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Think of your next self-esteem wallop as a chance to choose. Toppling off the fragile pedestal of conditional self-acceptance, you can elect to fall into either of two mental states. Most people plunge into what I call the SEWER, for Self-Esteem Wallop's Egregious Ramifications. Dropping into the SEWER goes like this:
  1. Experience self-esteem wallop.
  2. Ramp up frantic war against "imperfection."
  3. Fail by inches while clinging to shreds of former identity, trying to look like the latest batch of 20-somethings, suffering the results of botched plastic surgery, and becoming the butt of cruel jokes.
  4. Die anyway.
If you enjoy panic and despair, you'll love SEWER consciousness. If not, you can try the other option. I call it SEEING, which stands for Self-Esteem Exit into Numinous Gorgeousness. (I get these in bulk from the acronym aisle at Costco.) As the name suggests, SEEING involves dropping even the concept of self-esteem and embracing a wordless, purely sensory experience of life. Here's how it works:
  1. Experience self-esteem wallop.
  2. Use the exercises that follow to switch your way of seeing from your left-brain hemisphere to the right, where you can see beauty more clearly.
  3. Allow yourself to absorb the wallop and ensuing emotions without resistance. Notice that while positioned in right-brain awareness, the wallop is unreal, and your beauty is real. This may take time, but hey, that's all you've got.
  4. Return continually to this place of acceptance, right through the moment of your own demise.
This is the process by which we experience beauty at its deepest. Call it Nirvana, as Jill Bolte Taylor did, or No Self, as the Buddha did, or, as Jesus called it, "my peace...not as the world giveth"; 10 out of 10 enlightened beings agree that it exists within all of us, and that it's worth the pain that drives us to seek it.

Now, not everyone can survive a left-hemisphere stroke. Not everyone's a Buddha or a member of the Holy Trinity. Most of us get blindsided by neck wattles and cellulite while stuck in ordinary, overtrained left brains. After a self-esteem wallop, we need ways to get from the SEWER to SEEING, fast.

Fortunately, there are reliable ways of doing this. Our culture avoids them, so they may sound very odd to you. That's fine: Just try the techniques on the next page, remembering that the objective isn't to look different (changing your body), but to look differently (changing your state of awareness).

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