Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

The last six years have been the most difficult in my adult life. Since my ex-husband and I separated in 2008, I’ve been trying to build a life as a single woman. But I’ve had a hard time believing that good things are on the horizon for me since I lost the foundation that my marriage provided.

I shared some of my story to Joe Dispenza, DC, author of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and he had an idea of why I’ve been struggling. “All the change you’ve experienced has produced some pretty strong emotions,” he said, “and they’re keeping you anchored to the past.”

Then Dr. Joe, known for his appearance in the feature film, What the Bleep Do We Know?, asked me a compelling question: “How can you create a new life if you’re just thinking old thoughts and feeling old feelings?"

He reminded me that every great person in history who’s celebrated for having catalyzed profound change in his or her country—or perhaps the world—has held onto a vision independent of three things: time, body, and environment.

“When you’re defined by the conditions in your external environment,” he explains, “you’ll always stay in the status quo. What you have to do is to create a new state of being.”

Dr. Joe says that, for the most part, we function like an unconscious computer program. We wake up every day on autopilot with the same bevy of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors running the show. No wonder we keep getting the same results.

“But when you move into a new state of being,” he says, “you create infinite waves of possibility.” Quantum physics dictates that the present moment contains unlimited potential. So how do we create change? “Research has shown,” he says, “that with a clear intent and elevated emotion, we affect matter.”

The irony here is that I know exactly what Dr. Joe’s talking about. I’ve stepped out of time and space and used my intent and emotion to create an experience that I don’t believe would have happened if I hadn’t—for a period of time, at least—“broken the habit of being myself.”

By early 2006, I’d gotten really clear on my professional dream. I wanted to host and produce a national television series that explored alternative ways to heal the body and mind. Knowing that in order to make a shift in my reality, I needed to put out a clear intention, I’d head out in the morning and proclaim my desires aloud while jogging on a quiet road in my suburban Boston neighborhood.

But I didn’t just declare what I wanted while jogging—I actually got myself revved up about it. I knew it was important to feel in the present what it was like to be experiencing the future. I allowed myself to feel the joy of having my dream show.  I expressed gratitude for the talented people I was working with, the fascinating guests I had the opportunity to interview, and the fact that I was being compensated better than I’d ever been compensated before. Every morning, I’d run up the same hill, and, by the time I reached the top, I’d pumped myself up so much that I could actually feel the thrill of sitting in front of the camera with a guest.

About three weeks after I began that morning ritual, I was poking around on the Internet one night, and typed into the search bar “television,” “host,” and “alternative medicine.” Up popped a link for a start-up network in Los Angeles devoted to natural health and wellness.  They were looking for experts in vegan cooking, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine.  I sent an e-mail saying that while I wasn’t an expert in any of those things, I’d been writing, reporting on, and producing stories about topics like those for the last 10 years. I included a link to my reel.

A few weeks later, the start-up’s vice president of programming called, and we talked for an hour. At the end of the conversation, he said, “Okay. Pitch us a show.”

I sent in my pitch, and, a couple of months later, I got the green light to be the host and executive producer of 26 half-hour national television talk shows about alternative ways to heal the body and mind. My pay was going to be higher than it had ever been before. What shocked me most was that the network agreed to fund my dream show without ever meeting me in person. In fact, when I finally met the vice president of programming, he’d already given me the green light to create a second season of 26 more shows.

Two years and 52 shows later, I was exhausted, but I was also on the top of the world. I was getting paid to do what I loved most of all. At the same time, unfortunately, my marriage had begun to unravel. And, since then, my belief in my ability to create good in my life has sometimes dipped to dangerously low levels.  I might get clear on what I want, but I can’t seem to muster the conviction that it actually exists out there.

But Dr. Joe’s words got through. It’s time to release the pain of the past. It’s over and done. I’m not living in it anymore, except in my mind. If I want a new life, I need to do what Dr. Joe does when he wakes up in the morning.

“I ask myself,” he says, “‘What’s the greatest expression of myself that I can be today?’ To create change, you have to transmute your old self into someone new.”

Portland Helmich is the creator, host, and producer of the Kripalu Perspectives podcast series. She has been investigating natural health and healing as a host, reporter, writer, and producer for more than 15 years.

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