It’s cliche to point out the suffering offers us opportunities to learn. It is a cliche because it is true.
Over the last few weeks, however, my own learning has gone up a few notches. It hasn’t felt like it. Sometimes, actually, it feels like the opposite – as if I’m going backwards rather than forwards.
As I shared in my last post, I recently began to recieve regular Network Chiropractic with Ari Diskin, here in Melbourne. For over ten years now, I’ve gone to various people to get to the bottom of a pain condition that has been with me each and every day for this time. I’m happy to talk with you about this if you are interested.
Starting a new phase of care is not a particularly easy experience. The bodymind is being opened up and shaken about, and this can create an impression of chaos, along with opening up new awareness. In my case, my pain first of all increased, in all kinds of places for no particular reason that was apparent to me. But the amazing thing was that I started to feel all the emotion that goes with the physical pain. This was a clear indication that the two are linked. This emotion was anger.
I was amazed at how much anger I was holding on to. So amazed, that I’m writing about it again! What is more, this recognition felt empowering. Rather than just having some undefined burden, I could now look at it directly and see it for what it is.
Recognising anger is one thing, disarming it is another.
After another session of care last night, out of the blue, I found myself catapulted into a deep state of darkness and self-loathing. I found myself unable to look at her, and not wanting to be seen. I wanted in that moment to disappear and to be no more.
Unlike previous down-spikes, this time I kept the lines of communication open, rather than closing off and isolating myself. As I spoke I could hear my own anger and fear. As anybody who has been in a depressed state knows, in the moment it begins to feel as if the darkness is permanent. The darkness is, however, like a dream, and after some time I found myself acknowledging that I knew that I would wake up in the morning and it would all be OK, as if it was all just a bad dream.
So before I went to sleep the clouds of darkness passed, and I was able to smile and look once again into the eyes of my dearest and closest friend who had stayed with me through this.
This morning, I began to look at what lay behind the anger and why I have felt the need in the past to shut myself away from the world in times of real pain. As a coach I’ve learned that the origin of most of our beliefs is in our early childhood, and the way we interpret our experiences. It’s not a ‘blame game’. It is simply that as children, unless prompted otherwise, we will simply absorb the influences around us. We learn like little sponges, taking in what we need as well as what we don’t.
Looking back into my own past, I could see that my self-hate was based around an accumulation of many experiences as a child from which I had learned that I was in the way and not particularly important or worth loving. I’d learned that my own needs were unimportant.
Now as I believed my needs were not important, I also learned that I had to fight for what I wanted, but I would also feel guilty for wanting anything in the first place so I was fighting an uphill battle before the game had started.
As I believed I wasn’t important or worthy of love, I believed it was better for me to dissapear. I certainly couldn’t express my desire for love that would go against the belief that my needs were not important.
I don’t need to have more grey hairs to know that this only part of the picture, but it is an important part.
Crucially, I recognised that the anger that I directed at myself was an instinctive defensive response to anything that triggered these beliefs. Consequently, when going for things that I want, I prepare for a fight, tense up and create pain for myself which is in itself a disincentive. Not believing that I’m worth loving, I block off people who love me and hide away in shame.
In a nutshell then, I’m saying look behind the pain in your life. Define it in more subtle terms. What emotion do you feel? Ask yourself why you would experience these emotions. The smallest germ of an answer will do. Don’t settle for “I don’t know”. The point is to look for those things you feel insecure about, which can be expressed as negative or limiting beliefs. Once you have one, think back to a time in your early life when you might have had cause to interpret a situation in such a way.
Maybe you were told off for tearing your good clothes. Perhaps, you experienced loss. Perhaps your parents were late picking you up one day. Of course, I’m happy to go through this process with you. I can do it on myself, but that’s because I know the process, and I often have my wife with me who also reminds me if I experience resistance.
Basically, though it’s all about listening: listening to pain, listening to our emotions, and not being afraid to go into them to understand their deeper origins.
What I know, is that through dealing with these beliefs – turning them on their head in fact – we remove, or at the very least reduce the need for a defensive response, like anger. Experiencing less negative, and building more positive emotion will have a definite physical flow-on effect. Instead of a physiology that reflects your anger, you can start to create a physiology that is founded on your own unlimited and joyous sense of self – a self that loves and honours itself, that recognises and values its own beauty, power, and unlimited potential.
If this raises any thoughts or questions let me know, by email or phone.