Feeling or Emotion?

More about The Cycle of Unconscious Response


I imagine that a baby feels emotion when her body is moved into the birth canal. What a big change, right?! It’s a Phase Eight situation (of the 12 phases) in between the womb and birth, with pressure building as it continues to grow there. But then, Baby’s is not dependent on her environment for her emotion. Baby is still a very natural spirit. She is intuitive about the only environment she has ever known. It is constant.


A friend once told me that she thought emotions are spiritual, and I assumed that came from metaphysical theories. I said, no; emotions are reactive and spirit does not react to the physical environment. Spirit is transcendent. That’s why it is more reliable than intellect or emotion; more reliable, even, than cues from the physical.

Feelings are unconscious responses.

Feelings are natural intuitive responses; unconscious responses. When Baby is in Phase Eight (the birth canal), her feeling tells her that this is fine. Her intuition is based on what she knows as unshakable, and moving into the birth canal feels right. She doesn’t have an emotional reaction as if something strange is happening.


When Baby gets outside the womb at birth, everything becomes emotional. Everything is different and strange; unfamiliar. She scrambles for something familiar to hold on to but there’s nothing. This is an emotional reaction, not a feeling. Baby has just begun to build a new familiar environment, and she does it from her intuitive spiritual self. We do this our whole lives, gaining confidence and maturity as we unconsciously bring the external world into alignment with our spirits, day by day.


From Baby’s earliest formation in the womb, her spirit remains constant throughout her lifetime. She works intuitively from her intrinsic nature, unconsciously. Intuition is to move in the path that is so familiar we don’t think about it. I call the world we build around our intrinsic spirit nature our “self-culture.”


Feeling has everything to do with what you know as unshakable. Emotion is reactive to what is not familiar within our self-culture. So emotion is reactive, even if it is positive. It is an emotional reaction in the soul, not the spirit. Spirit stays true to the course of its own timeless knowledge.


When our emotions run so high that we drift away from our spirits, we feel overwhelmed and disoriented. We have to pull back into ourselves, back to what is unshakably familiar: our unique self-culture. For some, physical activity or intellectual discourse is intuitive. For others, diversion and fun gets them back to themselves. To restore my calm, I withdraw to reflect and put everything physical and emotional into perspective – my way. My intuitive sense of spirit is manifest in my theory about all this: The Cycle of Unconscious Response.

Learn more about the 12 phases in my new book:

The Heart’s Mind:

How Unconscious Responses in Life and Work Naturally Improve Our Lives While We Make Other Plans






The writers’ subculture

How and why it is that birds of a feather…

I enjoy the phantom-like anonymity and abstract idealism of writing, either a newspaper column or a blog. I can choose not to think about what happens after the copy is published. I bury my head in a computer to stay focused where things are logical and cohesive, so that what I write is a world unto itself, where the ideal is feasible.

One day I decided to come out of the “think tank”; to climb out of the ivory tower I do not believe I am in. It required that I leave my keyboard and put raw, spontaneous words into the air, to let them reach actual ears, and deal with the consequences. In short, I would cross over to the fluid present, without the protection of 20/20 hindsight.

That day, I tentatively lifted my head from the computer where I was working at a college newspaper. Looking around, it dawned on me that I was in a room full of people with their heads also buried in computers. Appearances are deceiving, and I had to convince myself that I somehow ended up among people just like me. Somehow this variety of people around me were also writers at their core.

I applied this discovery to the faces; one at a time, I tagged the person “writer” and then added what I knew of his or her personality and temperament. In a few minutes, what I thought would be foreign territory was transformed into something vaguely familiar and comfortable.

Now I needed to connect; to actually socialize.

I looked for some thread to help me and it gradually materialized.

Although we work independently, the slight interactions necessary to bring a newspaper together gave me a place to start. In the shades of newspaper production, I saw a sociable network of goodwill, playfulness, professionalism, diplomacy, caution, rebellion, talent and serious work in which everyone played a part, even me. Coming out of isolation, then, seemed merely a matter of stepping out where others already assumed I belong.

What we experience in common was my lead.

A newspaper is a dynamic setting for writers. During production, the newsroom is a cauldron of people, events, emotions and reactions. We try to distill mural scenes down to thumbnail sketches, and immediacy is a newspaper’s business. Perfecting a piece of writing is a luxury; perfect or not, our pieces go to print. We do our best, prepare for criticism and rejection, but all the while hope for approval.

I investigated further to see if my perception of others was accurate. By visiting with 10 people from the news team — writers, editors, photographers, page designers, production and business staff — I learned something about our social mechanism.

Surprisingly, no one seemed to be aware of the existence or operation of this mechanism, although one insightful person described the benefits and effects of mixing business and pleasure. He said that when you enjoy the time spent with the people you work with “you don’t think you’re working any more.” Some commented that it is helpful to know how others work and how they think. If they know someone through other projects, they have an easier time working together.

Most of us are working to follow our dreams

By taking a survey and talking informally with my fellow writers, I came to know a bit about their lives beyond work. It became obvious that the majority of the staff at the newspaper, in a matter-of-fact way, are working to follow their dreams.

For some, connection and camaraderie take no thought whatever. I proved, at least to myself, that connection and camaraderie can also be acquired with conscious effort. I was surprised to find that the transition away from my writer’s closet was relatively painless, and I found a place where I feel free to be creative and encourage creativity in others.

After this successful venture, I became more comfortable with the prospect of having company in future explorations. I continue to explore the world, and make it line up in my writing, but I also check my assumptions and give others the opportunity to expand and enrich my view. Knowing there’s a community of people like me – “people who write” – is a kind of safety net under the tightrope.


“How and why it is that birds of a feather…” republished from “”Up Front,” a weekly column by Elizabeth Diane Martin in The Criterion newspaper, Colorado Mesa University (formerly Mesa State College) December 7, 2005.

Unconscious impressions

Picasso investigated the essence of things – what lay underneath the things he painted.

Contrary to what Pablo Picasso is known for – the abstracts of cubism – Picasso could paint with academic accuracy at an early age. He painted “Science and Charity” when he was 15.

Picasso's "Science and Charity" 1897
Picasso’s “Science and Charity” 1897

Picasso untrained his academic self and found a way to communicate a thing from the gut, so the mere impression of a thing triggers recognition. Picasso repeatedly drew a bull in a series of reductions until he succeeded in portraying bull with just a few lines.


Get to the essence of you

The five senses tell you many things – and they are impossible to ignore! Some might say nothing else matters. Advocates of The Art of Perspective disagree.

Like Picasso’s bull, we can look beyond the surface and the obvious mechanics of our lives. What is the structure? What is the life force? These are things that reveal the motion of what we make essential.

The strongest and effortless motions are unconscious.

If we look past what affects us, physically, we can peer into our reactions – in mind, soul, and body. By observing ourselves, we begin to see what is essential to each of us in our own lives. Simple; not easy.

What is the essence of you? Only you can find that out. This is not you, per se; it is an impression of you. The Cycle of Unconscious Response is a tool to notice the impressions of your unconscious intention on your life.

Subscribe to know the natural power of unconscious motion.


How the unconscious helps us manage the unexpected

Photo by Elizabeth Diane

How the unconscious helps us manage unexpected events, both major and minor.

It pays to be aware of this natural progression:

  • Intuition takes over when the unexpected happens. Our spontaneous response is based on years of survival and it kicks in, automatically.
  • Survival means automatically taking hold of gut reactions, trimming your thoughts, words and behavior until they rise to the priority system that serves you well.
  • In three seconds, you have taken a position toward the unexpected. Now it lies within your scope of control, within your system of self-management.

Now the unconscious strategy begins:

  • On the far side of the situation, your mind’s eye sees where you need to be to recover from the impact – whether it was subtle or dramatic. You head for that place of self-worth with inner determination. You navigate through and around obstacles in the situation until you reach your dominant position. It’s a matter of retaining self-respect and individuality.
  • Now life returns to “normal” where you have mental clarity again. The emotional upheaval goes away and the unexpected is put in line where you can manage yourself with confidence, even if it seems you have no external control.
  • Empowerment: Riding the wave and successfully recovering from the unexpected is a sign of great strength and resilience. This is a new level of personal accomplishment, even if you’re the only one who knows it. There is a limit, however, but it is the limitation of being human.

What’s next? Not just the perpetual struggle that life is; now you begin to see the higher purpose through the eyes of your heart.

  • Immediately following a rise to a new height of personal strength, that very strength seems ineffective. During that time, life shows up as your friend. It’s not all about what you work at; life hands you what you need to fulfill your purpose. Life happens in connection with others and uses your work to serve others.
  • Pressure builds. We can’t stay in our private “sweet spot” of personal productivity, and yet we don’t yet know what’s coming up. We feel in-between, like nothing is happening, but we’re growing and strengthening in a different way.
  • Finally, something breaks and the whole course of events shows up in something that is external and apparent to others. It is the physical manifestation of all the work that went on beneath your skin.


  • The unexpected that occurred in the beginning brought about a pretty big change! Once it is finished in the physical manifestation, others perceive you in a slightly different way, unconsciously. You, however, know and feel the change, inside and out. You see what they see, also for the first time, and unconsciously realize what this change means to your life.
  • Realization is cemented in the fact that life, as it was before the unexpected, is melting away into memory. Something is coming together in its place, and you have the chance to feel the growth, the transformation.
  • Finally, the new stage of your life is in place and you cannot change what it has become. Even if you try to live as you did before the unexpected happened; even if, outwardly, things seem to be as they were before, you are different as a result of this unconscious process.

In this repetitive, natural cycle of time and life, your deepest heart and unconscious mind is renewed. We move constantly forward, and that process moves life constantly, incrementally, in a positive direction.


Follow Elizabeth’s progress toward publishing a new book in 2018: A Writer’s Journal.

Why it’s more fun to work for free: Seeds of business

No one wants to work without getting paid. But when you can do a good thing for someone, and you feel naturally competent and happy to do it, the satisfaction on both sides is a reward far more valuable than money.

Why it’s more fun to work for free:

  1. The work shows up spontaneously, inside of real connections.
  2. Unconsciously, the enjoyment is more important than the work.
  3. We interact freely, matching available solutions to current needs.
  4. We actually co-work, each contributing something toward the solution.
  5. We continue working as long as it works on both ends.
  6. When  we have done everything we can do, the job is done, even if we didn’t reach some otherwise goal.
  7. Working together spontaneously and effectively means we were happy to work.
  8. Each person feels personal satisfaction in having contributed to the progress.
  9. We have the freedom to leave when we have no more to contribute.
  10. We are naturally open to being used effectively again.
  11. The oppression of “work” evaporates.
  12. Energy is renewed, skills are sharpened, personal ownership is a fact, and we could charge for our work, if we want to.




Born to be life pioneers

We love a good success story, especially in a two-hour movie where we can comfortably experience the thrills of inspiration, the surprises and stresses of a journey, and most of all, the satisfaction of a successful conclusion.

Life isn’t like that, is it? Actually, it is like that – in excruciating slow motion, dragged over 60 or 70 years. There’s nothing to be gained by thinking we’re just marking time.

Time-lapsed true-life stories about sacrifices that pay off actually bring meaning to our lives.

In retrospect, being happy in work has been the best quality of my life. People seemed to recognize how they could use me long before I did. Without trying, I would improve the job I was assigned, and that made me an attractive prospect for promotions. It just happened

But the events of the recent past opened my eyes to the idea of doing what I am born to do, rather than what I’m trained to do. What I became skilled at can now be used for my purposes – and maybe that was the intention all along.


The pioneering winemakers of Willamette, Oregon committed to the call of the wild without knowing what the outcome would be:

“There was a much higher calling than trying to imitate some other place. That goal was to figure out who we wanted to be for ourselves, and what it was that we could do that nobody else could do.”
– Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place 


It’s the process of growth that takes so long, but at certain points

along the way, looking back can give you your own time-lapsed rapid view. Review your life now, without comparing it to what you wanted to accomplish, and make a note of the important turning points. See what life handed you, and plot its sequence and direction. How would your outlook change if you accepted these facts as the consistent good in your life?

I did this and started accepting life’s twists and turns, rather than exhausting myself trying to straighten them out. I have since watched my life reassemble itself around what I was born to do. It’s still hair-raising at times, life being what it is. The difference is that now I understand that life always supports what I was born to be and to do. In the process, my body, mind and spirit are renewed, not depleted.

Life sends out the call. I recommend that you consider discovering what your life tells you about what you are born to do. And follow it, if you can.

Look Homeward, Worker


The stuff of dreams

The movie, Field of Dreams (1989, Kevin Costner), is an entrepreneur’s story. “If you build it they will come” is still a catch phrase that speaks to an entrepreneur’s resolve. In the movie, a visionary person risks acting on a very personal belief. It won’t leave him alone. So he endures hardship, financial failure, ridicule and the fruitless passing of time before his dream comes true.

It is ingrained in corporate-trained entrepreneurs that profit is the only reason to undertake an enterprise. Some believe investors buy great ideas, unproven. But people with money don’t invest in original ideas unless they see a way to get a return on their investment (ROI), and the quicker the better. Investors pick up an idea after the owner has invested her or his own time and money to prove its functional value, and that people will pay for that value.

The artist part is the hardest part

Making money is a smaller consideration when you’re creating. Artists intuitively know this. They create as a way of life, heart to hand. Only when admirers increase around them do they think of selling their dearest work. When an artist is ready to take her work to the public, she begins to think like an entrepreneur.

Unlike artists who are always personally invested in their creations, when an entrepreneur brings a product to the public, it becomes a thing to be used. Costs of resources and labor are considered in looking toward profit. But if an entrepreneur also believes in the good his product brings to the world, he is more like the artist.

The silver lining of economic depression and unemployment is that we rediscovered primal ways of working. Work and life run together when you spend time at home. In the trimming of the workforce, many of us found ourselves working from home, doing whatever we could to survive.

The migration to the home office

When corporate workers started working from home, it was a natural follow for us to create businesses at home. The familiar environment of an office helps us continue to work as we did in an office job. Displaced workers are going further, creating smaller versions of their corporate parents, either in the home or in rented office space. But working on our own is not like showing up for an employer.

Few individuals or families can support the additional expenses of a formal office indefinitely. We invested in the startup to conform to the familiar image of business, but customers didn’t walk into our place of business like we expected. We slowly realized that the corporate system is built on top of stuff we don’t have: lots of money, lots of workers and a lot of years.  Loss is part of the business system, over the long term, but in the beginning, our hopes are only for success.

Necessity and invention

What we do have that the corporations don’t have is ingenuity and flexibility. In an era where the same tools for innovation are available to the individual, discovery and creativity abound. The fires of innovation burn, as always, in a climate of necessity. We started keeping our ideas instead of turning them over to the corporate environment.

Even though we still thought jobs were the answer, unemployment persisted and options steadily diminished. Our knowledge and work skills became tools for us, not services for someone else. We labored with mind and body, motivated by necessity, and our old employee ways became new ways of working – motivated by ownership.

For independent workers, watching wins on the Internet triggered a kind of gold fever. We bought domain names and Web sites (“picks and shovels”) and set out with our wits to stake a claim. We followed behind those who “hit a gold vein” on the Internet. We expected fast returns with the investment of our time and ingenuity. It didn’t happen.

Turning the Century

In this great cultural shift, we are finding places for the work we created for ourselves – subcultures where we can work in new ways that become comfortable and familiar. In various forms, we are coming up with ways that make our lives better. And, if something makes our lives better, why not bring it to the world?

We are beginning to believe in ourselves. 

We have come to the end of the idea that profit is the sole reason for business. There is an army of people coming into the economy, busy at work with social and environmental responsibility. We are conscious human benefactors, bringing either goods with service or services with goods.

The heart and work of creativity

Artists and entrepreneurs are problem solvers. We keep inventing a better way; getting closer to the ideal we imagine. We have a natural desire to work because we’re solving problems we care about, personally. We sacrifice for what we imagine will improve the world, and we love the work required to achieve that purpose.

Regardless of the economy, inspired and creative workers still work, pouring time and resources into their dreams. Be inspired. Own your time and do the work your ideas demand.

When you recognize that having a dream energizes you for life’s long haul, you can explore that space like an artist. Find out what’s real about your dream. Get the information you need, tinker with possibilities and test feasibility like an entrepreneur. Find the things that work and let go of the things that don’t. Use the money you have wisely.

Home is a natural environment to discover the things that matter only to you. Make space there to exercise private intellectual freedom. Follow the way of working that pays you back in energy and a self-renewing desire to work. Create a new workflow system that suits you and settle in for the long haul. Do everything you can to get support, inside and outside of the home.
Over time the you blends with your work as you own your time and productivity. Life will hand you what you need, to do what you are meant to do.


Elizabeth Diane Martin is a business development philosopher and theorist, working with people who are developing an occupational structure around their personal talents and passions. With a background in computers and small business development, Elizabeth is also a professional creative writer and emerging artist. She offers material for personal growth, especially for creative people working solo, representing themselves on the Internet.

Connect with the blog.

We, at the same time…

The Art of Perspective newsletter header
(The graphic includes abstract images of trees by the artist Piet Mondrian, on or about 1912.)

Since 2012, my monthly commentary email, The Art of Perspective. carried encouragement to my readers about positive life perspective, meaningful occupation, and natural entrepreneurship. This new blog is a platform to replace that commentary to show that all three conditions exist where a person’s work flows from the heart.

What the commentary lacked was a demonstration of the tools I use. In this blog, I am making myself the first example of the effectiveness of my ideas. Your results may vary, depending on the extent to which you utilize the full concept.

I will attempt to show how what I recommend to others works for me.

  • I will expose my habits of being positive about life through a better understanding of my own mind and motivation.
  • I give myself permission to work meaningfully where others can see what I do. And before there can be a product or service that will work,
  • I offer an opportunity for others to test my ideas and give me feedback about their experiences.

What I offer is a thing that works for me. I can share the tool that works for me like a compass, telling me where I am in relation to the slow, almost imperceptible progress of goodness in my life. I connect the power of dauntless self-renewing motivation to the cycles of life that present opportunities for growth and inner strength.

The Cycle of Unconscious Response

I propose the idea that there is a closed loop of personal development in 12 phases. Each phase is a level of progress that has a logical sequence of unconscious responses to new events. At the end of that sequence is the appearance of a facet of good in a person’s life. The 12-phase cycle begins again, and just as life unfolds continuously, so does the cycle of these phases naturally overlap and appear in gradual increments, with no abrupt beginning or end.

The tool I offer is a model; an interpretation of the phases in easy-to-understand language that is applicable in a general way to the internal experience of any person. Although there are correlations to external experience, The Cycle of Unconscious Response is a map of the unconscious internal process. I propose that this process is common to all human beings.

Each phase of The Cycle is recognized separately, and will not shake any preconceptions about life. But The Cycle as a whole is a new approach to understanding unconscious behavior. As I applied this discovery to my life for many years, it became easier to understand because it mirrors the systems we find in nature: 12 months; the seasons; seeds of new growth that progress to maturity, go dormant and spring to life again.

The difference in The Cycle of Unconscious Response is that it facilitates reflection on a person’s life — objectively and as a whole — to see the presence of good, which ultimately reveals a sense of individual purpose. If you can see this as I do, as a natural phenomenon that gives insight into the human spirit, it takes on the quality of a scientific discovery.

Here is one of the greatest influences in my search for facts unseen, The classic personal account of Watson and Crick’s groundbreaking discovery of the structure of DNA:


The boundaries of the language in The Cycle of Unconscious Response are these; that it has:

  • No reference to age or gender.
  • No reference to religious or spiritual doctrines.
  • Commonality of internal experience, not wealth or poverty, culture or nationality.
  • Space for proofs and disproofs; that is, as used by others, it may be modified to improve the form so that it matches the common internal human experience, perceived through observing unconscious behavior.

Thoughtful comments are accepted to further a collaboration in discovery.

Trailblazing in Colorado – a reflection

For art and innovation philosophers,
dauntless spirits and wisdom seekers,
those chiseling out their path
in solid granite
led by the clarity of singular vision

We attempt to pull words
knowing they barely resemble
the future of our hopes.

Using the art of perspective
a microscope
of our wondering
mind’s eye…

See the source,
the breath of life,
its movement
in our very selves.

By Elizabeth Diane Martin,
on bringing the unconscious to the surface