Learning to sit with yourself
How many of you at this time has had learn to sit with yourselves in the silence of what is going on at this time? This is not an easy time for most who have been forced to stay home and who are not able to cope or find distraction at this time. People have been distracted for many years with the busyness of life. Why do we find it hard to stay calm and centred? What are we afraid of learning about ourselves and our lives, relationships, fears and phobias?
Over the years, lots of people recommend meditation and relaxation techniques and they are amazing tools to have in situations where you get a bit edgy, stressed out and wound up.
Now I have to admit, chilling out, meditation and relaxation is all well and good, but what if you actually didn't know how to. A lot of people including myself just cannot do it. A few years ago I would even dismiss these tools as new agey, hippy, not for me type of thing. And every person that would recommend or suggest such a practice, my inner Ego would always come up with reasons why it wouldn't work for me. Dare I admit it, but I would Judge them for being so bloody calm. And guess what I was right in my head, if I attempted to quiet my mind, I would get itchy, fidgety, uneasy, looking for a reason or excuse to avoid at all costs. I saw it as a complete waste of time.
This went on for years. as a therapist I would feel guilty when clients would say 'I meditate and it helps me. What form do you use?' Gulp!! Ah em, let's change the subject. As you may know there are many forms of relaxing, deep breathing, guided meditations, beautiful relaxing music, burning incense etc. I would have to be honest and say I actually don't or can't meditate. That was my truth.
As I experienced different situations in my life, and I started to learn how our thinking affects our future, I began to realise I was continuing to make similar mistakes in my life, even drastic ones, that would completely derail me for days, weeks, and years some of them.
I remember trying to figure out why me, I am not a bad person why does this shit keep happening no matter how hard I TRY to do good, be good, live better. Again when I sought help from other therapists they would suggest meditation. Whoop de FECKIN do!! Not this again. my minds response was "I'm paying you to fix me. And you are telling me I have to do it myself. For fucks sake'
At the same time I remember a good friend saying all you have to do is not think. He claimed that he didn't think. He didn't have thoughts at all and his life was wonderful. And it worked for him. Only I also realised he didn't solve his problems either. He avoided thinking about them. Every time we got together he would repeat it, ' Just stop your thoughts.' almost bragging as we do when we think we have nailed a new way. I joked and said 'Yeah a few Bacardis could help me to do that'. and it hit me actually that's what people do and how they become addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, cleaning etc because they actually find it difficult to think. They bury themselves in addictions rather than work on their stuff because most people feel the shame and guilt and don't want to feel the disappointment of their failures. Just like I was doing.
I remember one day screaming in my head what the fuck is wrong with me? And all of a sudden I got an inner voice that said, 'just sit and notice what is going on in your head'. I was like oh yeah, I don't have enough time to see where the mish mash of my tangled mind was at that point.
I ignored the message for a while and again the message came and I sat down, the voice said grab a pen and paper, write down your thoughts. I nearly started to laugh it was so clear but I did get a pen and paper and at first I was doodling because I was nervous as f*ck to be honest because I knew something was about to happen and I didn't know what to do. Again the voice said, put the words on the paper. So as I began to write stuff, some stupid stuff, things like, I have to cook dinner, the washing needs to be hung out, basic at first, I recognised I had a lot going on in my head. Lots of jobs to be completed for starters, no wonder I was exhausted and had no energy, I was always working in my head but not actually doing anything about it. The amazing thing about the whole process was I didn't realise how much the old stuff would float into my thoughts. things I hadn't thought about in years, childhood stuff, school stuff, drunk stuff, mostly negative but I let it and would write it down, even one or two words if my mind was going fast so I could look at again later and think about it.
In the quietness of this process I was still questioning what the heck was I doing because no where had anyone ever told me to sit, be quite and actually look at my thoughts. everywhere I had looked to meditate was telling me to stop my thoughts. Create a void in my head, sounds wonderful in theory but I had a shit load to filter through before that was going to happen.
I would then question that voice in my head, is it really that simple to do, I mean it goes against everything that we know about meditation and clearing our mind. The answer soon came" You cannot change what you cannot see" Holy F*ck. over the course of a few short weeks I began to shift in a softer, more approachable person. The jobs that were in my thoughts eventually began to get sorted. My confidence started to increase from the action I was taking. I felt lighter, more peaceful and chilled out. I was also beginning to be kinder to myself without being told to.
This process, I have been using for years now, I have changed in ways that you wouldn't believe. in the beginning I noticed I was less reactive, I was less angry, I began to love my own space, made friends with my thoughts all from learning to sit with myself. Basically, your thoughts are your most valuable asset. They show you where you are at in life if you are brave enough to have a little meeting with them. You can measure how happy or fearful you are with your progress of learning to sit with yourself.
I know not everyone can afford the time or the money for therapy, I am giving you this technique free of charge during this time, it is up to you how to work it. Not everyone has the courage to be vulnerable to talk stuff out with someone else, again this technique is something you can do with yourself.
Her is what I learned about myself, I became less needy, more grounded, have more energy and my life got a whole lot better for which I am truly grateful. I could not believe after I got rid of all the jobs in my head, I was able to retire mentally around 42. Next month I am going to be 50 years young and I believe I am only half way to enjoying my life. I appreciate things that I never thought possible, I enjoy people and their stories of their lives, and I can help them unravel their stuff quicker because I am not triggered by my own demons. I am grateful for discovering how we can hold ourselves back when we don't confront what is going on inside. It has made me a better more empathic therapist, I take the 'no shit Sherlock' approach to help people heal faster, easier and with minimal drama. People waste so much of their precious time not knowing that they have permission to change the course of their lives when they learn to think differently and strive to have more peace. This is also about taking back control of your mind, taking more responsibility for your thinking, and really having a ball when you realise you may not be depressed or anxious, you just haven't communicated with yourself for a very long time and asked what the hell is going on with you?. I wish we could teach this to our children, save them years of pain for those who have to go and bury their feelings out of embarrassment, of shame or not feeling good enough.
Working with clients who present with depression, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, when they really allow the healing to occur, it all boils down to a reconnection with themselves. For most, who have trauma in their lives, not having their voice heard or understood is a major sword in their heart. People constantly rehash old memories and hurts, and they replay them as if they are in realtime because no-one has actually explained to them that a memory cannot hurt you again, and when the darkness of that memory is exposed to the light, that memory or trauma is busted. Game Over. This is so satisfying when someone reaches the point of release and literally wipe that from their brains.
So when you CHOOSE to follow this method, like me, the old ego may have a fight with you and give you reasons why it maybe stupid, or a waste of your time, start out and do 5 mins of sitting quietly. Over time up the ante to 10, 15, and then 20 mins. that's all. Once it is done it is done.
Make sure you have no distractions, no radio, tv, phone music washing machine or dishwasher on in the back ground, complete silence. You cannot avoid most natural sounds as in may hear birds chirping, dogs barking that's ok. When you complete the task, You then have 2 choices with your words, you now either have a very good list of chores to complete that you didn't think you had to start with, or if after some time you have memories that you need to let go of, burn the paper and be done with them. Whatever you do, you owe it to yourself to give it a go.
Even after months, you might actually realise I am still thinking about this or that, or have a fear about the same thing that you had the year before, well then you know you need to seek a bit more help on releasing it if it still showing up.
It is perfectly safe to sit in silence and unravel my unwanted mind baggage
My mind and body deserves to feel the benefit of silence for a short time
My family and friends all will benefit from my inner calm
Life is full of surprising creative ideas when my mind is clear
The world is safer when I am responding with positive thoughts
I am full of courage when I sit and unravel my memories with pride
The world benefits and rejoices when I let go and heal my inner turmoil and confused mind.
My body grows stronger and healthier I easily let go of any unwanted thoughts that no longer serve me