A simple, yet profound process for untangling and releasing limited thinking, old patterns and feeling stuck — for stepping into true freedom and vibrancy
During the final months of my marriage I struggled mightily with a tangled story fueled by hurt, fear, and a sense of betrayal. How could he leave me, we were supposed to grow old together! I can’t keep teaching and running our center in Austin without him. What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? How am I going to manage? I had many tools at my disposal from years of spiritual work and self-reflection, but I couldn’t seem to get myself out of the quicksand of my thoughts and hurt.
We’ve all had experiences like this: that painful story that we keep replaying over and over again, creating more internal struggle and suffering. Whether your thoughts are about a situation that happened long ago that still haunts you, or a current relationship that takes you out of your peace and into a lightening-quick negative reaction in seconds flat, your mental stories drain your energy, vibrancy, and faith.
I call this being stuck in a spin cycle, where our story about a situation causes an emotional reaction, and our emotions then strengthen the story we are telling ourselves.
It wasn’t until I was trying to help a dear friend who was stuck in his story that I discovered a simple process to help people (myself included!) get out of confusion into clarity and pain into peace.
The Warrior Heart practice was born out of my desire to help others untangle their stories and stay with the truth. This was five years ago, and since then the Warrior Heart practice has helped thousands release their stories and find the truth in many diverse areas, from relationships to health, from finances to long-term family patterns.
Here’s how it works.
We cause much of our own suffering because we tangle our feelings with our stories from the present and the past. To find freedom so we can live from creativity, intuition, and insight rather than reaction and despair we need to first separate our feeling from our story, and then explore our truth and our intent.
Just like the heart has four chambers, the Warrior Heart practice’s four chambers are all equally important.
The Feeling Chamber — In the Feeling Chamber you ask the question, “What am I feeling?” Not why am I feeling this way or how can I not feel this way. Simply feel what you are feeling without trying to fix or change it!
The Story Chamber — In the Story Chamber you ask the question “What am I thinking?” Explore your story fully, not trying to make it better or trying to bypass your story. Be honest about what you are actually saying to yourself, without filters.
The Truth Chamber — In the Truth Chamber you ask the question, “What do I know is true here?” Do your best to not bring in a better story and call it the truth. The truth is always really simple, with no justification, judgment, or explanation needed.
The Intent Chamber — In the Intent Chamber you ask the question, “What is my intent?” This is your intent with the situation you are untangling; not how you want others to be, but what focus you want to bring back into your experience. Your intent is one word.
Circling back: Once you have moved through the chambers from Feeling to Story, Truth to Intent, you now circle back. Take your intent and hold hands with the truth, then enter into the Story Chamber with new eyes. How else can you perceive your story? Always end in the Feeling Chamber, checking in with how you are feeling.
Here is a really personal example from my own life… this is what showed me that the Warrior Heart practice really works!
A friend and I had spent two years talking and exploring the possibility of being in a romantic relationship. We decided to try something new, so instead of diving in headfirst, we got to know each other slowly. We text-messaged questions to each other and shared our wants and desires. Together we processed unfinished emotions from old relationships.
One day, a series of events happened, and I decided, Okay, I am in 100 percent. I’m ready to commit to this person and see what a relationship would look like. Unbeknownst to me, he made a decision right around that time: Okay, this is not going to work. I think there is something else better waiting for both of us.
And so, as fate would have it, we both showed up for a weeklong course I was teaching. I was excited to tell him what I’d realized, unaware that he had something else to share with me. Before the class started, I told him, “Can we spend a week alone, just you and me, and really see what is here?” He dropped his gaze. And I felt my stomach plummet to my toes. “Well, there is something I need to share with you, and I’m scared to tell you. I’m attracted to someone here at the workshop.” He went on to tell me that he wanted to follow and explore his attraction to this other woman.
And then over the next week, I watched as he fell in love with someone else.
One day, we were all going on an excursion, and I asked if he wanted to go for a walk with me. “I already have plans,” he said, looking with doe eyes at his new beloved. I felt crushed, and as I watched them walk away, the tears and overwhelm of emotions hit me like a tidal wave. “Okay, time to go to your room,” I said out loud to myself as I stood alone, uncertain about what to do next.
“What are you feeling, Ash?” Disappointment. Sorrow. Abandoned. “And what is the story?” This always happens! The guy always picks someone else! I’m getting too old to date! “Truth?” He gets to choose. Oh! And I get to choose. “And what is your Intent for this situation?” Unconditional love. I want to love myself and others regardless of their choices. “And what do you want to choose now?” I want to go for a walk and enjoy this beautiful day.
Now, there was much more processing to come around this situation, which stirred up a lot of old past stories and pain. But in that moment, I was free.
Instead of spinning my emotions and story into an illusionary knot of bitterness, blame, or betrayal, I could stay with the truth: He gets to choose whom he wants to be in a relationship with. I get to choose my next step.
And when I revisited the Story Chamber I saw a totally new way to frame the situation: “The universe loves me so much it is giving me a PhD in letting go!”
I still had disappointment in the Feeling Chamber which took a few days to clear from my body, but the Warrior Heart practice helped me to feel a sense of excitement and courage around the situation rather than upset and self-punishment.
Now it’s your turn. Pick a current or past time when you were in reaction or triggered, and take yourself through the Chambers.
Start with the Feeling Chamber. Close your eyes and feel your emotions and the sensations in your body without the story. Practice simply being with what you are feeling, breathing into all tension, tightness, and sensations. This is not always easy, but it is essential that you learn to separate out the feeling from the story, without exiting or repressing your emotions.
Once you’ve spent some time feeling, then move into the Story Chamber. Imagine you are an archeologist, and you are exploring all the different layers of the story. Often the story you are telling yourself about a present issue is actually connected to past unresolved pain.
Once you’ve thoroughly explored your story, step into the Truth Chamber. I always start with: “I am breathing.” Be with your breath, in this present moment. Now what else can you see is true?
And finally, name your intent. Do you want to bring compassion, presence, love, or play into the situation? Your intent can be any word, and is your north star for how you will take action moving forward. Then you’ll go back through the Chambers to keep unweaving and untangling your story.
We are in a pivotal paradigm shift in the world as we navigate increasingly difficult social justice, and population challenges. And there is an awakening that is also happening, a rise in consciousness and activism that is based in love. My hope is that no matter the challenges or struggles around us that we keep grounding into our own centered, still core so we can bring compassion, creativity, and inner peace back into the world.
The Warrior Heart Practice was birthed as a response to what we need as humans now…
A simple, effective process to get out of struggle and confusion so we can bring our full radiant, heart-filled creativity to everything we do.
Blessings on your journey!
You may also enjoy reading Forgiveness: The Path to Embracing My Lion Heart by Laura Bishop