Mindset Training: Introduction
How do you change your life?
As I put the white cylinder to my lips and inhaled deeply, I wondered. Smoke billowed out of my mouth along with the promise I’d made to myself the day before, to quit—for real this time. My senses had overloaded the second my eyes lasered in on the yellow carton, a cigarette in my hand before I could think twice.
Every day it was a new rationalization. “I’ll quit when I finish this pack.” “I’ll only smoke 3 today.” “I had a rough week. I deserve one.” I tried a variety of methods to quit. None were effective. With renewed commitment, I’d break the remaining cigarettes and throw the pack in the trash. The next day, dig them out and fasten them back together. Trying to outsmart myself, I’d soak them all in water and then throw them out. The next day, buy a new pack. How could I strengthen the part of me that wanted to quit? It seemed impossible.
Even though it made me feel miserable, smoking was something I did to comfort myself. For years, I had pinned my happiness on marriage and having a family. When the bulldozer of divorce plowed through, the only thing left in the rubble with me was my cigarettes—which had snowballed from an occasional into a daily, even hourly urge.
Disgusted with myself and my lack of willpower, I snubbed out the cigarette. The direct route through the front door of the mind wasn’t working. I needed to sneak in from the side entrance. But how?
I needed the right tools. At the lowest point in my life, the pursuit of healing became my career path. Studying the physical body through yoga and CrossFit® training increased my understanding of the physical form. Our body heals in a specific process of cellular repair. If the physical body heals itself, why not the mental and emotional bodies as well?
Now, as an energy worker, I feel the body breathe. I feel a centrifugal force coming from the body. I see it moving and shifting the body as I work. And Buddhist and yogic philosophy have taught me how to reprogram the mind by becoming the observer, conscious in my thinking and how it responds to stress, equipped to rewrite old stories and clear out residue from past trauma.
The curious investigation of the mind, on my quest to quit smoking as well as a number of other unhealthy behaviors, led me on this journey to find what brings life fulfillment. Through the natural progression of asking then seeking, answers came. Like a stone dropped in still water, each step along the way held a ripple of truth. Each truth, in turn, expanded to a greater understanding of how I could transform and center my life around permanent joy instead of temporary instances of pleasure.
A decade later, I am living a life unrecognizable from the past. When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, instead of reaching for a drink and a cigarette, my mind was trained to see the unexpected challenge as an opportunity for growth. And I began to document my life discoveries in my daily morning writings. This laying bare of my deepest self in words became Train the Mind, Heal the Heart. Based on my experiences, I share the insights I’ve gleaned on how to heal and center life toward growth in a step-by-step process. I offer it as a road map to mind-body healing, finding your truth, and the infinite possibilities for your life: How to cultivate mental toughness and increase emotional intelligence.
The Train the Mind, Heal the Heart program is a journey of self-discovery. You will not be alone: We’ll embark on this together. Just as I look back on my life, you will travel again through yours. This reflection serves your forward progress by repairing any past harm still affecting you now. To simplify what may at times feel like overwhelming, I broke down the program into four parts.
Part One: Train the Mind
Part One (weeks 1-10) covers the four key steps to training the mind for meeting obstacles in your life, using your unique cognitive abilities to find what you can control amid the uncontrollable.
Part Two: Heal the Heart
In Part Two (weeks 11-19), you delve into emotional healing. You’ll learn how to clear limiting emotions so they no longer hold control over the mind, and instead become clues on the road of self-improvement. By deconstructing emotions, you can filter out untrue stories written into your subconscious from past stress and trauma.
Part Three: Effort
In Part Three (weeks 20-24), you’ll discover specific areas to apply the mind training and heart healing steps from Parts One and Two: transitioning from a limited to unlimited mindset for growth.
Part Four: Freedom
Part Four (weeks 25-28) continues the process of expanding to unlimited possibilities in the areas most difficult to conquer. You will address how to free the mind of sticking points that hold you back from having what you want in life.
The entire program consists of 28 chapters divided into the book and workbook to navigate your journey. Take the course at your own pace, working one chapter a week, or spending more time on certain areas as you see fit. If certain areas are overwhelmingly triggering for you, skip the chapter and come back to it when you are ready to work through the emotions and stories arising. Healing takes time and patience. I recommend spending as much time as you need with each chapter, completing each exercise, and allowing the process of healing to take effect on the heart and mind.
Each chapter consists of the following elements:
- Personal story: How I learned and applied the chapter lessons
- Principles learned: Lesson and principles of growth
- On-Cushion: Silent meditation practice linking the heart and mind
- Off-Cushion: Implementing principles and meditation in daily life
- Exercise: Application of principles
- Introspection: Mental and emotional reflections
- Recommended reading
Together, we embark on this journey to leave no stone unturned in the process of uncovering areas of weakness for the purpose of growth. Every trigger, frustration, and “bad habit” is an indicator of work to be done to train the mind, heal the heart, and unleash your full potential onto the world.
My words are here to guide you through the program. Know I have infused each page with genuine care and concern for your well-being. Trust that whenever you feel the instability of a life out of your control, there is always unconditional love there to support you. I am sending you this support through each word I write.
HOW TO USE THE PROGRAM
The Train the Mind, Heal the Heart (TMHH) program is meant to be tactile and interactive. You’re writing your own story of transformation. I encourage you to use your TMHH Workbook and a journal, write and draw on the pages, document your experiences, remove the pages and post them on your wall as reminders, fill your space with positive affirmations that support your journey. My story is only offered as an example of how I learned and applied the principles of self-improvement. Otherwise, my story is not important in your process. What’s important is your story, your healing, and your process of living the life of your dreams. This is your transformation to a limitless life.
For this course, collect the following supplies:
- TMHH Workbook - available at trainthemindhealtheheart.com. I recommend both the print version and free downloadable version as you may want extra copies of the worksheets and journal pages.
- Pens, markers, highlighters, sharpies
- Sticky tabs
- Cork board & tacks
- Meditation cushion (this can be a folded blanket on a yoga mat)
- The downloadable mobile app Insight Timer (free version)
Complete introspection questions from your TMHH Workbook.
Photo Credit: Lincoln Brigham