In Rhythms Yoga

A vulnerable blog. May my story touch your life in some small way.

I Will Create My Life In My 16 Hour Day

-by Christi Iacono

A photo of me that represents discovering happiness, confidence and freedom.

What do you choose to do with the 16 hours in your day? Is this news to you, that there are really only 16 hours to live instead of 24? It certainly was new to me. What will you do in your waking hours? How will you construct your life? What steps will you take to fulfill your dreams?  These are questions that helped me restructure my life and question if I was actually moving forward towards my dreams. They were presented to me by my teacher, Rosemary Ellsworth Brown, PhD. May my story help to inspire you in some small way.

This past summer, I committed to a process of daily work, with a spiritual teacher, an enlightened witness. It was a unique and life-changing experience. Rosemary

Ellsworth Brown, PhD, dedicated her life to finding healing for herself and guiding others towards healing. Rosemary got her doctorate at Union Institute and University in Vermont. “The focus of my research was what was effective in 12-step programs and why people relapse. Over time it evolved into looking at healing the cause of addictive behavior rather than symptom management,” she said. She continued her search focusing on peace studies, and the causes of prejudice and violence in the home and on a collective level.  She has her PhD in counseling psychology and spent years helping others in traditional talk therapy. She says talk therapy is part of the problem. When we talk about our problems it embeds them only deeper into the psyche. We are meant to solve problems. I would describe her as a spiritual therapist and one that made a major impact on me, and helped me find healing.

I learned about Rosemary from my friend, Carolena. I was struggling in my yoga and meditation practice. I had discovered pain and unhappiness in my life that I could not handle alone. I temporarily quit my practice. My body did not feel like a safe place to visit and come home to. It housed fear and anxiety. Carolena encouraged me with her story of powerful transformation. She could access joy in her life at any given moment. She was a new person with perspective and clarity. Carolena’s story was convincing and she embodied everything that I couldn’t access, peace of mind and clarity. I reached out to her teacher, Rosemary Ellsworth Brown, PhD.

Rosemary is the author of Addiction is the Symptom. She asked me to read her book. Through reading, I learned about the cause of addictive behavior: fear, control and manipulation. I learned that we are all susceptible and display issues of control and addiction. Addiction is fear-based and comes in many forms; food, alcohol, chemicals, exercise, work, internet, shopping, relationships, etc…. I learned about emotional dependency, the root cause of all addictions, and how we often look outside of ourselves for emotional and spiritual validation, acceptance and love.

The next step on my journey was to start the work. Rosemary asked if I could follow directions precisely. I answered, “yes.” The work was relatively simple, but not necessarily easy. It was a commitment. I worked about 20 minutes a day and I scheduled a check-in with her on the phone, by email, or on occasion, in person, for about 3 months. The daily work, included listing the institutions, family beliefs, and relationships that created my current way of living. I discovered that the way that I approach money, sex and relationships is indicative of my early conditioning. I listed people that had hurt me and those I had hurt along the way, and described how I felt in the process.  Rosemary assured me, “it is simply like counting nails”. We don’t rehash things to further engrain it in the psyche like talk therapy. Instead we see it for what it was, injustices and a pattern of unhealthy expectations. Step 5 consisted of meeting in person. It took 3 days, 3 hours each day. When sharing my lists and feelings, I learned how to problem solve and create change to avoid repetition. Through this process, I was blessed to have Rosemary by my side. She is wise, loving and truly an enlightened witness that helped me see clearly. She helped me to see a new way of thinking, a new level of consciousness, one infused with personal power.

I learned the ways in which I tried to control and manipulate situations and people outside of myself. I now love from a place of choice, and I know the difference between a needship and a friendship. A needship is a bartering system, I will give you something, and in return, you will give me something back. I have learned to speak up when I experience, a “put down”. I discovered how I was using others to get what I wanted (love and acceptance). I learned how I was being dishonest, and not speaking my truth in every situation. I now practice saying“yes” when I mean yes, and “no” when I mean no, regardless of how someone else may respond. I learned that my early conditioning and expectations perpetuated unhealthy habits and consequences. I learned that until I recognize and understand, I will repeat the same behavior.

I will never forget the day that I finished my program. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know that I was finished, and I had more questions to ask. To be honest, I enjoyed Rosemary’s company and daily communication, her friendship. She said, “Congratulations, how does it feel to be finished?” I told her that it felt like a bitter-sweet ending. She responded, “Oh honey, this is not an ending. This is the beginning of your spiritual life. You now have a daily practice in place that will help you create the life you want, building your spiritual house each day.” At that moment, I knew that I was ready to venture back into my body, back into my yoga and meditation practice, with new tools and understanding. My body had healed, I had uncovered the cause of my suffering, and my body felt safe again. My spiritual practice supplied everything that I was searching for outside of myself.

After the work, here are some things that I know:

  • I now affirm daily, to let go of the illusion of control of things and people outside of me and I’ve learned the ways in which I was emotionally dependent on others.

  • I practice trusting and honoring myself by speaking from a place of honesty, in every situation. I say yes when I mean yes, and no when I mean no.

  • I work to fulfill my needs, and not rely on others.

  • I love from a place of choice and authenticity.

  • I know that I am responsible for my life and my feelings. Blaming others will get me nowhere. The responsibility is mine to create change.

  • I trust that God, or add an “O”, and change God to good, I trust, all that is good, in this life will provide and bring me healing.

  • I trust that if I use my gifts given to me at birth, I will always have abundance in my life.

  • I remember the acronym, MYOB, mind your own business. My life is my business, take care of my business. What others think of me is none of my business.

  • I deserve the best of everything in life and so do you.

  • I have choice, and responsibility. I am responsible to stand up for myself and/or walk away from others that hurt me and put me down. I am responsible for what I listen to and participate in.

Now I ask, how will you spend your 16 hours today? Is it from a place of honesty, by speaking your truth and moving forward to create your the life of your dreams?  If you are inspired or touched by my story, please, read the book. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments. I hope to see you in class soon. Namaste~Christi Iacono

        My beautiful teacher and witness, Rosemary Ellsworth Brown, PhD.