I have searched solutions for well-being: to address pain, both in the physical, emotional and spiritual sense for three decades.
Many years ago I was introduced to Louise Hay’s you can heal your life book. If I am honest I only ever read the section listing emotions and where they present in the body: to be frank I was more than skeptical (!) but certain ailments-conditions stuck in my mind.
As I continued my hands-on physical work and listened to my clients I was astounded to find that Louise was right, every time! For example, I noticed that clients whose personal circumstances were dramatically changing due to loss of job or relationship breakdown suddenly presented with acute lower back pain (financial worries and security issues). Other clients who were struggling with an onslaught of negative situations without support presented with acute pain in their mid-upper back (in her book Louise writes…… lack of support). Others presented with suffering with pain in the kidney area and/ or gall bladder problems, all of them reported highly charged (anger) negative situations, again Louise was right.
Whilst I’ve been mindful of the associations between the physical and emotional-spiritual body finding solutions to physical aches, pains and misalignments has become relatively swift-easy but the emotional solutions never seemed to bring forth a permanent resolution.
Before embarking on the complimentary path I always chose the conventional route first. Since 1985 I have studied nursing psychology and counselling each time I have gained a wealth of experience and insight within both the conditions and people I have worked with. Each time I found there to be a square pin round hole scenario to the way in which I wanted to work.
In the mid-nineties I undertook a counselling course. If I am honest I struggled. Not with the course itself but with the basics and general process. Was I was a humanist? Was I behaviourist? Should I use Gestalt or Cognitive behaviour therapy? I wondered who made up the rule that you verbally take a person back into a disturbing or distressing situation week after week which led to repetitive trauma in the ‘reliving’ of events. To me that seemed just unkind, at best, often cruel. If someone had told me then about the power of thought and the impact it had on your body I know my own life would have been much happier, healthier and peaceful… but sadly that was not to be. My path was set and I had to simply ‘find my own way’.
One week during class we discussed judgement, the question being who couldn’t you treat? As I reflected internally and listened to my peers I decided that with any level of judgement towards any particular type of circumstance that I wasn’t ready to work within the emotional health field. I realised that Judgement was the major factor. If you are offering help, any form of judgement (specific situations, scenarios or types of people) is unhelpful at every level.
I completed the course and resumed my search; it would take me eighteen years before I stumbled upon the answer, however in the meantime I suffered the effects of extreme unhappiness, dissatisfaction and stress as well as chronic fatigue syndrome ME, burnout and depression.
I have burnt out four times and I’d like to think that you don’t have to! I used to live in the future. I knew what I didn’t have and I knew what I wanted. I would spend endless hours considering how I would make my desires come true. I would set personal goals, then work on overdrive to achieve them.
However, rather than creating the peace and happiness I sought by achieving these goals, what I was actually doing was creating dissatisfaction with my current life by focusing on what I didn’t have.
What made things even worse was that I had to work so hard to achieve the goals that I ended up stressed and exhausted. So of course, I had to come up with another plan for how to fix that, how to feel better, what to try next…I would have thoughts like “I can’t keep doing this. If only things were like this…” Followed by “Why isn’t this working? If I just change this, or if I do it that way, it will be better.” Trying to fix it and getting nowhere created a self-perpetuating and futile thought process which just got bigger and bigger; it actually made me even more exhausted, rather than less, and ultimately removed peace and happiness from my life.
The constant cycle of thinking, thinking, thinking, without ever actually resolving anything sustainably, drove me to breakdown and burnout.
On my knees, I searched for answers to my dilemma. I had tried so many techniques and processes, that in the end I concluded that there was no solution. This was inevitable; my life was a mess and always would be. I was broken… perhaps this was how it was ‘supposed’ to be.
I appreciated the beauty of my children, my grandson, my surroundings, family and friends, but despite all of that, I felt huge degrees of ‘lack’ within every aspect of my life. This was so confusing…How could life be so wonderful on one hand, yet dreadful on the other.
Yet, during all the upheaval, distress and sadness, a part of me which I will call my inner wisdom kept nudging me and quietly hinting to me that somehow I was seeing it all wrong. Burnout felt real. But was it inevitable? Did my life have to happen that way? And then I learned something new about the way our mind influences our whole life…