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Your Unfolding Path
June 2001

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Carol's Current Column

by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

The Art of Effortless Living

Twenty-five years ago Ingrid Bacci was suffering from severe fibromyalgia, a connective-tissue disease causing pain, weakness and stiffness all over her body. Bed-ridden for three years, she went to all the best doctors in NYC and was hospitalized several times. Doctors were unable to come up with any effective treatments. Bacci recalls, "I also tried nutritional remedies like vegetarianism, organic food, and eating mostly raw food under the supervision of a top naturopath. I got better for a little while, but not for long. Nothing really helped me. I finally realized that I was going to have to look at what I was doing that was creating the illness, and change something in myself."

The key turned out to be releasing physical tension in the body in everything she did.

Bacci started by working with the ancient practices of deep breathing and meditation. "Doing this work began a process that eventually changed my life in every dimension. I left my marriage and my career as a professor. I became an alternative health-care practitioner, and now have a full-time practice. Iím also an author and public speaker, and in recuperating from my illness I even became a triathlete and a marathoner."

Empowerment is Healing

Bacci, through her own experiences with chronic illness and healing, now specializes in teaching people how to use the mind-body connection to empower themselves not only into health, but also into successful relationships and greater creative potential. "I went to Harvard and Columbia," she says, "I majored in philosophy, and graduated at the top of my class, but nothing I learned in school taught me how to live well. My university education gave me a lot of information, but it didnít teach me how to create a healthy, balanced, and fulfilled life. What I ended up learning through my illness was to undo a lot of negative patterns that I think are very typical of our culture.

"As I healed myself and found out that I was really learning not to just become healthy, but to live well, then I started noticing that most people around me were living in a clearly unhealthy life style and werenít very happy. What I saw were people who were feeling driven, compulsively hyper-active, worried, and anxious. I began focusing my work on showing people how they could use mind-body techniques to empower themselves instead of simply reacting to every pressure that crops up. We live under the illusion that if we drive ourselves and try to control our future, then things will work out better. However, in that process we destroy the quality of our moment-by-moment existence. If we instead act like plants, that is, if we allow raindrops and sun and air into our life in this moment, we will flower in the future. What that means is focusing more on the quality of our inner state, and making sure we donít sacrifice that in the pursuit of our goal."

Releasing the Clench

For example, Bacci suggests when you are cleaning up your desk or washing dishes, allow yourself to breathe in a relaxed way and to enjoy the feeling of papers in your hands or the dishes in your hand and the warm water. Consciously relax your body in the process of what you are doing. Physical relaxation automatically calms and focuses the mind. "We have this crazy habit of clenching when we do things," she says. "When a little child is clenched up like that, you know they are feeling anxious and insecure. As we grow up, we tend to keep that habit of clenching all the time. Physical tension doesnít help us do what we are doing, and it eventually hurts our bodies. After this habit in ingrained, itís very difficult just to tell yourself to go relax, since you are unaware of what you are doing. Healing begins with learning to stop clenching in the face of life."

How not What

In her book, The Art of Effortless Living, Bacci offers techniques and examples of the body awareness that leads to full conscious relaxation. "The first technique is breathing. I teach people to breathe deeply and softly. Itís like learning how to be in love with your body. Itís learning to gentle your body. When you notice yourself starting to tighten up, immediately begin to let go of the tension. The key is to make the letting go of the tension more important than whatever it is you think you have to do." Bacci remembers a friend who was having a conversation in an art gallery. "My friend noticed she was getting tense as she started arguing about her view of the exhibiting artist. She told me that in the past, she would have made it more important to be right and keep on arguing; however, this time she stepped back and saw what she was doing and changed her behavior. She decided that it was more important to be at ease than to win the argument. She just stopped pushing her point of view and focused on calming herself. The upshot of this was that they ended up having a very good conversation!"

The important point in this story and others like it is that we have a choice about how we want to be in whatever we are doing. The woman in the art gallery changed the situation by noticing and letting go of the feeling of pressure caused by her need to be right. When we ask ourselves, "How can I change my negative patterns?," becoming aware of our body and choosing to release tension is a good first step toward changing our whole life.

Pressure and Urgency are Red Flags not Green Lights

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend who is having trouble in her marriage. For years she has worried about her husbandís health, his tendency to depression, their relationship, and their financial situation. Finally, he had relented from his stance of not wanting to go into therapy, and agreed to go. She was asking me if I knew a psychoanalyst who would be a good fit for the situation. She was obviously worried and feeling a sense of urgency. As we talked, it became clear that the task of finding the "right therapist" in order to somehow enlighten or change her husband and to fix their problems was exactly the same behavior that was contributing to the situation in the first place. Suddenly, she made the connection that finding the therapist for her husband, in itself, was causing her extreme pressure. Therefore, the sense of pressure was telling her that the solution she was urgently pursuing was not a good one. With this insight she experienced a huge rush of relief. This opened the door to other options, starting with backing off from taking this habitual caretaker role. The point is that we so often continue to try to fix a problem with the same heavy-handed mentality that created it in the first place. Our body tells us the truth.

So often illness grows out of a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness. Bacci says, "Your body will always break down as a reflection of living in a disempowered way. I work with a combination of dialogue, visualization and body awareness training to help people empower themselves in whatever area they feel is their weak point.

Be Soft, Relaxed, and Energized

Bacci sees a cultural addiction to negative patterns. "We all talk about letting go of negative patterns, but what does that really mean? I think it means being soft and relaxed, and at the same time energized in each moment. You have to look at how you are doing what you need to do. Are you whipping yourself into action or treating yourself unkindly, all in the name of being successful or a good parent or a good partner? The incredible thing is that as soon as we let go of that, everything moves along better. Relationships blossom, work becomes easier, money flows in, and problems clear up because we are no longer trying to force ourselves."

How can we force ourselves and have life be good? Itís impossible, says Bacci. "If you look at people who have really good lives, most of them have a quality of peacefulness. They didnít get peaceful because they were successful. They became successful as a result of being balanced and peaceful. Look at golfer Tiger Woods, for example. Heís extremely focused, but heís also extremely relaxed. His mother has practiced Buddhist meditation for many years, and so has he. He obviously expresses the composure and the flow of a serious meditator. I donít think people have to meditate in a ritualized way. Meditation is simply the practice of calming your mind and body moment by moment and making that the pre-condition for doing anything."

Your Vision of a Quality Being

Bacci believes itís important to have a vision to grow into, or what healer/psychic Edgar Cayce called an inner ideal. She says, "By vision I donít mean being a CEO or something you do, but more of a quality that you want to bring into your day-to-day life. It might be a feeling of exuberance or courage or radiance, or a sense of flow. Your vision would be whatever pulls you forward in life. We all have to face a lot of hard times and disappointments in life, and since we literally do become what we focus on, by having a vision we can take ourselves through those hard times and bring into reality what we cherish. I discovered that in my healing, I had to fight the desire to bemoan my fate or keep wondering if Iíd ever become healthy. I had to give up spending time on those negative ideas because negative ideas definitely affect your biology. I learned to continually focus on an image of myself as vibrant and healthy, and that image taught my body how to find its way there. I had to be persistent for about ten years to achieve full healing, but I did get there." Bacci counsels that no matter where a person starts or what they are dealing with, keep to a moment by moment practice. Every time you practice releasing tension, you feel better in that moment, and as one moment builds on the next, slowly but surely you transform your life. Bacci leaves us with these reminders:

  • Learn to physically release tension in everything you do
  • In everything you do, make your first priority, not what youíre doing, but how you are living in your body while youíre doing it.
  • Learn to be soft and alive like a baby.

Ingrid Bacciís book, The Art of Effortless Living, is available at Amazon.com and all major bookstores. For her tapes or personal consultations contact her at www.ingridbacci.com or at 1 888-450-1241. She lives in Croton-on-Hudson just north of New York City.

Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her books include The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon Sense; Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life, and The Numerology Kit. She also co-authored with James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide and The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision--An Experiential Guide.


Click Here to Learn More About Carol Adrienne


Read Carol's Past Columns

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

December 2000

November 2000

October 2000

September 2000

August 2000

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000


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Some of Carol's Book Titles: 


Tools for Finding Your Life Purpose

  • Personal 30-page Numerology Life Chart
  • Visualization Tapes for:
  • Attracting What You Want
  • Staying Centered
  • Transforming Obstacles

Order online at www.spiralpath.com
Email cadrienne@spiralpath.com or call (510) 527-2213

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