When I start sharing the tools to live a deeply fulfilling and happy life, I am often going to refer to your model of reality. It is important to first understand what this is and the role it plays in your life. I am finding that in my still early days of working the Wheel of Life, most of my time is spent here – cleaning up my model of reality. I didn’t start here, I started with something superficial like having more confidence, when I realised that there is something limiting in my model of reality that needs to be worked on before I will gain confidence. Your model of reality is everything you believe about yourself, your life, the people and things around you. It is your perspective of life, your view of the world. I’ll use two analogies for it.
1. Your model of reality is the glasses you look at the world through
See it as a pair of glasses that you wear to look at and see the world. You may think that we all see the world as the same, but on further inspection you will find there is not one person that looks at the world the same way. Unfortunately most of us have little chips and cracks and smudges on our glasses. We may carry these chips with us from a time in our youth when someone did or said something and we took it on and personalised insecurities or baggage around it. Most of our chips and cracks come from the years we grew up in. We can blame our parents and the people that raised us as much as we like, but as Louise Hay says in Heal your Life – they also had chips and cracks and they did the best they could with what they have. Cleaning up your model of reality is about fixing these chips and cracks and cleaning off the smudges so you can have a better view of the world. Note that no matter how much cleaning and fixing you do – your view of the world will never be the same as someone else. You may find similarities, but the glasses will never be exactly the same. The best thing you can do with your glasses is to fix it up in such a way that it brings happiness and joy and fulfillment into your life. Let me make this clear – there is no point in trying to keep up with the Jones’. There is only a point in cultivating a life that serves you and makes you happy. To test whether we all have different glasses – have a discussion, a deep intense discussion with someone you interact with on a daily basis about what respect means for them. You may find that it is very different from what respect is for you.
2. The attic upstairs
I like the way John Kehoe teaches the model of reality. See it as one of those attics in those old houses you always see in the movies, preferably a happy attic upstairs with some sunshine, not those scary horror movie type ones – although some of us may have an attic like that! Like we all look through the world with our own glasses, we all have one of these attics in our lives. Imagine yourself walking into the attic, looking around. You may see some really old furniture that is completely falling apart and in no way would anyone be able to restore it. These are beliefs we carry that doesn’t serve us at all. But for some reason we feel we need to keep these beliefs in our attic and all it is, is baggage we are dragging with us that is taking up unnecessary space. That belief that says that people will only accept me if I am thin or look like one of the models in a magazine (who are all photoshopped anyway and don’t look that way at all). That belief that I don’t deserve to be successful or wealthy. That belief that life and/or relationships are hard work. That belief that I am not good enough – all of these beliefs are one of those chairs that has a hole all the way through the seat, paws rotting away and a back rest that no longer exists. To make space for new furniture that serves us and brings us satisfaction and joy, we need to throw the old ones out first. For as long as we are hanging onto these beliefs or perspectives, we cannot replace it with something better.
Then you may find an old couch that is in perfect working order but the cover is completely outdated and it doesn’t suit your new modern house anymore. It is very easy to just refurbish it with new bright fabric and it will be a perfect fit. We may just have not done it for all this time because it will either cost us money or take up some of our time and take some work. These are things we carry with us that may serve us in some way or form, but it needs a bit of a polish and rework. The easiest way for me to explain this one is my body issues. I have done lot of work with it and have progressed a lot on it, but recently it cropped up in a completely different way – in my cycling – competing for podiums. Although I no longer see myself as “not perfect”, all I’ve done is learned how to manage a belief. So effectively I threw out that chair, but what I didn’t realise is that behind that chair was a couch – my body and how I treat it. I beat my body up and don’t acknowledge its worth and its role in my life, and instead of thanking and honouring it, I compare it with someone else’s performance and think of my body as awesome, but not good enough to win. So I have accepted my body, but now I need to revamp that couch and start giving it the love and nurturing it needs for it to start being colourful and bright in my house. BUT, it is going to take time and work, and money too as I need to refuel my vitamin levels and heal from glandular fever – an illness that I believe has come from my body effectively saying it has had enough of me treating it like a doormat. My body is happy to perform, that is what it is good at, but it wants acknowledgement, FROM ME. I think in the last week this has been the most transforming realisation of my life – one that has taken me more than a year to get to. My point, I have been doing the work, on an ongoing basis – it takes effort, it takes work, it takes time. But for as long as you don’t do the work, you cannot brighten up that attic, or even move the couch into your house!
Then there is the little nook close to the window that you used to cherish for reading time. The sun shines in there brightly, and it is the best place, specially in winter to get some me time and read your favourite book. But you haven’t been there for over a year and it is covered with dust and cob webs. All it needs is a good spring clean and it will be good as new. These could be habits or beliefs that actually served you perfectly well, but for some reason we stopped doing them. They just need a little cleaning and they can serve you again. Maybe you have tried affirmations before and they worked for you very well, but then you had a child and had to re-adjust your routine, and never added this one back. Or maybe you had a pretty good and fun training programme, but then you got an injury, or your training partner moved away and you didn’t do the effort to get back into it. All you need is a new partner or getting back into your routine after recovering.
When you start doing the work, using the tools, you don’t necessarily have a view of what the depth of things in your model of reality is. You may know of a couple of things, but it is only through awareness and constant introspection that you may find things lurking in the dark that you weren’t aware of. Working with your model of reality is very much like pealing an onion. You start with the things you want to change or know you should let go of, but as you start working with them you realise there is something more behind them that you may need to work on first before you can change or let go of anything. I knew that I had some insecurities around my confidence in my own ability and my confidence when having hard conversations with people. I started doing my work here, when I realised that I don’t listen to or know how to trust my intuition. So I changed to work here. Then I realised that I don’t know how to listen to my body – because this is where your intuition comes from. Even from here I went through a couple of steps before realising that my body is very happy to talk to me, and even perform when I race/train or put it through any physical adventure I wish to take on, but all it is asking for is acknowledgement. Is this the deepest level of this particular onion? I can comfortably say that it is – how do I know, because I now know how to listen to my body, and it is telling me that it is.
You may retaliate and say that you have no control over how successful or wealthy you are. And this is exactly where you are wrong, or exactly where you are right, if this is what you choose to believe. We have been placed on this earth to succeed. Look at nature – everything in nature is here to succeed. Trees grow strong and for long as they grow, they succeed. Birds fly, build nests, sing, have babies, and for as long as that is what they are doing, they succeed. Flowers grow and look beautiful – their success is just that, to be beautiful. They don’t question it, they don’t wonder if they are beautiful, they just know that they are. I read a good analogy in terms of competing – if you look at race horses. When they stand in the start blocks, they don’t check out the other horses and compare the size of their muscles, or feel intimidated by their competitors. They know they have done the training and they race to their utmost best of their ability. And whether they win or loose, they have done their best, and it is good enough. They don’t go into depression the next day because they came last or second. Tomorrow they train again, to the best of their ability. And for them, that is success. Our success is based purely on what we repeat to our self day in and day out. If you tell yourself 400 times a day that you are fat and ugly, even if you are not – you will be fat and ugly, whether it is physically, or whether it is that you cannot keep friends or lovers around because you push them away due to your beliefs – you will find a way to make that your reality. Our reality is based purely on what we repeat to ourselves every single day.
I want to end off with a story John Kehoe tells. John has made it a habit in his life to say “Just my luck” whenever something good happens to him, very much unlike normal people who would say that when something bad happens to them. He truly believes, as a matter of fact, he knows that he is a very lucky person. He tells of a concert he found out about last minute and phoned in to buy tickets. The lady on the phone laughed at him as she said the tickets were sold out months ago, minutes within the ticket sales opening. John held onto the line for a while having a good old chit chat with the lady as he always does. Suddenly she said, that’s interesting two tickets in the front row just opened up. She also said to him that he is very lucky. His response – Yes I am! This is one of a number of events that John has appear in his life. His friends even have a saying, if they go anywhere were there are lucky draws or prizes to be handed out, they already know that John will be walking out with the prize. And so be it – he does.
There is a further trick to creating a new model of reality. We have many tools to change it, but we also need to thank it when it happens and affirm it when it happens. Just like John says “Just my luck” every time he gets lucky. If you are working on a change in your life to earn and make lots of money – every time you receive money, whether it is the 5 cents you pick up in the road, the free coffee you get on your loyalty card, or even your monthly salary – be grateful and thankful for it. T. Harv Eker teaches that whenever you receive money, you repeat the words “Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a money magnet!”
What is your model of reality? One where the world is out to get you, or one where the world is there to support you. I have a lot of work still to do in mine, and I think it is constant work. It may just be that in the beginning it takes LOTS of work, and in time the work becomes less and we go into maintenance mode. But even with the couple of months’ worth of work I have been doing, I have seen how accepting support from the world brings a flow into my life I would have never imagined can be possible. Do I have struggles? Yes I do, but when I take the time to reflect on them and see what they are teaching me, and if I take the lesson and work with it, things fall into place and the struggles don’t seem like struggles anymore, but rather a journey into healing.