10 Things to Do When the Dirt Comes Up - Christine Kane

In our last episode, I wrote about how a mentor of mine has told me that when a seed is planted, the first thing that comes up is a little dirt. She says this to help any of her students and mentees get through the often confusing and painful parts of becoming conscious, setting new intents, shifting old patterns, etc.

Below I have compiled a list based on exhaustive (and exhausting!) research of the ten best things to do in the case of dirt arising…

1 – Cultivate the observer

The observer is the ever-present part of you that can objectively watch you in any situation and recognize when you are lost in your “stuff” or when you’re getting hooked. The way I experience the observer is that I can honestly recognize when I am thinking stuff that isn’t serving anybody. Even when my mind is lost in a self-defeating yammer, I’m constantly and consciously aware of a part of me that is witnessing and knows this is not who I really am. It’s a peaceful place.

The benefit that comes from allowing this witness more and more is that you come to know yourself so much better. For instance, I know that there are times when I do need to just change my thoughts. To just slap the pink icing on the poop. I’ll say something like, “Okay, are we really doing this again, Christine?” And I simply say no, we’re not. And I find the affirmation or I just turn away from that thought and move on.

Then there are the other times. When the fixation is fixated, and the inner-whiney-chick is just gonna need a little more attention. Over time, I’ve come to recognize which place I’m in. And believe it or not, giving some attention to the whiney-chick has been helpful.

Knowing those spaces is about knowing the self. Not in a narcissistic way. In an honest clear way. You can start knowing yourself by calling on your inner observer. If, even for a minute, you can look upon yourself and say, “What do I need right now?” without judgment, you will have progressed. Daily meditation is one of the best practices in cultivating the observer.

2 – Feel a little bit better

One of the most valuable points in Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks is that you don’t have to make yourself go from feeling awful to feeling “GREAT!” All you need to focus on is feeling a little bit better than you do. This releases some of the pressure. Get Ask and It is Given. The exercises in it are designed to do just that.

3 – Remember, “You create your own reality” doesn’t have to be followed by “…and so it’s all your fault and something must be wrong with you.”

One of the patterns I see time and time again when people read Louise Hay or watch The Secret or learn about “creating reality” is that they take this teaching — which has many levels to it — and they use it to beat the living crap out of themselves. In other words, they become Catholic all over again. It’s like all the people who think they’ve “recovered” from the rigid religions of their youths, then go off into other spiritual paths, and still use the same guilt techniques that they were running from in the first place.

4 – Back to Basics

If you see yourself if #3, then you may have to back up a step and recognize that this pattern is what has to be dealt with first. The intent might have to shift from being a gajillionaire to being worthy at all.

Sometimes people get so totally excited by the notion of “I can do anything! And look! All those people on The Secret are so wealthy and happy, and I can have all of that!” So they begin down the road of the BIG affirmation. Then when the dirt comes up, there’s so very much of it that they don’t know where to begin.

Get basic when the dirt comes up. Safety, worthiness, compassion, kindness, beauty, being loved and adored — these are the concepts to begin with. The temptation is to rush, to try to “catch up.” But making a foundation of the basics will ultimately get you further in deeper ways.

5 – Look at all of it as an experiment

Every now and then, remind yourself that the best thing about learning that you can create your reality is that your whole life becomes an experiment. Have a little fun with that idea. Say things like, “Hmmmm. I wonder what would happen if I really simply focused on________.” Or “I wonder if I really actually could visualize and think myself a new hybrid car.” Really, why not? What do you have to lose?

6 – Nap

Practical steps work too. Rather than ignoring the dirt and letting it slowly evolve into a Really Bad Day and eventual breakdown, be kind to yourself. Set the alarm for 20 minutes and take a nap. Seriously, I do think so many people are trying to do all of this stuff in a state of total exhaustion.

My cat Atticus naps more than any being I know. (He is writing a personal growth book called “The Power of Nap.”) And his life works perfectly. He gets all the food he needs. He’s at his perfect weight. He’s wealthy in flannel and down. He has daily (sometimes hourly) massages. When he wants to go out, someone lets him out. When he wants to come back in (even if it’s 18 seconds later) someone lets him back in. And the only time he worries is when the big loud machine steals the tufts of fur that he had so carefully left on the floor. Napping is his secret.

7 – Containerize

If the emotions or the poor-me story needs to come out and be looked at, then try containerizing it. This is simply an intent-within-the-intent process. If you need to talk out your fears or your negativity, then create the intent to containerize for a while. This is an off-limits “no longer creating my reality” container. Call a friend and explain to him that you need a listening ear. Explain that he is not allowed to feel sorry for you or give advice. He is not to give any “power” to your story. He is there to allow the container to happen. You just need to let it out. Or you can do the same in your journal. Let it all out there. Be sure to create a container for it.

8 – Lose the Story and see what’s left

If emotions are what’s coming up, try this. Try just sitting still and letting the emotions be there without the story that has attached itself to them. Feel sad and say “bring it on” to the sadness, but make sure that the story of “how awful my co-workers are because they never invite me to lunch!” isn’t part of the sadness. Just allow the sadness. Most of the time, it will move through and out. The challenge is to leave the story and all of its dramas behind.

9 – Get help

There are many many healers, practitioners, and coaches out there who can help you work through some of the deeper dirt that comes up. I don’t often recommend therapy, as it tends to focus on the problem itself. But more and more I’m hearing about more spiritually focused therapists, who are challenging their clients to see life situations from a higher perspective. Several friends of mine have had great results from working with Psych-K practitioners. I love any and all energy healing and alternative therapies.

10 – Banish results-oriented thinking

“Well, I affirmed that I’d win a Grammy award and that Madonna would invite me over to do yoga, and that was last week and it still hasn’t happened, so I’m going to conclude that all of this stuff is just hooey.”

The best way to approach “creating your reality” is to lose the attachment to the results. This brings us back to #1, the observer — watch where it takes you and allow surprises to come out of nowhere. I had done lots of work on myself before I began studying this whole “your thinking creates your reality” idea. And the one thing I said to myself was, “Hey, I don’t know if it works. But if nothing else, I’ll improve my level of thinking.” That was motivation enough. You will get results, for sure. And it might take some time, some dirt, and some processes. Those will be rewards and results in and of themselves.

  • Michelle

    What a fabulous blog!

    I have had profound amounts of emotional healing using EFT. http://www.emofree.com

  • amanda@choosing-life-my-way.com

    Some great tips for dealing with the ‘dirt’ of life that we cannot always avoid. I really like your perspective πŸ™‚

  • Meredith

    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much. I needed it.

    I’ve watched probably thousands of seeds come up in my lifetime and never thought of that metaphor for when I decide to plant a new seed in my life. Amazing. And I loved your description of the witness and the various strategies, especially containerizing. I think I already do this with my journaling and morning pages, but hadn’t realized its purpose. It is also great because I can explain to a good friend, and she and I will be happy to do this for one another.

    This is getting bookmarked for a reread whenever the dirt comes up… thanks again!

  • Dick Ingersoll

    I believe it’s important to realize that when the dirt comes up it indicates a change is happening in our lives. This is a great time to practice gratitude and affirmations. Be grateful that changes are occurring in your life and affirm that you are moving toward your goal.

  • Jesann

    (Erm, Yet Another Jessica here. I changed my comment name.) Thank you, belatedly, for another good one. I can’t remember where I read this (Hicks? Scovel-Shinn? Your blog?), but “perception” is an amazing term. Many of these negative beliefs, which we’ve accepted as our own to hang on to and obsess over and allow to run our lives, are really based in what we’ve learned over the years from other people’s examples and statements. No blame– I accepted these thoughts as my own. But reminding myself that my negative beliefs have their origins in outside perceptions that I chose to listen to has been one of the better ways to get out of depressing thought cycles. It lets me remind myself that I can choose not to listen to them anymore. Thanks again!

  • Helen

    Thank you Christine, will do πŸ™‚

  • Christine Kane

    helen – blob-like emotions are weird. i totally know what you’re talking about. it has taken years for me to get to where those blob like feelings are more rare. i recommend doing some pro-active stuff – like exercise first thing. (seriously, a great walk or a stint on the elliptical, even when you don’t feel like it.) and alternative health practices – especially acupuncture. diet plays a big role as well. also – take this first step … INTEND to release that blob-like pattern. Tell it that its days are numbered. Talk with it. That has helped me too!

  • Helen

    Wow, this is a truly great and thought provoking post.

    There is a question I would like to ask you, Christine. I keep getting waves of sadness and fear, and cannot connect them to anything sensible in my life. Lots of dirt, there must be a seed somewhere then, hurray ! πŸ™‚

    But what to do with these blob like emotions ? (apart from the naps, which I use a lot πŸ™‚ )

  • violette

    Wow Christine! This is an amazing post……..i discovered your blog just a few days ago and man….
    i think you’re just what i need….or at least your wisdom. Even though i’ve read Ask and it is Given and the Seth books which were about creating your reality i keep falling off the wagon. So thanks for the reminder and wonderful posts!


  • Caren

    Was just talking with a friend, and she reminded me… we’re learning. We have something to learn every time we fall in the metaphorical hole in the ground, and beating ourselves up for falling isn’t going to help. (Neither is beating ourselves up for beating ourselves up.) A very compassionate view that just really hit home for me today. We weren’t WRONG to fall in the hole, whether or not we saw it… it’s part of the process.

  • leonie

    Sounds like a fab deal Christine. Let me know when you’re coming….

  • Palmtreechick

    Yeah, my cats have the life as well. I turn on the sink when they’re thirsty, give them I can’t believe it’s not butter spray (my little girl loves it) and give them all the lovin in the world. πŸ™‚

  • Dblwyo

    Well one could take the climbing example as both metaphor and analogy then. Though you’ve never seen mountains like you see them from 1/2-way up a 20-lead climb (a lead is one rope length or about 150′). On the other hand a parking lot that was a couple of acres is now about the size of an eyelet for you boot laces so yin and yang πŸ˜€ . But consider the metaphor – the dirt that’s coming up is the fear and if you get hooked on it it wins. But blaming yourself for being afraid (“it’s all your fault”) is not only futile and dangerous it’s just plain wrong. The fear (the dirt) is normal and natural. Of course learning to consciously manage your observer is difficult and hard as well but valuable (how else will I get down – certainly not by pretending the dirt’s not there). On that subject might I offer up “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Bhante H. Gunaratana as a simple, direct operating manual ?

  • christine

    Hi Susie, Thanks for the thoughts here. And you’re welcome for the post! And yes to your question in the first paragraph. That’s a great approach. (If I read it right!)

  • Susie

    Hi Christine,
    I like Caren’s idea of laughing. They’ll be so many times where I get stuck at #3 or #10. I’ll stop and think about myself and the situation and practice #1…usually followed by a good chuckle πŸ™‚
    I have a question though. If we get stuck in the whole, ‚ΔϊYou create your own reality….and so it‚Δτs all your fault and something must be wrong with you.” Would it be fair to re-examine ourselves at that “dirty” point and ask, “Did I realize I was creating my own reality?” Just a thought.

    Thanks again for this post. Maybe I haven’t said this before but thanks TOO for always adding links in your posts…I always enjoy checking them out. (And I’m sure adding links is a little more tricky than the infamous smiley faces, so the links are much appreciated!) πŸ˜‰

  • Lyman Reed

    I haven’t read that one, Christine… but now I’m off to hunt it down. πŸ™‚

  • christine

    Barb, i’m not sure exactly what you’re saying about the car thing. My encouragement on these kinds of issues is to try to see through our own preconceived notions about what it means to have a nice car or have a nice house, etc. It’s so easy to close ourselves off… and really it’s all about us and our own ideas of what that person must be like for living in a house like that or driving a car like that, etc etc. And yes…pretty much EVERYTHING is too good to be true if we think it has all the answers… be that car, house, spiritual practice, whatever! As far as Psych-K…I think there are licensed practitioners throughout the country (though not many)… and maybe you could find out if there’s one near you and interview her….???

    Leonie — I’ll make you a deal… I’ll come and LIVE in New Zealand, and you can get to know me REAL well! (that could happen real soon if our politics don’t change here some time soon!) Thanks for the kind words!

    Hello Lyman! Thanks for the paraphrased Ernest Holmes. (Have you read “Love and Law?” It’s a good one.) And thanks for stopping by!

    Hi PTC, Really if you want to be a cat….you might want to be MY cat. My cats live like kings and queens. I am merely their slave-girl… (of course, it sounds like your cats have it pretty good too!)

  • Palmtreechick

    I’ve always said I wanted to be a cat because they have the life!! They sleep, get fed, play and get massages all the time. I may go take a little nap on floor where the sun beams in from the window, much like a cat would. I’m sure both of my cats will cuddle up next to me and join me, which makes it so much nicer.

  • Caren

    Just wanted to post the link to a transcript of Larry King Live – last night he had on the producers of The Secret! I didn’t see it, so it was nice this was available. Enjoy!

  • Lyman Reed

    Wow… another great post, Christine. I really identified with #3 (and, by extension, #4). Ernest Holmes (the creator of Religious Science) wrote somewhere that we need to “demonstrate from where we are” and not to consider ourselves failures if we can’t do cube roots before we know how to add (lot’s of paraphrasing there! ). It’s a trap that I fall into often. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  • leonie

    Christine, your blog just keeps getting better and better. You so clearly articulate how I feel about a ton of things and have helped me work through others. I do wonder sometimes if cats are closer to spirit than we are and have so many things figured out that we just don’t get yet! I love that what you write resonates so fully with where I am in my life. Look me up if you ever decide to visit New Zealand. I’d love to meet you in person.

  • barb

    the web page person for psych-k wrote back without an answer. The reason i ask about the car is that before i spend a lot of money on something that appears to be to good to be true i.e. better one’s sales I want to know if i am sending my money to someone who drives a Jag. yes good people drive other things but if it is a Jag, I will spend my money on Ask and it is given which tells me that i need to spend more than a weekend or DVD to self improve. Self improvement isn’t easy and I doubt building up sales is either. If anyone has more info I’d be happy to “hear” it. For now it is books, blogs and retreats. I have no clue how I got the smiley face. I used the old emotican so I will see if that is how it works thanks for comments and now I will smile πŸ™‚ barb

  • christine

    Barb… I don’t know if you’ll like psych-k. But my friends love it. Also, I don’t necessarily understand the car thing… it sounds like a really limiting approach to things..?? Can good people only drive VW Buses? Hmmmm…. Congrats on your smiley face. You’re in the club!

    Caren, Glad you could laugh at #3… and I’m not even going there with the Ghandi stuff! You’re welcome for my timing! πŸ˜€

    Dave, Thanks for the analogy. Never wanted to climb rocks. I just love being in the woods. But what you wrote makes lots of sense…

  • Dblwyo

    This is nowhere near as clear and simple as Christine’s writing and maybe it’s a guy analogy -btw those of us who read her blog have moved beyond that particular anxiety because it was futile D) not because we didn’t have it. Anyway in rock climbing there’s always a ‘little’ fear but if you start to focus on it it takes over your mind and freezes you hanging there in the wind crying for help. Very embarrassing. You can try supressing it but it’ll sneak back up on you. Apparantly the trick is just to accept that the fear is what it is and not either give it energy or distort one’s thinking about it by imposing some sort of filter. It just is – accept it and move on. Of course that’s kinda hard to do, every once in a while one ends up clinging to the rock and after a fall or three I don’t climb anymore either. πŸ™‚

  • Caren

    So, Gandhi didn’t have a large… OK, I won’t go there after all.

    Had to laugh out loud after #3, ’cause of course that’s where I go immediately, when my life doesn’t look pretty and all wrapped nicely. One thing that’s been helpful for me is the ability to laugh at myself and my choices, which I think is a combination of having that witness and viewing it all as a large experiment. If I can remember to laugh, it lightens everything.

    Thanks again, Christine. Yet another *miraculously* timed entry!

    Gassho –

  • barb

    Christine, thanks again for the reminder about dirt. I love the image and it is so true. Also like the idea of recognizing that others’ approval is not necessary, only mine. Went to Psych_k to see what that is about. with my typical cynacism (b I know trust) I wrote to ask what kind of car the folks drive. I asked this of my coach who had to think for a moment. When I read about methods that improve one’s sales etc, I think about on line viagra which promises a better world enhanced by large penis’. ( guys, please don’t take it personally, if you are reading christine’s blog, i doubt you have that insecurity πŸ™‚ ( I want to know how to make a yellow smiley face.) Personally, I like Ghandi’s approach to helping the world and individuals. will keep readers posted. barb