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So how do you learn to listen to yourself all the time? Especially when some of you may not listen ever. Or even know that that is important?
Okay, it starts with taking responsibility for where you are in life. Knowing that wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, you create your own reality. This is easier said than done. You might be in a bad marriage, a terrible job, or abusive situation. This is also not about taking steps to make your life more difficult or painful. This is about acknowledging that you are where you are and that from here on out, you are going to take charge of your own happiness. That means: don't play the blame game. Only you are responsible for how you feel, how you act and what choices you make from now on.
This can be a hard thing to do and I strongly suggest getting help if you need it. That can be from someone like myself who does kinesiology and energy healing; from a health professional that you trust, a psychologist, a priest or even a friend. We are not meant to travel this journey alone and one of the biggest steps you can make is to ask for help. Humans are meant to be interdependent. Not independent. We are all connected and when you are ready, the teacher will appear.
The second thing is to recognise where your decisions are coming from. Most of us do things from habit, from what you were taught when you were a kid or what you think you "should" be doing. For example, my TV habit is one that I picked up from my childhood. It doesn't make it right, wrong or otherwise. What I can do, however, is take responsibility for the fact that I have chosen (consciously or subconsciously) to continue watching as an adult, and to choose differently. That doesn't mean that I'll never watch TV again. But what I feel is that it's hold on me is getting less and less every day I go without it. I may have crappy days where I watch a lot. And other days when I choose not to watch it at all. But every time I do, it will be a conscious choice and not a numbing activity. I will try to not mindlessly watch until its midnight because I don't want to go to bed, or because I want to escape. But if I do choose to watch, then I will be mindful of when and how much I watch and hopefully turn it off when I think I've had enough. Most importantly if I slip (and let's be honest - that's likely) then I will need to forgive myself and keep trying to choose differently next time.
I finally think this is something I can do earnestly and for the longer term. I never felt ready or able to before now.
How to listen to your body:
When you make decisions, you may also often work through the choices with your head and not your heart. What do I mean by this? Well, with your head you often debate, have pros and cons, agonise over details, try and figure out the "hows" of how to make things work, and the "why's" often don't get much of a look in. And if they do, they get included with all the other mind chatter.
When you make a heart-based or intuitive decision, it is usually a gut choice, one which you don't question and which you trust implicitly. The dangers with this method is that you may not trust your intuition and you may feel like you need to make a more "considered" choice. The problem with these "considered" choices though is that they include all of your subconscious programming which includes issues with doubting yourself, your self-worth, your right to make decisions based on feelings alone. It's also very easy to include other issues in your current decision which may or may not be helpful.
The thing is though, this is the only way I think we need to make our decisions. Yes, that is a big call, sometimes you need to consider practicalities. But really, once you get attuned to your intuition and you really learn to trust it, I know that it never steers me wrong. You will rely on it for all the decisions that you need to make and when you do, you will do it with clarity and awareness.
When you can master understanding your bodies needs, then its just a case of remembering to ask! Remember the question "what's the best thing for me right now?". It's a powerful tool that will never steer you wrong. It can lead you out of disaster time and time again. You may want to rebel against it, do the "wrong" thing, or simply ignore very strong signals if you choose not to listen. If you do decide to listen though, your body (and your life) will thank you for it.
This week has been such an interesting ride. I knew I'd have to deal with stuff and work through some issues, and I'm sure this will continue from here. But I also know that I've got much more clarity over what drives my thought patterns around my numbing activities; why I continue to do it again and again and also how I can get out of it if I choose.
The only step now is to do it.
Okay, so these days are getting harder and easier, all at once!
The first thing that was difficult for me to accept was that I needed to heal. To that end, I’ve done some healing sessions for myself about loneliness. I've realised that even when I was married and theoretically less alone, I had a terrible habit of numbing in the form of watching far too much television and eating too much. What I've realised is that having someone in the room with me just isn’t enough.
What I'm aching for is a deep soul connection. To be heard and seen for who I am. I've done some inner child work and some lifeline sessions in the past two days to process this. For those of you who don't know lifeline - its an amazing technique that can help shift very deep subconscious sabotaging that goes on and bring us to a higher and more aligned vibration. These practices have helped me to realise that while I don't have my soul partner, yet, I am connected to the feelings and emotions of being in a meaningful relationship. And it makes me so excited for the future.
So how am I connected to those emotions if I haven't found “him”? Well, I've had an amazing past few years, where, through personal challenge and growth, I have connected with the most loving, amazing, thoughtful and supportive friends I could ever hope for. These people have shown me what it's like to have a real, deep soul connection with someone where you can be genuinely seen and heard. And I haven't had to apologize for being myself.
We are truly connected on a soul level, and they know that they can come to me about anything and vice versa. I also know that if I was in a relationship, there is a very good chance I wouldn't have developed these friendships. And it gives me hope, that now that I have experienced what it really feels like to have this type connection with people, that I will also attract that in a partner.
In addition to all of the meditation classes and work I do connecting to higher self, I feel that for the first time, I have started to see and hear myself! I don’t do it all the time yet, but certainly a lot more than ever before. So between the two I realise, even in the space of writing this blog, that I already have what I'm looking for! And also some awareness now (thanks universe) for why I've been single for such a long time.
I've also realised that connection is a major part of what keeps me happy and as an extrovert I love having people around me. So the solution? Try and do more things with other people. Exercise, sewing, cups of tea. Anyone free Mondays???
Whoa. Pretty deep for someone who has just stopped watching TV for a week. As my friend said when she stopped numbing; the depth of awareness and shift in perspective for her was massive. So I guess I should have been prepared for this too. I think the challenging thing moving forward, will be to make these changes permanent. Old habits die hard, as they say, so as exciting as these revelations are, I still have a mountain to climb.
And I can see already it’s going to be really hard. Even as I was writing the last blog I realised I'd been sitting with my sick child on top of me for two hours, feeling exceptionally thirsty and desperately wanting a relaxing bath! I had done neither, just "waiting" for the right time to go and do both. Then I realised, the challenge was, to listen all the time and not when I think the time is right or better. So I put her down, had a long cool drink of water and then, I had that bath! It actually made a massive difference! To my mood, how I felt about myself, and also about how I felt about looking after my daughter.
I know there are some people out there who think that is an incredibly selfish way to be. But let me say this. In the last two days I've been more patient, kind, loving and happy with my children than I have for a very long time. I've got more time for them, more energy for them and more ability to listen to what they have to say. And I am not pretending to be patient. I actually have been. I haven't been thinking about the other things I have to get done, or what I'm not doing for myself, because I've already done that.
Putting yourself first doesn't mean that no one gets a look in. For me its the difference between being showered and sated before I read my children a bedtime story. Or getting their help to put their things away so I can wash up instead of doing everything. Or actually stepping outside and having a few deep breaths of fresh air rather than sweeping the floor. All the other stuff can wait. Our happiness can't. If we can teach our children how to hold strong boundaries and put ourselves first with self-love and connection, what a great gift we are giving them.
It's a work in progress, but I feel like I'm onto something here...
Well, I've cheated (kind of), and invited a friend around for dinner. I’ve also worked in these last two evenings, so going without TV has actually been really easy. The evenings are always the hardest as that's when I'm truly on my own.
The funny thing is; I often hope to spend time on meditation, exercise, contemplation and mindfulness, but the evenings are often when I'm exhausted. The last thing I want to do is put effort into anything!
Regardless of what I spend my time on, I sometimes get the feeling that I'm missing out on something when I "can't" watch TV. It's like I'm a child not allowed a lolly after being promised it for being good all day. This work hard/reward system was the way I, and most of us, were brought up. But is this process of needing a "reward" the entire problem? Some of us numb because we are trying to fill a void, because we are lonely or because we feel like something is missing.
But what if the only thing that is missing is actually doing what our body wants us to do ALL the time? Rather than some of the time, occasionally, or only when we "deserve" it. What about being GOOD to ourselves all the time regardless of the circumstance? By this I mean actually listening to our body’s cues and seeing them for what they are. For example, when we are craving sugar or unhealthy food, what are we actually wanting? Are we thirsty, tired, bored, or needing something with more nutrition? Or is it a symbol of something deeper?
The process of listening to our body is not always easy. I think if we can learn to understand our needs and then actually do what our body is telling us to do each and every day, then I think we would all be in a better place. If we continually ignore our own needs and/or put other people first then we end up very empty. I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.
A perfect example was last Friday night. We had a birthday party to go to on Saturday morning and I had decided to make the present for my daughter’s friend. It was a bold move, but I thought it would be a nice original gift and it could be the start of an affordable way to gift for the many birthday parties at school. At 11pm the night before the party I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew and when I’d finally finished after 1am the next morning I was exhausted and beyond frustrated.
My body and mind screamed at me several times during this process to stop and try to find something to buy the next morning. But I ignored it. Unfortunately, the entire weekend was a mess because I was tired, cranky and I felt unappreciated. And the worst thing was that it was entirely avoidable, entirely of my own doing and a direct result of me not listening to myself.
This is a just a small example, but what if you’re in a job you hate, a relationship that makes you miserable or living somewhere that makes you depressed? Imagine the impact that these much bigger situations have on the rest of your life.
I know for certain that the universe wasn't made for us to sacrifice our own happiness and wellbeing in order to be happy and have everything work out. We are supposed to act, behave and feel exactly how we want our life to be and then it will provide, right? So doesn't that include every activity in our life? If I had just listened to my body, gone to bed early and bought something the following morning then my entire weekend, my ability to parent and my happiness would have been dramatically different. If I had honored my needs first, then everyone else would also be happy. Simple huh? So why don’t we all do it all the time?
One of the things that I teach my clients is to ask themselves in moments of stress: "what do I need for me right now?". It is such a powerful exercise when you feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do next. I do this during the day when I realize I've run around for hours without taking a breath or when I'm working too hard or even when I realize I need help with something (thanks, to all my friends).
But at night? It's isn’t as easy when the end of the day heralds quietness, loneliness and this feeling of needing to be rewarded for such a hard days work.
How can we "reward" ourselves in every moment without feeling like we need to sacrifice before we deserve it? And will this help mitigate the need for TV, or whatever your "addiction" is?
This is something I'll explore for the next few days.
How are you all going?
Okay! So my first two days of being without TV have been interesting. The first night, I actually looked after myself by having a relaxing bath and reading my book and (God forbid!) did some work. It actually felt really good to have something to do other than tuning out.
Before starting this week I was aware that when you give up one addiction, it is all too easy to find another one. So this was an interesting challenge on my first night. The obvious traps for me though, were the current book I am reading and Facebook. Despite having an account, it was a relief to me to find that spending hours on Facebook wasn’t very appealing. My book, however, was a different story. I felt like I spent most of my evening reading. Does that mean that I was numbing with something else? Or just reading something interesting? And what’s the difference?
For me the biggest difference between the two appears to be the motivation behind them. Am I going towards intellectual stimulation with the book or am I going away from being in the present moment? I have to admit it was possibly a bit of both. But that begs the question; if I don’t watch TV, spend time on the internet, read my book or do housework, what can I do?
Being an extrovert, I get my energy from spending time with others. I am a single mum, living with my 2 children, who I adore. But let’s be honest, it’s different from having another adult around. I have quite a few hours to pass between putting my children to bed and when I turn in. For me, watching TV has always been a way to have company (in a bizarre way). It is also a way to add noise to an otherwise very quiet household. I could play music instead, but music doesn’t sound like there are other people
are in the house spending time with me. Essentially what I’ve realised is that, for a while, when the TV is on I can pretend I’m not alone. During the day, I don’t find myself alone very often. But when my children are in bed, TV has been a very convenient way for me to forget that. For at least a few hours every night.
And I know, I know, I’m not actually alone in the true sense of the word. I have my higher self, my guides, the universal helpers that are with me constantly. But I don’t know about you, having everyday conversations with them doesn’t always do it for me. I also don’t want to get a housemate or someone else to try and fill this “I am alone” hole. I also, most importantly, don’t want to be filling said hole with food instead. So the best thing I can do is to try and do things that I otherwise can’t get done during the day. This for me is very much a work in progress, as I feel that after a long day, all I want to do is relax. But as I am essentially housebound, what I can do feels quite limited.
The positive aspects of my new TV free week seem to be that I have way more patience for my children. I have noticed a degree of this before when I’ve spent a few days without TV, but this seems different. There is nothing to take my attention away from them. They know that they can’t watch it either so we have to spend quality time with each other.
We are all a bit thrilled about this actually. I also have much less interest in food, which is also not surprising as watching TV tends to make people more hungry. So far I am also sleeping a bit better and feel more relaxed which is never a bad thing! So onto days 3 and 4…
We all have our vices. I know this as well as anyone. For me over the years it has moved from over-eating to over-exercising to drinking too much, sleeping too much and the list goes on. It’s taken a long time for me to face up to it, but most of these have been changed. I no longer eat wheat, dairy, sugar, drink alcohol (except special occasions and then not much), I meditate every day and I exercise when I can. But I do still have a rather large and devastating vice that has stayed in place and not budged. At all. Ever.
And I’ve been wondering for a while, why do we do this? When we clearly know (or have become aware of) things that aren’t healthy for us, why do we keep doing them?
The only conclusion I have come up with is that we are numbing. This is more common than we think. The reason? A break from the incessant, overwhelming and stressful brain chatter that we endure each day. It’s the reason why more and more people are moving towards yoga, meditation, career changes and tree-changes.
Especially living in cities like Sydney and Canberra which are expensive and busy. We are in this ever-increasing spiral of working harder, doing more, getting more tired and trying to achieve the impossible. So after a long day’s work, cooking, tidying, perhaps getting kids to bed and any other tasks that need to be done, what do we do? Do we sit and have meaningful conversations or meditate? Do we spend time connecting to ourselves and our needs? Well, I certainly haven’t been. I’ve been participating in a time-honoured tradition for my family, that is damaging in so many ways; I watch TV. Not occasionally, not for special events, but every night. Without fail. For hours.
Why? Because I spend so much time looking after children, households, shopping, working, admin, running around, travelling for work, dealing with tantrums, a lack of sleep and more. I deserve a break don’t I?
The problem is though, my cycle of doing everything, feeling stressed and overwhelmed doesn’t change. And what I can’t cope with today, only gets put off until tomorrow.
What I’ve known for years (but until now have ceased to actually take action on) is that all I am doing is numbing. We all do it in our own individual ways. It can be via eating too much, spending excess time on Facebook or trawling the internet, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs. In each and every case though we are doing the same thing – avoiding being alone with ourselves and dealing with our over-complicated lives.
And for good reason. It can be scary to look deeply at our lives. I’m no stranger to delving into many different aspects of my life, shifting, working through and changing my perceptions and my attractor field. However, I still have this last nasty habit hanging around. And I call it a nasty habit because the idea of not having it is actually scary.
In this 2015 energy, as people who know me well hear me say: This is the year to start breaking these habits. We need to get off the merry-go-round of things that don’t serve us and try something different.
A good friend of mine recently quit sugar and told me it was her final numbing agent. She had removed it, after years of being alcohol and caffeine free, and the depths of self-discovery for her were huge. So I got to thinking. If she could have this massive shift in self-discovery from removing this final hurdle, what would happen if I removed mine?
The challenge to myself? Having a week without TV at all. This may be nothing to some of you but to me it’s huge. And no, I’m not crazy. I’m not about to throw it out and burn it. But as anyone with an addiction needs to do, I am going to take it one small step at a time.
I anxiously (and excitedly) await the results. What will I allow in when that (actually rather large) space is created.
And my question to you is: How do you numb? What are you doing to avoid yourself? And are you ready to join me in my Week Free Of….. Challenge?
Yours in Health
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