therapy journey

My journey to better mental & spiritual health

Tag: holistic

Fear and loving.

“The seat of fear is in your heart and not in the hand of the feared.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Life continues on its mad meander, always. Finding myself returning to a community I always thought of as indifferent, I’ve made efforts to reach out and feel a sense of oneness on a par with true nature. I launched a group which aims to help other people to explore themselves, exchange ideas, embrace spirituality, engage with our fellow adventurers, and let go of fear, negativity and anything else that holds us back. I would like this group to unlock participants’ childlike inner states such as joy, creativity and being outside of time. It is my fond hope that as we build momentum through deeper connection and diverse activities, we find some measure of peace, happiness and unity.

We met for our first session a few days ago and had a great connective experience, meditating and reading. One participant read from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Freedom, according to the speaker in the story, is in rising above physical concerns. Freedom is painted as a strong, glittering chain, as a ‘yoke and a handcuff’. There was a line that refers to casting off ‘fragments of yourself’ in order to become free, which highlights the absurdity of that which, through sentimentality, materialism or notions of ownership, we think of as part of ourselves. All that we need for freedom is already an intrinsic part of the self, though expressing freedom requires self-discipline, integrity and sacrifice. Casting off the shackles of the slave’s imprisonment becomes itself the fetter of a greater freedom.

Peace and freedom are very noble, but days like yesterday remind me that I still have a long way to go on my little journey. I felt the resurgence of anger, and I took it out on someone. A stranger, who happened to get my goat and validated every stinking rotten suspicion I had about the people in this village. Of course, that makes me a hypocrite: what happened to engaging with community? The feeling of love for all is not automatic; it’s beyond hard, and for me right now, impossible. Not being able overcome the instinct to lash out makes me worry. I worry that all the time I’m being nice I was merely pretending. I wonder whether loving and respecting everyone ever can become automatic.

It comes from consciously choosing what we want in our lives. It comes from choosing what thoughts to have. So, I made a decision to become angry. While I regretted it almost immediately, I have to accept that it’s OK to feel less than OK. With everything I’m doing, I am learning. I haven’t yet had an experience that has changed me fundamentally. The last thing I would want is to miss out on my own humanity in single-minded pursuit of high-end spiritual programs.

When I am utterly frustrated, which seems to be happening a lot lately, I don’t feel very myself. For someone who runs a group about being authentic, this could be troubling. But what I want to say to myself is, “it’s OK”. Sometimes I sit and feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I silently sulk and stew. Sometimes I act like a giant baby. Sometimes I cry with epic frustration and total sadness. I both love and hate the fact that my life is so comfortable at the moment. I hate what that makes me.

To step out of my cushy comfort zone, I’ve developed this game in which every day I try to do something that scares me. I’m going to try and push through this every day I am in England. Years ago I attempted to commit to a guiding mantra of “let nothing and nobody scare me”. It was conceived at a time when alcohol provided me with a handy Invincibility Cloak. I’ve carried it around all this time. Now, rather than that motto be full of spurious braggadocio, I’m coming at things from a humble and loving standpoint. I’m seeking out fear, challenging its very existence and staring it down. It’s shown to be nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

Into the heartspace.

We’re bored. We’re all bored now. But has it ever occurred to you, Wally, that the process that created this boredom that we see in the world now may well be a self-perpetuating, unconscious form of brainwashing created by a world totalitarian government based on money and that all of this is much more dangerous than one thinks? And it’s not just a question of individual survival, Wally, but that somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say no? – Andre, ‘My Dinner With Andre’.

Some time has passed since the last time I wrote on therapy journey. In that time, therapy journey has turned one year old, and a new calendar year has also commenced with haste. It has been a period of readjustment and coming around. It has been a time of cold winds and hot baths; long goodbyes and short days; high hopes and low pressure; a time for shining brightly in the dark. I feel like I’ve been gathering myself up, and expressing what I am in all that I do more clearly than ever before.

I’ve cast out the old. In a literal sense, I’ve got around to a task I’d been putting off for years, namely selling, giving away or throwing out hundreds of old possessions that I no longer need. This has been a difficult operation to get my head around, as many of the things I’m disposing of still fit, are current or have plenty of use left. But I’ve realised I simply have too many of these things – mainly clothes and accessories – and rather than hang on to them while they depreciate (and for it to cost me, in various resources, for the privilege), I made the decision that it would be better for them to find a new home while they still hold some value.

It’s been a shaming but humbling experience. From the spiritual side of my being, I can say with certainty that things don’t matter. But from the point of view of minimising waste, allocating resources efficiently, enabling others, sharing my prosperity and respecting the abundance of the planet, it has been important to me that my unwanted possessions go to homes where they too can find a new lease of life until planned obsolesce kicks in, as it inevitably will. I aim to live not only more frugally but with what I already have, which is perfectly adequate in every way. Items may need to be replaced over time but at a more ambling pace. It is my hope that while adjusting to less, for every new item in my wardrobe I get rid of two already in it.

I wrote on this blog some weeks ago about the awful situation that befell me when I unexpectedly ran out of anti-depressant medication. Recently I wrote a letter to my GP informing him of exactly what my predicament was. I chose the letter format to express this because I didn’t want to miss anything out, and one can be more formal and cogent in writing. It also served to express how cut off I was when I requested his help, as I was rebuffed contact by phone and email, leaving only the medium of fax which has been entirely useless for the past fifteen years. I was jubilant after delivering the letter, if only with the hope that the doctor thinks twice about prescribing this medication without a well-thought out weaning-off method worked out. It was my own fault however, to leave for an extended trip without thinking through how to resupply, but I naively thought it would be easy.

In that letter I was able to express some of my darker moments which while I am not proud of, were important to keep hold of during my recovery. “I had an episode where I became convinced that I would kill myself, not out of depressive thoughts but because I became paranoid that the drug was intended to kill me, control me and rot my mind and I would never be free of it. I phoned a couple of my friends and they talked me round.” I am more grateful to the people (and dogs) that surrounded me and comforted me, than to the medical establishment and its wider structure of red tape and loopholes which let them off the hook.

These matters are behind me now, thankfully. Tonight I took myself off to a local meditation group in its second week. This meditation aims to go deep into the heartspace, using sound and our ability to listen to our own heartbeat to focus on emotion. This is in contrast to breath meditation in which mental thought is channelled or invoked. We allow our inner processes to interact with the outside. But we wore earplugs, so all we heard was within ourselves.

Others reported peacefulness, space around them, seeing flowers and wanting to smell them, being enveloped by a cushion that turned liquid. I have to admit that during the powerful 45 minute meditation, I didn’t feel anything profound, no vital energy bubbling up within, nor visions nor even a clearing of the mind. I felt acutely aware of my body and of time passing. I didn’t “go” anywhere. It was beyond me, a beginner, to give into the fullness of the meditative experience, especially one that wasn’t guided. We are meant to learn about our inner nature but I only learned that my energy is not settled in this place. It is shifting, it is unsettled. No matter what I do to gloss over the fact – and I am not consciously aware of it, but I found out tonight that it is wanting to return to a place that is more home than this one.

And then I realised I was the earthchild.

The title of this post comes from a creativity meditation I attended a couple of nights ago. I felt it strongly and powerfully and it made my aching soul sing just a little bit. I’ve been feeling strangely misaligned recently – that really is the best word for it. My intentions are out of kilter with my reality, my perception isn’t in accord with true nature, and I’m failing to see abundance and joy some of the time. I’m experiencing anger rising sometimes. I’m rubbing up against people’s bad sides. And I’m experiencing that most ungodly of all emotions: fear.

However this is just one small part of who I am today. Yes there’s fear, neuroticism, panic, worry, anger, paranoia and doubt. But there are also measures of true authenticity, joy, laughter, the ability to see absurdity, as well as magnetism, happiness and the pure sublime. Above all the feeling is freedom, which propels me forward in a world without limits.

My wishes for this most sacred of times, the winter solstice of the year 2014, are to trust myself, to live with authenticity and to see the abundance that is all around. I also wish to be kind to myself, although I find this concept the hardest to understand let alone put into practice. I wish to acknowledge some of my struggles of the past as I work hard to put them behind me. There is literally no time for the past.

A friend sent me the link today to an article which puts everything I wanted to say better than I ever could on this auspicious day. We learn that by facing up to our deepest, darkest emotions we can move forward.  I believe that no-one is broken and ‘healing’ is a redundant concept but I agree with the sentiment that self-forgiveness leads to the release of toxic and self-sabotaging patterns. However challenging this may prove to be, writing about it here is one of the steps to making it reality.

As part of the ‘releasing the darkness’ stage, we are urged to write an intention, and then burn the paper on which it is written, followed by smudging sage. I am not doing this myself because I can’t get my head around rituals yet, coming as I do from a tradition full of them, and finding pain and inauthenticity there. Rituals still freak me out. Nevertheless the words Syma Kharal uses are beautiful and I wanted to share them here:

“Dear Higher Self/God/Spirit/Universe: No matter what has happened in the past, I am now willing to release everything about it that brought me fear and pain. I surrender to you all that no longer serves me for healing, cleansing and purification. Help me to forgive and be forgiven by all involved. Align my vision that I may see everything from your enlightened perspective and move forward with wisdom, grace, strength and love. So be it.”

Speaking of rituals, it is my fond hope that in the future I overcome my fear of ritual and prayer, and participate in spiritual rituals in order to experience what’s called “liminality”, derived from the Latin limen meaning boundary or threshold. These boundaries might separate the sacred from the profane. A ritual is a dynamic and engaged creative prayer that allows us to set aside the time to recognise, honour and celebrate seminal aspects of life. I’m currently reading about this in ‘The Red Book’ by Sera Beak. The book is all about igniting one’s divine spark and is intended as a no-nonsense guide for young women.

It’s a very inspirational book that I wish I could have read fifteen years ago. But – no regretting the past in any way, shape or form, as the present time is all we have. That’s why the present is a gift. Beak writes that when we open ourselves up to the divine,

“[…] life becomes much  more flavorful. Profound meaning illuminates even the most mundane of events. My relationships deepen. My voice becomes clearer. My work excels. My personal issues become less draining and dramatic. I am less affected I require less outside approval. My self-confidence beams. I laugh more. I judge less. My sexuality roars. Random acts of kindness become a necessity, not just a whim. […] My perspectives are amplified. I see the world around me at much more than face value, and as a result, I make clearer choices across the board […] I realize I’m not just some well-dressed biped trudging through life but actually an incredibly powerful and integral piece of the divine pie.”

She’s a spunky chick and I aim to go deep with my learnings into my divine spark and how to enhance it and be true to myself. Remembering always that authentic divine truth never separates people from each other, countries from each other, religions from each other. I’m receiving the tiniest spark of divinity but it’s possible to smother it with too much kindling, or to let the fire go out without the right nurturing. I want to see this through. Intention is everything. There will be times when I am rude to people. There will be times I am frustrated and utterly disappointed. I will continue to be angry some of the time, because this is a divine part of me, but these will be fewer and further between, I hope, as intentions and reality align. I am the earthchild, I am divine, I am myself, I am everything and nothing.

“It’s all about paradox, mystery, meditation, sexuality, long walks, and momentous haircuts.” – Sera Beak, ‘The Red Book’.

abundance

Love is the ultimate reality. It is the only. The all.

There is only one reason to do anything: as a statement to the universe of Who You Are. This is a powerful idea and underlines the importance of personal responsibility, the duty to be authentic, owning our own creations, both collectively and individually. Events are created by man’s collective consciousness. All thought is creative. Emotion is the power that attracts. It is energy in motion. Move energy and create effect. Move enough energy and create matter. Thought is pure energy, it never ever dies. A thought is forever.

The power of thought is simply huge, infinite. There are no victims, no villains. We create all that we say we detest, and having created it, we have chosen it. This has a serious upshot for anyone, like me, seeking to change their life. As long as we harbour the notion that someone or something else is causing our distress, we disempower ourselves to change anything. So, I understand and accept that my prior negative states were chosen by myself. I seek change not because one thing is right and another is wrong, but because my negative state no longer makes an accurate statement about who I am.

The Laws (of the Universe!) are as follows:

1) Thought is creative
2) Fear attracts like energy
3) Love is all there is


Reading about magnificent cosmic ideas almost makes me wish I was into mind-altering drugs so I could enter into beautiful philosophies fully. It’s all very well reading and writing about God/Love but the challenge is to make it stick, to make the ideas contained within this book (Conversations With God by Walsch) more than flavour of the month. I’d like to bear out the messages that I am reading about with every fibre of my being, for them to become automatic and ingrained in time. I do believe these things. I do want to believe that love is the only ultimate reality. I am going through a shift, and like all changes will take time and commitment, that’s all.

This book is not at all wishy-washy and in fact contains some of the most logical, clear arguments that I’ve encountered in a book. The conversation style of pertinent question and astute answer is incredibly well put together. I would urge anyone looking for the smallest iota of spiritual guidance, who is feeling lost, alone, bereft, depressed or unwell to pick up this book and just start reading.

Sometimes in my own life I have an impulse to shut down, to dismantle and wait it out until I am better rested or in a better mood. I put it down to exhaustion but how real are tiredness and grumpiness? It’s all in my mind. Also there are still other times when I behave in a way that doesn’t show who I want to be and what I am. For example I might take half an hour away from my desk at work to lie on the toilet cubicle floor wrapped in my coat. This is less than authentic behaviour, but I do it because at that moment I am tired, cold, bored and craving the most basic comfort. This is a clear sign to me that my destiny lies elsewhere, in a mental and physical space where I do not feel like shutting down. Allow each soul to walk its path.

CST and the happy hangover. Vinyasa Flow yoga.

While I talk of practising loads of different therapies and alternative techniques, it occurs to me that I don’t actually stick at any of them for very long. And if even if I do rack up as many as three sessions, as I have with my EFT and CST, I somehow still don’t find the time to practise on my own under my own steam. I wonder whether this resistance is anything more than simple lack of discipline. Because, cue the excuses, my time is just so limited right now, I am often coming home, tending to the most basic necessary admin tasks, eating and going to sleep. Weekends hold different and unexpected treasures, and I’ve yet to work out how to incorporate regular practice of whatever therapy I’m trying with a social life, a work life, time to relax, time to continue my education, and a full-on relationship.

My boyfriend J actually suggested recently that we put aside a regular or ad hoc 20 minutes to meditate together, which I would really like to do. The next few evenings may not be possible, and whether we ever have sufficient peace in the set-up of our dwelling place is dependent on factors outside our control, but I would not like to forget that this idea was voiced and agreed. It should be acted upon whenever possible.

The latest craniosacral therapy (CST) session was different to the last two. I said to the practitioner at the end that it had ‘put my life into perspective’. I’m not sure that’s a lasting feeling. I was asked by B to think of a happy memory, preferably one in which I was alone. The memory I chose was Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, 9am on my birthday in May 2012. I had been drinking for many hours and had just arrived in Glasgow via sleeper train. I had walked to Kelvingrove Park via my hostel on what was to be one of the hottest days of the year in the entire country. The feeling of coming to the park was of pure unbridled happiness – mixed with exhaustion and no doubt giddiness from over-consumption – but I felt boundless in every way. As I took my well-chosen place facing the sun, steep hill as my pillow, and pulled the eye mask over my eyes, my last thoughts before I fell into a deep sleep were of pure contentment, repair, rejuvenation, excitement at the days and nights ahead, endless possibility and above all, freedom. That feeling of freedom was so real, I can feel it and summon it up now. That’s what I seek to capture. That’s what makes this experience so happy and authentic for me looking back two years on. So much has changed in my life and I find it hard to identify with a lot of things in the past, but the Kelvingrove Park experience I hope will remain accessible.

What B was trying to get me to do in reliving this experience was to locate the feeling in my body. We waste a lot of energy in our heads, and hence our bodies are left depleted. Using this CST technique, the hope is that through learning where good, positive feelings (such as happy memories) live in our physicality, we can much easier bring them to the fore in times of need. This is because the body is far more present than the mind. The mind is bogged down with its filters, its beliefs, neuroses, imaginations, machinations, memories and is often operating in the past or the future. Our bodies manifest how we are feeling just as much as our thoughts, just in a different way, that we in the West aren’t tuned into.

I was asked where in my body I can feel my Glasgow happiness, but it was a real struggle to feel it anywhere other than my head truth be told. At first I said I could feel it in my core or stomach, but it wasn’t a strong sensation. At a later point I said it was on the surface of my skin, but I was clutching at straws. Obviously this will take some practice and perhaps research.gold splodge

Today I tried a new type of yoga called Vinyasa Flow. I went along with an open mind not knowing anything about it, and it was – like all yoga in my limited experience – very tough. There was a lot of going from plank to downward dog, then adding other elements to the routine so it got longer and tougher! Balance was difficult as you needed to be able to support yourself on one leg, and it required a lot of stamina and core strength. Ouch. I liked the more gentle stuff. I liked it at the end, we all sat in a circle cross-legged with our knees touching, and each hand on the knee of another person. I liked when we rubbed our (own) hands together after applying a cream that the instructor had made herself, and when they were hot, placing them on a part of our body that needed healing. I placed mine on my head.

Kundalini. The curl of the lock of hair.

I’ve started a new class in Kundalini yoga which is known as the ‘yoga of awareness’, utilising life force energy located at the bottom of the spine and combining breath and a lot of movement. Kundalini is a relatively new branch of yoga, based on the writings of spiritual teacher Sivananda Saraswati who founded the Divine Life Society on the banks of the Ganges in 1936. Influences come from tantra and shakta schools of Hinduism. It was popularised in the 1960s by  Harbhajan Singh, also known as Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga is said to strengthen and balance the body, give clarity to the mind, release tension, make contact with your infinity and innate inner wisdom, and help you to feel peaceful and fully charged.

According to Saraswati’s treatise, it aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.” This sounds absolutely beautiful. The name ‘kundalini’ has a poetic metaphor behind it, meaning “the curl of the lock of hair”, a reference to the energy and consciousness that flows within us.

The long class uses a blend of postures, pranayam, music, mantra and meditation, which teach the art of relaxation, self-healing and elevation. You get very deep into the soul of yoga. One of the exercises was to move from baby position to caterpillar on your belly with spine curled upwards, then back into baby and up into a downward dog, which is like a triangle shape with your bottom in the air and head down, feet flat on the mat. It’s going to take some practice. This and all the exercises were done with breath being the momentum that carries you onward, and so the movement of the body. and the inhale/ exhale is totally synchronised.

It felt very good performing the breath of fire. This isn’t when you’ve had too much vindaloo but a step away from Western breathing using just the chest area. The breath of fire is awareness of your breathing using the diaphragm to its full extent. Taking intense rapid breaths through the nostrils you fill your abdomen with new air and quickly expel the old. We must have looked like a class of hyperventilators. The technique is said to be good for clearing deposits from the nasal cavities and extending lung capacity, both of which are great for me as these are two problem areas.

Another exercise that I found surprisingly strenuous was lying flat on your back with hands placed under your bottom so the lower back is flat against the mat, then lifting straight legs to a 60 degree angle and opening and crossing them closed, with alternate legs being on top. You do this exercise at a fast pace in a sudden 3-minute burst of energy, which is very taxing when your body hasn’t the discipline for any sustained physical activity whatsoever.

All the physical exercises were tough for me. My body felt tired afterwards and a little achy rather than rejuvenated. All the more reason to stick at it, so that perhaps in a few sessions’ time I can actually feel the benefit. The day after (today) I have no aches but have become more aware of the awkward ways I hold my body, in particular my tense right shoulder.

Aside from the physical exertions, there is also a more meditative aspect to the class I attended. There are spiritual affirmations that are repeated – either chanted in a way that exercises the voice and you really feel your voice; or sung in a way that clears out old air from your lungs. You do feel a bit silly doing the Hindu chanting, but it’s easy to suspend that feeling and just give in to it, like when you dance and after loosening up a little your inhibitions go.

Kundalini yoga uses the energy locks system and focusses on the locks around the lower back. All that energy is contained within the spine – Kundalini wakes it up and shakes it out of its office-life imposed sloth. Sometimes a pose or an exercise will involve connecting the tips of your thumbs together or connecting your thumb and index finger as if circling an imaginary egg, which seemed arbitrary before but I’m beginning to see how this all makes a big picture.

I’m not a natural yogi, I even found sitting cross-legged with a straight back too much at times, but I saw the goodness that is at the core of this teaching and I will endeavour to continue whenever I am free on class night. I feel really lucky to have discovered this amazing way of tapping into inner resources and seeking all that I wish inside my very soul.

Self-acceptance = confidence = effective communication.

My third session of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) was the most rewarding, refreshing and useful one I have had so far. In a departure from previous sessions, I learned how to tap myself rather than having the practitioner, C, do it on me. I’m only going to have another two more sessions, so it’s important to me that I gain familiarity with the technique.

C says I seemed calmer and more centred the last two times she’s seen me. I am glad she has noticed this, as I really feel it within myself. What I brought to the session was different to previous sessions in which I tried to address ongoing conflict and anger/ anxiety issues. This time it was my communication issues that I wanted addressing. My issues surrounding communication are that I have difficulty expressing myself clearly, and I have a fear of saying the wrong thing and of not being heard. I express myself clumsily and then withdraw from communication completely. It can be paralysing. It’s not just with large groups of strangers – it can be with my closest friends and my boyfriend. What C said made a lot of sense: in the past we experience a way of being that perhaps involves hurt and the sense of closing down. This repeats and we look for it so it is affirmed by the outside world.

What I am seeking is to express myself authentically in a manner that gets me heard. Being heard is not about having the loudest voice at all, simply one that is true to myself. All of this comes back to confidence. And what is confidence, except an expression of self-acceptance?

C would like to give me a tool which I can use to come back to my centre and leave behind the negative mind chat. I am not allowing my own light to shine, she said, and all that love and fun is just being squashed. I am glad she can see the love and fun in me. A sort of exercise she gave me was to let go of fear of being judged and to observe how people are with me. How does the communication go? To help communicate better she advised giving each interaction my full attention from the inside out. I thought I already did this but there is always capacity for more mindful and effective communication.

Some of the affirmations that I repeated after C:

Communication

I am going to try and stick with EFT and perhaps find out more about it as I go along. At the moment the main focus of my research is mindfulness, so I’m taking the time to digest that before really giving my full attention to peripheral remedies such as EFT. I’m also now on a path where I have I think found the right talking therapist and that takes a huge amount of energy to think clearly about, and get the right result.

Release and gather.

I went to a guided meditation ‘rest stop’ class yesterday evening. It was as lovely as I was expecting, with twinkly fairy lights and little tea lights strewn across the stage of the large warehouse-type building with vaulted ceiling. It was made intimate by the low lights and the calming Eastern music.

We started by meditating in the traditional sense, assuming the lotus position with straight back, upturned palms, considering your breathing carefully while focussing on good feelings while inhaling, and letting go of the bad ones on the exhale. The good feelings we were asked to focus on centred around four things. We thought of a time in the past when we felt an abundance of the feelings in question: Calmness, Confidence, Love and Gratitude.

After that we performed a kind of shaking meditation which I really enjoyed and found the most satisfying, probably because of its physicality. You stand with your feet level with the line of your hips. You imagine the ground you are on starts to shake. These tremours cause your legs first to shake, then your hips, your arms, your chest, your fingertips, your shoulders, your head. Your whole body is shaking in a crazy way and it really feels like letting go. Also you have your eyes closed during the shaking which makes you even less inhibited.

Next was a different exercise. We all lay on our backs and the leader repeated a positive affirmation three times, which we had to internalise as we spoke the words in our minds three times. The words were about choosing abundance over lack; choosing to believe all is well instead of worry. Other commands told us to focus on each and every part of our body separately in turn. And strange and wonderful things like the imperceptible channel of space between our bodies and the mat. We imagined the troubles weighing us down dissolving into the plane of skin that we rest on and into the mat, into the earth.

But my head was swimming and I could not find a focus or any meaning behind these or any other words. My back felt twisted and crippled during the meditation class. I could not give myself up to the words and get lost in them. I found myself painfully aware of every passing second, writhing around, unable to keep my eyes closed, choosing to be distracted by the rafters above me or the meditating individual to my right, who had surrendered entirely. I found myself screwing up my face and shedding a tear believing that I am beyond repair, and I cannot do any of this without the support of the person who matters – because I cease to believe any of it myself. Doubt is toxic.

It was my first time and I will go again. The aim of the class is complete calm in the core of your being, through a meditative journey of total and deep relaxation of body and mind. To be able to gain any benefit from it would be wonderful, and I think will take a few tries. Bringing a clear and happy mind to the session helps. The memory of the morbidly negative weekend that I have just endured will pass and only learnings will come from it.

Step one. Counselling assessment with D.

D is the second counsellor I am trying. She styles herself as counselling encompassing CBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Solution-Focused Therapy. She also offers life coaching as a separate branch to the counselling, but something which can and should in a lot of cases complement it. She is an advocate of the holistic approach which takes into account spirituality, nutrition, yoga, aromatherapy and meditation. I am particularly excited by the holistic aspect, as there is hardly any point taking care of your mind when you have not sorted your body out.

Her initial email to me after a telephone conversation, detailed what she can offer me. She said we would work together to identify challenges, dreams and opportunities in life by assessing and managing my lifestyle with a person-centred approach. Issues she deals with are psychological trauma co-mordities, early childhood, family relations, relationships, identifying thought patterns, and even details such as career leverage and support including finances and wealth/ health cost analyses.

During my counselling assessment session with D, a lot of positive things came out. She emphasised that the goal of the process is to grow and develop the person you are and want to be. Sounds very simple, but it really struck a chord with me.

I had in the past attended a meditation session on the law of attraction, but at the same time so obvious that everyone should be aware of it. This philosophy is that the energy of your thoughts, whether they are positive or negative, attracts like energy in turn. What D believes is very similar – that other people you influence undergo a cognitive shift when your negative behaviour is reinforced, thus becomes a vicious cycle left unmanaged.

Related to this is the Indian concept of karma which in a nutshell is a belief that your behaviour and intentions influence your future. You get what you give. D talked about karma shifts and a Kalma reason and let me have the following information about her use of this theory:

“A Kalma Reason works on the law of Karma Reaction. The theory that everything we do will come back on us and old patterns can be changed by not necessarily following the Kalma Reaction. The theory that everything that what you manifest can be created with positive changes in your life by following the Kalma Reason. With A Kalma Reason Personal Consulting you can enhance, reinvent and recreate a more a personal successful lifestyle by assessing relationships with individuals that have a detrimental effect on our lives. You can change the pattern(s) of a lifetime. With Psychometric Assessment A Kalma Reason has combined plans tailored to suit each individuals own lifestyle and way of living by looking at patterns in their lives and the way that they live, eat and breathe.”

Other topics covered in our meeting were biorhythms and how to access them; SAD and the weather having an effect on mood; support and interventions; and isolating and analysing past examples so as to learn from the mistakes of the past and adopt systems of thought to counteract negativity in everyday situations going forwards. We will hopefully do this at a later therapy session.

I told D a lot about various aspects of my past. She asked me very many questions about my birth, my upbringing and how my parents treated me, whether mine was a happy childhood, and of course what my current problems are.

What I realised, perhaps not for the first time, but it really cements it being able to say it out loud, that my childhood was characterised by being alone a lot of the time, with parents working opposite shifts or at war with one another. I don’t remember a lot of family mealtimes with just the three of us; only on special occasions when a guest was round would we eat around the table and have a relaxed meal. I remember being home alone for an hour every day during weekends and school holidays as there was an overlap between their shifts.

As well as the lack of family feeling (with no other family members or close family friends around on a regular basis), I remember the feeling of having my wings clipped from a very early age, and being told not to express myself if I wanted to play, tease, create or test boundaries. I realise that I never learned the message that it’s OK to be yourself, and felt that I was always trying hard to be what I knew they wanted me to be. I felt like a disappointment from a very early age.

I would often look at other kids and their families with a feeling of envy and the feeling that I was very different from them, too. My parents doled out a lot of religious instruction to me, which wasn’t explained and just had the effect of making me scared and somewhat neurotic as a child, showing tics and odd behaviour.

My relationship with my mother is something that needs exploring at a later date, though we talked a good deal about this during our session. The relationship is one that on the surface might appear to a bystander to be quite normal but causes me a great deal of stress that I guess I keep repressed and occasionally I’ll have a bit of an outburst a short time after being around her.

A few days later, and in preparation for our next session, D proposed a personalised approach taking into account the following themes and concepts:

The R model
• Relationship (s)
• Religion
• Reasoning
With the R model you would be encouraged to identify patterns of thought through knowing yourself through counselling and being supported with ways to gain confidence and ease with overwhelming moods. Together you can overcome this by looking at semantics to gain better understanding. Followed by evaluating what you care should be the starting point.

I’m looking forward to my next session with D which is tomorrow, when we will have an assessment of my suitability and requirements for the Life Coaching side of things, and also my first counselling session with her.

Reaching out to the world. Getting to know you.

Hi readers

This is me reaching out to the world as I begin my journey into counselling, body and soul healing, and alternative therapies. This blog is intended to be a record of my progress and my thoughts and feelings along the long, hard road.

The problems I need to address are many and varied but in a nutshell:

I am a very angry and aggressive person. I guess it would be true to say that over time, I have developed strategies for dealing with and managing this in front of other people. But often I find myself seething inside, with terrible bad feelings often mixed with neurosis and circular thought patterns.

I am a very negative and critical person, often quick to put others in their place undeservedly, or to cast a gloomy mood over a happy situation. I am guilty of seeing the worst in a bad situation or of “predicting” that everything I do is going to be a failure – which is a self-fulfilling prophecy of course.

There are other issues too which I will explore in more detail in future posts.

I’ve written a sort of manifesto which I’ve included below.

anger

The path that has led me to the point I’m at now – the point of self-analysis, admitting where my flaws lie, and resolving to do something about it – is largely due to troubles I’ve had in my relationship. My partner (“J”) some months ago identified some disturbing traits that are inherent in my behaviour but it has taken this long for the situation to be the right one. He suggested CBT as a possible route, having taken a course of treatment himself in the past.

I could have lost my relationship because of my problems. I’m not saying all our difficulties were my fault, but I certainly didn’t treat J with the real love and respect that he deserves. And a lot of the time he was reacting to my “abusive, aggressive, rude, selfish, spoilt” behaviour. And I totally agree with that.

I am trying my utmost to feel like a normal person again, who’s strong and doesn’t lose sight of what is important in life.

I need to trust myself again and understand why I blow up the way I do so that I can prevent it from happening again, and again, and again and ruining my life and the lives of those close to me. I don’t suppose that bringing me up was a bed of roses so I hope that one day I can have a mature relationship with my parents too, if only to be able to reciprocate the love they have for me.

Getting rid of my demons is a huge challenge and a change that will be ongoing for the rest of my life probably.