the root association method

The purpose of the method is help anyone overcome a traumatic experience simply by taking the event that happened, mapping it down to its core root and then creating a new association for it. Then, doing the same with every level above it. (This will make sense soon enough)

Perhaps it’s best explained with an example from my life. However, before I begin, it’s important to note that while we may have different experiences on the physical plane, which I call events, we all have the same opportunity to create how we feel about them on the mental plane, our world within. This means that every event we face, we mentally decide how we feel about it. This, of course, happens in an instant. And because it over so fast, meaning we don’t have time to evaluate what actually happened, it can completely traumatize us, especially when we are young. Therefore, a child who has just had their teddy bear taken away, can create a story just as traumatizing as someone who has just been sexually abused.

Now, I understand if this is difficult for some to accept, but who are we to judge the feelings of others? Furthermore, while the physical world has its hierarchy of importance, the mental plane does not. You see, on the mental plane, we, the individual, play the judge and jury of our own experiences, and therefore, have the right to deem any event we experience as traumatic, regardless of societal norms. Of course, in doing so, this new experience hides like a trojan horse within our mental plane, ready to attack whenever it gets triggered. This, of course, continues forever, that is, until we actually deal with it – the story we created, not the actual event. And because most people are kept busy with their daily lives, they rarely take the time to look within and see the real issue; that they’ve simply attached a traumatic association to a physical event, nothing more. Of course, if you can’t see how each and every case of trauma is equal to the next, the rest of this method is going to be lost on you.

The Duality of Events

As discussed above, there are two sides to every event; the physical side and the mental side. The physical side consists of all the physical actions that transpire just before, during and after an event. In the case of the small child and teddy bear, the physical actions are: parents walks over to child, child clings tight to bear, parent rips bear from child’s hands and walks away, child is left alone, crying. Notice how everything is physical, without any sort of emotion attached? This is because emotion doesn’t exist on the physical plane, it exists on the mental plane, the mental side of the event.

It is also on the mental side that the story of the event is created. In general, the story is the meaning we associate with the trauma. This includes how we feel about the event, as well as how we view ourselves after it. In the case of the child and the teddy bear, the child, left crying, creates a story of worthlessness. And while the event may be laughable to some, to the child, it’s the worst thing ever. Furthermore, if left unchecked, it will traumatize them for the rest of their life, which I’m certain is a similar fate for most people on the planet. This is because the mental side of our existence is serious business, and will beat us down if we let it. Which is why it’s important to deal with our trauma as soon as possible, and not allow it to hide like a trojan horse. With that, let’s get to the example from my life.

Michael & the Girl

In high school, I fell in love with a girl. She was amazing, and it was basically love at first site, at least for me. She was my partner in crime at school. Unfortunately, she had a pretty strict Persian dad who didn’t want his daughter dating. So all we had was high school, and I was content with that, because she was amazing.

Then, one day, she was gone.

And I mean, gone, gone. I asked around and nobody knew where she went. I finally found a mutual friend and asked him if he knew anything; he said he’d get back to me. The next day, he let me know that she had been pulled out of school. I was crushed. Not only was she gone, but I never had a chance to say goodbye. Now, remember, we’re talking about 1994 here. This meant no internet or smart phones. For the most part, multiple phone lines were just becoming a big thing… predating caller ID by years. This also meant no social media. And because I didn’t know what school she was in, I couldn’t go see her. Worse, I didn’t know where she lived. So in my mind, she literally vanished.

Let’s just say I was more than devastated about her disappearance. So much so that until I used this very technique, I had difficulty saying goodbye to anyone, be it someone I just met, or someone I knew my entire life. This event rocked me so much that I simply became detached to the world, because fuck it, they’re just going to leave anyway, right? The thing is, this statement is absolutely true for everyone. People come and go all the time, whether we want them to or not. Even lifelong marriages end when either a husband or wife passes on. EVERYONE LEAVES, and there is nothing we can do about it. It just happens.

Now, there are two ways to look at this. On the physical side, people leave, it’s natural. However, on the mental side, the one that stores our emotions, and the one that builds our attachments, well, we simply cannot deal. Therefore, instead of seeing the event as black and white, it consoles us with a story. And it happens all the time. If you think about it, how often do we encounter a traumatic event where someone says “it’s not your fault.” It is here that the biggest damage is done… instead of looking at the event objectively, we look at it subjectively. By doing so, we allow ourselves to become a victim. And while this may sound harsh, because there are some true victims on the planet, the majority of our traumas are actually avoidable, including mine.

NOTE: If you were to map out an event back before its catalyst, you’d actually see where it is avoidable. However, it takes a strong person to do this, as it means taking responsibility for the story they created. Unfortunately, not everyone is up for that task.

The Event

And while I’m sure there is more to this “story” than the following, this is what I know. The reason she transferred schools was because she was falling behind. You see, we went to a high school that allowed us to work at our own pace. And because we spent so much time together, we both neglected our school work. So her parents became worried and pulled her out. Now, because she wasn’t allow to have boys calling her house (remember, strict father), I didn’t have her number, let alone her home address. And with social media still a decade away, I had no possible way to communicate with her. Of course, being fourteen at the time, I didn’t have the mental fortitude to handle it, so I made up a story that everyone leaves; when really, all that happened was that she was pulled out of school.

Unfortunately, every relationship since then has suffered greatly, all because I had it my head that they were going to leave. Because of this, I also developed a habit of giving everything up front. And while I don’t think this is necessarily a bad habit, as we’d all be able to accomplish more in our relationships if we simply were up front and honest with one another, I completely understand if it’s difficult for some understand. Unfortunately, not many people are built to be completely up front all at once, and thus, this tactic often scares them off. But not on the first date, usually three months down the road.

Of course, that’s only half of the equation. When looking into my past, I found that I was always attaching myself to women that were mentally unavailable, at least to me. I guess this was my way of coping with the fact that they were just going to leave. And while we could be together physically, I was often just a rebound for them. And in some sick, sadistic way, I was okay with it. Because fuck it, why find someone you can truly connect with, when they’ll simply vanish in the morning.

The Girl Comes Back to Town

In 2013, we finally reunited. And while I wish I could tell you that it was a fairytale ending, it wasn’t. Instead of falling in love, she caught me at my worst. I am one hundred times the man I used to be. Money aside, I’m mentally stronger than ever. I’ve also dealt with my all childhood shit, including me and her, and have finally released my first book. For the most part, I have my shit together, with the confidence to match. But two years ago, when we finally reunited, it was a different story. At the time, I was still being controlled by a fourteen year old boy; one who’d just had his heart broken.

What’s worse, is that I thought I had a chance with her. It wouldn’t be until a year later, when she came back into town, that everything came crashing down. What I failed to understand about myself then, was that I had built an attachment around the idea that we were soul mates; when it turns out, we were now complete strangers. With that realization, something within me clicked: we are able to create new associations for past traumatic events. I then began to map everything out, from the moment we met, until the day I wrote my last email reaching out (at least what I could remember). And while they may have been over the top – can’t change who I am – it doesn’t mean I deserve to be ignored, especially if she’s willing to see my sister, right? Where’s the decency in that?

And in that question lies the real issue. You see, the moment I created the association that being ignored by her was indecent, I created a story. All that happened was that she didn’t want to talk to me, but I built it into something more. And I did this with her my entire life. She was THE GIRL I measured every other girl against. Thankfully, the moment I realized she was a complete stranger, I was finally able to breath. And that’s when the concept for The Root Association Method came rushing in. What’s crazy, is that I swear it could only come to someone like me, simply because of how I operate.

You see, I like to consider myself a digger. No, not in a physical sense, but more on the mental side of things. Another term would be divider. This is because I like to observe situations, then sort them into different categories and sections. Once broken down, I then break these new categories and sections into more categories and sections, until I’ve finally broken everything down into their own respective piece. This is what I call mapping. And in doing so, it allows me to see what everything is made of and how it works. This includes the stories I made up about the girl vanishing, as well as every other trauma I’ve experienced in my thirty-five years of life; since my first memory to right now.

The Root Association Method

Stage I // Mapping

It was a slow process at first, simply because I was still learning the method as I went along. Eventually, it became second nature to me, much like riding a bike or tying a shoe. In the end, I was able to find all the roots, and there were many. Of course, the goal is to get down to the deepest root possible, which is where the new association is to be planted. It is also important to acknowledge the two sides of the root, the physical or action side and the mental or story side. This will help you during the stages of the method.

Stage II // Reasoning with our Younger Selves

Once at the root, you then imagine yourself sitting with the creator of the original story. For me, this was my fourteen year old self. It is important to note that we explain what happened to them on their level, not from the understanding of life we have today. The key is to explain to the creator that there are two sides, the actions that happened, and the story we made up. We explain that there is nothing we can do about the actions, they happened and we can’t change them. But, we can change the story.

Stage III // A New Association

This is one of the most important steps here, because this is where the new association is created, not with who you are today, but with the originator of the story. For me, the association I had to get across to my fourteen year old self, was that it is okay for people to leave, regardless of why. And that it’s important to stay in the moment with those currently with me, and wish them well when they eventually leave (or I leave them). But before that can happen, a very important step needs to be taken: letting go.

STEP: LETTING GO : In order to begin the process of healing from the inside out, we first have to be willing to let the old association go. This, for most people, is the most difficult step in the entire method, simply because we as a species have yet to fully understand why we struggle with loss in the first place.

And while the reason for our lack of understanding around the idea of loss can be explained in several different ways, the best way I can describe it is by introducing the concept of silver cords, which I learned from a video during my “education” phase. It is these cords, when severed, that cause us to feel loss. So how do they work? It’s actually quite simple. Every time we engage with something, be it a human, object or even a thought/emotion, a small silver cord is attached from us to it. The more we engage, the more cords attach. These new cords wrap around the original cord making the connection stronger.

Think of it this way. Do you have a favorite article of clothing? It’s probably pretty comforting, right? And even if it’s seen better days, somehow you just can’t seem to throw it away? Now think about an article of clothing you hardly wear, or even better, an article of clothing you borrow from a friend. Feels different, right. This is because every time you touch, put on or think about said article, it grows in silver cords, with the newest one wrapping around the previous; starting from you, and going all the way to the object. Thus, by the time the article of clothing is ready to be thrown away, our silver cords have already grown an inch or two in diameter. This, unfortunately, makes it harder for us to cut these cords, which is a key part of discarding anything.

What causes the pain, however, is that instead of cutting these cords properly, therefore causing the least amount of damage possible, they are usually torn off. A good, yet graphic comparison of this, is the cutting off of a baby’s umbilical cord. And while the proper method is to cut the cord, I want you to imagine it being ripped straight from the baby’s belly button. Pretty painful, right? The same can be said for our silver cords; when they aren’t cut properly, they are ripped out of us, thus breaking the attachment. It is this action that causes most of our pain, simply because we don’t know how to properly dispose of these silver cords. Of course, cutting these cords still hurts, it just hurts less than having them ripped out.

Of course, once aware of these silver cords, the next step is possible: cutting the old association free, and replacing it with a new one. Thus, let’s go back to the mental plane, and rejoin the scene where I sat with my fourteen year old self. Ready to explain what happened, another key aspect comes into play. Instead of approach the situation from your perspective, you have to address it with the logic and reasoning of the originators age. Thus, in order for me to move on, I had to remember how I acted when I was fourteen. This, of course, is different for everyone.

Once I was able to tap into my younger self, I explained to him that the girl he thought he knew and loved, ended up being a complete stranger. We then created a new association for the root of the event, replacing the old association with a brand new seed. Once planted, we then left the scene, allowing the seed to grow by itself, as well as leaving my fourteen year old self with a new job: caretaker. And while I would still have triggers from time to time, as she’d pop up on my social media news feeds, because I had attached this new association with the event, it was easy for me to let the old emotions go. Now, whenever I see her in my new feed, the old association is no longer there, and I can scroll down without triggering any sort of negative emotion.

NOTE: You don’t have to rid yourself of every emotion tied to the event (or object). You just simply need to replace the old association with one that will no longer hold you back. In doing so, you will free yourself up to navigate life without the protection of your younger self.

Stage IV // Healing from the Inside, Out

Of course, there is one last step that needs to be addressed. Once you’ve planted this new seed, you then need to heal yourself from the inside, out. This means that as you go up from level to level, you heal each root with a new association. In doing so, you may also notice that a lot of roots stem from the original. Therefore, once the original is healed, the new association can permeate your entire system. This means that all events triggering the old association, is also healed. It is why we find the deepest root, as it basically starts the domino effect, eventually healing everything it gets its hands on.

Wrapping it Up

And while I don’t have any examples of the maps I completed during my own process, I have included a sample map of my first level (fig.1&2 below) as well as a brief description explaining each figure.

Fig. 1 shows the steps as the initial event plays out. From here, we associate each sub-event with a color (no meaning attached), which will act as a legend for the next level (Fig. 2).

In Fig.2 I broke down the sub-events into different colors and used a circle to map out the event visually. From here, the goal is to take every sub-event and make it a new event, then break down what happened. This time, however, the sub-events are everything that happened between the time the initial sub-event happened (your “new” event) and when the next sub-event begins. This, of course, creates new sub-events that will have to be explore and divided, until a root is found. Once a root is found, go back to the top level, and select the next sub-event and repeat. Do this until EVERYTHING is mapped out and you find the deepest root possible. It is at this root that the new association is planted.

NOTE: Once at the root, this is your chance to let it all out. Cry if need be. Get angry. Yell. Scream. Air punch. Just get all the negative energy out (of course, do this in a safe setting). Once it’s out, only then can you truly restore the root with a new, positive association.

Of course, this is only a brief overview of the entire method. For the most part, the real breakthroughs happen when doing this with a guide. At the moment, I’m the only person doing this exact method (that I know of), and thus, for best results, I highly recommend contacting me. You can find me on two places. Twitter: @WeAreExistence or via email: m@ruggeddiamond.com. Simply leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.

As for those that want to take the solo route, I wish you all the best. At any moment you feel like giving up, please contact me. As I said above, it works best with a guide. However, if you end up completing the process, I’d love to hear from you. Therefore, please click either of the links above and share your experience, including any alterations needed to reach your roots and change your associations.

In the end, this is your life, not mine. I’ve done my hard work (at least up to the age of 35), and now I’m ready to help others do the same. Of course, I can lead you through the process, but I can’t make you do it… that, my friend, is up to you. Good luck.

mkStevens
At some point in life we are all told we are average. I'm here to pull you out of the rubble, dust you off and help you be extraordinary!
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