In this episode, you will learn:
What a pattern is and why it matters
How to find patterns when you weren’t aware that they even existed
How to identify what you want to do instead
How to stop the pattern and shift it to what you want to do instead
Episode 14: Patterns…I’m not talking plaid here
This is the pain changer podcast, episode 14. Last week on the pain changer, Shannon Hernandez joined us to talk about plant medicine, and we touched on patterns in that show. What exactly is a pattern? I’m not talking plaid, stripes or paisley here…so what do I mean? And why do you stay in patterns you don’t like? Stay tuned, today you’ll learn not only what a pattern is, but you’ll also learn why you continue patterns you don’t like, and you’ll learn how to shift them into patterns you do want.
Before we dive in, I wanted to give a shout out to this week’s listener of the week! If you are my listener of the week, please send me a DM on instagram to @coachktdubs, and let me know you heard me! I will get your information and send you a gift as my thank you for helping to spread the word that chronic doesn’t have to mean permanent. Today’s listener of the week is cts4tls, who says “I’ve known Katie for years. Watching her turn her life around through the techniques discussed in her sessions has been nothing short of extraordinary.” Thank you so much cts4tls…I am pretty sure I know your real name, and I thank you so much.
Today’s is a lighter episode and it really made me want to laugh more…there is so much comedy within the patterns I’ve seen with myself and others, especially when that “a ha!” moment hits…it just opens up the door to more humor. One of my patterns, when I am working on something creative and I am sussing out my ideas, is to procrastinate and look for humor. Guess what pattern is running as I get this episode ready? Yep…so I decided to google “clean jokes”...not sure why I’m opting for clean. My favorite dirty joke is actually this: The white horse fell in the mud. So stupid, right? I started laughing so much, and rolling my eyes a few times too at these short one liners…that I had to bring them into the show for you. You ready? Well…if you aren’t ready, then now is the time to hit pause because here I go! Thank you to parade.com for these gems.
What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing…it just waved.
What do dentists call their xrays? Tooth pics!
Why do ducks have tail feathers? To cover their butt quacks! I’m loving this!
One more…why should you never trust stairs? They’re always up to something!
Oh man…do I love to laugh. I know I know…those jokes are so stupid…and that’s why they make me laugh so much.
Back to talking about patterns. You know…as much as I understand patterns, defining what they are is actually a lot harder than I realized it would be! What is up with that? I actually looked it up, as I do with anything I want to be clear about, I try to double check myself before I say it out loud and found that my shot at a succinct definition was right! Go me! A pattern, in the most simple definition, is a recurring response to certain events and/or people.
For instance, when you get around family, you probably all fall into your normal roles, right? Whether you’re the loud one, the sweet one, the quiet one, the brainy one, or the funny one whatever your role is…That’s your pattern. You aren’t consciously thinking “oh…time to play my role in the family”. You may even be someone completely different when you’re around work peers and your friends…but when you’re with family, you slide right into your pattern. That pattern is different around work peers and friends.
You create patterns because as a human, your brain understands patterns and stories. If I see this…then it means that. If they do this…then I do that. Pretty simple so far, right?
Patterns themselves are not a negative thing. However they can greatly limit you, and they do skew the world so that you see it through that pattern. There is so much input that your brain is processing on a subconscious and unconscious level every second of the day, literally no one can keep up. You only see the information most relevant to you in that moment. You receive some staggering amount of data, I’ve heard anything from 1100+ bits of input every second, to millions of bits of input coming at you every second…but regardless of which of those numbers is correct, its vastly more than what your conscious mind can take in at any one time. In order to sort through that, your conscious brain is going to tune into the bits that are relevant. The patterns running in your subconscious mind are what are going to dictate what you see. In short, whatever you look for…you will find. This is probably the most important point to make about patterns: whatever you are looking for, you will find.
This means, if you think the world is full of shitty people based on your experience of people crapping on you at any chance…guess what you’ll find? People who will continue to do that. But what if you decide you are tired of that? Perhaps someone has introduced you to the idea that the world is full of awesome people too just like Melanie Curtis did for me…people who will cheer you on and support you? You do the work to shift your pattern…and you will start to see those awesome people. The shitty ones will still be out there, you just won’t notice them as much. This also means if you focus on a problem…you will get more problems and a solution is much more difficult to find. But when you focus on the desired outcome, or whatever the solution may be…you are much more likely to resolve it because that’s what you are looking for.
Let me give you another example…and I have talked about this at other times too. Think about when you are thinking about getting a new vehicle. Suddenly…that vehicle is everywhere! Why do you think that is? Its not because everyone is as smart as you are, and they all want the same vehicle you do. Its because you have been spending so much time thinking about it…that even as you drive down the road, that’s what your eyes will pick up and your conscious mind will tune into.
So far, I’ve given examples of patterns that are pretty normal. What happens when its a pattern that’s not innocuous like dreaming about your next vehicle? Or a general life lesson where you clearly see in a moment that you can’t trust a lot of people? Or what if your family is actually toxic to you, and the role/pattern in your family is stifling you and adding to your pain? Or what if its an unhealthy pattern that kicks off when you go into survival mode? Those are now what are referred to as unresourceful patterns. When a pattern ceases to become resourceful, that’s when you want to remove it. The pattern I mentioned of seeing only shitty people is another example of an unresourceful pattern.
Before I go into how you can shift a pattern, I want to give you some examples of patterns that are no longer resourceful, that I’ve seen both in myself and in my clients. Many of the patterns I am referring to now started in early childhood, before the age of 7. Some patterns are very deep and connected to survival. If you recall, the entire job of the subconscious is to keep you safe and alive. No big deal, right? Just the easy tasks of survival and safety. This means that your mind will choose safety over logic. Safety over sanity. And most of these patterns…you aren’t even aware of!
One pattern that many get into is emotional eating. Myself included. When you feel a little bit anxious…you may try to eat, because a full belly helps you relax which lowers your anxiety. In that moment, its possible you realize you’re anxious and that’s why you are heading to the cupboard again. Most likely though, you just blindly grab the food then start feeling other feelings when your clothes have suddenly all shrunk 1-2 sizes! Damn dryer. Or when you are stressed…you may crave sugar. That is one I still battle! Especially when I am overworked…which is yet another pattern of mine that I am working on breaking. Sometimes patterns will all be linked together like that too. In my case, i work too much, overlook enough rest, start feeling worn out and then I’m a hop, skip and a jump away from plowing some serious sugar, and worse.
I am going to own this pattern for this episode, because its still in play with me and I am going to halt that by the time episode 15 airs. I will put a note of follow-up status in that episode so you can see how quickly things can shift when you are ready to do so. This is me, owning my shit again. I am doing this because even as an expert with this type of work, I still have blind spots to my own patterns just like you do. I am still human, and I will go back into automatic mode from time to time despite an ever increasing level of awareness. Chances are, you will experience something similar for yourself. Some patterns we can change in a day, others may have layers, and it will take more time to remove all those layers. It all depends on the depth and complexity of the patterns. The longer a pattern is there, the more layers it may have. With every layer you remove, you will make progress. When the pattern is linked to physical and/or emotional pain, then you will feel relief with each layer. Until you start to dig into a pattern, you won’t know how many layers there are. For the one I am sharing today…I’ve probably done 15 sessions in the last 18 months around this. So that tells me I have at least 16 layers, hahahhahah! Yet with each one, I have moved forward and made progress.
Going into this podcast launch, I vastly overcommitted myself. I did this because I have always identified as Type-A. In case you aren’t familiar, Type-A is the “get it done” type. This means that for many who are Type-A, you don’t feel like you’re enough, or doing enough, unless you are constantly doing. In my case, some of this is fed by the trauma I am still healing from my early childhood, where it is difficult for me to just be, and not be constantly doing something. Ignoring the trauma for over 40 years has added some complexity to completely healing it, but my progress is undeniable. At any rate…every time I tell myself I’m Type-A, or someone sees me acting Type-A, I reinforce a pattern that doesn’t serve me. I continue to tell my brain that I have to go go go in order to make it.
How do I know it doesn’t serve me? Well…I got way behind on life as I created my first 10 podcast episodes and all the work around that. At that time during the winter, I wasn’t super busy yet, so I saw a ton of open space on my calendar and thought “Great! This is a perfect time to create this!” Then my calendar blew up, and since the pattern of “I must be doing to be enough in my business”, I failed to block out enough time to devote to the podcast, and that’s when I fell behind. I didn’t have time to clean my house, spend the time in my yard that I want, spend time with friends, my parents, my boyfriend, my dog. And it was making me feel very, very important. I felt important despite knowing that creating and maintaining a balance is key to both wellness and to success. Even going into my week off last week, I knew I had been doing way too much for way too long, and I was trying my best to rest more and counter it every way I know how. Better diet (around my sugar urges), movement, time in nature, rest, etc. I did try, but not very hard if I am being honest.
I kept going, going, going right up until my week off last week. I was so excited…I had plans to catch up on life over the week. All the household projects I wanted to do, and getting my yard projects completed, plus spending time with friends, my parents, my boyfriend, going to Pride, getting in some hikes and everything I had been neglecting. In short…I completely ignored my own tips and tricks. What actually happened, due to this pattern running, is that I got sick for the first time in over 5 years. And I mean really sick too. I’ve had a day here or there where I felt less than okay, rested that day and I was fine the next. But this time…I knocked myself on my ass for an entire week. I spent 6 hours in my yard with my dog Tangie, loving every minute and getting so much done. Also totally overlooking the fact I had just gotten my allergies to simmer down, and it is the height of a really bad pollen season in Maine.
All of this meant that I wound up setting off my allergies so bad they turned into a really bad sinus infection. Not covid though…I was tested twice. This necessitated antibiotics for the first time in years, and while I may have overridden my own advice with balance and wellness, I have not veered from using natural remedies as my first go-to before a pharmaceutical…this time I needed a lot more, I had let things get past a point of just being slightly out of equilibrium. Antibiotics also make me super sick…it doesn’t matter the type, they are all a gastronomical commitment of some sort or the other…we’ll just leave it there, k?
This week I had planned to spend time assessing where I am with the business and where I want to go…and now it is also going to be looking at what I want to change going forth, and how my priorities will look after this week as I get back to my normal schedule next week, as this episode airs. My priorities must shift unless I want to keep knocking myself on my ass with exhaustion and overwork, which I do not want to do at all.
What do I do to change this then? What have I done to get to this point already? Clearly…that pattern is not at all resourceful for me and its time to remove it. So…how do I do that?
The first step is awareness. It is your choice to keep the pattern, or to delete it, but unless you know its there, you don’t even give yourself that choice. How do you find a pattern you aren’t even aware of? That is an excellent question…and I am so glad you asked! As usual…I want to give you more options than Cognomovement. I’m sure its no surprise to you that cognomovement is my favorite way to resolve my issues. And Cognomovement is all about the pattern, the emotion-thought pattern, which is the basis behind what I'm talking about here that we all get into. Cognomovement is purposely designed around finding and changing patterns. But again, I want to make sure you guys have got more than one option.
The first step to become aware is to practice mindfulness. Whether you do this through meditation or retrospection is up to you. Think back to something you continually do, that makes you cringe every time you do it. Now wait…wait up please…hang on. Do not immediately go into judgment. Come on now, I see you trying to judge yourself. Quit that shit right now. Please. And thank you. Okay…now. Examine your cringeworthy behavior with curiosity only please. Judging yourself is not the way to see it. As I rested and binged on Netflix while I mouth-breathed last week, I started to really think about how I had gotten myself there. With all of the tools I have learned and normally use for my benefit, which is how I went well over 5 years without being sick, how did I let myself be so blind to what I was doing?
Ask yourself why. Why did you react the way you did, or do the thing you did? Whatever answer you get…ask yourself why again. Melanie Curtis taught me this trick…and I call it “why’ing it out” - you want to go at least 3 whys deep too. Was there a preceding event or trigger that added to the situation for you? Was there something familiar or triggering? Early childhood trauma has been known to create very unresourceful patterns…did anything or anyone trigger you at all before you did whatever you did that makes you want to cringe? For me…I found that I had been completely blind to this pattern still running where it meant I was going to fail unless I was constantly moving/doing/going. I got so task focused that I didn’t step back to look at the bigger picture. I KNEW I needed more rest. I KNEW that I shouldn’t have allowed things to pile up as they had. Yet the blinders stayed on. WHY? Due to fear of failure. That fear was due to the pattern of needing to constantly be doing…or I will fail. Which, by the way, is total bullshit. That’s a trick my subconscious has deeply attached to, even as I say this to you, I feel that fear.
Sometimes, just going through the process of why’ing it out is all you need. That awareness alone can be powerful and enough to shift. In my case, that would probably be true too, but since Cognomovement is a regular part of my life, I want to take it one step further and delete those patterns. Pattern 1 of the fear that if I just be, and I pace myself at a healthy pace, then I will fail at this business. All of my fears will come true, the sky will fall, I’ll be homeless and all the other panic-induced, bullshit thoughts that come from that fear. Pattern 2 of the idea I am Type A. Until I delete that, I will keep creating patterns that match the Type A persona. Circling back to what I said at the start of this episode, what you look for…you will find. So until I delete that, I will keep creating these scenarios.
Either as another step after why’ing it out, or within a Cognomovement session…Try to shift your perspective, especially if your pattern is hurting or involving someone else. What do you think they see in your behavior? I am so blessed to have friends who hold me highly accountable, so I didn’t need to go far on this one, my friends willingly told me what they saw. Why was I doing this? Hadn’t I just told them that I needed more rest? Why hadn’t I done it? Did I recall I can’t have a business if I don’t have my wellness? I do recall that by the way. And even better…a few asked what I was going to do about it. One even lovingly reminded me that I am just one Cognomovement session away from no longer feeling like I am Type A. Through their eyes, I saw the exhaustion I had created within my life and my physical body by letting that pattern take over. I also saw a lot of clarity of what I can do differently, and I am now really excited to dive in and do that session this week! In fact…I think I may do it once I complete this episode!
Last, but not least…what do you want to do instead of what you are currently doing? Again, this can be within a cognomovement session or you can do this as a journaling exercise. Identify what you want to do, or you won’t have any idea of what that will look like, so you are likely to resort back to your old pattern that you don’t want. Have someone like a coach or friend hold you accountable to help you shift that behavior.
The biggest takeaway I hope you get from this is that patterns are something that you create in order to survive. Those patterns are often unresourceful, but they can come back when you lose awareness, especially in times when you feel like you go back into survival mode. When you feel that happening, pause. Take a breath. Step back. Ask yourself why…3 levels deep. Look at it from someone else’s perspective. Identify and make one step to change that pattern, and/or delete it with a Cognomovement session. Last, identify what you want to do instead, and either program it in with a Cognomovement session or journal about it, and have a way to hold yourself accountable to doing things the new way.
Are you still there? Awesome!!! Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you’ll come back again next week when we will be combining a little about this episode with patterns into a previous episode about trauma. What does it look like when the pattern is created from trauma? How does that change things, if it does change anything? If you find yourself baffled by what appears to be bizarre or senseless behavior, this is an episode you won’t want to miss, and it will help you understand when you are looking at a trauma pattern running active and live through yourself or someone you love.