PART FOUR: Working with the Wheel of Change
From the POSITIVE PARADIGM HANDBOOK
Introduction – Specific Examples
With the Life Wheel and seven axioms of the Positive Paradigm in place the next step is to give examples of how to create a personal Wheel of Change.
Part Four sets the abstract Wheel into motion. It follows change agents as they define their state-of-the-immediate-art, decide what what they want their personal Wheels to look like, and make realistic choices about how to get from here to there.
The examples in Part Four prepare the stage for Part Five, where readers are given the opportunity to engage in the hand-on, do-it-yourself exercise of building, analyzing and improving their own personal Wheels.
Here we follow the histories of four protagonists in different stages of their lives. They come from different backgrounds and have different motives for working with the Wheel of Change.
Positive Intuitive Change Agent (PICA) gives his age as 20-something. while Positive Atheist Change Agent (PACA) says she’s 30-something. Successful Author Change Agent (SACA) is in her 40’s, while Successful Executive Change Agent (SECA) is in his 50’s.
The four change agents share little in common other than dissatisfaction with how their worlds are working right now and a commitment to changing themselves, their relationships and the world around them for the better.
Map 1. How My Life Looks Right Now
Answers to the first set of questions are used to create a picture of the immediate situation. Where am I now? What is my life like now? Where in the Wheel are my time and attention invested?
Thus, the first map modifies the abstract, balanced and integrated Wheel of Change to reflect the current state-of-the-art. It pictures a best estimate of where and how time, attention and energy are focused. This is how our change agents’ worlds are working right NOW.
Each starts with the menu of optional categories, choosing the those that best describe the active areas of their experience and adding others as needs be. These become the building blocks of a personalized Wheel.
SIZING the PERSONAL LIFE WHEEL
A grid is created which lists selected categories in priority order. The amount of time, attention, and energy spend is estimated to size each pie-shaped sliver of the Wheel.
In addition, each of the three levels of the Wheel are sized to reflect the engagement within each level. For example, the surface level of the introvert is thin compared to the middle level, which is wide. The atheist puts an X through the center. It’s a non-issue for her. The executive change agent draws Christ at the Center, mirroring his strong beliefs.
Figure IV.1.d. PICA’S PERSONAL LIFE WHEEL
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Map 2. The Way My Life Should Look
The second map is constructed from answers to another set of questions. What do I like about my current picture? What are my strengths? What’s wrong with this picture? What needs changing? What’s missing? Why? What is possible? What is not?
Thus, the second map is used for planning purposes. It reflects aspirations and intentions. This is how each of the Change Agents would like their world to be working.
Is my current lifestyle fulfilling? Am I happy? Are my primal needs to give and receive love being met? If not, what should I do about it, and when? Where and how should I be looking?
Are the levels of my personal Wheel prioritized correctly, putting first things first? Or are they inverted, placing material values at the center, and ego over the general good?
What is my purpose in life? Is my lifestyle consistent with that purpose? Do my choices support my personal beliefs and values or undermine them? What are the consequences? Are their better choices? What am I going to do about this, and when?
4. Are there sectors of my personal Wheel that shouldn’t be there? Have they become irrelevant, contradictory, self-defeating or counter-productive? Should they be eliminated? Should they be replaced?
What levels and sectors should be there, but aren’t? To what extent are some underdeveloped?
How urgent are the actions which are necessary to bring the personal Wheel into balance. What are the consequences of avoiding these questions and continuing to procrastinate?
PICA’S IMPROVED PERSONAL LIFE WHEEL
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Map 3. How To Get From Here To There
The third map is constructed from answers to the logical follow-up questions. How do I get from here to there? What am I willing to do to achieve this change? When? How? Who can help? What financial resources are available? Where can I connect with the resources I need?
Thus, the third map sums up the analysis of what actions and resources are required to change the personal world from the first reality into a new and better personal world.
How long will it take me to get from here to there? What are the separate parts of my action plan that have to come together? What are the realistic, incremental steps that will make the possible into actual fact?
What resources – people, information, computers and other tools, financing, etc. — do I need to get from here to there? Are they available? If so, where? If not, how will I obtain them?
- What is most realistic way to use my time and material resources to get from here to there? What sectors of my Life Wheel can be fine tuned so I can direct what’s available more effectively towards meeting my goals?
PICA’S PRACTICAL LIFE WHEEL
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Map 4. How the Past Influences the Future
Map Four locates and pinpoints the levels and sectors of the personal Wheel where obstacles block the way of future change. It addresses the questions, Where and why am I stuck? What attitudes, emotions, health issues and work habits undermine my good intentions? Am I willing to face up to them, heal and correct them, and move on? What motivates me to change? What are the consequences of doing so, or failing to.
Thus, the fourth map is the improved picture resulting from a thorough house cleaning. Change agents need to face up to whatever stands in the way of positive action. This includes summoning the courage and determination to identify and deal with obstacles stand between them and their intentional, positive goals.
The next step in initiating positive change is to look carefully at the relationship between personal past and envisioned future. For some, this exercise isn’t completely pleasant. So it’s helpful to approach this necessary work with the right attitude.
It’s important to keep in mind that in duality, there are two sides to change. Changing from the inside out includes the process of remembering the true Self, restoring its central position at the hub of the personal Wheel, and integrating its positive influence into every aspect of daily life. But there’s always a flip side.
Integral to this effort is the opposite and equally necessary process of recognizing and rooting out the false beliefs and negative attitudes that block and distort inner light. Unless and until this work is accomplished, the positive change agent remains at risk of self-sabotage.
When the middle level of the Wheel is congested, it blocks access to the level that resides on the far side of it. Clearing the mental swamp of alligators is tough work. It’s not for the faint of heart. But the rewards are immense.
The purpose of looking at the past is to reap the future benefits of rethinking it. If there are hidden obstacles lurking in the unconscious, releasing them greatly enhances the probabilities for future success.
So, if there are counter-productive memories or attitudes hidden in the back closets of the mind, this is the time and opportunity to take them off the shelf, review them, and discard what’s been outgrown. The point is to clear out old mental clutter to be fully present and available in the present moment.
Approach your personal history lessons fortified by the basic axioms of the Positive Paradigm:
Whatever has a front has a back.
That was then. This is NOW.
Everyone can change.
Think of this work as spring cleaning, preparing for the sunny season ahead.
What lessons can I learn from my past? Is there unfinished business I should take care of that might otherwise return when it’s least convenient? What unpaid debts do I owe that should be paid so I can go forward with a clear conscience.
Are there things about my past that I regret? Are there things I shouldn’t have done or things that I should have? What would I do differently NOW?
3. Am I holding on to personal grudges or harboring negative emotions that might interfere with positive intentions. What are they? What can and will I do about them now? What would be the consequences of holding on?
4. Are there lifestyle habits brought with me from the past that are counter-productive to my future goals? What eating, sleeping, hygiene and other personal habits might interfere with achieving my future goals?
5. Are there unexamined issues are nagging at the back of my mind, preventing me from being fully present in the NOW? How much could they undermine my chances of future success and happiness? How can I get them out in the open, and when?
6. When is looking back counter-productive? Is it time to close the book on some chapters, consider them done and walk clean away?
PICA’S LOOK-BACK WHEEL
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Map 5. The Personal Leadership Wheel
With the results of the first four maps, positive change agents can then move on to the fifth level, applying the basic axioms of the Positive Paradigm to their relationships and organizations. Answers to questions about leadership are used to create a personal Leadership Wheel.
The twin basics of the Positive Paradigm are that qualitative change starts from the inside and that it begins with the smallest unit. This is true for individuals. It applies equally to larger organizations. With this standard in mind, the questions put to change agents help them to analyze and improve their personal leadership potentials, and then identify, train and support those same positive attributes in others.
How would I describe my parents as role models? If applicable, how do I describe myself as a parent? Would my children agree? Does it matter? Why or why not?
At every stage of my life, what key people influenced my beliefs and decisions? To what extent were they real people in my daily life, political or religious leaders or individuals from the history, the movies or other second-hand sources?
Was their affect positive and healing, negative and fragmenting, or some combination. What did I learn from them? What did I do about what I learned? Would I choose to be like them, the opposite, or something else all together?
Were there water shed moments that changed the way I thought about leaders? Who in particular? How did my opinion change? How did it affect my life? What did I do about it?
How do I define a good leader? How would I describe a bad leader? Do I have any of these qualities?
How many of the people in my school, community, government, or religious institution, are good leaders? Do I support them? How? If not, why not?
Do I want to be a leader? What are my motives, either way? Do I have a choice? Do I have clear goals for leading, and a clear style? Do I care for people?
Do I consider myself to be a leader? In all situations, some, or none? If so, could I be a better leader? In what ways? What am I going to do about it, and when?
How well do I understand others? What motivates them? Does it matter? Do other people regard me as a leader? How do they show it? Do I like it?
Do I treat myself, immediate family, co-workers, employers, and strangers with equal respect? If not, why not? What are the consequences?
How important are world leaders? Why? What are their responsibilities to me, to those I care for, and to the world? How well do the ones I’m aware of meet these responsibilities? What are the consequences? What can or should I do about it, when?
How much can or should I do as an individual to improve the quality of leadership? On what levels and in what sectors of my Positive Paradigm Wheel?
Are there positive groups I can join and actively support that would magnify my concerns, especially ones that might improve the chances of human survival.
What is the shape of my Leadership Wheel? Who does it include? What are the motives, purpose and intent drawn into my personal Leadership Wheel?
SECA’S LEADERSHIP WHEEL
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Map 6. Diagnosing Stress to Heal Related Diseases
Change agents can use Map Six is used to identify symptoms of personal and organizational stress in their professional worlds, getting to the root causes of stress-related disease, and defining appropriate life-style changes.
There’s a flip side to Axiom One of the Positive Paradigm. On the up side, a complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success. On the down side, operating on an incomplete and incorrect paradigm is to sure to cause systemic stress, misery and ultimately, illness.
Medical doctors who treat patients on the basis of an exclusively materialistic, empirical science paradigm can diagnose the diseases that result from stress. But causes of that stress lie outside the parameters of their limited paradigm. They can medicate for pain, surgically remove tumors, and attack symptoms. They cannot, however, heal. The concept is foreign to their beliefs.
By definition, healing, meaning to make whole, depends on returning to the wisdom of ancient physicians who treated the whole patient (not diseases) from the perspective of a complete and accurate paradigm.
In fact, everyone is already innately whole. The tragedy is that most of us have forgotten it and/or been fooled into accepting less. Working with the Handbook doesn’t give anyone something they don’t already have. Not possible.
What it can do is help us remember who we truly are. Working with the Wheel of Change can restore the wholeness shared in common by everyone everywhere as a natural birthright.
Stress, close cousin of distress, is caused by pressure and tension that bends objects out of shape. Physical stress distorts the physical body. Mental stress caused by false beliefs, bad attitudes, and negative emotions bend the mind and energy body out of shape.
The first step of self-healing is to increasing self-awareness and realign motive with purpose and intent (see Figure V.0I). In the context of illness, Motive is the Why. Why has illness intruded in your life? Why has it been allowed or accepted? Purpose is the How. What actions or lifestyles have induced, fed and maintained stress and related diseases? Intent is the What. What benefits do you get from holding on to illness?
When you can give a unified response — “I don’t accept illness. I will take personal responsibility to stop feeding it. I have nothing to gain from holding on to it!” — then you’re ready to heal yourself by identifying the hidden causes of stress that generate unwelcome disease.
Who raised you? How much tension did you experience where you lived growing up? If you had siblings, how well did you get along? Why or why not?
How much childhood illness did you experience? Was it related to tension at experienced at home or at school?
Are you are caregiver to anyone in your family? Over what time span? What is your attitude towards their illness? How has their poor health affected your finances, lifestyle, opportunities and general well-being?
Do you have issues with authority? Are you over-compliant or unreasonably defiant? Why? When did it start? What have been the consequences? What are you willing to do about it now?
Do you have issues like panic, anger, shyness or depression? Can you pin-point when they started, and why? How have they affected your lifestyle, relationships, and employment? Are your family and friends aware of your issues? Have you talked to mental professionals about them? If so, has it helped? If not, why not?
Is there stress related to money? How long has it been the case? How has it affected your health, lifestyle, relationships, and general well-being?
Is employment a stress factor? In what ways? For how long? What are your options for change?
Do you have personal friends? How many? How close? How long-lasting? Are they a positive or negative influence? How much does the presence or absence of friendship influence mental and physical health? In what ways? Would changes in this area be beneficial?
Do you have pets? If so, how attached are you to them? How does their presence or absence affect your lifestyle and general well-being?
Do you consult medical professionals? What kind, why, how often, and how satisfied are you with the result? Does this overlap into your financial sector, causing stress? Would you consider other options, including taking more self-responsibility for your health? What positive forms would this include?
Do you engage in physical activity to alleviate stress symptoms? If not, why not? If so, how often and what kind(s)? Do they relieve or add to physical and/or mental problems?
Do you ignore relationship issues? Do you bury your feelings, and/or hide them from others? How much emotional control and self-discipline do you have in tense situations? Can you stay calm when others panic?
Have you ever kept a journal, engaged in contemplation or meditation? Do you read scriptures or pray? How often? Do you find this helpful to mental and/or physical health?
How self-aware am you? Is your life well-balanced? Are the sectors and levels of your personal Wheel of Change mutually supportive and congruent? Are they linked, or do you regard them as separate parts of your life.
Where are the sources and symptoms of stress located? What are the consequences to mental and physical health? What are your options for making yourself whole? What am you going to do about it, when?
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Map 7. Healing Social Ills
Finally, Map Seven expands on Positive Paradigm understanding to analyze the general ills of society, identifying the origins of and possible positive solutions.
When the the individual experiences the illusion of separateness, suffering born of ignorance plagues humanity.
illusion of Separateness – Paradox
Exclusiveness and Isolation
Here is a suggestive picture of what happens from smallest to largest, when the levels of the Life Wheel are bent out of shape. The result is conflict within and without, on all levels. Lack of empathy and direct connection with Conscience play out as crimes against oneself and, writ large, against humanity.
Fragmentation & Stress
Schizophrenic – Chaotic
Manifestations of the social diseases that plague today’s world include domestic violence, sexual abuse, bullying, elder abuse, religious prejudice and racial discrimination. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with military veterans who’ve witnessed the horrors of war on foreign soil. However, survivors of prison interments report similar symptoms, as do survivors of extreme violence on the home front.
Social and political theory are outside of the Handbook’s scope. But giving the world a counter-balance — a viable method which survivors can use to overcome the long list of negative results generated by dysfunctional paradigms — is central to the Handbook’s vision.
A basic axiom of the Positive Paradigm is that change takes place from smallest to largest. Personal stress and related diseases are writ large on the canvas of larger organizations. Since victims of psychological violence and physical abuse often turn into abusers, healing oneself prevents transmission of disease.
While changing society at large isn’t a viable goal, healing oneself from the effects of its diseases is. It’s an important first step towards ending negative social patterns, one person at a time. Incrementally, personal changes can affect positive change in society at large, impacting victims and abusers alike.
Survivor-healers apply the basic axioms of the Positive Paradigm to rethink their attitudes toward negative experience.
First, crimes of the past belong in the past. “That was then, this is now.” One’s true identity is changeless. Violence and injustice, whether given or received, cannot touch it. The eternal is the healing magnet that cleanses and regenerates with every return to center.
Second, the effects of action inevitably return. Those who do harm receive it in kind while those who persist in the good receive the positive fruits of their actions. So, on the one hand, taking the law into one’s own hands by pursuing revenge is foolish and unnecessary. The wheels of karmic justice are already turning. On the other, the manifold blessings of choosing the path of mercy and forgiveness make the world a better place for everyone.
Third, using a simple yet complete and accurate paradigm, individuals can restore wholeness to their personal lives. People can change. No matter how hard and apparently unfair life has been, it is possible to regenerate and begin anew by changing from the inside out.
Those who counsel perpetrators and/or victims – whether parents, friends, school personnel, employers, law officials, or therapists – have in The Positive Paradigm Handbook the practical principles and method for restoring balance to individual lives.
Was domestic violence experienced in your home as a child? Who was violent, who was treated violently? Why? What forms did it take? How often did it occur? Was drug or alcohol abuse involved? What did you do about it then? What would you do about it now?
Is the domestic violence going on where you live now? Who is violent, who is being hurt? Why? What forms does it take? How often does it occur. Is drug or alcohol abuse involved? Why is it allowed to continue? Is it appropriate or necessary?
Has law enforcement been contacted? Are legal or other protections in place? What are the possible consequences?
Was sexual abuse experienced in your home as a child? Who was abused, and by whom? How often? Was anyone who could have helped aware of this? If no one knew, why not? If no one helped, why not? What did you do about it then? What would you do about it now?
Is there sexual abuse going on at home now? Who is abused, and by whom. How often? Is drug or alcohol abuse involved? Why is it allowed to continue? Is this appropriate or necessary? Has law enforcement been contacted? Are legal or other protections in place? What are the possible consequences?
Did you experience bullying at school (or on the street) when you were going up. Were you on the giving or receiving end? How intense was it? How often? Did you do anything about it? If yes, what? If nothing, why not? Did anyone intervene? With what consequences? What did you learn from this experience? What would you do about it now?
Are any seniors you or your friends know being abused by adult children or others in the community? Why, in what ways and how often? What’s being dong about it, by whom? If nothing, why not? What are the consequences?
Are you as a senior being abused by adult children or others in the community? Are others in a position to intervene aware that this is going on? Have you looked into legal or other protections? Why or why not? What are you going to do about it NOW?
Were you on the giving and/or receiving end of religious prejudice as a child? Where were these attitudes learned? Why were they allowed? Did anyone intervene? What did you learn from this experience? What were the consequences?
Are you on the giving and/or receiving end of religious prejudice now? What are the consequences, to whom, on what levels? What are you going to do about it NOW?
Racial and Gender Discrimination
Were you on either the giving and/or receiving end of racial and/or gender discrimination as a child? What forms did it take? Where were these attitudes learned? Why were they allowed? Did you do anything about it? Did anyone intervene? What did you learn from this experience? What are the ongoing consequences?
Are you on either the giving and/or receiving end of racial and gender discrimination now? What forms does it take? What do you do about it? Why or why not? What are the consequences of discrimination, to whom, on what levels? What are you doing to do about it NOW?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What traumatic events from the past are disturbing your mind now? What were these events? How long ago were they? What after-effects are being experienced now? How are these memories affecting the quality of daily life, personal relationships and employment now?
Are there residual physical issues which require medical attention? If so, where will you ask get help, and when? If not, are there beliefs or negative attitudes which prevent you from forgiving and letting go of the past? What are they? Are they worth holding on to?
What positive, healing beliefs would have a healing effect now? Is consulting a mental health professional an option? If so, what are you going to do about it, when? If not, why not?
What are the consequences of your dwelling on past trauma? What are the benefits to you and others of making your life Wheel whole? Are you willing to take self-responsibility to heal yourself?
The underlying, bottom line question to be drawn from the entire list of questions is this:
What will it take to restore simplicity, harmony and consistency in my life,
and in the world about me?
What am I willing to DO about this, how and when?
The pairs of left-brain rectangular grids and right-brain Wheels can be modified to meet the needs of every situation.
These examples are just a starting point. They can only spark the imagination by suggesting the possibilities of virtually limitless applications. Specialists in every field are invited to explore the possibilities closest to home, making the Life Wheel specific and relevant to their own professions.
Given their unique comfort-levels at different levels of the Wheel, change agents find some of the maps easier to work with than others. When the going gets rough, they motivate themselves to persist by remembering the ultimate consequences of positive change: human survival, starting with themselves and those they care for.
When in doubt, they apply the seven basic axioms as the standard by which to measure their self-analysis. If it doesn’t fit, that’s an important indicator of a sore spot that needs attention and work.