Step 7: Test Your Discoveries
If you think you've spotted a causal link in your Lifeline, experiment. Create the life conditions that correlate with a calm bête noire —and see if that's what happens. This may seem strange, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating: When Janice hauled out her yarn and started clicking needles, her whiskey-thirst actually did diminish. Benjamin spent less time with intellectuals and more with his blue-collar employees, and sure enough, his business sense surged. Colleen found that down dog really did make her buck up.

Step 8: Tame The Beast
Though I still have fibromyalgia, I rarely have symptoms. That's because, using a Lifeline, I realized that my body uses "fibro" to send messages from my soul to my brain. "Your destiny's not here!" the pain tells me. "Look over there!" It used to take incapacitating agony to make me pay attention. But as I kept studying the correlations in my life, I learned to change course when I felt the first twinge. As a result, my pain has diminished, not advanced, as time passes.

I've seen this exercise work with all kinds of black beasts. I now believe that bêtes noires usually attack because we're thwarting our own destinies. Calming the beast turns us toward our best lives. So, when Janice replaced whiskey with yarn handicrafts, she realized that what she really wanted was to use her innate creativity. The more she created beautiful things, the less compelled she was to drink. Benjamin became so comfortable working with blue-collar employees that he outperformed the MBAs at his company. Colleen made time for yoga every day, and her self-esteem blossomed, improving every relationship in her life.

If you begin using Lifeline exercises to track your various bêtes noires, you will discover what aggravates them and how to quiet them. I've learned from hundreds of clients that your very worst issues can be tamed into helpful friends. One day your bête noire will be just a frisky dog or a flighty horse, an enjoyable and loyal companion, only occasionally causing a slight pain in the neck.

More Martha Beck Advice


Next Story