Emotional Peace Takes Practice

I’ve been working on my “issues” of late.

My issues/baggage/neuroses/problems/mental clutter/obsessions/afflictions have been constant companions throughout my adult life. I am so comfortable with most of them, that I’m not even sure who I would be if they went away (and isn’t that the problem we all have?).

Despite the fact that they caused me upset, grief, resentment and anger I carried on, persisting with these emotional patterns, over and over.

Crazy eh?

Something has happened though. Well, a combination of things.

My recent miscarriage, of all things, seems to have grounded me. And in the tender, impressionable days following my loss I read two books: Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin and Sacred Fire by Kino MacGregor.

This seemingly innocent trio has started an avalanche. First came the realisation of how negative and bitter my thoughts had become. Then the revelation that my thoughts (and consequent high levels of stress) could be affecting my health. Then the slow belief that we can change our thoughts because they are just thoughts.

The morning I woke up in the hospital, I started keeping a list of gratitudes. The first thing I wrote was:

That I am alive.

I’ve added many, many things to that list since then.

Being grateful really does make me more inclined to notice the good. It helps me see the things that I should be appreciating.

But not only that.

I’ve been working, practicing seeing old hurts in a different light. In the light of forgiveness.

At first it felt wrong, and strange, like something terrible might actually happen if I let go and accepted things for how they were.

But as the days have drawn on and I’ve kept up that openness inside me, things have stared to shift. I have been meditating, just quietly being in my own body, almost every night. I have started practicing yoga – something I had always dismissed, but which seems to have opened up a new path for me. I have even held a small private ceremony where I burnt pieces of paper that contained old hurtful thoughts (yes, even for me that’s a little weird, but hell, you should have seen those papers burn).

I always thought that getting over emotional issues was something that just happened one day, when you were ready, or when life was right, or when cosmic justice dished out an appropriate punishment for the offender.

It doesn’t. You get over an emotional issue when you are ready to let it go.

No one else can help you, or do it for you.

Letting go is not easy. Sometimes I have a moment of fear or doubt, that somehow I am weak or gullible for not having that hurt inside me to remind me of the pain of trusting the wrong person. But then I realise that releasing old hurts and moving on doesn’t have to erase the lessons I have learnt from them.

I can still be me, but without the pain.

So each day, I step a little further into the light.

It is terrifying and wonderful all at the same time. Who am I if I am not who I think I am?

I know I could, at the drop of a hat, run back into the darkness. If I stop being mindful of my emotional state, it will slip back into old habits. Ingrained patterns of thinking do not disappear overnight.

So I will keep writing my gratitudes each day, and I will keep giving myself the gift of mental quietness, and I will keep my heart open, because with practice, emotional peace will eventually settle. It will become a habit. A habit that will change everything on the inside.

And for that, and the realisation that change is directly within my reach and under my control, I am also grateful.

Kino MacGregor posted this on Instagram today:

Practice Santosha, contentment, and learn to be at peace with yourself and the world around you. After many years of practice you will get saumanasya, the cheerful, joyful yogi’s mind. Cultivating love for all aspects of your life is the essence of yoga and when it is perfected you will have a happiness that shines forth regardless of what lies out on the horizon. I didn’t invent this, it’s straight out of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Book II 😊

Emotional peace really does take practice.

The Thoughts You Entertain

thoughts

I got this in my inbox this morning. It comes from one of the few email subscriptions I have, from a man called Ken Wert from Meant To Be Happy. I love this man’s words of wisdom. His post on forgiveness is fantastic reading.

I thought I’d share this with you, because I think it is absolutely spot on. What you think really is what you become.

Which is why it is so important to check in with what we are thinking now and again to make sure that our minds are not leaving us mired in misery, bitterness and depression, especially when everything seems stacked against us and it is so difficult to value the gifts that we have.

I am going through a huge shift mentally, and I can feel these changes happening. I am facing up to the fact that I should be beyond grateful for everything I have been lucky enough to have in my life. I have had some massive lows and some massive highs in my lifetime Рit really has been the clich̩ rollercoaster ride that people talk about.

I know that this ‘enlightenment’ is in great part due to the fact that I am suddenly pregnant. Trying for a baby has left me in limbo for such a long time that I feel somewhat like I’ve stepped out into the sunshine after being in a windowless room for too long. It’s so bright, I can feel the warmth on my skin, and I’m blinking rapidly – trying to see what’s there in front of me.

Why do we cry from happiness?

Because I have, several times.

I feel so emotional and overwhelmed by what is going on that sometimes I just cry because there are so many tears inside me that need to come out.

Randomly in the day, I hug my children close to me to feel their hair and their warm bodies and I know that I really am the luckiest person alive.

boys

When I feel a wave of nausea, I enjoy it. I absorb every sensation in my body and stomach and I know that if I feel sick until the day I give birth, it will be OK. I look at my emerging belly (which is probably just fat at this stage), and I don’t want to hide it. I don’t care about trying to look not-pregnant. Part of me wants people to guess.

I’ve started working on some tutorials, and updating my professional website… Life is suddenly there again, where for so long it has been a bleak void.

I have another scan booked tomorrow at 6:45pm.

I know that, given the baby measured small last week, there is a chance that growth has stopped or is severely lacking.

I just hope that if the worst happens, I am able to get through this and not slip back into the darkness.

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