Jim Leonard

Presentation + Questions & Answers
For CFS-FMS-Holistic Discussion Group
http://www.HolisticMed.Com/cfs/


To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: mgold@tiac.net
Subject: CFS/FMS: Introduction of Visiting Expert

Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 14:09:59 -0600

Hi!

I first became acquinted with the work of our next honored Visiting Expert, Jim Leonard, while experimenting with a variety of transformational healing techniques. I had attended quite a few weekend workshops that were focused on healing. However, once the workshops were over I returned to a life that I felt (at the time) was a mixture of positive and "living hell" without any powerful tools to improve things. I was looking for something that would help produce lasting and significant change/healing and something that could be used on a regular basis when needed. The process that Jim Leonard developed, called "Vivation" has helped me significantly in this regard -- both for *healing* and for *personal growth*. I highly recommend it.

Below is Jim Leonard's Curriculum Vitae. Please join me in welcoming him to the group! [Clap, clap, clap, clap!]

Jim Leonard's Curriculum Vitae

I was born in 1955 in San Bernardino, California, where I graduated one year early from Pacific High School.

At the University of California at Riverside I double-majored in Religious Studies and Computer Science.

For a period of slightly more than one year, I was employed as a computer programmer by the University of California at Santa Cruz in the Admissions Department.

I first became self-employed in the field of personal growth in 1978.

In 1979 I developed the Vivation Process, which is a feeling-level skill that I teach people so that they can resolve their own emotions, reduce the suffering associated with physical pain and other troublesome sensations, and generally feel better.

In 1980 I was ordained as a Healing Minister by the Eastern Orthodox Church (Malabar Rite, the Orthodox Church of India) and was ordered by Bishop Harold Freeman to teach Vivation throughout the world, which I have done. (Vivation is not religious in nature.)

My first book, Vivation: The Science of Enjoying All of Your Life (which I co-authored with Phil Laut) was originally published in 1983, sold approximately 100,000 copies in English and was translated in nine languages.

My second book, Your Fondest Dream, which is about practical applications of creativity, came out in English in 1989, and is still selling briskly in Spanish and French.

My third book, The Skill of Happiness, is also about the Vivation process, and is unusual in that it was published first in translation, in 1995, under contract with an Italian publisher, before it was published in the original English. It is also available in Spanish and French.

Since 1985 I have been traveling continuously teaching Vivation and skills of creativity, mostly for the public, but sometimes for companies. I have taught seminars in most major cities of the United States and Canada, and in eighteen European countries.

The largest company for which I have taught an in-house seminar is Hafnia, which is the largest Danish insurance company. For them I taught a one-day creativity seminar for their headquarters sales management team. They are still using some of the skills that I taught them in 1992.

I speak fluent Italian. At present I spend about half of my time teaching personal growth seminars in Italy, directly in the Italian language, without a translator.

###########

Jim Leonard's opening presentation will be sent out on Monday. The format of the presentation is a little different than normal. At first I was nervous and concerned about the format, but now I am quite excited about it.

Best Wishes,
- Mark
mgold@tiac.net

CFS/FMS Holistic Resource Center & Mailing List
http://www.HolisticMed.com/cfs/



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: CFS/FMS: Opening Presentation

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 23:44:39 -0600

Introduction to Vivation for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Copyright 2000 by Jim Leonard, the Inventor of the Vivation Process

I was very pleased when Mark Gold asked me to explain what Vivation can offer to people who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, because I know that Vivation can greatly reduce the subjective sense of suffering with this type of condition. Vivation is not a medical intervention, is not a treatment of any kind. Instead it works at the level of the patient's subjective experience. Vivation is a skill learned by the patient for self-application. The success of Vivation does not depend on diagnosis. In fact it works in exactly the same way on every source of suffering, regardless of the underlying cause. Although underlying conditions sometimes improve, the result of Vivation does not depend on that and Vivation does not purport to improve the underlying condition. Instead it works directly on the subjective sense of suffering. Reduction in the subjective sense of suffering often comes within the first few minutes of the first session.

Mark asked me to give a case history, and I have chosen a woman I worked with in San Francisco many years ago, not too long after I invented the Vivation Process. "Joan" had a horrible case of herpes zoster in the trigeminal nerve that caused excruciating pain in her face. Her pain was considered intractable by her doctors. She couldn't sleep. An otherwise strong person in her fifties, she came to me because she was suffering horribly.

I only gave Joan one session, with the introductory lesson I used in those days on The Five Elements of Vivation. In those days I normally took about two hours to give the introductory lesson and the session that followed her session also lasted about two hours, which means that we spent about four hours together.

Joan learned in that one lesson how to integrate her pain, and just as important, also the associated emotions of frustration, sadness and fear. She was able to self-apply Vivation without further lessons, and she very quickly resumed her normal, active life.

I never saw her again, but I spoke with her on the phone about every two weeks for the next several months. Her herpes zoster condition went completely into remission, which may or may not have been a result of doing Vivation. Nobody could possibly determine that, and it's not a claim I can make. However, she got relief during that first session with me and was able to Vive by herself ever after. The last time I talked with her, about six months after the session, she was leaving to go trekking in the Andes, and of course was very grateful for what I had taught her.

Results like Joan's are very common, although most people need more than one lesson, and I structure my lessons differently nowadays. (Nowadays I almost always give a one-hour lesson followed by a one-hour session.) Years after my session with Joan, I developed a better way of giving the first lesson, with a series of experiential exercises called "The Three Points to Remember." So nowadays most people get much further in their first session than most people did back in those early days.

Vivation is taught by people called "Vivation Professionals." Because I have been teaching primarily in Europe for the last ten years, there are not very many Vivation Professionals in the United States, which means that a patient may have to travel. However, since Vivation is a skill that the patient learns to self-apply after a few sessions, it is well worth making a journey to receive those sessions from a skillful Vivation Professional. Most Vivation Professionals are not doctors or psychotherapists, because Vivation is neither a medical intervention nor a form of psychotherapy. Instead Vivation is an existential meditation. Anyone can learn to do it within a few lessons.

For someone suffering from an illness like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, the most important lessons are about the Fourth Element of Vivation, called "Integration into Ecstasy." Including the initial lesson on the Three Points to Remember, in which the client learns to apply the Fourth Element "automatically," without actually learning anything technical about the Fourth Element itself, there are normally three lessons for the Fourth Element. These include the "Practical Fourth," in which the Vivation Professional helps the client to develop a very personal skill of integrating subjectively unpleasant experiences, and the "Long Fourth," in which the Vivation Professional demonstrates that everything integrates. Before committing to study with a particular Vivation Professional, and the possible travel and hotel expense, I would recommend interviewing the prospective Vivation Professional to find out a little bit about how she or he would give these three lessons. There is also at least one lesson for each of the other Five Elements, so normally there are at least seven lessons. Many Vivation Professionals also make available additional lessons. The skill can also be learned in seminars. Although the personal attention of the Vivation Professional is helpful, it is also true that many times the other students in a seminar can also be helpful. Seminars have their benefits and so do private sessions.

At present I have twelve different weekend seminars to present to the public on different themes. I teach Vivation in all of these seminars. My weekend seminar called "Lightening Up" was written specifically for teaching people with very difficult experiences how to apply the Fourth Element. It was originally written in Amsterdam for refugees of the war in Bosnia. But I also wrote it with the many people in mind whom I've worked with who learned Vivation for dealing with chronic pain. Now I've led this seminar many times for people with a wide variety of hard experiences including childhood sexual abuse, many types of compulsive behaviors, and recent loss of loved ones, just to show the breadth of this seminar, as well as for pain and war trauma.

In the United States I lead one ten-day training per year, in the summer in Northern California, which contains all the essential lessons, plus sessions in water, plus instruction in how to teach Vivation to others. Contact me right away if you are interested in this event.

A major benefit of Vivation for people who are applying it to clinical illness is that Vivation does not interfere with any form of treatment, physical or psychological. It is possible to use Vivation in conjunction with pain-relieving medications, psychoanalysis or any other course of treatment. Vivation often adds to the success of psychotherapy and other treatments. Vivation also does not depend on having success with pain medication or any other form of treatment. It can give great relief, at the level of the subjective experience of the patient, even in cases where no effective diagnosis or treatment is ever found.

Now I wish to share with the reader four articles which I originally wrote for the Vivation Newsletter. I also welcome questions and correspondence, especially by email. My edress is jimleonard@3dmail.com.

[Moderator Note: Please send questions to the list address during the week visit: January 24 - January 29. Note2: The articles will be forward to the list over the next few days.]



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: Vilik Rapheles vilik@peak.org
Subject: Vivation

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 22:34:51 -0800

Dear Jim,

I heard you were going to be on this list and joined especially to have this wonderful and rare opportunity to communicate with you. I have CFIDS, and I have your book and have done Vivation.

A few years ago I went to a Vivation workshop...one day. Then I went to the coast and for three days did nothing but Vivation. I was in bliss when I returned. But... I no longer could communicate with my mate. Words seemed like "jabber". I felt that I had somehow altered my whole metabolic system. My image of it was that I was breathing in some more primative and "uncivilized" way...I felt like the portrayals of native peoples I have seen...who move and talk so much more slowly...

About a week later, I "came out" of my blissful place and joined the jabberworld again. I have not so far been able to recreate that experience...but then maybe I'm not ready...because I would have to change so much about my life to be in that place...

A few months after that I joined a weekly Vivation group. We achieved such vibrational harmony without words. I went to...oh...twenty sessions. It was wonderful.

My experiences with Vivation were perhaps my first real glimpse into non-resistence. It did not seem to affect my CFIDS other than to in short stretches make me feel better. I am now involved in a philosophy which has brought me further along in working with nonresistence. I would say the two aspects are nonresistence to what is not wanted, and focusing on what is wanted, again without resistence. One idea that is in harmony with vivation is saying YES to everything.

I am so looking forward to this week with you. I would like to integrate Vivation again into what I am doing. Thank you for being here.

Very warm and welcoming regards,

Ms. Velique ~^^V^^~



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: Re: Vivation

Dear Ms. Velique-

I'm delighted to hear of your experiences with Vivation. Naturally I'm highly amused to hear about leaving the Jabberworld and then returning to it with a new perspective. Every individual who tries a Vivation session has an experience different from that of everyone else who does it. A very high percentage of all normal conversation exists for the purpose of suppressing feelings, which is not particularly a bad thing and is definitely a normal part of human life. But it's great to have a vivid experience of seeing through it!

Also for any one person who learns Vivation, every session is unique and completely different from every other session. It's never the same twice. That's because the things that get integrated stay integrated and don't come up anymore. I'm glad to hear that Vivation made you feel better. That's what it's all about. My suggestion is to keep doing it, and gradually the small permanent changes will add up to really huge permanent changes.

I get the impression from your letter that the philosophy of "non-resistance" that you are exploring probably helps you with the Fourth Element of Vivation. I hope that you are also somehow continuing to improve in the Third Element of Vivation, which means getting in touch with the subtle nuances of energy and sensation in your body. When these two things are combined we have integration.

I also really appreciate your comment about "breathing in a more primative way." This is more precisely true than you probably even realize. I often enjoy using cats to help people learn Circular Breathing in a way that is more direct and elegant than anything I can describe in words. Circular Breathing is really the most natural way for us to breathe. In their first Vivation session, most people find the breathing a little bit "techniquey," but after having a few integrations most people find that their breathing stays Circular all by itself, even when they are not paying any attention to it. Just as nobody needs to (or can!) teach anything to a cat, but every cat naturally does Circular Breathing all the time.

I'm curious about something... did your Vivation teacher teach you to use the Three Points to Remember? These would have been taught with a series of experiential exercises. If you have not yet been led through these exercises, then probably a whole new dimension of Vivation still awaits you.

Thanks for writing.

Best wishes,

JIM LEONARD



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: CFS/FMS: Vivation Article #1 of 4

VIVATION IS AN EFFECTIVE METHOD FOR
COPING WITH PHYSICAL PAIN
Copyright 1994 by Jim Leonard

Vivation is a self-directed, feeling-level process for improving the quality of life. Most of what has been written and taught about Vivation over the years has emphasized one aspect of its power -- its ability to increase emotional harmony through integration of feelings into one's sense of well-being. But Vivation is also a potent tool for coping with physical pain. For some people who suffer from medically intractable, chronic, physical pain, Vivation may be the most effective (and least expensive!) way to find relief. Furthermore, each of us has physical pain from time to time. Vivation can reduce the suffering that healthy people experience from sports injuries, hangovers, childbirth and the like.

How It Works

Vivation works at the level of your subjective experience. Vivation does not purport to heal the physical cause of pain. Instead it transforms your experience of the pain, even while the cause is still there.

There is an essential difference between pain and suffering. Physical pain is a pattern of neurological activity. There are two kinds of physical pain: acute pain, when your body is alerting you to something that needs your attention, and chronic pain, a short circuit in the warning system that keeps the alarm blaring. Pain is objective. Suffering, in contrast, is the subjective sense that your experience is bad, that you'd be better off if things were different.

Your subjective sense of well-being does not depend on what is happening objectively in your body or your life. People often suffer when there is nothing wrong at all, simply because they imagine (consciously or subconsciously) that things should be better. Even if you are experiencing physical pleasure, if you are not at peace with it, you suffer. Surrender can remove suffering from any experience -- even the experience of painful death, as is widely reported by both observers of the dying and those who have had near death experiences. If you make complete peace with anything, including any physical sensation, then you no longer suffer from it. Vivation provides skillful means for making peace with any experience you have. The result is not only immediate reduction of suffering but also a greater receptivity to all the good things of life and an enhanced resourcefulness for solving problems and achieving excellence.

The result of focusing on something you feel and making peace with it is called "integration." Integration of an emotion results in having a positive emotion about something you previously had a negative emotion about. Integration of physical pain means that, even if the sensation is unchanged, the pain no longer limits your ability to enjoy the present moment.

When you Vive, you generate intense Love Energy and pour it continuously into the sensation or emotion you wish to integrate. Your Vivation Professional teaches you how to create this Love Energy strongly, reliably and persistently and how to direct it into the exact areas of your body and psyche that need it most. In one moment the physical pain itself might be what needs your Love the most. A moment later, the frustration or fear associated with the pain might be more intense than the pain itself. You simply focus your Love Energy on whichever feeling is strongest in the present moment, monitoring closely any subtle changes in what you feel. You do this in a relaxed, non-controlling way (the only way to generate the Love Energy). Steadfastly pouring Love into something that has been bothering you causes a massive transformation in your subjective experience. This transformation, this integration, neither depends upon, nor necessarily produces, any physical change. Vivation is a skill. You learn the skill from a Vivation Professional and then, with or without assistance, you apply the skill within yourself. The results you achieve depend on how skillfully you Vive. In some cases a single Vivation session may integrate pain permanently. In other cases, a session may give partial relief, or it may give complete relief that lasts for hours or days. Practice makes perfect. You can learn Vivation quickly and inexpensively, then use it as much as you want.

I have generally found that people with chronic physical pain learn Vivation easily. This is because most people who have chronic pain experience times when the pain is so overwhelming that they have no choice but to surrender to it. And they find a paradoxical relief in the surrendering. For this reason, teaching these people a skill of surrendering is easy.

Tips on Applying Vivation to Physical Pain

Although Vivation is actually one single skill, we describe it in terms of Five Elements. The Five Elements are applied simultaneously to produce the result. Here are the most important things to know about applying each of The Five Elements to pain:

The First Element, Circular Breathing, moves life force energy through your body in waves, which you can readily feel as a pleasurable tingle. In combination with the other Elements, you use these waves of energy to massage your entire being with Love. In applying the First Element to physical pain, it is particularly helpful to match the breathing rhythm to the sensation. This usually means a faster and shallower breathing rhythm while the pain is intense. Circular Breathing always produces better results when you imagine that you are pulling each inhale into your body directly through the strongest feeling.

The Second Element, Complete Relaxation, is very important in integrating pain, because tension and resistance make pain worse. Relaxation allows us to take the pain one moment at a time. Relaxation also allows the Love Energy to circulate freely. When dealing with pain, Vivers usually do better lying down.

The Third Element, Awareness in Detail, is essential both in generating the Love Energy and in directing it to where it is needed most. Focus on the exact sensation that is strongest in the present moment. Explore its every nuance and especially the subtle changes that happen from moment to moment. If your mind wanders, bring your attention back to focusing on the sensation. In life and in Vivation, if you voluntarily give your attention to something that is calling out to you, it may not have to call out so urgently. Continuously explore the emotions you have about the pain, too.

The Fourth Element, Integration into Ecstasy, means making peace with what you're feeling. You change from a negative perspective, in which reality is compared to an imaginary standard, "how it should be," to a positive one in which you accept reality exactly as it is. This unconditional acceptance is what puts the Love in the Love Energy. Some ways of making this shift can be stated in words and are called "Fourth Element Techniques". I have identified more than one hundred Fourth Element Techniques. Here are a few of the best ones for dealing with physical pain:

"Notice that what you are experiencing is not infinitely bad. Be grateful it's as good as it is." No matter how bad anything is, you can always be grateful it's not worse. When you're already focusing on how bad something is, it's often easier to focus first on gratitude that it's not even worse, then focus on gratitude that it's as good as it is.

"Compare it only to itself." A stubbed toe only causes suffering if you compare it to how it feels when it's "unstubbed". Compared only to itself, it simply has sharp, throbbing sensations that need not detract from the fundamental pleasure of being alive.

"Be open to enjoying it in an unusual way." Life is a miracle that can be enjoyed in infinite variations. Most of us needlessly limit the scope of what we allow ourselves to enjoy. Many "painful" sensations can be enjoyed easily if we stop insisting on enjoying only "pleasurable" ones.

Expand your compassion for all people who experience similar things. Having pain increases your compassion for others who experience pain. Focusing on your compassion for others will greatly assist you in integrating your own feelings.

"Give all parts of yourself unconditional love." When part of your body is hurting, it is especially asking for your love right then. Cursing your head when it hurts will only make it hurt more. Instead focus on giving it love, just the way you would give love and comfort to a crying child.

"Surrender to the fact that it is the way it is whether you like it or not." This is sort of like saying to yourself, "What I am experiencing really is horrible, but it just is the way it is whether I like it or not." This doesn't sound very positive, and yet it does work to cause integration. You just give up resistance to the feeling.

The Fifth Element, Do Whatever You Do -- Willingness is Enough, means that you keep focusing on your willingness to have a positive outcome somehow, even if you can't imagine how there could be one. Bear in mind throughout the session that this willingness is far more important than doing the technique correctly.

The Three Points to Remember, the most modern, powerful way of applying the skills of Vivation, were originally created to help people integrate pain. They make staying in all Five Elements easier. See Vivation Newsletter #4 for a detailed article about these.

Application of Vivation to physical pain is an important, exciting aspect of this work, with great potential for serving humanity. I invite questions, comments and suggestions from Vivation Professionals, researchers and the interested public.



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: mgold@tiac.net
Subject: CFS/FMS: Questions for Jim Leonard

Jim,

I have a few questions for you that may interest some members of the group as well.

  1. I have a list of some of the web pages where practitioners can be found:

    USA & Canada
    http://www.vivation.com/
    http://www.vivation.com/net/ViveProsState.htm

    Italy
    http://www.vivation.it/
    http://www.vivation.it/elenco.htm

    Spain
    http://www.redactiva.es/vivation/
    http://www.redactiva.es/vivation/profesi.htm

    Germany & Switzerland
    http://www.vivation.de
    http://www.vivation.de/lehrerinnen.htm

    We have a significant number of people on the group from The Netherlands, Australia, and some from the U.K. Are there any lists of Vivation practitioners for those areas that we could get from a web page or in hard copy?

  2. Many people with FMS and CFS have sleep deprivation and "brain fog." Have you found that Vivation can help in this area? Would you encourage doing Vivation to help one sleep at bedtime?

  3. In your books and articles you discuss "body leadership" and automatically adjusting the breath depending on the intensity of what one feels. When I tried Vivation many years ago, I got wonderful/peaceful sessions but used primarily a slow, full circular breath. However, I believe I stayed "pleasantly suppressed" on some level because I didn't (and perhaps wasn't ready to) activate more material.

    Now, when I do Vivation sessions myself, I often go into a fuller and faster breath soon after I start in order to activate material -- even though that breath doesn't necessarily match how I feel. Do you think this is a useful technique for some people? I was hoping you could comment on what I am doing, not only for myself, but it would be useful as I work more with others. (I hope the questions is clear!)

Thanks again for all your help!

Best Wishes,
- Mark
mgold@tiac.net

CFS/FMS Holistic Resource Center & Mailing List
http://www.HolisticMed.com/cfs/



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: Re: Questions for Jim Leonard

> We have a significant number of people on the group from The
> Netherlands, Australia, and some from the U.K. Are there any
> lists of Vivation practitioners for those areas that we could
> get from a web page or in hard copy?

I live in Amsterdam so I am available to teach Vivation in The Netherlands. Otherwise, in the past we have had Vivation Professionals in The Netherlands, Australia and the U.K., but there are no Vive Pros presently taking clients in any of those countries. I am committed to teaching Vivation throughout the world however, and it would not be too difficult to talk me into traveling to any of those places.

Also I'm afraid I must say that the American website is not maintained very well. This is through no fault of Lee Kuntz, the Director of Associated Vivation Professionals in the USA and Canada. Lee does a great job and it's not actually his job to maintain the website. You can get a better list of Vive Pros in the USA by phoning toll-free 1-800-829-2625. I hope we can motivate our American webmaster, who is a wonderful but very busy guy, to put a little more time into this website in the future. In the meantime, I strongly recommend that Americans call the 800 number.

> 2. Many people with FMS and CFS have sleep deprivation and "brain
> fog." Have you found that Vivation can help in this area?
> Would you encourage doing Vivation to help one sleep at bedtime?

The answer is a little more complex than the question. Vivation is helpful in integrating anything that one feels. To some extent, it is even possible to substitute Vivation for part of one's normal sleep. Feelings of tiredness, sleepiness and "fogginess" can all be integrated. Also when sleep is made more difficult by feelings in the body, including anxiety or pain, Vivation can resolve the feeling and thus make sleep easier. However, part of developing skill with Vivation is learning to keep one's attention focused on the feeling awareness of the body, which is something quite different from falling asleep. So it's important to realize that it does not directly induce sleep.

> 3. In your books and articles you discuss "body leadership" and
> automatically adjusting the breath depending on the intensity of
> what one feels. ....

Vivation is a skill and adjusting the breathing rhythm is a component of that skill. It is not the purpose of the breathing to change what we are feeling. I like to describe integration, the result of Vivation, as "receiving the energy" from the activated feeling. So the real purpose of Circular Breathing in Vivation is to develop an "energy connection" with a feeling that was previously suppressed. One of the most important aspects of developing skill with Circular Breathing is adjusting the breathing rhythm flexibly. One of the best tools for developing this flexibility is The Breathing Range Exercise, which is described in _The Skill of Happiness_. As we explore the feeling that is predominant in the present moment, we inhale through the feeling and play with the breathing rhythm. Playfulness is the most important virtue for adjusting the breathing rhythm well. Playfulness works much better than trying to find the "right" breahing rhythm. With practice the feeling itself naturally suggests changes in the breathing rhythm. I am glad that you have experimented with faster breathing rhythms, because these are often very helpful. It does sound a bit like you are settled into one main habit with the breathing rhythm, almost always breathing faster and fuller in the first part of the session. My main suggestion would be to let yourself be even more playful and experimental. Attaining integration does not depend on somehow finding the "right" rhythm.

I also have another comment about seeking activation. The body automatically activates the right feeling at the right time. We don't need to do anything at all to make the happen, including breathing in a different way. Instead we put our attention into exploring whatever sensation happens to be the predominant one in the present moment. The predominant sensation in the present moment could be something very different from what we would classify as "activation". This point might seem subtle, but it's extremely important -- the very essence of having Body Leadership. Don't focus on trying to get to the next important feeling. Focus 100% on the feeling that is already present in this moment, even if it seems like a feeling that has no importance or relevance. This short explanation will probably not be sufficient to develop Body Leadership. There are lessons and exercises to help with this. This point is actually more important than Circular Breathing itself, far more important than adjusting the breathing rhythm.



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: CFS/FMS: Vivation Article #2 of 4

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 13:59:43 -0600

VIVATION: THE SKILL OF HAPPINESS
Revised Edition
Copyright 1994 by Jim Leonard

Happiness means enjoying life. Happiness is a skill. As with other skills, you can get better at it.

There are two separate skills involved in living well. One is the skill of achieving your goals. The other skill is something most people never think of as being a skill: the skill of enjoying what you already have. Although getting what you want is obviously important, the skill of being happy right now is even more important. You'll be more successful at achieving your goals if you know how to be happy at every step along the way. You won't dissipate energy on friction. You'll be alert to unexpected opportunities. And you'll generate enthusiasm continuously, which will move you powerfully toward your ultimate fulfillment.

I am author of two books: Vivation: The Science of Enjoying All of Your Life and Your Fondest Dream. Your Fondest Dream is about discovering what you truly want most in life and creating that. My first book, however, and this article are about how to be happy with what you've already got.

First of all, "what you've got" is the present moment. That's all you've got and that's everything there is. That you exist to be experiencing anything at all is vastly more significant than any particular thing you might experience.

Within every human is the remembrance that our existence is fundamentally miraculous. Beyond the stream of activity and worries is a centered space of wisdom and perfection. The more we remain consciously connected with this perfection consciousness, the more quickly, and less stressfully, we gain the satisfaction that comes from living well.

In spite of this, most people think they can feel happy only under special circumstances, when everything is going their way. They expend their energy wishing things were different, struggling to make things different, or trying to escape from their feelings about things being the way they are. What a lot of needless suffering!

Your degree of happiness is determined by your attitude about what happens in your life, not by the things, themselves, that happen. Every adversity contains the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. Finding the good buried within the unpleasant is an art.

I have known many people with severe physical disabilities who were happier than most able-bodied people. I'll never forget the time a college friend of mine, paralyzed from the neck down, told me that because of what he'd learned about life from being quadriplegic, he was grateful he'd had his accident!

What he had learned is that existence itself is infinitely valuable.

Consider a man who believes that what would make him happy is to own a Mercedes. No matter how strong his belief, he is wrong: the truth is, only he can make himself happy.

The only thing absolutely necessary for your happiness is your own existence. However, you only experience happiness to the degree that you allow yourself to receive, in the depth of your being, the good available in the present moment, with everything exactly the way it is. Again, this is a skill and you can get better at it.

That people find so much to complain about is not a sign of how bad their lives are but a sign of how poor their skill of happiness is.

What does it take to enjoy every moment unconditionally? What is this skill of happiness?

Simply put, it is the skill of not making yourself unhappy. You don't have to do anything special to enjoy something. Because your existence is miraculous, enjoyment is natural and available at every moment.

In order to not enjoy something, you must block your awareness of what is good about it, and block your awareness that existence itself is fundamentally good. People do this by insisting that what they are experiencing should be different from how it is. Doing so separates them from the reality of their situation and shifts their attention from the good in what they're experiencing to the gap between how it is and how it should be. The term I use for this is "make-wrong".

You make something wrong when you compare it to an imaginary standard, such as "how it should be," "how you wish it were," "what somebody else has," "how good things used to be back in the good old days," and so on.

I'm sure you've noticed, by this point in your life, that things are not the way you think they should be. Things are the way they are. Your ability to be happy depends on your ability to be in harmony with reality as it is.

This does not mean you give up making things better; quite the opposite. But consider this: Even if you succeed at making things better five minutes from now, that does you no good right now. Only your ability to improve your relationship to things as they are right now can make you happier.

Your relationship to what you are experiencing is called the "context" in which you hold the experience. Whenever you experience anything, you hold it in one particular context, just as whenever you look at something, you see it from one particular perspective. You can change contexts or perspectives quickly, but you can only use one at a time. It is impossible to think about anything without having a context. You can either choose your context consciously, or you can let your subconscious mind choose your context for you.

Everything about the way something affects you is determined by the context in which you hold it. You can hold anything in a context that makes you inspired and creative, or you can hold the same thing in a context that makes you helpless and depressed. You always have the choice.

Negativity can be defined as contexts that reduce your happiness. A negative context is any context in which you compare something to an imaginary standard and decide that what you are imagining would be better than reality.

To clarify this point, you only make something wrong and cause yourself problems by telling yourself that what you're experiencing should be different from how it is right now. Suppose you are building a house and are looking at a vacant lot with piles of lumber and building materials. There is no limit to how happy you can be: as long as it's OK with you that the house is in your future, and wood, nails, and plans for hard work are in your present. But if you tell yourself, "It's July and the job should be done by now," then you are separating yourself from reality and needlessly reducing your happiness.

A positive context is any context in which you embrace reality as it is, without comparing it to an imaginary standard. A positive context not only makes you happier than a negative context, it also makes you more effective. When you are holding your current situation in a positive context, you are focusing on what's useful, instead of complaining about how bad things are.

Additionally, a positive context increases your motivation since it enables you to be motivated by enthusiasm. People often expect negativity to be a good source of motivation, but it is not. If negativity really motivated people, then the most negative people would be the most productive. What actually happens is that the most negative people commit suicide and produce nothing. Cultivating enthusiasm increases motivation and productivity.

Every shift from focusing on what-isn't-there-that-should-be-there to focusing on what-is-there-that's-useful, produces a creative breakthrough, a quantum leap in effectiveness.

Once people have decided that something is "bad" or lacking in some way, they often have difficulty changing to a positive context. The purpose of this article is to describe a simple method for making this shift quickly and reliably, a process you can use in your day-to-day life, a process called Vivation.

Vivation works at the feeling level and thus bypasses the traps of mental processing. Just as we have a variety of senses through which we perceive the world around us, we have parallel "senses" through which we perceive our thoughts and memories, our inner world. Everybody is to some extent internally visual, internally verbal, and internally feeling. All these internal senses are interconnected and operate continuously, whether or not you are aware of them. Let's explore the feeling sense, since that is important in Vivation.

You have feelings about everything. Whenever you give your attention to a particular thing, be it "external" or "internal," you feel something about it. The feeling you get is specific. You get a different feeling for each different thing you consider. For example, when you think about different people, you get a different feeling about each one, and you get yet another feeling when you think about a plate of spaghetti.

Whenever you make anything wrong, you simultaneously make your corresponding feeling wrong. This simply means that whenever you find fault with something, you get an unpleasant feeling in your body. However, when you stop making that thing wrong, your corresponding feeling not only stops hurting, it becomes a source of pleasure.

Here's the most important idea in this whole article: By changing your relationship to your feeling about something, you change your relationship to the thing itself.

Vivation gives you the skill to tune in your feelings, experience them vividly and enjoy them!

Enjoying an "unpleasant" feeling is much easier than it sounds. People talk about their "negative" emotions as though they don't enjoy them, but they act as though they do enjoy them. For example, most people would say they don't like feeling afraid, yet scary movies do billions of dollars of business every year. If people didn't enjoy sadness they wouldn't listen to sad songs. If they didn't like feeling angry they wouldn't watch the news. Words like "sadness" and "fear" are only labels, anyway, applied by the mind to a physical experience. The feeling of aliveness in the body is always pleasurable, even when the aliveness takes the form of an emotion -- provided you don't resist feeling the emotion. By feeling your emotions honestly, while enjoying your aliveness unconditionally, you produce tremendous benefits for yourself.

Emotions are like everything else: when you don't make them wrong they contribute to your benefit and pleasure. Ceasing to make an emotion wrong causes the feeling to integrate into your sense of well-being. All the unpleasantness spontaneously disappears and you gain a fresh and positive perspective on whatever the feeling was about. Because Vivation causes something that had seemed bad to integrate into your sense of well-being, we call the result of Vivation "integration". Integration means giving your attention to what you have been making wrong and receiving all of the good it has for you.

You can integrate anything in your life that has been bothering you and you have a choice about how you do it. You can integrate something mentally by choosing a positive context for it. Or, you can integrate it physically by embracing the feeling it produces in your body.

Integrating at the feeling level is better in many ways. Feeling is immediate and thinking is not. You can feel and integrate your emotions about something instantaneously, whereas using your mind to try and figure out what's good about it might take a very long time. A benefit of working at the feeling level is that feelings are inherently honest. Mentally, you can confuse yourself for years at a time, but your honest feelings stay with you. Another benefit of processing at the feeling level is that you can feel the integration happen. Mental processes often leave a lingering doubt about whether you have done enough to achieve a lasting result. In Vivation, you focus right on the feeling that has been troubling you and you feel the exact moment it integrates.

Finally, a tremendous benefit of working at the feeling level is that you can use breathing to enhance your ability to integrate your feelings.

Vivation utilizes a specific breathing skill to connect you consciously with the good that is present in all your feelings. The breathing itself does not cause the result; integration is caused by exploring and embracing the feeling. The breathing skill helps enormously by developing an energy-level rapport with the feeling. Learning to harmonize your breathing with each feeling as it comes up makes exploring the feeling -- and enjoying it -- much easier.

When people don't know how to integrate their feelings, they suppress the feelings they find unpleasant. Suppression does not make feelings go away. Suppressed feelings remain active in the mind and body, causing behavior and situations that recreate the very emotions the person is trying to escape. Vivation enables you to gently and voluntarily reexperience your suppressed feelings and integrate them.

The skill of Vivation has Five Elements: 1 Circular Breathing, 2 Complete Relaxation, 3 Awareness in Detail, 4 Integration into Ecstasy, and 5 Do Whatever You Do: Willingness is Enough.

The people who teach these skills are called Vivation Professionals. There are Vivation Professionals throughout the world. Every Vivation Professional has the goal of teaching you to use Vivation by yourself in your day-to-day life.

In your first Vivation session, your Vivation Professional will lead you through some experiential exercises to teach you the Five Elements. Then, with his or her support and guidance, you will Vive, giving yourself a fascinating and deeply pleasurable experience. At first you'll Vive lying down or sitting. After a few sessions, you'll learn to Vive while engaging in other activities, which is called "Vivation in Action". From then on you can use Vivation anytime, anywhere to cause emotional resolution and creative breakthrough. Vivation also makes what you're already enjoying even more pleasurable.

I developed Vivation in 1979. Since that time I have personally conducted more than 35,000 Vivation sessions in twenty countries. I have also trained hundreds of people to have rewarding careers as Vivation Professionals.

Vivation is a registered service mark and publishing trademark of Associated Vivation Professionals.

To obtain a calendar of events, a list of Vivation Professionals in your area, phone toll-free:

ASSOCIATED VIVATION PROFESSIONALS
1-800-829-2625
visit our website: http://www.vivation.com/



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: Vilik Rapheles vilik@peak.org Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 17:56:22 -0800

Jim,

I do have memory of the first person I went to talking about them. I think the second person may have gone through the training before you created them. And, no, we didn't have the teaching part in the group...we just "did it"...

So...I am going to "speculate" on these three ideas.

>1. Explore the Subtle Changes.

This one I don't remember at all. What I think it means is be aware of the body/mind constellation, in detail...to let that be the full focus of awareness... so the attention would be on...oh...my stomach just tightened up...actually that isn't tighten...it's more like...clutched...and it's more on the right side...so I'll breath into that...oh I feel like rolling up in a ball...I feel a little nausea...breath into that...I feel like saying no...now my hand is tense...I feel like hitting someone...who...breath into that...

Actually this scenerio is not subtle...as I experience subtle...so exploring the subtle changes would be the nuances of what I describe here...going into each of the feelings...deeper...refining the experience...from generalized awareness to awareness of subtle...well...changes...

>2. Inhale Through the Strongest Feeling.
~~~~~~~~~~~
As I learned it, this was simply inhale through the chest, head, etc, wherever the strongest feeling was.

3. Enjoy this Moment as Much as You Can.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oh...this is a blast...because this is what my life is about now!!!! Yeah!!!! Don't judge, push against, resist, criticize self....find a way to enjoy and love self in the moment, any way possible...by reframing the experience, by finding something to appreciate, just any way I can...as much as I can.

So how am i doin'? :):):)

~^^V^^~



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Hi,

When I tell you that it's impossible to get the Three Points to Remember without being led through the exercises, I mean it. It's just like you can't learn to play the violin just by reading three concepts. Your speculation is as good as anybody's and yet it's far from the mark. I was hesitant to even say the names of the Three Points to Remember, because inevitably a person comes up with something for what they mean, which is wrong. Also if I just wrote out the exercises, you wouldn't get it by just reading that either. This is obvious because you could read the exerices in 5 minutes of less, but to lead you through the exercises would take about an hour, none of which is extra time. Vivation is an experiential skill, not an intellectual understanding. My suggestion is that you let go of trying to understand the Three Points to Remember intellectually and just accept that you don't know them until you are led through the exercises. Obviously my life would be a lot easier if it were possible to teach Vivation through writing, but it is not. I consider myself to be a pretty capable writer, and certainly my writer's ego would love for me to be able to teach absolutely anything by writing about it well enough. However I accept that, for example, even with hundreds of golf instruction books written, many of them quite good, it's simply impossible to learn to swing a golf club well simply by reading about it, no matter how well written the book. It's the same with flying an airplane, and it's the same with learning Vivation. It can only be learned by studying with someone who is skillful at using Vivation for himself. You also can't learn to swing a golf club from someone who doesn't know how to do it for himself, or to sail a boat from a landlubber. We all have very strong minds and so our minds would like to think that they can grasp absolutely everything, but it's simply not true. This is one of the benefits of practicing Vivation--it helps the mind to accept its limitations (because every session shows that the body is far smarter than the mind).

Also, for the record, I am naturally very opinionated about what I think are the best methods for teaching Vivation to clients. I feel very strongly that someone who purports to teach the Three Points to Remember by just discussing them and without the exercises is doing a huge disservice to the public, because after that the students will think they know the Three Points to Remember, and so will probably not want to take another course with the Three Points, but yet they in fact don't know them and can't use them to cause integration. I sincerely wish that no Vivation Professional would do this. But I haven't set up Associated Vivation Professionals in a controlling way. I actually have very little control over how anybody teaches Vivation.

Thanks for your question.

>....
> So...I am going to "speculate" on these three ideas.
> >1. Explore the Subtle Changes.
>....



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: mgold@tiac.net
Sujbect: A couple of additional questions

Jim,

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions this week!

One thing I've noticed in giving myself Vivation sessions is that often times a significant sensation that comes up during the session, say, for example, a tight feeling in the diaphram area does not always go away. Sometimes, I can use the Vivation five elements (and 3 points to remember) and end up "making peace" with the feeling in the body. But what seems to happen is that it goes away shortly after the session -- within an hour or two afterwards.

So, I'm wondering if this is common. Also, I'm not sure if what to make of such experiences as far as integration goes. I sometimes wonder if I'm trying too hard to integrate it and losing focus on sensation itself. Pain felt during my sessions integrates *and* goes away. But sometimes visceral area tightness comes but doesn't go away until after the session. Hmmm.

The second question is whether you have had any experiences working with persons diagnosed with Attention Deficit [Hyperactivity] Disorder -- adults or children. Some people on this group have that diagnosis as well. And, as you may know, I run an ADD/ADHD group too.

Thank you again for all your help!

Best Wishes,
- Mark
mgold@tiac.net

CFS/FMS Holistic Resource Center & Mailing List
http://www.HolisticMed.com/cfs/



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: Re: A couple of additional questions

> One thing I've noticed in giving myself Vivation sessions is that often
> times a significant sensation that comes up during the session, say, for
> example, a tight feeling in the diaphram area does not always go away.
>....

This is reasonably common. It happens more for people in their first period of using Vivation, and more often in self-Vivation than in coached sessions. You are really quite astute in your speculation about what causes it. Yes, indeed, it is related to trying too hard to "integrate" it (I'll explain the quotation marks shortly) and not enough on the feeling. Trying to make the feeling go away is a holdover from not knowing how to do Vivation! It's better to let go of "trying to integrate" and instead to focus on the subtle changes that are already happening within the feeling in _this_ moment and enjoy the feeling the way it is. (Or at least fill yourself with gratitude that it's not worse. Or however _you personally_ apply the Fourth Element!) So now you know, "integration is the opposite of trying to integrate." All of this is really related to the Fifth Element, which is basically about letting go of trying to cause a result in linear time and just increasing your appreciation of the present moment.

I also want to say that integration is often like a cascade, or like tumbling dominoes. When, during the session, you make the slightest start on accepting the feeling, integration is inevitable, even if it takes until after the session for the last dominoe to fall.

> The second question is whether you have had any experiences working with
> persons diagnosed with Attention Deficit [Hyperactivity] Disorder --
> adults or children. Some people on this group have that diagnosis as
> well. And, as you may know, I run an ADD/ADHD group too.

I have worked rather a lot with people diagnosed with ADD and Vivation is exactly what they need! Very often they learn the breathing and the Fourth Element easily, and can learn the Second and Third Elements through the First and Fourth Elements. They need rather frequent Fifth Element assists, but then so does everyone.

Now I'll translate all of that into English: People with ADD often have rather quick and curious minds, and like to feel that they are developing mastery over a skill. So they learn rather easily how to look at the same thing from many different points of view (part of the Fourth Element -- Integration into Ecstasy). And they learn the breathing rather easily. Every Element contains every other Element, so it is possible to teach someone how to relax (the Second Element) and turn their attention inward (the Third Element) _through_ the Elements that are naturally stronger for them. (To some extent we always have to teach every new client how to do the Elements that they start off being weaker at by expanding their skill with the Elements that they are naturally stronger at.) People with ADD need to receive a lot of encouragement and a lot of reminders about why we are doing this instead of running off to the next impulse (these are part of supporting the Fifth Element) but this kind of support is helpful to all human beings anyway.



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: "Baukje J."
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: A couple of additional questions

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 19:48:32 +0100 (MET)

At 10:44 29-1-2000 -0600, you wrote:
>I have worked rather a lot with people diagnosed with ADD and Vivation is
>exactly what they need!

Have you also been working with people who were extremely sensitive of stimuli, e.g., noise? This is a big problem for me, and the way I experience it, it seems to be a kind of integration problem pre-eminently.

Thanks,
Baukje (Enschede, the Netherlands)



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: jimleonard@3dmail.com
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: A couple of additional questions

I have worked with many many people who were too sensitive to stimuli, and Vivation is perfect for them, because in every case there is an underlying emotion (in my experience usually a combination of fear and frustration) which can be integrated permanently very quickly. This is the kind of problem that disappears so completely that very often the client cannot even remember that they used to have the problem. I often do private sessions in the home of the client exactly for the purpose of having their normal noises around them so that they can integrate those. It's very easy to apply Vivation to this kind of problem, and very easy to teach the skill to someone with this kind of problem, because the feelings are so much on the surface.



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: Vilik Rapheles vilik@peak.org
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 15:49:55 -0800

Jim....

How would I find a professional? I called the number in the back of the book at one point...I can't remember the details but I got no answer or no call back or something...

I am in Corvallis Oregon...near Eugene, Salem, Portland.

~^^V^^~



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: mgold@tiac.net
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Hi!

Jim gave posted the new number to call. I posted a web page list of practitioners in various countries:


and Jim noted:


I hope this helps!

Best Wishes,
- Mark
mgold@tiac.net

CFS/FMS Holistic Resource Center & Mailing List
http://www.HolisticMed.com/cfs/



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: Vilik Rapheles vilik@peak.org
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 13:43:13 -0800

Thanks! where are you Mark? The professionals here don't do the teaching as Jim is recommending...in fact on didn't even know about the new book. Yet I had such an extraordinary experience, still.

~^^V^^~



To: cfs-fms@holisticmed.com
From: mgold@tiac.net
Subject: Re: CFS/FMS: Re: Vivation

Hi!

You do not have to learn Vivation with the Three Points to Remember techniques. If you learn without them, you will get good sessions. You will probably get better sessions with them, however. I learned without them first and had excellent sessions.

I'm in New Hampshire. I am not teaching Vivation professionally *at the moment*, but will be very soon. I am working with friends at this time.

What you might consider is travelling to a location with an experienced Vivation practitioner and taking a series of lessons for 4-7 days. That will likely be enough so that you can give yourself sessions and do Vivation in Action.

Also, there are few things that you may want to consider as you explore transformational processes: 1) having some sort of support network where you can share your experiences and feelings (e.g., CFS/FMS support group, family, friends, transformational healing group, minister, etc.); 2) getting an ocassional relaxing massage; and 3) reading the Visiting Expert archive ( http://www.holisticmed.com/cfs/#experts ) and the ideas presented on this list.

Jim's latest book is pretty much sold out. However, he did tell me he has some copies (20 I believe). You can email him right away if you want a copy: jimleonard@3dmail.com. I believe he suggested that you can improve you skill on the Third Element. He has some tips in that book for doing that.

I hope this helps!

P.S. -- Today was his last day on the group as the honored Visiting Expert.

Best Wishes,
- Mark
mgold@tiac.net

CFS/FMS Holistic Resource Center & Mailing List
http://www.HolisticMed.com/cfs/