As a teenager and young adult I was for the most part unsettled, depressed and anxious. Looking back I realise I did not take responsibility for my life and tended to feel like a victim. With this came the feeling that I just had to accept my fate and that life was not really within my control. I often wondered why others seemed to have gotten a better ‘deal’ then I had.
In what I now recognise as an attempt to run away from my difficulties I took a gap year and worked in the UK for a year when I was 18. Of course, our perspectives and beliefs follow us and I found life just as difficult (if not more) in the UK. However, it was at this time that someone suggested I read The Celestine Prophecy. It seems I read this book when the time was ripe for me to start shifting my thinking. The basic message that I took from the book was that I could choose my reality. This was very empowering and I remember walking to the tube station one extremely freezing day where the devastating cold somehow sharpens the day and I noted how incredibly blue the sky was and how clear and crisp my surroundings were. It struck me that I could be miserable or choose to find my joy in each day. I still believe that that was my turning point in life.
Naturally things did not change overnight. We tend to have deeply embedded core beliefs and default ways of reacting to life which can take some time to shift. However, once you have awareness of something it is impossible to ignore it. While at university it seemed that because I had taken that initial step into awareness I was being forced to really look at myself and the way I lived my life. At this point many of my difficulties came to a head – in terms of relationships in particular (as is generally the case).
It was at this point that I chose to reach out for help in shifting how I was living and feeling (asking for help was a big part of the shift for me too). I remember the very first session with the very first therapist I had ever seen and he said to me “You think you are in control but you really are not”. Being a therapist myself I am now fully aware that he may not have said that at all as I am always amazed at what my clients report back to me that I have told them! However, that is what I heard and that is what I needed to hear as well. All my ways of being and my related feelings came from a desperate feeling of being completely out of control and thus building ineffective coping/defense mechanisms to help me to feel like I was in control e.g. perfectionism in my studies, denial, distraction through many different sports, partying….
I began to see more specifically how I was creating the life I was experiencing. Through working through my history I began to also see why I was doing that (and which beliefs I had formed and why I had formed them). Being more conscious of this I could then choose to be different, think differently, react differently, treat myself and others differently and generally approach life differently.
This journey kicked up a gear when my father passed away a few years later. At this point I returned to therapy and read a great deal about death, past lives, grieving and this helped me to really see how we need to take responsibility for the life we experience yet we are also not in control of everything and it is about choosing how to be with that! Many books I read spoke about how we even choose the challenges we will experience in this lifetime and thus we really do need to take responsibility for the experiences we have.
In many ways my father’s death was also a huge turning point in my journey towards consciousness as I really began to question life, myself, death etc. I began to meditate, continued with therapy, was introduced to Focussing (in which one becomes acutely aware of the body-felt sense of how one is being), began studying psychology again and ultimately completed my Masters (during which time I also learned hypnotherapy). I read and read and became more aware of my beliefs and my self-talk and learned even more about choosing the way I can be with life (even if we can’t control life).
In the last five or six years I have added to my knowledge of the body and mind connection and how incredible this is. As usual life/the universe (whatever you choose to call it) assisted me on this journey as I developed Adrenal Fatigue after my first child was born (now there is a life event that can trigger all your unconscious ‘stuff’ if ever there was one!) and I really had to look at how my way of living and how my way of being and perceiving life were impacting my body. I was able to do even more releasing and shifting of those perfectionist tendencies, the need to give yet my battle to receive, the ability to just not sweat the small stuff…. The result – my health improved, my emotional state improved once again and I have never felt better! I hold no misconceptions that I may still face challenges in my life (and I don’t believe it is possible to learn and grow in consciousness if we don’t face challenges) but I have never felt so positive about being able to use those experiences beneficially and about my ability to work through the difficulties.
Ignorance sure is bliss and it’s been difficult at times as I have become more conscious and aware in my life, but the joy and empowerment I experience now are worth a 1000 times more than the supposed stability that comes from remaining unconscious and operating from default mode.
Watch this space for tools and information to use in your own journey towards living more consciously.