A few days ago I talked about the quiz in the Change Your Thinking book, and how that helped me to see the lack of balance in my life. Great, huh? Well… only if you can then grapple with what to do about that lack of balance. For those who can pull their finger out, identify a goal and relentlessly pursue it, that’s all great. For some reason I’ve felt completely paralysed on this front – for a very, very long time. In fact, if I’m completely honest, I think it was one of the things that drove me to therapy in the first place – although it certainly wasn’t my presenting problem at the time.
Like Paul over at MindParts, I have a pile of books on “healing” – articles, web-resources, etc etc etc – that I’ve been meaning to work through. Only problem is I never seem to get to them. I’m starting to think this is because they’re not the right books for me – or not the right books at the right time. There’s a whole universe of resources out there – the point, for me, is to choose ones that speak to me and use them as I can.
Perhaps the stars were aligned because in an earlier post, the lovely Kate recommended a little book called Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck. It’s a self-help book (not usually my favourite kind) and not really about “healing”, but it speaks to me. I’ve been completely obsessed with it over the last few days. You can read an excerpt here.
This isn’t rocket science. Its framework is much like a lot of the self help literature I’ve not read in the past – find your passion, make a plan, take some action, stick to it. Yea, yea, yea…
Only this one is a little different. It has some really neat little exercises that have crystallised many of the things my therapist has been saying to me for months. Simple things like:
- I should spend time with people who love and support me and make me feel good, and not with people who treat me like sh1t
- I should spend time doing things that make me feel good
- That the dark secrets of my past really are toxic – they will eat me up from the inside if I don’t deal with them
- That I need to learn to accept kindness and compassion from others (from my therapist, as a starting point) and then learn to turn that compassion towards myself
- Abusive childhoods lead you to shut down your “essential self” as a healthy defence mechanism … but this gets ingrained, and that’s not healthy
- The things we think other people are thinking about us really aren’t the things they’re thinking at all – not usually, anyway
It’s helped me to realise:
- How I actually feel – physically and emotionally – when I’m doing things that run contrary to my “essential self” or when I’m around people who offend that self and how my health also suffers as a result
- How I feel when I’m doing things that feed my “essential self”, things that I get completely lost in (like reading this book, for one), things that give me a surge in energy
- The connections to the past and negative messages I’ve listened to all my life are so ingrained now that they hold me back – for all the wrong reasons
- How I really do need to heal the “emotional shrapnel” if I am to find (and follow) my North Star. How unhealed emotional wounds mean even my outward successes leave me feeling empty and unfulfilled. Too true.
Ok, ok, I know. I’m starting to sound like I’ve joined a cult or a pyramid selling scheme. Sorry, no. I haven’t found God. I haven’t even found my North Star. I know this stuff isn’t for everyone but, as I said, it came to me at just the right time. Thank you, Kate. 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, the book isn’t all sweetness and light. It’s not even really about “healing” – but it does capture what healing is for me, right here and right now. It’s what Michelle calls “creating the future”. That’s where I’m at. That’s what I need right now. I need to know there’s a future and may be it’s better than the present. I need to know I don’t have to struggle through the rest of my life like this.
I know I still need to do a whole lot of other things if I am to heal – little things like dealing with some of the toxic waste that hasn’t yet surfaced; like realising when I’m sick it’s my body’s way of telling me to slow down, and I should listen. But before I can do much more of that I need to think about the future. I need to find my way onto a path that is liveable. Then I can deal with all the basic stuff as well.