Relax in the Sun or Work Hard to Keep the Darkness at Bay?

This is a question I like to ask my clients at the beginning of the process.  Here’s how l describe their 2 choices:

We’re blessed to live in a world with the sun that does many things for us and our planet—it gives us warmth, drives our weather patterns, nourishes our plant life, and countless other things we couldn’t live without.  How hard do you have to work for the sun to do these things?  Not one bit, right?

Now, imagine living in a room your whole life where the sunlight is completely blocked out.  To survive, you still need many functions the sun provides, so there is a light in the ceiling that does those things.  But there’s a catch—this light is attached to a stationary bike which you must ride to keep the light turned on.  So, you have to work hard just to survive.

Would you rather continue to ride the bike or get off and stand out in the sunshine?  That’s the difference between surviving through your pattern of Learned Distress and living from your well-being.

Your bike-riding style is your Sensory Quotient pattern. 

Idealists are able to ride the bike well and they keep the light turned on brightly, but it’s very hard work.

Perfectionists control their riding to make sure that the light is turned on the “right way.”

Dictators ride the bike their own way, it is the only way, and they make sure everyone else does it their way, too.

The Defeatist’s bike never works, and in the rare case that they do get the light turned on, Defeatists know that darkness is only a few moments away again.

Optimists always have some crisis with their bike, but they keep struggling to overcome these difficulties.

Caregivers know they can’t keep the light turned on by themselves, so they make sure to ride the bike in whatever way will get them the help they need.

Quanta Change gives you the choice to allow your well-being to work for you, just as the sun works for our planet and humankind.  To find out what “relaxing in the sun” has looked like for some Quanta Change participants, check out these Quanta Change stories.

The Sensory Quotient – Intro and The Idealist

Introduction to the SQ

The Sensory Quotient is a personality tool that helps you see how your Learned Distress is generating the negative situations in your life.  The SQ can help you see that the negative stuff happening for you isn’t just “the way it is to be me,” but rather just the result of the Learned Distress (which you can unlearn).

It gives you an objective picture of how your brain stores the sense that “there’s something wrong with me.”  It also shows you the survival mechanism your brain developed to cope with or control your Learned Distress.

Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann identified 6 basic SQ patterns.  I’ll describe each of them over my next few posts.  You can find out your own pattern for free by downloading this Sensory Quotient test and sending it to me for graphing.

The Idealist Pattern

Idealists are those people who, from the outside, seem to have it all together.  To survive, they bury or deny everything that doesn’t feel good (their Learned Distress), and create a fantasy that “everything’s great.” An Idealist once said to me, “I understand what Learned Distress is.  I just don’t have any.”

To create their fantasy, they focus on some ideal way of being.  This can be fairly general, or it can be a specific ideal, like being the entertainer, or a successful business person, or having the perfect marriage and family.  They work very hard to maintain this ideal way of being.  Life seems good, but it takes a lot of work.

Idealists live in the world of “should.”  “It ‘should’ be this way, so I’ll work hard to make it that way.”  They tend to be disconnected from how they really feel, and just try to live in that way it “should be.”

I sometimes describe Idealists trying to live at Disneyland – it’s always fun and there’s a parade every day!  They don’t like being reminded that “back home,” there are bills due or a broken furnace.  “Don’t rock my boat” is the reaction you’ll usually get from an Idealist when you remind them that Learned Distress even exists.

That’s because it reminds them of those feelings they work so hard to keep buried, and they feel that survival depends on keeping them buried.  They’ll often react this way even if you tell them about your own problems.  And people often bring problems to Idealists because they seem to have it all together, so others feel the Idealist will be able to tell them how to get it all together, too!

As Idealists progress through their lives, this pattern will eventually begin to break down… Mimi called this “the façade cracking.”  As this occurs, the Idealist’s ability to “make it all happen” begins to fail, or at the very least, they feel that it gets much harder to keep everything together.

Quanta Change for Idealists

The general direction for Idealists is that things get easier and more aligned to what actually matters to the Idealist, instead of just what “should” matter.  Survival has meant disconnecting from how they feel, so they often have little idea of what actually matters to them at the beginning – they just can’t feel that.

For any of the 6 patterns, the direction of change is always towards uniqueness—that we each have a unique place in the world and a way of being human that is generated from our well-being.  And that uniqueness is effortless and joyful.  So, the Idealist moves from working hard to create the fantasy that everything is OK to a feeling that everything is good and flows easily for them.

Want to know your SQ pattern?  Download this free SQ test and return it to me.

The Sensory Quotient – the Defeatist Pattern

The Defeatist’s survival mechanism might seem a big strange or nonsensical, even.  Their survival depends on creating proof that nothing ever works. They always expect something to be wrong and that nothing will change.  They’re always waiting for “the other shoe to drop.”

Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann said that the Defeatist believes that something will overwhelm their Plan A, so they will always have to accept a lowly Plan B.  Their efforts never make a difference towards the achievement of what they want, even when they work as hard, or even harder, than everyone around them.

The paradox is that every Defeatist I’ve met is very intelligent, capable, and talented.  From the outside, you would think this is someone who will succeed, even excel, at their chosen path in life.  They’re usually very personable and well-liked.  But their talents and personality never seem to pay off.

Defeatists are overwhelmed by their Learned Distress without having the capacity to overcome it.  One client demonstrated this in a physical way.  She had Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which means that nearly every substance made her very ill.  She lived in a “safe room” in her house and rarely ventured away from home.  When she bought something new, it had to “outgas” for days before she could be in the same room with it.  Learned Distress had overwhelmed her body’s own immune system and filtering capacity, so that she was overwhelmed by the world.

The same client also demonstrated that our Learned Distress can affect not only ourselves, our situations, and our relationships, but can also affect how things around us work.  She mentioned one day how much trouble she’d had with her clothes dryer—more trouble than the (very reputable) manufacturer had ever seen.  When I considered her Defeatist pattern, this didn’t surprise me, and I mentioned the connection to her.  She exclaimed, “Could my Defeatist pattern be the reason that we’ve had to buy 15 new microwaves in the past 4 years?”  Turns out, her Learned Distress literally meant that nothing around her worked.

As Learned Distress intensifies over time, the Defeatist just sees more and more of these kinds of things happen in all areas of life—physical and emotional health, relationships, career, and every other part of daily life.  Things fail for them more quickly and Plan B becomes even more lowly.

Quanta Change for the Defeatist

Beginning Quanta Change, even continuing it, can sometimes be a struggle for Defeatists.  Their Brain Direction strives to prove that this process won’t work for them, either.  But, as their brains allow the unlearning to take place, they begin to see their own efforts pay off.  Things do begin to work for the first time—situations that they’ve been working at for a long time begin to go in the direction they actually want.  It becomes safe to want good things for themselves, because they see that success is actually possible now.

Want to see which of the 6 SQ patterns is yours?  Download the free SQ test.

The Sensory Quotient – the Dictator Pattern

Survival for Dictators is based on making everything go their way. While the Perfectionist is concerned with things being the “right” way (which is often determined by external research), the Dictator’s way is determined internally: “My way is the only way.” They make sure that everyone else does things their way, also—the Dictator always knows best.

In fact, in order to survive, Dictators feel they need to know everything.  They’re always very aware of how things work in the world and how they can use this knowledge.  They are very uneasy in a situation where they don’t know something, often to the point that they will pretend that they do know.  In fact, when in such a situation, their knee-jerk reaction is often to just take over and run things.

They usually excel at tasks, at professional achievement, and in any physical activity, although they will have to work hard to do so.  Dictators are very often highly successful in business or professional settings, including with their finances.  They feel very comfortable in leadership roles.

Dictators are very competitive.  They need to win and show they are the best.  In any kind of relationship, they need to hold the power and have difficulty connecting with or caring about how the other person feels.  So, they feel that they just can’t succeed at relationships.  They rarely form deep connections with other people, even though they may be quite charismatic and able to generate more superficial connections in which they control based on what they know.

They have an especially hard time with authority—they rebel against it automatically.  In fact, in many cases, the “Dictator’s way” is just whatever is “not their way”. . .in this way, Dictators can often find themselves in constant reaction against whatever rules they feel are being thrust upon them.

This pattern begins to break down when Dictators encounters critical personal or professional situations in which they must work together with others or follow someone else’s rules.  This is usually only after they have run the other way from many such situations.  They get to a point where they feel they need this situation to work, but find themselves unable to collaborate or fit within whatever boundaries are required.

Quanta Change for the Dictator

They begin to be able to work with others and within rules or structure that is practical.  Their need to show that they know everything relaxes, so they begin to feel more comfortable in new situations, more able to “just be,” rather than have to take over.  As they begin to discover and honor their own uniqueness, they can honor others’ uniqueness and purpose, as well, and don’t feel they have to win or be the best at everything.  They can begin to really connect with others on the basis of well-being and mutual respect and, for the first time, feel safe and comfortable sharing who they really are with others.

Curious to see what your SQ pattern is?  Download this free SQ test.

The Sensory Quotient – the Perfectionist Pattern

As with the Optimist SQ, Mimi Herrmann’s Perfectionist SQ pattern definition isn’t what most people associate with the word.  While the “obsessive-compulsive” kind of perfectionism absolutely exists within the world of Learned Distress, it’s not what the Perfectionist pattern is based on.  Mimi defined the Perfectionist as one whose survival depends on creating and maintaining boundaries to control what’s right for them.

I sometimes call this pattern “the Judge.”  Perfectionists have a strong sense of what is right and wrong, black and white—and what is “right” is unique to each of them.  In order to survive, everything must be the “right” way, not only within themselves, but also around them.  Perfectionists tend to be very uneasy, even panicked, when anything or anyone around them (or in the world at large) operates outside their boundaries of “what is right.”

Their survival mechanism builds very thick walls in an attempt to keep the “wrong” out.  However, what generates what feels “wrong” is actually their Learned Distress, so their “walls” are really a strong control mechanism that keeps their feelings in and under tight control.  And not just the Learned Distress—these walls keep Perfectionists’ well-being under wraps, also.

This brings to mind the image of a submarine—its thick walls keep the high water pressure from overwhelming its contents, but nothing can get out, either.  Because not much feeling—in the form of energy—can “escape” from the Perfectionist, others have a hard time connecting with them or even having a sense of them at all.  Mimi and I both found that it’s sometimes hard to remember a Perfectionist’s name, even—there’s just not enough energy to “grab onto.”  Because their energy is “trapped,” Perfectionists may feel blocked from being able to express themselves and “invisible” to others.

Often, they have a hard time finishing things.  Once something is finished, it can be judged as right or wrong, so Perfectionists keep themselves from getting to that point.

This pattern’s breakdown comes as the intensity of Learned Distress rises so high that it starts to blow apart the walls.  This can come in the form of relationship, career, or health issues starting to feel out of control—and it will often feel that the cause comes from outside them.  Or it can come in the form of their idea of “what’s right” falling apart without them being able to find a new “right” to replace it.  I’ve also witnessed Perfectionists having an increasingly harder time with memory and cognitive ability as they age.

Quanta Change for Perfectionists

The overall direction for them in Quanta Change is to allow themselves to feel, period.  As their tight control loosens, they allow their lives to flow more freely.  I described it to a client yesterday as allowing the submarine to come to the surface and climbing out onto the deck into the sunshine, free to explore and interact with the outside world—and that finally becomes safe to do.

Much like Idealists, they begin to connect to who they really are and discover what truly matters to them.  And they find that life works more easily as the energy of well-being can flow and start to generate good moments for them, rather than having to continually control to keep things going the right way.

Want to know what your SQ pattern is?  Download the free SQ test.

The Sensory Quotient – the Optimist Pattern

This isn’t your typical definition of “optimist.”  Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann defined Optimists as people whose survival depends on creating a crisis today to prove that tomorrow will be better. “Tomorrow must be better than what’s going on today!”

The sensory brain, the part that stores our sense of self, can only comprehend the present moment.  Therefore, tomorrow is always the future—so that “better tomorrow” never comes. The Optimist, therefore, lives in constant crisis.  They get one fire put out only to have their brain generate a new one.

This constant struggle with crisis is set up by the way the Optimist experiences their Learned Distress and how they respond to it.  While most SQ patterns bury part or all of their Learned Distress, the Optimist buries nothing—they experience it all on the surface.  They feel intensely the sense that “something is wrong with me” in the realms of relationships, role in life, health, and achievement, and they feel compelled to work very hard to make it all OK.

They feel strongly that in order to survive, they must always win and they must always be perfect at doing things their own way.  But they also feel the pressure to gain other people’s approval and conform to others’ rules.  They’re in a constant tug-of-war: “My way.”  “No, their way.”  “No, my way.” “Their way.”  They’re usually warm, friendly people, and at the same time intensely competitive and opinionated.  Survival depends on feeling and expressing all of these things openly.

The breakdown of this pattern is just that the crises get too big to overcome at some point.  They will have overcome obstacles people with the other SQ patterns would think are insurmountable, but at some point they get too big even for the Optimist.

Quanta Change for the Optimist

The good has always been in the future for the Optimist, but never today.  So, the general direction of change for them is that “good” begins to happen now.  And that the good—in achievement, health, role, relationships—comes more and more easily, without the struggle that has been their constant mode of operation.  As they begin to discover their own uniqueness, they find that is really just their own place and way of being—not in competition with anyone, nor requiring anyone’s approval.

Want to know which SQ pattern is yours?  Download this free SQ test.

The Sensory Quotient – the Caregiver Pattern

The Caregiver’s survival depends on creating reciprocal dependencies. “I’ll do whatever it is you need from me so that I’ll get what I need from you.”  Caregivers are adept at knowing whatever it is the other person needs to hear or receive from them.  For this reason, Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann sometimes called this pattern “the manipulator.”

From the outside, Caregivers are often perceived as warm and caring, interested in the welfare of others.  And they often are all of these things, each of which is good, in and of itself.  So, what’s the Learned Distress in that?  It’s that Caregivers feel that they can’t possibly support themselves in some crucial way (or many ways), so they need something from someone else to survive.  Therefore, their “giving” is not free—it comes with the (often very hidden) expectation that they will get something in return.  The Caregiver brand of “nice” comes with a pricetag!

Often, Caregivers are just like their pattern’s name—the way they “give you what you want” is to take care of you in some way.  But often, they can seem “needy”—they express their dependent nature by needing significant financial, emotional, or physical support from others.  Caregivers often have something wrong with their bodies that is diagnosable—physical or mental illness or a significant addiction.  So, they can be dependent not only on other people, but on treatments or regimens that help them cope with these problems.

This is all shaped, of course, by their initial conditions from conception until the age of 2 1/2—whatever way of being human got their needs fulfilled early in life (being the entertainer, being sick, or throwing temper tantrums) will be the way their brain direction continues to generate their way of being human later in life.

Caregivers are typically people pleasers and often peacemakers.  They make sure to fit into whatever situation they’re in—for this reason, I sometimes also use the term “chameleon” for them.  They generally defer to what other people want and will work hard to make relationships with others seem “all OK.”  This usually happens at the expense and complete denial of what really matters to the Caregiver (if they can even connect to what they really want at all).

As time goes on, their reciprocal dependencies break down more and more.  For instance, a woman who never worked outside the home and let her husband handle all the financial responsibilities may find herself divorced and feeling like she has no way to support herself.  As this survival mechanism stops working, Caregivers often feel very resentful: “I give and give and give and never get anything back—and I have no way to do these things for myself!”

Quanta Change for Caregivers

The general direction Quanta Change takes for Caregivers is to come to a greater and greater reliance on their own well-being as the way they support themselves and generate what they need.  They begin to connect with what really matters to them, instead of just connecting with whatever matters to the people they depend on.  And they begin to voice and achieve what matters to them in ways they hadn’t imagined were possible before.

Curious to know what your SQ pattern is?  Download the free SQ test and return it to me.

The Story of Your Energy – Part 4: Burning Your Learned Distress off Permanently

In Part 3, I talked about how your Learned Distress renews itself each time you go to sleep – and so, when it comes to Learned Distress, that renewable energy isn’t such a good thing.  It has, in fact, been the mechanism by which life has become harder for you over time.  So now, let’s look at the big breakthrough Mimi had when she considered the Law of Conservation of Energy further.  It is the key to your life feeling better and easier.

Until this point, Mimi thought she was just looking for the source of illness.  She never set out to change anything.  But now, she started to wonder if your brain could turn Learned Distress into non-renewable energy.  Think of burning a log in a fireplace – once you’ve burned it, you can never use the ashes to produce more heat.  What if you could burn off Learned Distress permanently, so your sensory brain could no longer use it to generate negative moments?

Mimi knew from her research that she had an important hurdle to get over: your brain’s natural resistance to change.  As nerve cells in the brain mature, a myelin sheath forms around them, which creates a physiological wall of resistance to change.  And, as your rational brain begins to function around the age of 2 ½, a wall of resistance to change forms around your sense of self.  This wall means that you can’t think your way out of your Learned Distress.

Your brain has good reason for this resistance – it’s protecting your way of surviving, which it customized for you and your surroundings from your sponge-like Sensory Learning process.  Since your rational brain hadn’t begun to function, your sensory brain didn’t have any way of understanding that it had absorbed this feeling that “there’s something wrong with me,” so it’s just holding tightly onto what it believes is keeping you alive and well!

To burn off your Learned Distress, Mimi realized she had to get your rational, thinking brain out of the way – that when the rational is operating, the wall of resistance is up. She carefully considered all the different brain wave activity states, which fall into 3 major categories: wakefulness, sleep, and purposefully-altered states where the brain produces Theta waves (like hypnosis and meditation).  She saw that sleep is the one time when the rational is shut down entirely and that sleep also has a big bonus – it is when your sense of self recharges.  So, all you had to do was tell your brain you want to recharge with your natural well-being, instead of Learned Distress.

That was Mimi’s next hurdle – how can you give your brain this permission for change when you’re asleep?  She created a Sensory Message CD (a tape at first) to do just that.  She recorded a spoken message in the language of your sensory brain – sensory images, or spoken “pictures of feelings,” that tell your brain, “I don’t want this bad feeling anymore; I want to recharge with what feels good.”  For example: “I am a leaf floating down a river.  I get to a place where it’s all clogged and nothing can move.  But then, things begin to move again and I float into this calm pool where I can relax and enjoy this peaceful existence.”  I’ve created a new Sensory Message based on the knowledge I gained from Mimi plus what I’ve learned from 10+ years of guiding others through this process.

This Sensory Message is the catalyst for change, giving your brain permission to burn off layers of Learned Distress permanently (just like burning the log in the fireplace). As this “unlearning” happens, your natural sense of well-being expands to take the place of the burned off Learned Distress.  More and more, well-being becomes the energy your brain uses to generate your moments. Just as you’ve never worked hard to have a bad day, the moments that feel truly good to you just begin to happen automatically.

Sound too good to be true? I certainly thought so the first time I talked to Mimi.  Now, I’ve had more than 10 years to see for myself and through my clients’ experiences that it actually does work that way.  Click to read some of their stories.

Now that we’ve explored the story of your energy, I’ll start to describe the 6 Sensory Quotient survival patterns that Learned Distress creates.  The whole purpose of Quanta Change is to unlearn your pattern of Learned Distress so that you can enjoy being you in your own unique way. You can find out what your Sensory Quotient pattern is by downloading and completing this free test.

The Story of Your Energy – Part 3: Renewable Energy Isn’t Always a Good Thing

These days, we’re all familiar with the concepts of renewable and non-renewable energy.  And the renewable kind is always better, right?  Actually, no.  When it comes to energy out there, renewable is good.  But when it comes to your human energy, renewable energy has actually been causing a lot of misery and difficulty.

In recent posts, I’ve talked about the laws of energy that govern how your human energy develops and how your brain uses that energy to generate each moment of your life.  Now, we’ll explore how your human energy renews itself according to the Law of Conservation of Energy.   It’s the third law that Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann found so vital in understanding the behavior of human energy: “Energy is neither created nor destroyed, but only transformed into renewable or non-renewable energy.”

While you’re awake, your sensory brain uses its stored energy – a combination of Learned Distress and natural well-being – to generate each moment.  Through her research, Mimi realized that the purpose of sleep is to recharge or renew the energy stored in your battery-like sense of self.  Physical and mental rejuvenation and repair happen in the two slower levels of sleep-time brainwave activity, and your sensory brain is recharging during the fastest level – REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, when you are dreaming.

You recharge your phone or laptop battery with electricity.  Your sensory brain recharges itself with the feelings you experienced in the day you just lived.  The purpose of your dreams (whether you remember them or not) is to use how you felt during the day to recharge how you feel about being human.  Dreams are “pictures of feelings” that your brain generates automatically to do this recharging work.

Since your awake-time moments were generated, in part or even mostly, from Learned Distress, your sense of self is recharging each night with the sense that “there’s something wrong with me.” So, in this cycle, Learned Distress is renewable energy. Not only that, this renewal causes the intensity of Learned Distress to rise over time, so you feel more of the sense that something is wrong.  And, because your brain generates moments equal to the intensity at which the Learned Distress is stored, your negative moments feel more intense.

For example, let’s say that someone absorbed the sense that “there’s never enough for me” early in life.  As she grows up, this Learned Distress generates the condition of not having enough money.   At age 20, she might be bouncing checks.  By the age of 50, the intensity has risen to such a level that she’s in bankruptcy.

How you feel this rising intensity depends on your Sensory Quotient pattern. (You can find out your SQ pattern for free by completing and sending me this test.)  If your pattern is like the one that Mimi called the Defeatist, you feel worse and situations keep getting worse, despite everything you do to the contrary.  If your pattern is the Idealist, you may still feel that life can be good, but it gets harder and harder to make that happen.  Or, maybe you used to be able to make it all work, but lately, your efforts just don’t seem to produce the same results.  In each case, the intensity of Learned Distress has risen to such a level that you are feeling it or experiencing its power.

I know this isn’t terribly uplifting, but renewable energy is just half the story with this law.  Next time, I’ll talk about the huge breakthrough that the non-renewable part of the law gave Mimi, which allowed her to create the Quanta Change Process.

The Story of Your Energy – Part 2: Learned Distress IN, Learned Distress OUT

Ever heard someone say, “Garbage in, garbage out”?  This phrase was coined by a computer technician to describe what happens when a computer is given nonsensical code to process – it puts out nonsensical answers.  Sir Issac Newton described this same principle in his Third Law of Motion: “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In her discovery of how human energy behaves, Quanta Change founder Mimi Herrmann saw this law at work.  Mimi realized that in human energy terms, it was, “Learned Distress in, Learned Distress out.”  She coined her own term for it: “Brain Direction.”

Let’s look at each part of this law.  First, she realized that Sensory Learning is the “action.”

(You may remember from my last post that Mimi discovered that early in life, we absorb Learned Distress – the feeling that “there is something wrong with me” – in the process she called “Sensory Learning.”  Sensory Learning puts into place our sense of self, our unique sense of how it feels to be human.  This sense of self – or sensory brain, as Mimi sometimes called it – is like a battery which stores 2 kinds of energy: our natural well-being, which is the kernel of energy we started out with, and Learned Distress.)

The “opposite” in human energy terms is that the brain generates each moment of our lives directly from the energy stored in the sense of self battery.  The energy came in during Sensory Learning (the “action”) and now, the energy is going out as the energy we live each day with (the “opposite reaction”).

To understand the “equal” part, we need to understand that memory is stored by the quality and intensity of feeling associated with it.  In other words, your brain stores what you feel strongly.  These stored feelings are what the sensory brain uses to generate the moments of your life (the “equal reaction”).

For example, let’s say that a new mom momentarily forgot her baby boy and left him in a store, then rushed back.  She is going to likely feel her own Learned Distress strongly in this moment, which means he is going to absorb Learned Distress then, too – in the realm of abandonment or the very common Learned Distress feeling of “I don’t matter.”  He then experiences moments throughout his life in which he is abandoned or feels that he doesn’t matter.  Those moments are generated from the stored Learned Distress of that moment – his Brain Direction generates situations in which he feels he doesn’t matter.

Computers only generate answers from the code they are given.  Likewise, the sensory brain only generates moments from what is stored in the sense of self.  This is what Mimi talked about as the automatic and invisible behavior of human energy, and it’s the reason that she said with certainty that all our negative moments and conditions are generated – automatically and beyond our rational control – from our Learned Distress.

Next time, I’ll talk about the 3rd energy law that Mimi found was so vital to understanding how your energy behaves.  It’s all about how your sense of self battery recharges itself, and this law holds the key to getting rid of your Learned Distress permanently.