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By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
What the superior man seeks is in himself;
What the small man seeks is in others.
journey of life is a spiritual one in which our ultimate calling is to transform our life into one that honors who we are, inspires us to love and be loved, and illuminates the path to our higher self. This
spiritual journey evolves out of our never ending quest to better know and accept
ourselves, more fully love ourselves and others,
and, ultimately, make ourselves whole by
integrating and connecting to our spiritual center, Essence.
for many, the prospect of transforming ones life is more overwhelming than
inspiring. The idea of a spiritual journey is often dismissed as being the exclusive
domain of the religious zealot. Believing that emotional, spiritual, and material
prosperity is the birthright of only those more fortunate than oneself, many people
languish in the inertia of their hopelessness and despair.
please, dont count yourself out of the race before its even begun. I know of a
path that doesnt require heroic effort, yet, lets be clear from the outset,
its indeed a heroic journey. This path is not built on abstract ideals, but a
formula to be practiced in every aspect of your
I am about to present to you is a process of personal transformation I refer to as Stepping Out of the Shadows.
This process is a
blueprint for enriching and transforming the quality of your life as you begin to let go
of the influence of Ego and [re]connect to Essence.
unraveling the mystery of who you are and what it means to be alive, youll discover
a path for unearthing and [re]claiming the hidden pieces of who you are, stopping your patterns of self-sabotage, building better
bridges with the people who matter most and accessing
the wisdom of your higher consciousness.
I can imagine how that might sound like a mighty tall order to you. But the truth is there
are only two transformative ingredients to this path for you to master--increased awareness and active experiencing.
Just why are these two ingredients so important? Well, who isnt an expert at
cutting themself off from the wisdom of Essence?
But no matter how disconnected, no matter how unplugged you have become from Essence, as you expand your awareness, youll
begin to awaken from the deep sleep brought on by living your life from the scripts
written by Ego.
imagine how this will benefit you. Greater awareness of the unconscious forces that create and shape the
circumstances of your life will empower you to make different choices about the way in
which you live your life. Ultimately, increased awareness will expand your perspective on
what it means to be a person and how best to connect with all that inhabits your universe.
awareness by itself is not enough to transform your life. A catalyst is necessary for
infusing your unfolding awakening with energy and direction. I refer to this catalyst as active experiencing. Active experiencing is the art
of not only [re]connecting with your spiritual center, Essence, but actively living a richer life from so
doing. This requires not only the awareness of how youre experiencing whatever life
offers up to you, but creating life choices that honor who you are from your awareness of
experiencing is composed of two elements--being
present to the moment and making choices about those moments that honor Essence. For you see, the times that these two
elements are disregarded are the times that you feel most discouraged and hopeless. And discouragement and hopelessness are the breeding
grounds for self-alienation, emotional disorders, addictions, and spiritual bankruptcy.
why being present in your life is so
important. Being connected to the present moment awakens you to the fact that your
life unfolds only in moments. In order to most
fully appreciate the preciousness of your life, in order to make choices that honor your
life, attending to each unfolding moment is of primary importance.
easy enough to see why that would be so. Your life is made up of a never-ending parade of
choices. But for many of us, the life choices we make do not honor Essence. Why? Think about it for a moment. What
most influences the choices you make about your life, fear and self-doubt or courage and
faith? What best characterizes the foundation on which you build your relationships,
acceptance, trust, and love, or judgment, suspicion, and possessiveness? Do you approach
each new moment of your life as a victim or a warrior? How does your egocentric, self-will
warp what often starts out as your best intentions? You know the old saying about talking the talk? Which is it for you--do you talk the talk or walk the walk?
as you begin to master the skills of being present
to the moment and making honoring choices
about those moments, youll discover how theyre powerful antidotes for the
emotional pain you collect in your life?
is active experiencing so healing for the pain
that consumes your life? Because everything that happens in your life presents one more
opportunity for awakening--awakening from the deep sleep brought on by living life through
your automatic, conditioned reactions to the events of your life. Every single experience
you have provides an opportunity to choose between the comfort of the familiar or walking
through the fear of the unknown. Its this very moment by moment opportunity for
awakening that intensifies the richness and depth of personal transformation. And when you
commit yourself to being present to each waking moment, without yielding to your fears and
irrational concerns, likes and dislikes, opinions and judgments, and expectations, a new
world of possibilities opens up, providing you with one more opportunity to enrich your
how can you release the potency of active
experiencing? To do so, you need only connect the following two elements--your
expanded awareness with the full spectrum of your emotional responses. For instance, your
ability to persevere grows not merely from understanding
how to persevere, but from connecting that know-how with your inherent fierceness,
toughness, and determination. How can you nurture yourself and those you love without
tapping into the compassion, tenderness, and gentleness that you possess? To most fully
live your life, you must be able to access both your joy and sorrow, your compassion and
anger, your spontaneity as well as your self-discipline. Only when your life choices arise
out of the synthesis of your increased awareness and the heightened experiencing of your emotional world
can you most fully embrace all of life--both its difficulties and times of abundance.
you beginning to see that Stepping Out of the
Shadows is not grounded in a belief system or ideology? Its simply a process--a
process that wont conflict with your already held beliefs and traditions. The point
of this process? To face your life directly, your hopes and fears, possibilities and
limitations, your joys and sorrow, all through the art of self-discovery. Its simply
a practical way to be more in touch with the fullness of your being by [re]connecting with
how were back to the simple idea of [re]connecting with Essence? Awakening to your true nature.
[Re]connecting with your highest self, letting it flow uncensored and unimpeded.
Liberating your voice from fear. Tearing down
the facade erected to shut the world out so as to insulate yourself from the pain and
sorrow of that comes from being human. Discarding the self-defeating ways you create
connections with people based on what you do
rather than who you are. Discovering new ways of
being in your own skin as well as the world at large. Freeing yourself from the patterns
and cycles of self-sabotage you so easily fall into.
with Essence will bring an end to your pain and
suffering. How good would it feel to shed the haziness that permeates your understanding
of who you are and how you create the events
that occur in your life? Think of all the ways you medicate the pain that arises from your
most fundamental fear--your fear of being who you are and expressing yourself in every aspect of your life. Imagine how life would
be, unencumbered from all the ways you stop yourself from fully being you.
than healing, beyond just liberating, as you [re]connect with Essence, youll experience the depth of your
personal power. By [re]connecting with Essence,
youll open channels to the deep untapped reservoirs of two underused resources--wisdom and
love. Wisdom is embedded in the kernels of
awareness created from seeing more clearly and understanding more deeply. Not only created
from the sharpening of your minds eye, wisdom
is forged from listening to and honoring the voice of Essence. As you begin to honor the wisdom of your
inner voice, youll begin to exercise the choices necessary to release your patterns
of negativity, of doubt and fear, that are no longer appropriate to who you are and what
your life is becoming.
Its critical to not only access your deeply rooted wisdom, but to unearth the depth of your capacity
for love, as well. The happiness we discover in life is not about
possessing or owning or even understanding. It emanates solely from our ability to be
present to the moment so that we can most fully access our capacity to create love, to
have a loving and free relationship with all of life.
yourself to love and being loved connects you to the deepest parts of Essence. Expressing your love for others
strengthens your bond to the community of human kind. Experiencing others love for you
heals your wounds by planting the seeds of self-love.
[re]connecting with Essence is the path to
wholeness. By [re]connecting to those parts of who you are that youre out of touch
with, disconnected from, and/or unwilling to acknowledge, youll begin to take back
those parts of yourself that youve given away to your fears and inhibitions.
said earlier, I want to share with you a process,
Stepping Out of the Shadows, that will enable you to give birth to such a sacred life
as the one I described above. What follows is an overview of the steps of Stepping Out of the Shadows. The first step is
paradoxical. For in order to see most clearly, in
order to experience most keenly, you must first step into the darkness by letting go of
the familiar. This is the point where you leave behind the protective devices that
youve created and step into the darkness of the unknown. Thats the paradox--shedding light on the path ahead by walking through the
darkness of the place where you are at.
the first step is the step of letting go, what I
call Illuminating the Path. Just what is it that
you must let go of? The mindset created by Ego.
Do you know what I mean by the mindset created by
Ego? Im referring to that piece of yourself that seeks to impose its will on
everybody and everything, insists to go it alone
in life, and continually clings to that which does not work. Do you recognize that space
within yourself that honors your fears, plants doubt in your mind, and second guesses the
choices you make? Can you see how the voice
within that demands proof, has faith only when its convenient, and raises
procrastination to an art form comes from a space that is disconnected from Essence? How many times have you stopped yourself
dead in your tracks only because of the blind loyalty you maintain to that piece of
yourself that must be right all the time, insists on making everyone else wrong, yet
refuses to practice what it preaches? What kind of allegiance do you maintain to that
piece of yourself that demeans everything you do and say, judges unmercifully who you are
and what youre not, and sabotages your moments of emotional and spiritual
Egos mindset and its unrelenting voice that darkens your path. Yet, youve
carefully crafted this mindset for one singular purpose--to protect yourself. But in so
doing, youve left yourself blind to a better understanding of the choices you make,
blind to the beauty of what your life can be, blind to the path that leads to the
fulfillment of your destiny.
its easy enough to admonish you, to say just let go. But you can never
let go of anything unless you have something to replace it with. The thing to replace the mindset of Ego with? What we all must do is
construct a mindset that comes from our higher self and transform our loyalties to the voice of Essence. I can not overstate the importance of this
new mindset, namely that it reflects the faith of
Essence rather than the willfulness of Ego.
second step is the step of increased awareness,
what I call Awakening the Soul. This is the
start of examining who you are, questioning your view of the world and your place in it.
It is at this point that you begin to cultivate an appreciation for the richness of each
moment. Seeking out, facing with courage, and bringing into the light of consciousness
that which is unconscious and disowned, you begin to open yourself to the
possibilities of what your life can become. For the most uplifting outcome of your
awakening is healing and growing through the wonderment of discovery by
uncovering who you are, letting go of who you are not, integrating what remains into a
beautiful tapestry of love and wisdom.
third step is the step of active experiencing,
what I call Liberating the Spirit. Liberating the Spirit is the challenging process of
connecting your awareness with your emotional world. There are two aspects to this
step--[re]claiming the disowned parts of who you are, and experiencing your world through
mind, body, and Essence. By mastering both
aspects of Liberating the Spirit, youll
find yourself emancipated from the self-limiting patterns youve created to manage
your fears and dissolve your pain.
key to Liberating the Spirit is developing the
skills necessary to most fully live your life in the here-and-now. Living your life in the
here-and-now means connecting to yourself and the people in your life in a specific way;
in the present moment. Only through this type of connecting can you foster greater
awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality.
best to be most fully connected to the present moment? First, separating the there-and-then from the here-and now.
In simple terms, stop superimposing the past on your present-day experiences. You see,
often the line between the present day moment and what that present-day moment mirrors
about past experiences becomes blurred. When this happens, the wounds from your past
become activated and you feel provoked. As a result, you dump on those in your present-day
life the hurt and pain that emanates from the wounds of the past. Until you can fully
separate your past from your present, youll continue to react to the people and
circumstances in your present day life from the hurt and pain of the wounds from your
you need to release yourself from the bondage created by the judgments you hold about who
you are and what you should be. Its necessary to give yourself permission to be who
you are, yet, do you recognize how often you stop yourself by censoring what you think,
feel, and do? This censorship arises, in part, from many of the judgments you have about
those pieces of yourself you judge to be less than acceptable. Can you see how these
judgments inhibit you from fully taking ownership of all the pieces of who you are. The
formula is a simple one--only when you embrace the good, the bad, and the ugly of who you
are, can you then most fully be present to the here-and-now, available to the present
moment, in mind, body, and soul.
final step is the step of responding rather than
reacting to life, what I call Transforming the Mindset. As you fine tune your
abilities to be present to the moment, to make choices that honor who you are, and to
connect your expanding awareness with your emotional world, youll begin to view
yourself and your place in the world in a much different way. Its at this point that
youll begin to make friends with your enemies, silence the critic within, transform
fear into courage, and convert seemingly immovable obstacles into opportunities for
underlying principle of Transforming the Mindset is
that the obstacles in your life are the very place to begin releasing yourself from the
demands of Ego and living from Essence. No longer need you avoid your difficulties
if you would but begin to use them as tools for healing and becoming.
Take a moment to reflect upon how this transformation might benefit you. Think about what
your typical response to troubling life circumstances might be. Blame, frustration, a
sense of failure. Perhaps denial, suppressing any recognition of problems and the feelings
these problems evoke. In so doing, perhaps you put all of your energy into filling your
life with only light, beauty, and ideal feelings. But does this really work for you?
your solution is to call on Mr. Ego. Invoke your will. Increase your denial. Attack
the people in your life. Maintain your allegiance to all the tried and true methods that
repeatedly sabotage your best intentions.
as you master the step of Transforming the Mindset,
youll discover a new way of dealing with the circumstances in your life. All you
need do is change the relationship you have with the obstacles that stop you from creating
the kind of life you want with yourself. Begin to see those obstacles as your teacher(s)
as you uncover the lesson(s) that are embedded in those circumstances. Through the step of
Transforming Your Mindset, youll free
yourself from the demands of Ego and begin to
open yourself to discovering the lessons of life that the universe is serving up to you.
me leave you with this last thought. Theres nothing simple about Stepping Out of the Shadows. But I have presented
you with a simple formula with which you can create the kind of life that you long for.
be waiting for moments of profound clarity about what to do next. The next small, simple
act is the most empowering act in your arsenal. Stepping
Out of the Shadows is like unraveling a knot. You have to keep tugging at the knot,
you wont unravel it with just one yank.
Focus your attention on the voice of your Essence. Strive
for integration. Think about being whole. Think about [re]claiming. Thats what all
of this works geared towards. Honoring the voice of your Essence is the catalyst for awakening all of the
potential that lies dormant within ourselves.
you need do is harvest the wealth that awaits you by awakening your soul and liberating
your spirit. Open yourself to whats possible. When you become open to the
possibilities of what the universe has to offer you, then youll be open to
discovering what your life can be.
me toss in one last element in this formula. Healing. Healing from within. Healing how you
think about yourself, act towards yourself, and feel towards yourself. Healing the way you
relate to the world, the people in your life. The salve to those tender wounds wont
go on easily. It wont feel natural to the touch, but give it time, let it soak in.
Let this magical salve turn old scar tissue into new tender skin. The salve Im
talking about is three magical words, [re]connecting with Essence.
the one thought I want to leave you with. This pamphlet is nothing more than a testimony
to what can happen for you when you begin to live those three words. Dont be put off
by such simplicity. You neednt search for more complex solutions, although I assure
you they exist.
say good-bye to you, do me one last honor. Look at where you are. Look to where the light
is shining brightest. Take one small step towards that light, step away from the darkness
of the shadows, begin your journey, and know that you deserve to be wherever that journey
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.