How Phil Discovered the Reversal of Desire Tool
In order to take back your life, you need a plan for facing pain and moving through it. Pain can actually become your guide to an expanded life once you know its secret: Pain is never absolute. When you move away from pain, it increases—it’s like a monster pursuing you in a dream. But if you turn around and face pain, it shrinks.
Phil learned this secret from a most unlikely teacher. Here's Phil's story:
"He sat next to me in my 10th-grade mechanical drawing class. I was 13 years old and weighed a measly 125 pounds. He had five years and 100 pounds on me. That was intimidating enough, but he was also the captain and star player on our football team. I was afraid to even speak to him until we discovered we had one thing in common: We both sucked at mechanical drawing.
That broke the ice and we began to talk. He was eager to explain why he was the best running back in the city. He admitted he wasn’t the fastest runner, nor the trickiest. He was the best runner, he said, because he wasn’t afraid of being tackled. In fact, he welcomed it. Given my limited life experience, this seemed like the craziest thing I’d ever heard. Just hearing him explain it was frightening. But it did have its own logic.
He told me he’d get the ball on the first play from scrimmage; but, unlike the other running backs, he wouldn’t try to avoid the tacklers. Instead, he’d pick one out and run right for him. I’ll never forget how he described this: “I get knocked on my ass. It hurts for a minute, but when I get up, I feel like I can conquer the world.” He didn’t avoid the pain of being tackled, he desired it. He knew that by going right at the pain, it would shrink. He knew that when you move toward it, pain turns into power.
Later, when I became a therapist, I was sure that this philosophy would help all of my stuck patients. There was just one problem. Desiring pain is completely unnatural for most of us. That’s where a tool is needed. I called the tool I developed the Reversal of Desire; it takes your natural desire to avoid pain and reverses it into a desire to feel pain and move through it. "