How to Take Charge of Your Destiny — Interview with Life Coach Marc Cooper-DiFrancia
Are we all living at the whims of fate, or can we take charge of our own destiny?
I did an interview with my coach a while back for Vigyaa, but as the story goes he spoke a lot and it turned into a very long chat. As such, rather than transcribing it, I have taken the highlights and put them together in an article.
Doing this interview, I felt like a burden was taken off my shoulders as I’d been worried about something that week and listening to Marc, I so to speak hit the nail on the head and my worry dissipated. Going through the notes from the interview again, I had the same experience.
Sometimes we need to hear things several times for them to sink in; for us to be able to apply them 24/7. Changing our life around to one where we become conscious and choose what we are thinking and therefore creating, is a life long pursuit. Because you have to keep at it; have to be dedicated to staying aware of your thoughts and choosing your focus.
I’ve been coached by Marc for over a year now and in that year I’ve learned a lot about myself, but mainly how to shift my focus so as to see a situation in the most beneficial light and acting from that space. As such, how I feel and how my life unfolds have changed.
I started by asking Marc what the first thing he teaches his clients is (as when he started coaching me, I already knew some of the principles he was teaching, if not in the way he was applying them).
His answer was that you have to start by accepting that you are responsible for everything you create in your life. Because of the agreements you’ve made with yourself (i.e. your beliefs) you are generating emotions that generate behaviors that, in turn, create patterns in your life.
If we are unconscious (i.e. not aware of the thoughts in our conscious/subconscious) then we are unconscious to the behaviors that create these situations. I.e. we just can’t understand why we are always so lucky at work and always so unlucky in love. We think life just happens to us.
Life, in reality, is a series of choices. If we’re unconscious, we don’t understand that we have a choice. Ca. 90% of the population have no experience of being fully conscious. Being unconscious is the same as saying you can’t see the label from inside the jam jar — you don’t have an experience outside the jar. You don’t know there’s a possibility to have it even.
We simply don’t realize that we’re creating what we’re creating in life and the choices we’re making to create it. We are creating unconsciously and must make a decision to become conscious, if that's what we want. Once a client understands this, once they understand that they are creating a lot of what’s going on in their lives, Marc agrees to start coaching them.
That’s not to say it’s someone’s fault what they’ve created — they aren’t aware of the things that motivated them to create it.
There is only one creative structure: knowing where I am and where I want to get. Then there are steps to take to get there.
Creating something can be intuitive — by using our intuition we speed things up. It needs to be heart based for this to happen. If you intuitively get where you are and where you need to go, as well as the steps you need to take to get there, then you speed things up.
If, on the other hand, you’re letting your beliefs run the show and approach something unconsciously, it becomes dysfunctional. By doing it consciously and intuitively, it becomes functional.
Sometimes we go through life unconsciously, then have a glimmer of recognition about what it means to be conscious.
Marc always used to date men who cheated on him. Then he dated one guy and his friends told him he was cheating on him. He said that could surely not be true, and asked the guy if he cheated on him. He denied it. But Marc started to have an inkling that something felt familiar. As if he was repeating a pattern. And sure enough, he found out that the guy was lying to him. Previously, he had simply been blind to it. In the past, he would deny any recognition that someone was cheating on him until it became blatantly obvious. This time, he took the time to find out; started noticing that something seemed similar to other cheating guys when he denied he was cheating.
Marc, in the past, was acting from his ego. Once he started becoming conscious, he started acting form his heart. He would feel into a situation and ask himself if what was going on truly felt right. Did he really think the guy was telling the truth? Once he started feeling into it intuitively, he knew the answer. He no longer let himself be blinded by his own desires, which, in the end, always led him to disappointment.
This is mine, Maria’s metaphor: Think about it as a ship taking you to America. You really want to go to America. So you buy a ticket to a ship that’s leaking. It’s just a small leak. The captain says it will be fine. You can’t afford another ticket (or at least you don’t think so), so you go ahead with it. You fill your mind with dreams of America. You push aside the little nudge of worry that you can feel inside. The captain says it’ll be fine. Surely it will be fine. And America — you’re finally going to America!
You’re listening to your ego and your ego has decided everything will be OK once you get to America. So you board the ship and half way there, the ship starts leaking badly and everyone’s evacuated and taken home to where they came from. You didn’t get to America and you lost your money for the ticket as you had no insurance.
When we listen to our ego, we create things to prove our beliefs to be true; we do not create our dreams. When we create from our heart, we start creating what we’d truly love. When you listen to that voice telling you that the ship isn’t safe, you stop. You don’t buy the ticket. Even if it would have taken one month longer to save up the money for the better ticket to America, you would have gotten to America.
Good tips include asking yourself which vibration you are coming from? What lens are you seeing things through? What stories are you telling yourself? Are you truly telling yourself things that are defeatist in nature (such as: I can't afford a better ticket)? Are you giving away your power? Not exploring something you’d love to explore because you’re scared? Some people never board the ship at all, because they're too scared to actually get to America. Or, they board the ship that will sink so that they can say they tried, but it never worked out. It wasn’t right for them. Fate got in the way.
Whatever you’re thinking creates an emotion in you and it’s from that emotion, that vibration, that you’re creating things. If you believe Mercury in retrograde is going to cause problems, then it will.
When we feel fear and anxiety, such as fearing what will happen when we get to America, then we try to resolve that fear/anxiety; that psychological tension.
Some people solve tension by drinking too much. Some by sitting frozen in front of Netflix, or procrastinating in other ways. Some by speaking to their friends for hours on end.
Will having a drink, watching Netflix or talking to a friend really take you closer to your goal? Or are you just using it to get a temporary fix where you feel better (but truly wasted time that could have been used to actually work towards your goals)?
If you know how you behave when feeling any given emotion, then you can predict what you will do. There’s a structure to everything, including your behavior.
For example, if every time you get stressed at work and feel overwhelmed, you resolve tension by going to the pub after work and getting drunk, instead of staying late and working over time, then you know how you tend to resolve tension (and make the situation worse; because the next day you’ll have even more work to deal with and a hangover to boot).
If you know the story you tell yourself, such as “I had a really long day at work, I deserve a beer” then you also know how to change it. For example, you could tell yourself: “I am feeling stressed, but if I stay at work for two hours longer today, then I will have made headway for tomorrow and I really want to knock my boss’ socks off, so I’ll do that.”
Funnily enough, by not resolving your tension, you tend to become less stressed/anxious/fearful, than if you do.
Resolving tension is really just people’s way of coping. It’s a pattern they’ve developed as a coping mechanism. At some point the person who goes to get drunk after work really thought that was the only way of coping with the stress. No matter how illogical it is, because it is only providing temporary relief and in the end, making the situation worse than it was to start with.
People have different patterns for different things. Some people when they are anxious stress eat, when they are lonely drink, when they have stress shop, when they get overwhelmed, binge watch television and so forth. Work out your dysfunctional stories and overwrite them with functional ones. It’s a lot more functional to sit down and fill your diary with social engagements, rather than drink when you feel lonely. It won’t create an immediate release, but it will cure loneliness in the long run. Having a drink might make you feel great in the present, but you’ll be just as lonely the next night.
Resolving psychological tension is often like taking a flu tablet — it temporarily gets rid of the symptoms, but it doesn’t cure the flu. It might even have gotten worse by the time the effects of the tablet wears off as you used the time in the wrong way; feeling great when in fact you still had a high fever temporarily relieved by the tablet. You didn’t rest and heal. You over exerted yourself.
A real life example would be feeling stressed about finances, drinking to resolve the tension, getting caught for a DUI, then having no transport and having to spend more money getting to work using Uber.
This is what happens when we react to emotional triggers in ways that are not beneficial (our negative set of core beliefs start acting out). And often we have well established patterns for how we react in different situations. If we keep reacting in the same way, keep resolving tension in the same way, then we keep repeating the same patterns over and over again. Because sooner or later we will experience the same kind of tension (same trigger) and act in a similar way.
There will always be tension when you're working to create something. The goal is to resolve the tension a) by taking steps to get you closer to the goal b) by reaching the goal. But that’s the functional way of resolving tension — taking steps to reach your goal and then reaching it.
Most people are in a reactive cycle their entire life — working to resolve tension and proving their beliefs to be true. Every time a belief gets proven to be true it carves a deeper pathway in the brain. Imagine it as the wrinkles in the brain that get deeper and deeper (this is obviously not a scientific explanation, but a metaphor). As the grooves, or wrinkles, get deeper over time, it’s harder to undo them. If someone taught you how to make conscious decisions at the age of ten, it would be a lot easier to learn than at the age of 45. The pathway would have been a lot less shallow at age ten and there’d be a lot less resistance.
Of course, once you learn you’re on autopilot — that you’re just automatically reacting to life — then you can change it.
Sometimes when you look around you see some people who, quite frankly, you think are assholes. Ever wondered how a world leader can behave as appallingly as they do? But they’re on autopilot like the rest of the world. If they think the only way to get somewhere in life is to manipulate, then they will do that. They aren’t even conscious of doing it. This is why you mustn’t take things personally. People do most things as a reflex reaction. People are slaves to their own unconscious unless they have the option of becoming aware presented to them.
Jung said: Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will drive your life and you will call it fate.
You think it’s fate that creates the same things for you over and over again, but it’s actually you creating them as you have an automatic behavior pattern when presented with different situations.
It’s like when Marc’s friends told him his partner was cheating and he just wouldn’t listen. He chose to think they were lying, rather than thinking his partner was lying. If he would have listened immediately, he would have had the option to end the relationship and creating a better one, going into it aware of his own patterns. But as so many others, he didn’t want to admit to what he didn't want to be true. Which is ironic as it only creates even worse problems.
The thing is, we can’t blame ourselves, or others, for being unconscious. Until we become aware we don’t really have a choice for how we react. We first have to realize that we have that choice. It’s like waking up one day and realizing you’ve been drunk for your entire life.
In fact, most conscious people don’t get drunk, or use drugs, as they are enjoying the life they’re living. They don’t need drugs, or alcohol, to relieve their tension. Because they make conscious choices, they have less tension to resolve.
Marc’s father, during WWII, had to dive into a latrine during a fight and was in there for seven days until he could get out again. He got malaria, shock, rat bites, etc. but as soon as he was physically sound, he was discharged from hospital.
From then on, when he heard a loud noise, such as his children screaming, he’d pick up the first thing in sight that could be used as a weapon, and lash out. This kept going until he got MS at the age of 63 and was hospitalized. At the hospital they figured out he has PTSD. They treated him for that too. After that, he never hit anyone, or anything, again.
Marc’s father was acting unconsciously, until the day they treated him for PTSD. And in the same way, most people are simply reacting to life in a set pattern. They don’t even realize they have a choice to react differently.
Marc believes that everything we experience is a creation sanctioned by God. There is no evil. We decide what we label things. God wants us to have every experience we choose to create. It’s our choice. God cannot experience him/herself, so s/he created us to experience himself through us. Just as we can’t experience ourselves without our surroundings and the people we interact with, God can’t experience him/herself without us. You have no experience of self unless something comes back to you.
In Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, he explains that there were two types of survivors coming out of the concentration camps after WWII. There were those who felt like survivors; like their psyche had been damaged, but their soul was intact. Then there were those who felt that their soul had been damaged and that they were tarnished. They felt like victims for life.
In a similar manner, you choose whether to see yourself as a survivor, or as a victim.
Heaven isn’t a place where you go, but where you’re reunited with God, but you can be now as well. You can connect to God. You’re just living the illusion of separation. Of an individual experience. God is everything. We were just created so that s/he could experience themselves. Thus, your soul cannot be damaged.
Marc’s belief is that we are brought here to experience what we want. However, until you become conscious, you’re just experiencing what you’ve been programmed to experience. You just keep experiencing your beliefs.
To feel separate from God we have to be wounded (psychologically/by our ego). You have the permission to create whatever you want. If you’re living from your wound, then you’re living unconsciously. It will direct your life and you’ll call it fate. The more conscious you become, the more life will feel like it’s worth living. You’ll get the freedom to start dreaming. It’s the reward of consciousness. Humans have to also take steps to create things. Jesus became like God on Earth and we have the same permission, but do we know that?
Basically, you’re responsible for what you create. You are God on Earth. And the stories you tell yourself, consciously and unconsciously, are responsible for what you create on Earth. If you start telling yourself different stories, you’ll take different actions and that will create different results. All you have to do to create something is take steps.
Now that you know how to create, will you employ that and start creating consciously? Will you choose the stories you tell yourself every day? Will you choose to take action on your dreams? Or will you continue to conjure up stories in your mind, that make you react in unfavorable ways? Everything is structural and you choose your structure — aware, or unaware. You have to ask yourself: do I want to explore this thing called awareness, or do I want to stick my head back in the sand?
Being aware, being conscious, is like that shiny new boyfriend. But you can also choose to go back and being cheated on. Like Marc used to do — go back to the cheating boyfriend. He didn’t take in what people were saying. Normally we don’t. We scan when listening and only take in what we are capable of; what suits our beliefs. He had a thought men can’t be trusted and his unconscious agenda was to prove that thought true. Until he figured out what he was doing. Then everything changed. Then the battle became to stay conscious of his choices; realizing he had a world of choices open to him.
For him it was realizing that a lot of men can’t be trusted, but some can. The ones that can behaved differently. The ones who cheated had a certain MO (modus operandi). Once he met his current partner, the question of cheating never even came up in nine years. His partner loves him. He’s not someone manipulating him into trusting him.
No one is 100% conscious all the time. I you are tying your shoelaces, for example, you’re probably not even aware of what you’re doing. You don’t have to be. You can be on autopilot for that task.
When it comes to being aware of what you’re thinking, if you’re 30-40% conscious you’re close to proficient. If you’re over 50% you’re very proficient. Anything more than that, it’s a bonus.
Once you become conscious, you start thinking about being of service to others. Not necessarily changing the world, just serving others through your heart and the resources you have available. When you do, your life shifts. But when you’re unconscious, you’re usually struggling so much, you can’t even think about being of service to others. If you don’t have a roof over your head, or you’re not comfortable with some aspect of your life, you’re struggling.
If you choose to be of service, you start seeing people through a different lens. You start asking yourself how you can serve them, rather than vice versa.
When you become aware/conscious you also start having faith. Faith things will work out. Faith you’ll reach your goals. That removes stress and worry and changes your vibration. You don’t need to know how something will happen, you just know it will happen. Coming at it from that angle, you are acting from a functional state of mind. You’re relaxed, happy and eager to find solutions and move forward. This means you’ll be creating what you want.
Having faith also means you’re no longer in reaction. You have faith things will turn out well, so you don’t need to go and get drunk, because you want to relieve your tension. You don't get very stressed, so you don’t need to resolve the tension. You have faith you’ll meet your deadlines, earn your money, find friendship, find love, solve this or that problem, etc. In turn, this means you’ve broken your dysfunctional patterns. You’re taking steps to create your goals, instead of steps to resolve your current tension.
You’ve become a powerful creator, focusing on what you want to create and having faith you’ll achieve it.