I feel like I’m in recovery from my life and that it is hurling me into another world. Swirling and hurling me to parts unknown. I’m beginning a new journey that is calling on me to dig deep. I’m talking about the transition from living amidst the midwestern culture and its lifestyles and the work practice of psychotherapy in my office for many years to the new online therapy. I started my first job after graduate school at the Center for Parents and Children in Moorhead, MN in 1985. I’ve moved through several sites in the area but always been in the vicinity. Since moving to Cottonwood, AZ a month ago I’ve been immersed in changes. Although I moved around ND as a child and went away to school for a short time in my 20’s, this move feels epic and new. A new climate, new environment, no cable TV and no one I know at the grocery stores. After being in Fargo all my career life, life itself moved to provide a space to change and move. Translation, my adult kids moved away, and I no longer “had” to stay as I’d done through my parent life which as I’ve been calculating is quite a long time.
Recovery – The images of treatments, addictions, suffering, medical providers in white coats linger. Two definitions of recovery are: the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost and the other is: a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
These definitions have elements of truth in my case – somewhere along the line I lost sight of my own big picture. This often happens somewhere in childhood when life’s hurts and stressors pull in. I lost the feeling of my “beautifulness” and took on the challenges of life as if my life depended on it which, of course it did in the survival mode that I existed. I hear this term “being in survival” a lot in today’s healing circles and the workshops this year that I organized were all about identifying your own survival beliefs and learning to live from the power of your heart. Recovering from our past conditioning is one of the key aspects of moving out of survival and into a state of thriving or “thrival”.
There are various levels in both surviving and thriving. There is no wrong or right way to judge here. We may need many years in the denial levels to prepare us for the leap into light and presence of joy. We may be one of those old souls who just moves to what their life purpose was meant to be without some of the mess. We come into this world with this beautiful energy that seems to captivate those around us with love and acceptance. Then, flash forward a couple of decades from birth and we may find ourselves looking for love in all the wrong places when life goes awry. Then we wonder what happened. This survival begets self-medicating in whatever way, shape or form is the one you choose. And that’s when recovery can manifest. You don’t always have to “hit rock bottom” Any negative emotion felt for any length of time can make you feel out of control. Pain of any kind can be a wake up signal. I’m always talking about the need for tools to deal with our life circumstances. Knowledge is power and finding the right support is a key to success.
I’ve had a break in the action so to speak. Decreasing my workload to the online mode created many changes. No office to maintain, no set routine, and less time on the job were a few. Downsizing was a mental ordeal. My brain resisted disconnecting with “stuff” that had become unnecessary over the years. I got a sense of the timelessness of time as I sorted through box after box. The golden nugget here was the support I got from my husband. His brain is geared to organize so the ordeal factor was different for him. Not all couples can balance one another in this dept so I kept the gratitude comments flowing as he slogged through most of it, made multiple trips to thrift stores and packed up the rest. My heart knew what was ahead. My head was trying to keep up while my physical body moved in and out of resistance and stiffness…. preparing to move in to flow and flexibility along with strength and vitality, right? Not so fast my dear. Recovery is a process.
“It all boils down to this. Self-love. We’ve got to learn how to love ourselves. “This was spoken by a wise old soul I met in my new neighborhood, a man who looked like sailor who’d seen the world and tasted it all. I’ve been hearing some of the tales of peoples lives here in Cottonwood and this one had light all over it. So, how is this recovery going? It’s starting.
The first step is awareness. The minute I step into fear and survival I get a minute to get back out. Then what? Then I look for another way to release and change the old way of thinking – the practice of self compassion. I have connected with one of the Sedona healers for support in this emotional repatterning. This is a new phrase to transform negativity and old memories by bringing these old concepts out into the open and consiously releasing them. Here in the Sedona area there are many seekers and dream visionaries as well as many retirees and those who grew up here. When I observe others through the lens of self-compassion vs judgement and labeling it’s a much richer experience. I realize how easy, especially coming from the Midwest it is to be hard on oneself or project it out to others in irritation, dismissive attitudes or denial. The 12-step recovery program that I’ve often referred to in my work over the years is taking shape for me now. Step one is about surrender. I am admitting what I need to admit and finding someone to support and be present with me during the process. There is a book that was suggested by a healer called the 12 Stages of Healing by Don Epstein. I’m finding we can go through them, “arrive” and must start them all over again with another level of healing and clearing. It’s OK! The rewards are dreams and visions being realized.
What I’m more aware of at this stage of my life and career is the importance of congruence and lining my life up in harmony with who I am and the skills and experience that I bring to the table. I am opening myself up to love and learning this ancient and divine language that somehow got mired up in the human conundrums of doing the right thing or wrong thing depending on the times. I’m taking a Qi Gong class at the community college and all I can say is “Wow”. I am learning about the infinite spirals that swirl within all connected in some ways to our emotions. The body is the container we’ve got. This container of mine is learning through all the sensations, pain patterns, and symptoms it’s given. This break in the action is powerful. There is no right or wrong time to learn, take breaks or grow. Start with the intention to be your best self in the service of the Divine. I met the pastor at the United Methodist Church in Cottonwood and asked him how he had arrived in this area from the east coast. He chuckled and said it was a long story but that the short of it was it was a “God thing”.
This blog is about the process. Writing is about the process of a story unfolding or an idea evolving. My belief is we all have this “God thing” within although for many of us it takes some serious uncovering and searching. One of the most powerful tools to help keep us on the best path is one to build our sense of self love – the Quick Coherence technique from Heartmath Institute. I write about this often for a good reason. It works and can easily be forgotten in life’s whirlwinds.
This is an updated version from the Heart-Based Living workshop in June presented by Deborah Rozman, Heartmath President.
- Focus your attention around the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area finding a little slower and deeper rhythm than usual. This is a breath of ease. Suggestion is 5 seconds inhale and 5 seconds exhale.
- Make a sincere effort to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life. Suggestion – Try to re-experience the feeling you have for someone you love, a pet, a special place, an accomplishment etc. or focus on calm or ease.
I appreciate any feedback on those who work with this. For more information seek out the Heartmath research institute and learn more about the wisdom and guidance of YOU! Being in the Sedona, AZ area the You is more than you think! Stay tuned.