Join me on a 12 month journey of self-knowledge and life design for survivors of child abuse.
We started with the skill of awareness in November. Each month I will share skills I practice to create the life I choose, on purpose and not driven by the events of the past. We continue our exploration of awareness - this time of our emotional body.
Last week I gave you 3 exercises to help you become aware of your thoughts during Thanksgiving. Did you write in your notebook? Did you notice your thoughts? (Check out FaceBook Live each week.) We now have entered the holiday season. It’s a time when emotions run high, when sentiments and memories are relived and reformed, when traditions honored or rejected. How do you experience your emotions?
Let’s prepare. Great challenges lie ahead. This world demands your full presence and engagement. We are being asked to pay attention. To care for ourselves and each other. I want you to join me on one path through the maze. You who experienced the unfathomable, are especially invited to be present and engage. We are all required.
Are you struggling with critical thoughts that cause you pain? Do you try to control your feelings toward your partner? Are you second guessing your decisions? Do you worry that you are wasting your life, not living to your potential? Are you living from your values? Do you have an inkling of your purpose?
It happens that I am overcome by an old, familiar feeling. It could rise up at a family holiday gathering. That old family friend who says the most annoying things. Or Aunt Bessie, who means well, but boy is she in my business. Let’s not talk politics or religion or work or anything. Sometimes the feeling is shame or guilt or sadness. And there on the table is an abundance of food and all the sugary treats that are poison to me.
In the past, I brace my body, tell myself I won’t let it get to me. When that old, familiar feeling takes over, my brain goes to work seeking to identify if there is danger, if it is familiar and if the story make sense. Sometimes the thought driving the feeling will not be conscious. It is tiny and elusive. Like a hair in your eye, can’t see it, yet it takes all your attention. So I used to eat. When the family left -- just one more piece of that special treat. Just one more. You get the picture.
How do I break that cycle?
This is what I learned. When you want to change, to either take something out of your life or add something to your life it is best to have a clear intention. It is also good to have a compelling reason to make the change and to identify an important value that connects to it.