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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, January 5, 2015

We each have the Courage

by Dr. Dina Evan

It’s 1-2-3 in 2015. Yippee! It’s a new year. Right? 


Well, 2014 may have been stupendous for some, yet for many of us, hmmm, not so much. Most of us will say we encountered new challenges and some exhausting difficulties. So, we may also say we want something new, something more from 2015, perhaps less stress and more joy but how do we create that?

First, let’s all agree that basically, we are crazy. No, you can’t agree? Well let’s think a minute about what those around you might say if they were to hear all the repetitive, fearful, mundane thoughts, song lyrics, musings and fears that are repeatedly spun through every atom and neuronet in your brain over and over adnauseam. Phew! Well, me too.

Perhaps you can recall how many times you’ve told yourself, I am just not going to think about that anymore, and whoosh, faster than the speed of sound, you were right back hearing the very same issue yet again pivoting and rotisserieing (my word) around inside your head. Okay, so perhaps now you can agree you are in my club, called crazy. And now that you know we are in the same club, you might be wondering how the heck do I get out!

The Simple Act of Breathing

Let’s start with the premise that we are all changing, like it or not. The simple act of breathing puts us in the position of hearing new thoughts, new ideas, different paradigms and concepts. Some of these, even without our conscious decision, go into our neuronets and make subtle or drastic changes. Given that, what others did to you ten years or even ten minutes ago becomes irrelevant unless you drag it into the moment and make it an issue.
Stop and think about how many of your thoughts and feelings are about the past, over which you have no control and no ability to change a thing. There are no do-overs about the past. What is done is done, however you can, if you come into the present moment, decide how you want your future to be. You can make a decision to learn from and change some of the responses and behaviors of your past.

I am not asking you to do that new-agey thing of naively moving to higher ground or think only positive thoughts. No, instead I want you to invite those negative and worrisome rascals in for tea. I want you to give them a voice, have a conversation with them, and ask them directly if what they fear is really even about today. Ninety-percent of the time it won’t be, because ninety-percent of our thoughts are about the past and things that will probably never happen again at all. It’s important to remember that if the majority of our thoughts are from the past they are from experiences that you have already survived and feelings you have already managed. So, the driving energy is your fear of something happening today that you have already lived through and you are now not only surviving but also may be flourishing. The experiences of your past — if you are awake —  have made you who you are now and have filled your endurance bag with tools for today’s challenges.
Having a better year in 2015 may be as simple as 1-2-3. When you feel yourself becoming upset or fearful:

Identify the feelings and responses to have to the person or circumstances. Take a breath and name it before you respond. I feel afraid, I feel insecure, I feel unsafe etc.

Decide how much of your response is about the past and how much is about the current situation (give it a percentage). Usually it’s about 80%-90% from the past and 10-20% from the current situation. This because when ever you have a response that is bigger than the situation at hand, an old wound or past pain has been triggered.

Once you realize what the 10-20% is really about ask yourself how you want to respond from your wise mind or adult self. How will you choose to respond with out that filter from the past?

That little exercise will allow a room for a great deal more joy in your life. It’s a good idea to work on the old unresolved issue when you can, and if it feels fearful, find support. Most of us were hurt when we were alone. We don’t have to heal alone. We each have the opportunity to choose trust over fear, love over apathy, intimacy over distance and healing over pain. That’s a choice results in a joy filled new year. Happy New and Better 2015 from all of us!