Podcast 906: The Proactive Twelve Steps: A Mindful Program For Lasting Change with Serge Prengel

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Serge Prengel, the author of a new book entitled “The Proactive Twelve Steps: A Mindful Program For Lasting Change.”  Sense of hope is the biggest takeaway that our guest wants to share with our listeners. He believes that what is happening, what feels daunting, what feels impossible to get out of, is actually something that can be untangled the same way as a fully entangled chord, it can be disentangled.

In my interview with Serge, we speak about life, how to keep going and how to take proactive approach in life. We also talk about dysfunctional behavior,  trauma, habits and patience.

If you want to learn more about proactive change, you would want to listen to this informative interview with Serge Prengel about his new book entitled “The Proactive Twelve Steps: A Mindful Program For Lasting Change”.

To know more about Serge and how he has developed creative approaches to mindfulness in everyday life, you may click on this link to his website.

 

THE BOOK

The Proactive Twelve Steps outline how you can take a proactive approach to life, gradually stepping up from feeling stuck and powerless to enjoying a balanced and happy life. They are a new take on the original Twelve Steps. They describe the steps as a mindful program instead of a mystical experience in which change somehow happens to you.
This book reflects a deep understanding of behavior change, codependency, stress, and trauma. It presents a clear roadmap for self-compassion and mindful self-discovery. It provides specific step-by-step instructions and a broader context that helps readers make sense of the healing process.

THE AUTHOR

Serge Prengel, LMHC, is a graduate of France’s Sorbonne University and HEC Business School. He is certified in Focusing, in Core Energetics and in Somatic Experiencing. His work also draws from Systems-Centered theory. He is a co-founder of the Integrative Focusing Therapy training program.

Serge Prengel’s approach is experiential and integrative. He aims for deep insights that are action-oriented:

“It takes a sense of comfort and safety to explore unresolved challenges, to get in touch with difficult feelings, and to find the motivation and inner strength that foster lasting change.

 


You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transcription (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth and joining me from the New York area. Is that correct? That's where you are?

Serge Prengel
Yes, yes.

Okay. So Serge Pringle, he is the author of a new book called the proactive 12 steps on mindful program for lasting change. And for all of you who want to learn more about CERN, you can go to Proactiv 12 steps.com. There, you can get a little bit of information, you can download some additional material. He's actually got the alternative 12 steps there that you can download. And, sir, I always like to start off these interviews. tell our listeners, briefly just a little bit about yourself why you literally have been involved with this 12 STEP program, your background, your credentials, and so on.

Serge Prengel
Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Greg. Well, I'm a therapist. And as a therapist, I usually focus on people, and no two people are alike, and there's no recipe no steps that everybody follows. It's everything is very, very personalized. And at the same time, I've been always very intrigued about how it is that people who are suffering from addiction and are part of 12 Step programs, managed to, to recover. And, and so I've had a long standing dialogue with the 12 steps, to understand them better to have a dialogue between my way of looking at things in terms of how I deal with my clients in terms of I understand change in terms of how I understand myself, and end the 12 steps.

Greg Voisen
Well, you've got this book out, that the listeners can get, we'll put a link to Amazon to this book as well. But it's the proactive 12 steps. Now you put in the word proactive, a mindful program for lasting change. And you have a long history of doing workshops, seminars, counseling, anger management, mindset, coaching, self-motivation, and more. What is it that you learn from the clients themselves, sharing these, what you call rapid results from the counseling that really kind of inspired you to write the proactive 12 steps.

Serge Prengel
What I find very moving with clients is when a client gets to the moment of realizing their vulnerability, and, and drops the mask and drops the armor. And at that moment, that's the moment when they're really ready for change. And so in the course of individual therapy, of course, we have all the attention that I or other therapist lavished on the client to make them feel safe, and prime them and have that happen. And what I was trying to do in this process is to articulate step by step, a process whereby people could progressively get to that place of feeling that sense of calm safety, where they could tolerate their vulnerability, and be able to make the changes they need.

Greg Voisen
And that, you know, Brene Brown speaks so eloquently around vulnerability, and I recognize that and that is a unique spot where people do make a big change, when they're, they allow that the ego part of them to kind of fade away, and they realize that they can be vulnerable, and where they find in that moment of that vulnerability. It's like a light bulb goes on in part one of your book, you speak about the 12 steps, including the mindful program for lasting change. Could you briefly discuss the 12 steps with the listeners?

Serge Prengel
Young, Young, so they are inspired by the traditional 12 steps of a, but they're different in the sense that they describe a step by step process of paying attention to what happens at a granular level, moment by moment. And, and so the key to it is that notion of taking an active pause. And that means taking a pause, a mindful pause and being in touch with where you're at this moment. And so at that, you know, and progressively getting more comfortable with that, so that you're able to have a grasp of what's happening and be able to conceive of alternatives.

Greg Voisen
Yeah. Well, in the moment, you when you allow people to take that active pause, I used to work with John Selby, I don't know if you know, I mean, it's written about now. And he said, You know, John, yeah. So he has a concept called breather breaks. And but he's very much into mindfulness and meditation, which I think is important. And I think people in a, many of them are aware of the benefits of that. But the biggest benefit is taking that pause, and realizing what's going on in that moment. Because that's where, again, the shift occurs for people the realization occurs, the opportunity to change perspective occurs when you do that, and you know, in this in your section, I verses we use state that the proactive 12 steps are written in AI instead of we can you let our listeners know why you prefer to use the we perspective, instead of the AI perspective?

Serge Prengel
Well, I have a great respect for the traditional 12 steps using the weak perspective, for a lot of reasons it makes sense for them to do it. However, my perspective in this process is to put the person front and center. And when you are faced with making decisions about your life, big and small things, moment by moment, it's not we it's I What do I do right now, not what other people have done. And so and it's not we did that in the past, but what do I do right now, you know, and things that in theory seem obvious. When you have a distance, you know, when you're in the moment and you're facing actually threat, you're facing vulnerability, it's not so obvious. So this is about strengthening the ability to make moment by moment decisions, which over time leads to growth.

Greg Voisen
You know, people normally in a or the reason they end up there, whether it's Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous, or any of them. There's, there's usually psychologists will tell you, there's an issue with low self-esteem. You know, they don't think very highly of themselves. So they drink their worries away, whatever they might be, or they take drugs to get rid of their worries. What is it about your program, these 12 steps is proactive, 12 steps that you think can help people more quickly make a realization about changing thoughts about themselves, and then the subsequent actions that they take, after they think those thoughts about themselves. So somebody who has no self-esteem, usually thinks so negative thought about themselves. And the way to drown that out might be to have a drink. Right? Because it

Serge Prengel
alters the state of consciousness it, I see it in a slightly different way. Okay, it describing the same thing, maybe in a different way. But the way I see it is that this is a trauma related issue. And I use trauma in a very broad sense, that is not just emergency room type of trauma, but is anything that is too overwhelming to confront at the time that you're confronting it. So it leaves unfinished business. And what happens when trauma is triggered, is that people fall into a rabbit hole. Because basically, they go back to being with very few resources, and not the presence of mind to see that there are opportunities to do something different. So the concept of being in trauma is that you need the first thing you need to do is come back to safety. And from the place of being safe, you have more of your resources online, you know, available to you and you're able to make better choices.

Greg Voisen
Well, it is you're absolutely right about the trauma part and I and I do recognize that that there's childhood trauma or there's trauma somewhere along the way that made a such an impact that the hurt and pain was so great that they didn't know how to deal with it. I would agree with it that new. You know, you write in the book, this notion of ecosystem. You state that to break an unbreakable habit. You don't focus doggedly on the habit itself. You change your life so that this bad habit becomes obsolete. Your new life support habit, as you stated, that are good for you. How would you classifies these habits? And what do we have to do to change our lives to make bad habits become obsolete?

Serge Prengel
Yeah, yeah, no, that's a great question. Of course, you know, it's almost a joke to say, okay, so you don't do something you don't change the habit. Instead, change your life and say, wait a minute, you know, how can I do that. But the I like the metaphor that I use for step two, to think about having a big cord that is told tangled up. And the temptation when you have a cord that's tangled up is you're trying to pull you're trying to do something quickly, to get it done, because it's unbearable to have that. But the more you pull, the harder it becomes to disentangle. And the only way that you ever can disentangle it is slowly painstakingly just make space between the loops and little by little disentangle it.

Greg Voisen
That's a great, it's a great analogy. Yeah,

Serge Prengel
Thank you. So that's how that's how you build a different ecosystem. So you first disentangle your life, you pay attention, you say, You know what, I'm caught, I keep doing the same thing. And by the way, it need not be addiction in a traditional sense, all of us have habits that you know, are not, you know, default mode habits, you know, that come from places that are kind of somewhat traumatized, and where we fall back on. So it's about deconstructing that little by little, just the same way, you, and you disentangle the chord, and you get a sense of, oh, I keep doing this. Because you know, all of these things are looped together in such a way that it always kind of funnels me there.

Greg Voisen
Got it. Now, you know, in a creative dialogue with your inner critic, you say, where you talk about ferocious voice that keeps pointing out your shortcomings. That's what we're talking about. And shatters your self-esteem with this harsh put down, then something goes wrong. What advice can you give our listeners to understand his voice of the inner critic, which we're all dealing with?

Serge Prengel
Yeah, yeah, we do. We do. You know, I think it's what's really helpful is to think that that voice essentially has a protective role. It's a misguided, protective role, but is essentially the way that you know, to react when you're overwhelmed by the situation. And so, hearing that voice, it's helpful to think of it as this is the voice of overwhelm, not to take it literally, but to say, Okay, so there's something difficult here. If I let the frantic panic voice, you know, get to me, then I will get even more panicked and frantic. Okay? So I'm recognizing that there's something happening there. But I'm going to, you know, counterbalance that urgency that frenzy, that panic, that criticism that harshness, with a reminder that I hold my safety and my wellbeing, by focusing on staying calm.

Greg Voisen
Yeah. And I think that's the perspective you take as a mindfulness coach. Obviously, you've had plenty of practice in the Buddhist traditions, or you wouldn't be speaking about mindfulness as a way and mindfulness today is, I think, just awareness, it's being an observer of self. So if you, you know, you look, you know, I say, Hey, if you were to watch yourself all day long from above yourself, or like you were running a camera, would you be happy with the actions that you're taking on a regular basis every day? And you know, observe those observe him being an observer of self and determine which one to do? You know, in your chapter, and I want to get you because we didn't get there. Maybe this is a great spot for that. What are those 12 habits that you speak about? Are as what are those 12 steps, I should say? Because you didn't enunciate them? And I think the listeners would like to know. So do you want me to read them one by one?

Serge Prengel
Yeah, just let's go through the let's go through them. Yes. Okay. We've got them. So step one, I face reality. I am not able to control what I do, and this has serious consequences. Step two, I understand that I cannot force change through willpower, I need to disentangle my life, my life patiently. And so obviously, that's where that metaphor of the tangle cord comes in. Yeah, that's it, guys. Oh, it's also the metaphor for the process, you know that it's very much what we're going to do. And it's also how the attitude itself of patience. Now, what's interesting is that kind of patience is not just patience as a virtue. But Neuroscience tells us, you know, the work of Steven Porges, about the polyvagal theory is that you increase mindfulness, by engaging in something by putting your attention, your mindful attention somewhere. So once you start engaging, that's where a virtuous cycle starts to happen.

Greg Voisen
Step three,

Serge Prengel
step three, moment by moment, by take a mindful pause to deal with my life calmly and effectively. Perfect. And so of course, that's the DNA of the process that you engage in, you engage, you take a pause, but not just a pause by just saying, I stopped, and then I, but you know, as a pause that with the intention of finding some degree of calm and effective engagement. For Step four, I examine my life with honesty, searching for patterns in how I have been relating to people and situations. So that's where we're talking about, you cannot make a change until you know what you've been doing. And it's not a question of doing something or I've done something bad, I need to apologize, you know, this, but I want to really understand. And so looking for patterns, not just looking for isolated incidents, five, step five, I explore these patterns and describe them to another person noticing the healing power of compassionate listening.

Greg Voisen
Wow, that's a big one. Yeah, that's a good one, six.

Serge Prengel
So that said something, of course, that we notice in therapy, that, you know, a lot of the benefit of having a therapist is that notion of compassionate listening. And so that's looking for that, you know, not to be absolved, in a, in a meaningless way, but to be compassionate, to understand what's happening. Yeah. Step six, I understand how these patterns have been a ways of coping with my fears.

Greg Voisen
Hmm, very strong.

Serge Prengel
So, again, it's a related, it's not just oh, you know, I'm being lazy, or I'm being this or I'm being that, but these are coping mechanisms, you know, this is an underlying trauma. So

Greg Voisen
I think what we'll do is, instead of you repeating all of them, I'm going to let my listeners go to your website, when I drive you to the website to download, he's got the list. And there's a place where you can click on it, and you can download it, because I got to get to my other questions here, because they're important. In your chapter about dysfunctional behavior, you give the readers thoughts on throw these feelings away, and doing what would be right for you. What advice do you have that will help our listeners accomplished that in result on this dysfunctional behavior.

Serge Prengel
So as long as you think of them as dysfunctional in abstract, you know, that you say all of this is something that's generally considered bad, you know, you don't really have a grip on it. When you think of them from shame from ashamed place, also, you don't have a grip on it. Because what happens all too often is a cycle, a vicious cycle of avoiding something from shame. And then there's so much pressure in doing it, that you fall back into it. So the way to really let go of them is to deeply understand the mechanism, they have the mechanism whereby these habits are the best ways you knew at the time, to take care of yourself, and to understand that their function was protective that their function was to deal with fear and pressure that felt overwhelming. Because once I really deeply get it, then you can find better ways to deal with it.

Greg Voisen
Well, one thing is, you know, what happens when you only know a certain way and you keep doing the same way? And like Einstein said, it's the definition of insanity is doing it over and over and over again, and expecting a different result. And they don't want you to realize that you need to do something differently, which is kind of what you're saying. And you have that epiphany, that light bulb go on that there is a better way to approach this and that those ways you were doing it were serving you the best way they knew at the time. Because that's how you did instead of berating yourself over the fact that you should have been doing something differently, you come to the realization when you're supposed to come to the realization. So you speak about three, the three circuits of the autonomous nervous system, what are these circuits? And how do we apply them in our lives?

Serge Prengel
So there's three different ways to describe them, how they evolved, and how they are used. Our most primitive circuit that existed in the most primitive life forms is, is basic, like some people call the dinosaur brain that day, but that's, it's, it's, you know, it's a circuit that is essentially stop and go, then you have something that's more sophisticated. That's the amygdala. No, it's I mean, it's this is the, the event the parasympathetic, nervous,

Greg Voisen
okay? Okay. Paracin, sympathetic, okay. And then what's the second and you

Serge Prengel
have the sympathetic nervous system got it, and the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight. So basically, what it does is instead of switch on and off, sympathetic nervous system gives you tons of energy, because this is like the situation is desperate, you need to survive, and you're going to do all you're all in order to survive. And the most evolved circuit is the ventral vagal circuit, which is mindful engagement system. So that's a system that evolved for us to really fine tune our relationship with other human beings. And it's a very, very sophisticated system. And at the same time as a system, it's a system to fine tune relationship. It's also the system for mindfulness for conscious engagement, for big bandwidth.

Greg Voisen
And do you cultivate that third system more by practicing mindfulness, by practicing meditation, by being aware, but that's how that system evolves? Correct? Yeah. But

Serge Prengel
that's not enough. Because you could be practicing mindfulness a lot. But basically, when you're caught, if you don't understand the mechanism of the nervous system, and how they function, you get caught just the same. So what's interesting is that we use them exactly in the reverse order that they evolved. So we first try to confront situations with the mindful engagement system. When it does not work, essentially, there's a switch. And it goes from Mindful engagement to sympathetic. So essentially, to make it less, you know, abstract, you're polite, and then the person in front of you is exasperating. And so you get kind of angry, okay, that's the jump to the sympathetic, because at that moment, when the mindful system does not work, the nervous system is primed to then escalate to the one that has more brute force. So you go into your sympathetic system, which is fight or flight. And when that does not work, then it's a switch and you get into the

Greg Voisen
collapse, I get it, I get to make

Serge Prengel
I get it, I get to make and the crazy thing is that in nature, you know, when we evolved, and for animals, that collapse is when all else fails. But for us in civilization, the sympathetic does not solve a lot of problems. And so when the sympathetic does not work, we basically collapse because that's how our mind our nervous system is designed. And so we get the message that nothing is working, and it's a desperate situation. It's not actually a desperate situation. It's just that our, the way we evolved, and the way our nervous system is geared, we misperceive the situation, simply because the parasympathetic or sympathetic is not able to handle it, it feels like it's desperate.

Greg Voisen
Right? Right. Okay.

Serge Prengel
And that's where then that's where people cycle into trauma and addiction. That's where they give up and they give up or they go back and forth between the collapse and then, you know, get yourself to activation and to sympathetic and extreme, you know, not energy that does not work, because it does not work. It makes you fall back into the collapse. You pull yourself out. And so basically you're trapped in a in a cycling between the two.

Greg Voisen
That's a very important thing for my listeners that understand how it really works because they don't really believe A lot of them understand that that's exactly the way it works in reverse. And I think that that was an important point that you make. And you know, the essential to the 12 step approach is to take your focus away from a specific problem that seems unimaginable, or the unmanageable, I should say, and shift your focus to another dimension. And you say this powerful shift is like the jump into hyperspace. In science fiction movies, so it's like, right, right. What advice can you give the listeners about shifting your focus to change your sense of in here's the important point, who they are. Because what they perceive as who they are, and who they really are? are two different things.

Serge Prengel
Yeah, yeah. So, you know, obviously, nobody can change by simply concentrating and saying, Oh, I'm going to imagine myself different and immediately change. But that imagination that it could be different, is something that can fuel you give you the energy, to change some of the circumstances around yourself, right. And then notice that under these different circumstances, you start behaving differently from what you used to do. And changing circumstances can also simply include people who are people who have your back, people who are going to help you encourage you. So it's not just external situations in terms of living somewhere else, or having a different work. But it's, it's essentially something about reconstructing the different ecosystem that I'm talking about. And it takes some degree of imagination, to say, you know, other people have done it. And I owe it to myself, to start changing some of the things in the mix that I have, in order to give myself a better chance to live better.

Greg Voisen
Very great advice. Now, you know, in how to share this process with a friend or a group, you speak about creating sessions with friends, to help each other and recommend a structure on how to do it. Okay, so like the 12 step program, not the, your particular 12 STEP program. You know, most people, they've, they've got to go to a specific place on Tuesday night, or meet up on wine now, which I'm sure that's what they're doing, because of COVID. And Omicron, speak with the listeners about the structure that you encourage them to develop,

Serge Prengel
you know, yeah. So first, if they are in a 12 step program, I certainly encourage them to keep going there. But in addition, to do what I suggest, and if they're not to do this, and what I suggest is with one partner or with a small group together, and unlike a 12, step program gathering where you have a lot of strangers or potentially a lot of stranger or some strangers, this is a group that should be safe if people you know, where it is possible to actually opened up more than you would in a in a traditional 12 Step group. So instead of doing what you have to do in a 12 step group, which is a no crosstalk No, you know, this is something where the emphasis is on active listening, in order to help people, feel really heard. And I describe how to do that. And it's very simple, but just something that gives you the experience of being deeply heard. So that it's part of the healing

Greg Voisen
well, and they can go to your website, which I'm going to give them which is proactive, 12 steps.com, proactive, 12 steps, and they can download your free information on all this. It's all right there. So proactive 12 steps.com. And we'll put a link to that up on our website, and you start with step one, and then on the list of the alternative 12 steps. So you've got that listed there as well. So if you were to leave our listeners with three key takeaways from the book, and our conversation today, what would they be? And how would they apply them to their lives, whether they need this for the fact that they're having an addiction? You said everybody has some kind of addiction? I would agree with that. We probably all do. So the question would be, what are three things they can take away and how do they apply, sir?

Serge Prengel
So if they just had one thing to take away, it would be a sense of hope. that what is happening, what feels daunting, what feels impossible to get out of, is actually something that can be untangled the same way as a fully entangled chord, you know, it can be disentangled. So that's a big, that would be the number one takeaway. second takeaway would be that the DNA of this process is about mindful attention through mindful pause. And understanding that, you know, it's good to have a sense of what it is that you're going to do during that pause. It's not just sitting there doing nothing, but you know, finding a way to actually engage your curiosity and be part of this process. And so that's why describe this in detail, so that people are not left by themselves saying, Oh, I just take a pause. And what do I do? You know. And the third one is to understand how all of this all of these difficult patterns, these things that are so hard to change, have to do with fear and pressure. And so that, you know, the, the mindful understanding of what it is that brings you fear, and pressure, is something that actually will help you find safety. And from that place of safety and self-compassion, and finding people, you know, are going to be good for you. This is where you actually can step out of it.

Greg Voisen
I think it was Rumi who said, within the pain is the pain that's necessary to kind of train I'm not saying it correctly, but there was a Rumi quote, about pain. And the reality is you have to go into the pain deeper to actually get rid of the pain. And that's it, I can see this proactive 12 Step, mindful program for lasting change program, really being about that. But doing it very mindfully, right, not happenstance or whatever to do that. We've been on with Serge Pringle from New York talking about his new book, again www.proactive12steps.com, go to that website, if you'd like, we'll put a link to Amazon to the book as well. Where you can get it is it in Kindle and in paperback? Okay, so you can get it in both Kindle version and paperback. Highly recommended, whether you're in a program or not. This is the proactive 12 steps. It's modified, it's different. And like he gave you a formula there at the end, to get a group together in community of people, you know, who can support one another, versus going to a group where you don't know one another? I think that's really a very big thing. Because you can be a lot more vulnerable there than maybe you would be if you're in one of those other programs. Sir, thanks for being on inside personal growth and sharing your message with our listeners today and spending some time with us. Greg It was a pleasure, Namaste to you.

Serge Prengel
So as long as you think of them as dysfunctional in abstract, you know, that you say all of this is something that's generally considered bad, you know, you don't really have a grip on it. When you think of them from shame from ashamed place, also, you don't have a grip on it. Because what happens all too often is a cycle, a vicious cycle of avoiding something from shame. And then there's so much pressure in doing it, that you fall back into it. So the way to really let go of them is to deeply understand the mechanism, they have the mechanism whereby these habits are the best ways you knew at the time, to take care of yourself, and to understand that their function was protective that their function was to deal with fear and pressure that felt overwhelming. Because once I really deeply get it, then you can find better ways to deal with it.

Greg Voisen
Well, one thing is, you know, what happens when you only know a certain way and you keep doing the same way? And like Einstein said, it's the definition of insanity is doing it over and over and over again, and expecting a different result. And they don't want you to realize that you need to do something differently, which is kind of what you're saying. And you have that epiphany, that light bulb go on that there is a better way to approach this and that those ways you were doing it were serving you the best way they knew at the time. Because that's how you did instead of berating yourself over the fact that you should have been doing something differently, you come to the realization when you're supposed to come to the realization. So you speak about three, the three circuits of the autonomous nervous system, what are these circuits? And how do we apply them in our lives?

Serge Prengel
So there's three different ways to describe them, how they evolved, and how they are used. Our most primitive circuit that existed in the most primitive life forms is, is basic, like some people call the dinosaur brain that day, but that's, it's, it's, you know, it's a circuit that is essentially stop and go, then you have something that's more sophisticated. That's the amygdala. No, it's I mean, it's this is the, the event the parasympathetic, nervous,

Greg Voisen
okay? Okay. Paracin, sympathetic, okay. And then what's the second and you

Serge Prengel
have the sympathetic nervous system got it, and the sympathetic nervous system fight or flight. So basically, what it does is instead of switch on and off, sympathetic nervous system gives you tons of energy, because this is like the situation is desperate, you need to survive, and you're going to do all you're all in order to survive. And the most evolved circuit is the ventral vagal circuit, which is mindful engagement system. So that's a system that evolved for us to really fine tune our relationship with other human beings. And it's a very, very sophisticated system. And at the same time as a system, it's a system to fine tune relationship. It's also the system for mindfulness for conscious engagement, for big bandwidth.

Greg Voisen
And do you cultivate that third system more by practicing mindfulness, by practicing meditation, by being aware, but that's how that system evolves? Correct? Yeah. But

Serge Prengel
that's not enough. Because you could be practicing mindfulness a lot. But basically, when you're caught, if you don't understand the mechanism of the nervous system, and how they function, you get caught just the same. So what's interesting is that we use them exactly in the reverse order that they evolved. So we first try to confront situations with the mindful engagement system. When it does not work, essentially, there's a switch. And it goes from Mindful engagement to sympathetic. So essentially, to make it less, you know, abstract, you're polite, and then the person in front of you is exasperating. And so you get kind of angry, okay, that's the jump to the sympathetic, because at that moment, when the mindful system does not work, the nervous system is primed to then escalate to the one that has more brute force. So you go into your sympathetic system, which is fight or flight. And when that does not work, then it's a switch and you get into the

Greg Voisen
collapse, I get it, I get to make

Serge Prengel
and the crazy thing is that in nature, you know, when we evolved, and for animals, that collapse is when all else fails. But for us in civilization, the sympathetic does not solve a lot of problems. And so when the sympathetic does not work, we basically collapse because that's how our mind our nervous system is designed. And so we get the message that nothing is working, and it's a desperate situation. It's not actually a desperate situation. It's just that our, the way we evolved, and the way our nervous system is geared, we misperceive the situation, simply because the parasympathetic or sympathetic is not able to handle it, it feels like it's desperate. Right? Right. Okay. And that's where then that's where people cycle into trauma and addiction. That's where they give up and they give up or they go back and forth between the collapse and then, you know, get yourself to activation and to sympathetic and extreme, you know, not energy that does not work, because it does not work. It makes you fall back into the collapse. You pull yourself out. And so basically you're trapped in a in a cycling between the two. That's a

Greg Voisen
very important thing for my listeners that understand how it really works because they don't really believe A lot of them understand that that's exactly the way it works in reverse. And I think that that was an important point that you make. And you know, the essential to the 12 step approach is to take your focus away from a specific problem that seems unimaginable, or the unmanageable, I should say, and shift your focus to another dimension. And you say this powerful shift is like the jump into hyperspace. In science fiction movies, so it's like, right, right. What advice can you give the listeners about shifting your focus to change your sense of in here's the important point, who they are. Because what they perceive as who they are, and who they really are? are two different things.

Serge Prengel
Yeah, yeah. So, you know, obviously, nobody can change by simply concentrating and saying, Oh, I'm going to imagine myself different and immediately change. But that imagination that it could be different, is something that can fuel you give you the energy, to change some of the circumstances around yourself, right. And then notice that under these different circumstances, you start behaving differently from what you used to do. And changing circumstances can also simply include people who are people who have your back, people who are going to help you encourage you. So it's not just external situations in terms of living somewhere else, or having a different work. But it's, it's essentially something about reconstructing the different ecosystem that I'm talking about. And it takes some degree of imagination, to say, you know, other people have done it. And I owe it to myself, to start changing some of the things in the mix that I have, in order to give myself a better chance to live better.

Greg Voisen
Very great advice. Now, you know, in how to share this process with a friend or a group, you speak about creating sessions with friends, to help each other and recommend a structure on how to do it. Okay, so like the 12 step program, not the, your particular 12 STEP program. You know, most people, they've, they've got to go to a specific place on Tuesday night, or meet up on wine now, which I'm sure that's what they're doing, because of COVID. And Omicron, speak with the listeners about the structure that you encourage them to develop,

Serge Prengel
you know, yeah. So first, if they are in a 12 step program, I certainly encourage them to keep going there. But in addition, to do what I suggest, and if they're not to do this, and what I suggest is with one partner or with a small group together, and unlike a 12, step program gathering where you have a lot of strangers or potentially a lot of stranger or some strangers, this is a group that should be safe if people you know, where it is possible to actually opened up more than you would in a in a traditional 12 Step group. So instead of doing what you have to do in a 12 step group, which is a no crosstalk No, you know, this is something where the emphasis is on active listening, in order to help people, feel really heard. And I describe how to do that. And it's very simple, but just something that gives you the experience of being deeply heard. So that it's part of the healing

Greg Voisen
well, and they can go to your website, which I'm going to give them which is proactive, 12 steps.com, proactive, 12 steps, and they can download your free information on all this. It's all right there. So proactive 12 steps.com. And we'll put a link to that up on our website, and you start with step one, and then on the list of the alternative 12 steps. So you've got that listed there as well. So if you were to leave our listeners with three key takeaways from the book, and our conversation today, what would they be? And how would they apply them to their lives, whether they need this for the fact that they're having an addiction? You said everybody has some kind of addiction? I would agree with that. We probably all do. So the question would be, what are three things they can take away and how do they apply, sir?

Serge Prengel
So if they just had one thing to take away, it would be a sense of hope. that what is happening, what feels daunting, what feels impossible to get out of, is actually something that can be untangled the same way as a fully entangled chord, you know, it can be disentangled. So that's a big, that would be the number one takeaway. second takeaway would be that the DNA of this process is about mindful attention through mindful pause. And understanding that, you know, it's good to have a sense of what it is that you're going to do during that pause. It's not just sitting there doing nothing, but you know, finding a way to actually engage your curiosity and be part of this process. And so that's why describe this in detail, so that people are not left by themselves saying, Oh, I just take a pause. And what do I do? You know. And the third one is to understand how all of this all of these difficult patterns, these things that are so hard to change, have to do with fear and pressure. And so that, you know, the, the mindful understanding of what it is that brings you fear, and pressure, is something that actually will help you find safety. And from that place of safety and self-compassion, and finding people, you know, are going to be good for you. This is where you actually can step out of it. I think

Greg Voisen
it was Room A said, within the pain is the pain that's necessary to kind of train I'm not saying it correctly, but there was a Rumi quote, about pain. And the reality is you have to go into the pain deeper to actually get rid of the pain. And that's it, I can see this proactive 12 Step, mindful program for lasting change program, really being about that. But doing it very mindfully, right, not happenstance or whatever to do that. We've been on with Serge Pringle from New York talking about his new book, again www.proactive12steps.com, go to that website, if you'd like, we'll put a link to Amazon to the book as well. Where you can get it is it in Kindle and in paperback? Okay, so you can get it in both Kindle version and paperback. Highly recommended, whether you're in a program or not. This is the proactive 12 steps. It's modified, it's different. And like he gave you a formula there at the end, to get a group together in community of people, you know, who can support one another, versus going to a group where you don't know one another? I think that's really a very big thing. Because you can be a lot more vulnerable there than maybe you would be if you're in one of those other programs. Sir, thanks for being on inside personal growth and sharing your message with our listeners today and spending some time with us. Greg It was a pleasure, Namaste to you.

powered by

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Inside Personal Growth © 2022