What a ride this last few weeks have been. Never in my Life have I been more attentive to what my needs are, or learned more about who I am ... and have been.
As I journey through my healing, rehabilitation process, I am connecting with lots of old ways which I realise are no longer working for me. There are stories I have carried inside since childhood ... things that I believed about the world as a kid, without ever really asking myself as a grown-up, Is that actually true?
A friend who also went through a break-down a few years ago, reminded me of this book, called You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. I've had it in my bookshelf for years, since I first started delving into Spiritual interests in the early 2000's.
Re-reading this book again is like revisiting a dear, old friend. For many years I've understood that we create our experiences with our thoughts, but since having my little boy, the focus has shifted so much to Motherhood and providing, that my sense of self-nurture has felt much more difficult to come by.
If I'm really honest here, I kind of forgot that I get a choice in my Life.
My battle with post-natal depression, recent break-down and lifetime struggle with anxiety has meant that much of the time, I have just been doing my best to cope with negative emotion in my body, rather than devoting energy to creating a more nurturing belief system. I have been on auto-pilot with many of my beliefs for so long, that I thought 'That's just how I am. I often feel broken, so therefore, I must be'.
It's in my Art that somehow over the years, I have learned that I can be and do and feel however I want to be. My Art is my healing place where I can feel safe to connect with myself and imagine a better way of being. In my Art, anything is possible. What if this is true in other areas, too?
You Can Heal Your Life has a section in it called, It's Only a Belief You Learned as a Child. It talks about how we pick up beliefs from family, friends, TV etc that we take on as our own, without question. I must have been really ready to hear it because something inside me just 'clicked' when I read it. This makes such sense.
Because I have felt anxiety in my body since early childhood - and I didn't know what it was - I inevitably learned to believe that there was something deeply wrong, with either me or the world around me. When I felt anxiety ripple through me, I would search within and without to find the cause, so that I can 'fix it' and grasp for safety in a seemingly unsafe world.
But what if that original thought as a child, wasn't true? What if I am more than my fears?
What if I feel anxiety because I believe I'm broken and abnormal and separate, not because I actually am?
My goodness, I cannot tell you what relief this insight has brought me. That belief is just a thought and I can change a thought! Now when I feel waves of anxiety rise up in me, I have begun to let them ride through as mere sensations, uncomfortable sometimes yes, but not dreadful reminders of a deeply broken self.
With the reminder of this book, I am re-learning that I can change my beliefs to what I want to be true for me.
Instead of all my old tapes, I now CHOOSE to think and believe that:
My body is strong and healthy.
I am unique and worthy.
It is safe to feel anxious, it's just a sensation.
I am whole no matter what I feel.
My toes are perfect, just as they are.
What a wonderful opportunity to get a second chance at Living, by more actively choosing my thoughts as I journey through this healing process. I am excited by what's to come and the way I can live my Life with these new beliefs about myself and the world around me.
I know there is much work ahead on my path of self-love, worth and healing, but this feels like a pretty good start.