By Susan Steveson, DCH (c)


Ah, yes! 1997 is here at last -- how are those New Year's Resolutions coming along?? Do your NYR's feel more like a revolt against the patterns of last year? Perhaps your resolutions feel more like a revolving door - year after year - so many goals going unfulfilled and hoping this year will be different. Is this the umpteenth year in a row that you have pledged to shed those spare pounds and inches - again - but this time for good?

How about the hopeful sigh that follows your commitment to really take more time for yourself and personal growth this year (or is there a little voice that says, "Yeah, right!"?) Perhaps you've stopped making resolutions on January 1st altogether for one reason or another. Certainly you are a 90's woman - and just maybe you recognize yourself in more than one of the above scenarios.

A dear friend of mine gave up making "resolutions lists" years ago. Instead, on New Year's Eve, she makes a list of what she will eliminate from her life in the upcoming year. Then she throws the list into the fire to symbolically let go of the things which no longer serve her. This has become a marvelous healing and releasing ritual for her.

There is certainly an abundance of goal planning books, tapes and seminars to help you learn techniques and strategies to reach your goals, and most are excellent tools to help you on your journey. How many different systems have you tried? And the planners - is anyone without their planning book these days? They even come with shoulder straps now and can be toted around like a shoulder bag. They are wonderful, we can stay on track, on time and on task ... hopefully!

Then why do so many of our personal goals and resolutions go unrealized and unfulfilled? Is there still something missing? Focus? Clarity? Motivation? Energy? Time? Commitment? What is getting in the way? Overload? OPP (other people's priorities)? Some say that somehow they just couldn't make it all happen.

Often everyone else's priorities become the most important items on our lists - and we neglect to place our own needs on the list at all. The kids, husband, perhaps aging parents, the boss, the career, the PTA, spiritual goals, community and charities - the list can seem endless.

Sheryl came to see me recently to clarify and re-focus her energies. She felt that if she could just create a little more efficiency in her life, everything would begin to improve. Seeking hypnotherapy helped her define and re-prioritize her thinking and activities. For Sheryl, the fatigue she was experiencing was not "chronic fatigue" but the feeling of being overwhelmed in almost every area of her life. In looking at her priority areas, in a relaxed and focused way, she was able to discover where her efforts were the most needed, satisfying and productive. She discovered new ways of delegating, combining and - yes - eliminating! And very importantly, she was able to create and enjoy time and activities which would replenish her energies rather than depleting them.

Certainly we all have experienced the healing effects of a mother's love - kissing the boo-boo's of life and making them better. If we weren't blessed with a nurturing mother, hopefully we felt the comfort of a loving, healing grandma, auntie or friend. The feminine concept through-out the ages is one of comfort, nourishment, compassion and caring. Yet, in our computerized, mechanized, sterilized, concrete culture, we too often forsake our own natural healing talents in some of the major areas of our life.

Sure, we remember to comfort the children, and our loved ones and we nurture our chosen career (whether it be home or away from home). But be honest, now .... how good are we at listening to our own body's needs; how much time do we consistently take just for us; how consistent are we at appreciating our own skills, talents, and capabilities - and how often do we really take the time to appreciate how truly miraculous our physical body is, our many talents, and simply who we are.

A wonderful list-making exercise suggestion is to create your own personal list of your healing zones. As you go about your daily activities, recall and take note of the places, people, activities, products, etc., which bring you comfort and renewal. This is a wonderful source to refer back to when stress begins to build up. Is it a scented bath by candlelight, a walk on the beach, an intimate dinner with your special someone, a good novel, a soak in the spa, a massage or facial?

I would welcome your stories providing details and anecdotes about your own special renewal rituals. An upcoming project is to publish these "recipes", and all sharing and contributions are welcome. The address is at the end of this article or you can e-mail it to

Your mind is your most helpful and powerful ally in your journey to break the patterns of the past and in creating your personal vision for the future. Past failures can have a sneaky way of setting up negative expectations in your mind. A helpful way to work around this is to relax, close your eyes, and breathe deeply and evenly. Listen to soft background music if you can. As you drift into a daydream-like state, recall a time in the past when you accomplished something important to you. It could be a school project, excelling at a sport or activity, some acknowledgment from others; or when you felt really proud and happy. This achievement, this success, no matter how small, was important to you. Recall all the details of the event, imagine every aspect of seeing the scene, hearing your voice and the voices of others, what aromas were present, what the weather was like. As you drift in this memory, allow it to intensify in your mind as much as possible. Make the colors more vivid, the feelings stronger, the voices more clear. Recognize that you are a successful person and how that feels; now link this success pattern - bring into your mind the goal you are presently wanting to achieve. Imagine you have accomplished it - live in that scene now. Experience all the aspects of achieving that goal, that dream. Duplicate the feelings of achievement you felt in the past.

Even as you have been reading the previous paragraph, perhaps as memories, images and thoughts were forming in your mind, you were practicing a self-hypnosis exercise. It is an easy, comfortable process. For achieving deeper work, people find that seeking the services of a trained hypnothera-pist assists them in bringing about very meaningful personal growth. Whether you use self-hypnosis or seek hypnotherapy, both are wonderful tools to help you move into those deeper states of mind to release old patterns which may have been holding you back.

Working in partnership with your conscious desires, hypnotherapy allows you to create more productive patterns in your unconscious mind to help you achieve your ideal weight, become a non-smoker, be more organized (what are those items on your list?). Learning and practicing self-hypnosis regularly helps maintain your focus and clarity in bringing your desires into reality. It helps you vividly create the essential mental details and affirmative statements.

And speaking of affirmative statements (affirmations and positive thinking) consider that all thinking is creative. Deepak Chopra, MD, tells us that the average person has 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts every day; isn't that amazing? It is even more astonishing to know that, according to research, Dr. Chopra says that 95% of those thoughts are the same, day-in and day-out. So certainly it is important to become aware of the nature of our thoughts. Doesn't it make sense that learning to shape your thinking into more productive patterns can have great and long-lasting rewards?

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a holistic OB/GYN who embraces the best blend of alternative and traditional medicine. In her book, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, she provides an incredible wealth of information to assist women in every stage of their lives. She skillfully relates how the well-documented mind/body connection shows up in the wellness or dysfunction of our body's systems. This is a wonderful reference book for every woman's library.

In my own workshops, women learn to tune into inner attitudes, thoughts, feelings and images in regard to their own bodies. It is truly amazing how many participants report that the vast majority of thoughts about themselves have been negative or destructive. Learning to become aware of these patterns and then shifting the energy of those thoughts into more positive, life affirming patterns is quite often life changing.

For a free brochure entitled, "Ten Ways To Positively Change Your Thinking", send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Susan Stevenson, Brochure, 7755 Center Ave., Suite 826, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.

Susan Stevenson, DCH(c) is a Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy, NLP Master Practitioner and Certified Spiritual Counselor. Currently residing in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Susan offers uplifting programs for individuals, groups and businesses, as well as workshops and audio tapes on a variety of life enhancing topics.  For information on any programs, you may contact Dr. Susan by e-mail at: 

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