Monday, September 22, 2003

Avoid stress by letting go of feelings

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hale Dwoskin, the author of The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-being, is not surprised at the popularity of his latest self-help offering.

After all, stress is at an all-time high. Many workers fear that a pink slip is hours, days or weeks away. The pressure to do more with less has rippled across factory floors and through offices alike.

Dwoskin, who appears 7 p.m. Thursday at Barnes and Noble, 7800 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, spoke with Enquirer business reporter John Eckberg:

Question: The last time I looked, your book was the 24th best selling book on, and it's been as high as ninth. You've apparently touched a nerve. Are we all that stressed out? Why the book's success?

Answer: The Sedona Method has been around for 30 years but this is the first time it's been in a book. This is the ultimate cure for desk rage, interoffice politics and work-related stress. This approach has a positive reputation with millions of people all over the country, and the reason it's so popular is that it's very timely. People are in pain, and the Sedona method is a very, very simple yet powerful way to let go of that emotional pain. What's unique about it, is that it doesn't require you to relive past experience or figure out why you're suffering. It just shows you how to let it go.

If you think about it, our country has tremendous financial abundance, yet at the same time, we're suffering from stress and anxiety and depression and extreme anger. We did a study recently and found that 45 percent of households in America have at least one person who has a severe anger problem. We also found that 36 percent of the people in the U.S. have a problem with stress. Our society has stress built into it.

The book also appeals equally to men and women and does not require journaling. It does not require sharing what's bothering you. It powerfully helps you to master your emotions without going through the drama.

Q: What is the history of the Sedona Method?

A. In 1952, at the age of 52, Lester Levenson was sent home to die from his second coronary. The doctor gave him weeks to live but he didn't give up. He went back to the web within and discovered that we all have a natural ability to let go of unwanted emotions. He used this approach intensely on himself, and in just three months, he went from a physical and emotional basket case to perfect health. And he found a profound state of happiness. Levenson lived another 42 years.

There are several things people can do: First of all, we treat feelings as though we are the feeling and we treat them as facts. Feelings are just feelings. They're not you. They're not facts. And you can easily let them go. And there are simple things you can do to let go of feelings.

The first step is to allow yourself to feel what you're already feeling, that's Step 1. Step 2 is to understand why you feel that way. Step 3 is simply to ask: could I let this feeling go. And Step 4, ask yourself would I let it go. Step 5 is to ask yourself when.

Most of us make up stories about why we feel how we feel, and it's just an excuse to hold on to our pain and our suffering. But you have to let go of wanting to understand, and then it's easy to decide to just let it go. All of this has changed lives, and if we had a few days, I could tell you story after story after story about how it's turned lives around.

Part of the reason we hold onto our feelings is we think we're justified. We'd rather be right than free of our pain. It's human nature. We'd rather be right than free of our pain and have what we want.

Q: So we're all a bunch of petulant 2-year-olds?

A: People come into this world with great openness, but around 2, 21/2, we start to protect everything as though it belongs to us. We start to think that we're the center of the universe. Obviously we're not. What happens when you let go of the emotions that are pulling you back to the past, when you let go of the emotions of wanting to change what's already happened, and desire to control what's yet to come, you find yourself relaxed, open and at ease in the current moment.

Mutual of New York did a study of field underwriters - a euphemism for sales people. They took a group, taught them the Sedona Method, and that group outperformed a group that had no training by 33 percent over a six month period. That's not the only thing unique. The study was broken down into two three-month segments. The increase after three months was 23 percent, but it was somewhere in the 43 percent range for the second period. It was increasing over time. That is very rare.

Q: Book warehouses are full of self-help books that don't quite make it. Why has the Sedona Method resonated?

A. It's simple. Most self-improvement efforts have a lot of things that cause them to fail. One is complexity. Impossible to do without help. The Sedona method is so easy, almost impossible to forget once you learn it.

The second thing that causes self-improvement methods to fail is the belief that you're broken and need to be fixed. What happens, you're always broken, so no matter what you do, it's not going to be good enough.

The Sedona method is based on the premise that you are already whole, complete and perfect. You simply need to uncover that. In addition to being complex, most self-improvement techniques are difficult.

Once you learn the Sedona Method, it becomes as easy and as second nature as breathing. And today, these simple principals that we have talked about have come right out of the book, and they are enough to make an enormous difference in people's lives.

The Dwoskin file

Who: Hale Dwoskin, a Sedona, Ariz., resident

Books on nightstand: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling; The DiVinci Code by Dan Brown; The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul by Yehunda Berg and Rav Berg; I Am That: Talks With Sri Nisargadatta by Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Magazines: National Geographic, Nature Conservancy, PC Magazine, Body and Soul, the New Yorker.

Favorite condiments in the fridge: Hot-sweet mustard, lemon tahini dressing and Thai peanut sauce

CDs in the changer: World Chants by Krishna Das; A Day Without Rain: The Best of Enya by Enya; Music Detected by Deep Forest.

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