Transforming Distress

This process is adapted with gratitude from the work of many practitioners: Marshall Rosenberg, Susan Skye, Robert Gonzalez, and Meganwind Eoyang.

  1. Describe the stimulus of my distress
    1. What triggers me? 
    2. Describe the moment I first felt pain.
    3. What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, etc?
  2. Express my reaction
    1. What am I telling myself? 
    2. What is my judgment of others or myself? 
    3. Voice all the judgments until I have clarity about my core belief or deepest judgment.
  3. Scan my body
    1. Sense my body from the inside and experience the wisdom of the body.
    2. What physical sensations do I notice?
    3. Notice any desires in the body – for attention, expression, or movement. 
  4. Experience my feelings
    1. What am I feeling?
    2. Give voice to my internal emotions.
    3. Honor my deepest feelings without pushing them away.
  5. Experience my need fully
    1. What do I want?
    2. Underneath that, what am I longing for?
    3. Mine all the needs, digging deeper until I identify the bedrock need.
  6. Mourn the unmet need
    1. Feel the pain of the unmet need.
    2. What if this need were never met? 
    3. Grieve the loss.
  7. Sense the radiance of the need
    1. Stay with the distress and add the image of a bright light, sustaining this attention until clarity emerges. 
    2. Feel the alive energy associated with the exquisite need. 
    3. Reaching for life, imagine the deep satisfaction of this need fully met.
  8. Take action
    1. What requests can I make of myself that will help me remember the radiant need?
    2. What requests can I make of myself to help me honor or meet these needs?
    3. What requests can I make of others that would be most likely to get my needs met?

©excerpt from Facilitating with Heart by Martha Lasley