassion to all your pain - every last drop of it-and allow it to dissipate.
Shift your focus back again to what makes your heart happy and feel what happens again in your body.
Wait and Listen. Allow yourself to be guided by your heart’s intuition and follow its lead by taking whatever inspired actions it asks of you.
Practice this simple technique three minutes a day, three times a day for three weeks, three months or three years and watch your life begin to transform. You CAN “shape shift” anything in your life IF it’s what your heart truly desires. If it’s not, then It won’t happen no matter how hard you try. Trust that your heart has an inner wisdom in wanting what it wants -whatever that may be.
While Shakespeare’s Hamlet tormented over “Whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and many have followed in suite, I believe there’s a better way. What lifts your heart- at least the essences of it- IS what you are supposed to be, do or have. When you surrender to that and set your intention to allow for what you really want to flow into your life -you will discover some really good news. What makes you happy- when pursued in a kind, compassionate and loving way- is always in the best interest of the greater good.
Why not give it a try and see what happens? .
You never know what dreams may come.
1.My book: Finding Hope in the Crises: A Therapist’s Perspective on Love, Loss and Courage, will be hitting the bookshelves this spring. Be the first to know by clicking here.
2. To learn more about my psychotherapy practice in Sudbury, MA, click here.