When she decided to work with Curt, Jen was in the midst of a major challenge in her life. As she describes it, “I was in the middle of a particularly complex and stressful life situation taking care of some loved ones with significant health challenges. A lot of responsibility was on my shoulders, and I wasn’t sure if I was handling it well, or equipped to handle it well. I realized I needed to tap new resources, within and without myself, to get through the serious challenges I faced.”
Jen experienced a wide range of benefits from her work with Curt, including:
Being better equipped to handle the highly stressful challenges in her life
A greater awareness and mindfulness
A greater understanding of what leaves her constricted and what has an opening effect
A greater understanding of what drains her and what energizes her
A clear toolset for creating a happier, healthier future
When asked to sum up the difference working with Curt has made in her life, Jen reeled off a long list of changes. “I feel better equipped to handle the family challenges that I’m still in the middle of, and I feel personally healthier, calmer. I have less stress in my life. More equanimity in my life. I feel more resilient. I listen better. I’m less reactive than I used to be. I’m able to see the challenge, step back, and say hold on, let’s respond, not react. I’m more at peace.”
Here’s what Jen had to say when asked what she would tell someone who is interested in working with Curt:
“First, Curt will listen to you and suggest strategies that are going to help you in the here-and-now. I can assure you that in the next few months, you’re going to have more insight, and you’re going to feel more resilient and have more equanimity.
So he’s going to give you some tools to manage your here-and-now, and that’s the short-term benefit. But even better than that, many of the elements of this program are going to serve you well for the rest of your life. And that’s big.
So it’s an investment, not only in helping you get through your present situation, but in a happier, healthier future. It really did give me tools in the short term, but I’m just so jazzed about having some of these tools longer term. It was a good investment.”
Putting The Aliveness CODE to use
Describing the role The Aliveness CODE framework played in getting to those results, Jen says, “It was a good framework to hang some new ways of thinking on, and to hang positive change on. The toolset helped me be aware and mindful in new ways. It gave me new lenses to look through at the challenges that I had, and my reactions to those challenges.
“When our work concluded, I had some new tools in the toolbox. It helped me manage things while we were working together, but the approaches that we worked on together also had staying power. They have helped me over the last several months, but they will still be applicable as I face new challenges three months, six months, three years down the road. It’s a powerful toolset.”
Developing a meditation practice
One of the most important components of The Aliveness CODE for Jen was grounding and presence, especially developing a meditation practice. “I don’t think I would have stuck with my meditation, which is going really well, on my own or simply by virtue of reading a book. I know now that it’s going to be a long-term habit, because I notice that if I don’t meditate, I miss it. So that alone right there was worth the price of admission.
Another aspect of The Aliveness CODE she found especially valuable was the Story Management component. “I’m a lifelong journaler, and it was useful for me to sit down and journal about the stories I was telling myself about my situation and my family’s health challenges. A few of those stories were true, but some of them were not really accurate, or were limiting, or were based on imperfect information, or were drawn from feelings or experiences that happened to me a long time ago and were no longer valid.
“Just being aware of those stories, writing them down, and saying, OK, this one’s still true. I can work around that. This one’s just my mind turning over in circles, and it’s not doing me any good. It’s not helping. It’s not true. So let’s throw that out.
The Aliveness Audit
The Aliveness CODE model offered a helpful way to do an “Aliveness Audit,” a way of assessing what was going on her life, and the effect it was having. “The Aliveness Audit was very useful. I started with the elements of what I really, truly do in a day and plotted them on the Aliveness CODE quadrants. It was a good way to see all these different areas of my life in a new way.
It also works as a check-in, whether that’s weekly, or daily, or when you’re in the middle of a situation, when you can check in with yourself and say, which quadrant am I in right now, and is there anything I can do about it? If I’m feeling constricted or drained, is there anything I can eliminate from or add to the situation so that I would feel less drained or less constricted right now, and more energized, more open?
Working with Curt
“I think a lot of my success in the program is because Curt is who he is. We’ve always kept this professional, but at the same time, it’s like catching up with an old friend. It really is. He just exudes that somehow.
He’s really funny, and very modest. He laughs a lot. So he keeps it light, but he keeps it rich.
As appropriate, he’ll bring in some of his personal experience, but he keeps the focus on the client.
He’s an idea factory! And he’s very willing to incorporate other thinkers, throw out ideas for other books and teachers that might be useful. He throws them out there, but he’s not attached to any of it. He says, maybe it will work, maybe it won’t.
But at the same time, he will pursue what he sees as important. He wasn’t going to let me get off the hook. He’ll push back against my B.S., and he’ll hold me accountable.
He’s flexible. He encouraged me to apply the framework creatively to my individual situation. So he’s not married to the genius of his program. He’s open-minded enough to let the client personalize it.
Finally, in our conversations I could hear he was truly happy for me to be experiencing the growth that I was. That was genuine.”