Everything about it was perfect and it healed me all the way to the core. There are no words for what I feel because of this. I will carry these memories in my heart forever. Can’t wait to share it with my new family.
- Francesca Federici
“Archimedes used to say, ‘If I can find a silent still point in the universe, I can revolutionise the whole world.’ But he never found it because he was always looking outside. And that silent still point is within you; it has never moved. The earth moves, the sun moves, the stars move, now everything is whirling; but something within you is always absolutely still, and eternally still.
But to see it, to feel it, you have to get rid of your thoughts. If you don’t get rid of your thoughts, those thoughts will not allow you to see yourself. They keep you engaged, occupied. And it is easy to disperse them. Just try the simple thing that I am insisting on continually: do whatever you are doing, just go on watching your thoughts. If you miss, no harm; whenever you remember again, start watching. You will miss many times. Slowly, slowly you will miss less.
Soon there will be big gaps when you will be aware and there will be no thoughts. In those gaps you will see the silent, still point; and certainly if you have found it, you can revolutionise the whole world.” – Osho
Transformation : a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, self etc.
At this time in humanity’s development many people are experiencing dislocation and confusion about their roles in society, their family and even themselves. To them it may appear that their former roles, values, and relationships are no longer valid. They question the purpose of their lives and everything that once had meaning for them.
What I am referring to is more than a mid-life crisis, such thoughts and feelings may occur at any age from a teenager to a senior citizen. It may start suddenly with the onset of a life threatening illness, or it may be a gradual disenchantment with society’s values by someone who “has it all.” Individuals may be uninterested in topics relating to mental and emotional well being and still encounter this process because all people are physical, emotional, mental, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Therefore, this experience may arise both in the life of someone who meditates and goes on retreats, or with someone who does not. It is not our personality that determines the timing of our desire for transformation, that call comes from a far deeper place within ourselves. It is a call that will not go away if we try to ignore it, that part of ourselves is far too intelligent to allow that to happen. Our unconscious mind will simply find ways, usually through hidden thought processes to create experiences in our lives to let us know something needs to be acknowledged.
If you are going through a transformation it might feel as if you are losing control of your life, and perhaps even questioning your identity. This feeling, is just your personality’s fear of losing control. In actuality it is an indication of strength and emotional maturity when a person experiences this kind of shift.
In many cultures and religions references are made to this process. In the old testament of the Bible it is referred to as the dark night of the soul. In ancient Greece, Egypt, India and other cultures there were schools of wisdom which helped individuals through this experience. These individuals were taken into seclusion and taught what was referred to as the inner mysteries. Now, it is perfectly normal and acceptable in most of the western world that people will seek out some kind of talking therapy. England is the only country that has been slow to embrace this mature approach to our mental and emotional well-being, and as individuals and families we suffer greatly for it.
We still have very limited means by which people can find and receive the support they need when they enter this phase of their life. Friends and family are wonderful, however even their best intentions can be detrimental as they fear for our well-being and maintaining the status quo. Very few people think it a luxury to quit their job and go off to an ashram in India to meditate and find themselves. Nor is that necessary. None of us are given more than we can handle. When your unconscious mind starts the process of transformation you are are set up to succeed. Nobody wins if you fail and deep down you know that, even if you struggle consciously to believe it. This means that if you are married, have children, have a nine to five job you can do this and still succeed. This is also true if you are divorced, do not get on with your children, and have just been fired from your job. Sometimes we experience painful and difficult things in our life to encourage us to reach for a better understanding about what within us is really out of alignment. If we take heart and look within ourselves and around ourselves with compassion and care we may find that we were sabotaging our own ability to live a harmonious life.
The numbers of people undergoing this kind of transformation are increasing daily. This is obvious from the chronic low grade depression we sense in people around the world. More than ever before talk of depression and mental health graces our news stories and daily conversations. It does not make sense that people in the developed world who have lovely homes, jobs, cars and the opportunity to buy whatever they want with the swipe of a finger would feel depressed – unless another reason for their depression exists aside from satisfying their material and physical needs. There is a hunger emerging in people in the western world who have strengthened their personality and fed it everything it wishes. No amount of possessions, relationships, or status will fill this hunger. This is the call from our unconscious mind that it needs something more than we are currently feeding it. The only way left to find out what will satisfy us is to look compassionately within.
It is in our nature to evolve, we have been doing it since the moment we were conceived. The only way that we ever hinder our evolution is to keep ourselves closed. And what closes us? Fear is what closes us; fear that we will not have enough, fear that we will not be looked after, fear that we will not be loved, fear that we will not be smart enough, fear that we will be excluded. Fear that we will undergo a scarcity of something, that we will not receive whatever the goodies are that others are getting. Fear combined with a lack of trust makes it difficult to commit to doing what you really want. Fear, an immature emotional response, shuts us down and closes us off from experiencing lasting love, abundance and prosperity in our lives.
Thankfully there is a way around all of that, I call it the Abundance Principle, it quite simply allows you to find a way to live a life without being crippled by fear. Yes, even your smoking habit is a form of fear. Excess over-weight and underweight those are also expressions of a mind in fear. Debt is fear, divorce, that too is ultimately about fear. It may be something different for each person, we tend to be unique that way, but whatever it is fear is the underlying cause.
The question is: what are you really afraid of? and if it is not you who did you learn or inherit your fear from? In all honesty, if it is not your fear then the polite thing to do is to give it back to who ever you got it from and let them deal with it. What ever it is Life Therapy with Zita can give you the support you need to transform your life. Just ask me how.
Ask Zita. please email or call me 07709046643
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” Van Gogh
It does not matter what your race, religion or background is, one thing is a given, your intention is to create a wonderful life for yourself and perhaps for your family too. The difficulty that some people find in doing this is that they were never really taught how to do so for whatever reason. Everybody is doing the very best that they can with what they were given.
Creating the life you want is a process that can be achieved by way of a few simple steps to set the ball in motion and there is no time like the present to start. I like to use the word create with my clients as the word implies that not only is your life a beautiful work of art, but that it is not too far removed from the artists experience of creating a masterpiece. When an artist sets out on a new creative venture the initial purpose is to bring an internal vision to life in a tangible way. Your life is in effect the same, to live with all your senses an experience of your mind, some of these are conscious many are not. If you take a moment to imagine what a successful life would be like, the journey is an inward one to begin with, from here you are inadvertently calling upon all of your senses to bring it to life in your mind, hence the expression active imagination. You are activating your imagination to first realise the experience in your mind and in so doing the story will come to life in reality. Pretty much everything you live takes place in your mind first, whether you are acutely aware of all that you are creating or not. Thus you will live out the content of your imaginings if a strong enough association has been developed in your mind first.
So, the purpose of todays exercise is to understand a few simple steps that you can utilise to create what you actually want, to create what is right for you.
The first step is to define your goal. What do you want? It is a very simple question that you may not often ask of yourself, but take a moment… breathe… relax and listen to yourself as you ask yourself the question. What do I want?
The answer may not come right away but rest assured, it will. Do you want a better job, one that you are passionate about? Do you want more money? Or perhaps you want to marry a wonderful partner. Whatever it is sum it up in one simple sentence and write it down.
Once you have identified what it is that you want, get specific. Write in as much detail as you can what it is you are looking for. For example; if it is a better job, ask yourself what hours you would like to work, how much money you would like to be paid, location, what aspects of your unique skills would the job engage? Take your time with this part of the exercise. It is not always easy to discern off the bat what it is exactly that you want, like any beautiful painting it takes time. First you need to establish the broad brush strokes and then the detail comes in, until finally the vision reveals itself clearly in a way that resonates with you. Here it can be useful to delve a little into the past to look at what you have learnt from previous experiences to gain an understanding of what works best for you. You may find that you come up with a few different variations of the final goal. That’s good. Choice can help you to hone what is best for you by feeling out each scenario.
The Third Step.
Once you have a clear idea of what your intention is by fine tuning what you have discovered in step two your mind is going to start throwing up reasons and excuses as to why it is not possible for you to accomplish your desired outcome. This is the time for you to be on full alert! This is the time to consciously and coherently counter each of those arguments. Presenting arguments is your mind’s way of keeping you in the comfort zone, your mind can often feel threatened by change, a legion of voices from your past programming will vehemently fight to stop you making progress. “It is too late” “You will never succeed” “ Who are you to think you can do this?” and so on… Sounds familiar right? You are not alone. However, it is important to remember that the only difference between you and those that do is overcoming this kind of thinking.
There is a wonderful story about the artist Joan Miro who at one point suffered terribly from a creative block as a painter, he could not or would not paint, he feared the blank canvass. One day an artist friend suggested that he should turn his back towards the canvass and without looking just put some kind of mark on the canvass. Miro followed this advice and turned around to discover that he had painted a star. From then on each time Miro started to work he would paint a star on the canvass to enable himself to overcome his fear of a blank canvass. Suffice to say it became the trade mark we know today of many of his great works.
If Joan Miro can overcome an obstacle of his mind then I am certain you can too. Deal with your “yeah buts” and “no buts” they are just an illusion of your mind. Make a comprehensive list of what stands in the way of your vision, writing it down will help you to see that it is the nay saying part of your mind that is all that is holding you back. Find holes in the arguments of your obstacles. It is at this point that it can be very useful to seek the assistance of a professional, a life-coach or hypnotherapist who can show you how to see things differently and look at your outmoded reasoning patterns to gain a new and healthier perspective. Some obstacles are valid and need to be grounded in reality in order to find a viable solution to overcome them.
Make an intention to commit to realising your goal.
By this stage you will have a clear idea of what it is you wish to achieve, the obstacles will have been explored in a constructive and positive way. Now, all you have to do is commit to the action of making the dream a reality. Bottom line, having a dream and making it tangible requires a little effort, no matter what the size of the goal or dream is, it’s all relative. There is no room for second guessing yourself at this point. Set a date and go for it! I understand completely how daunting this can seem, fear is a powerful negotiator, thankfully so too is hypnosis which is why I love Hypnotherapy, it can literally punch the lights out of fear and doubt. Hurrah!
Create it. Once you have removed the obstacles of fear, doubt and insecurity, now, is the time to go for it. I like to think of it as one of those old Spaghetti Westerns where a new Sheriff sweeps into town and cleans up the mess left by the rogues and bandits. Just one inspired bit of action a week can create a world of difference.
Life is a beautiful journey, the destination is irrelevant, it is the doing that counts and every little thing that you do makes a difference. Getting to there from here quite poetically brings you to a new here. Just remember that little star that Joan Miro painted, without it some great works of art may never have been realised. You are not Joan Miro but in the wise words of Doctor Zeuss “…there is no one alive who is Youer than You”. It takes a little bit of time to create some kind of wonderful. It takes one sure footed step at a time. Soon enough you will come to see that getting what you truly want is not about luck or being born with a silver-spoon in your mouth it is about consciously taking one beautiful step at a time to reach the mountain top. I can assure you that whatever your mountain top maybe the view will be entirely worth putting that first star on your canvass.
To book a session please email me.
“Have a light heart and a happy soul” Zita
Great sex may seem like an unlikely benefit of Hypnotherapy, but to put it plainly when you experience a better connection with yourself everything in your life will improve quite significantly and that includes your sex life too. The benefits of Hypnotherapy are well reported far and wide for quitting smoking, passing exams, losing weight, reducing stress and pain, changing patterns of behaviour but little has been written about the wonders it can do for your sex life. In or out of the bedroom Hypnotherapy can do more to spice up your sex life than Viagra.
So why does Hypnotherapy make you better in bed? Well, let’s consider context first. Many of you are stressed out, whether from work, your relationships, money, and a whole host of other reasons, circumstantial and otherwise. Stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and these increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline decrease sexual desire and performance (among other negative effects). I am sure you’ve heard that Hypnotherapy is a very powerful stress-reducing tool. Therefore, it stands to reason that Hypnotherapy can increase sexual desire and performance by reducing cortisol and adrenaline levels. The more relaxed you are in your daily life the better your orgasms will be. Think about it: do you feel aroused when you are stressed out? Probably not.
There are a number of issues that can have a negative impact on your sexual performance and pleasure. The truth is nothing should interfere with you having a wonderful fulfilling and highly satisfactory sex life with your partner. A loving intimate relationship is as vital to life as breathing. Religion does not belong in the bedroom, it belongs in a place of worship. A significant number of people who are overtly religious experience significant sexual problems because nature says to do one thing and their religion says to do another. That results in guilt and shame and causes emotional trauma that interferes with pleasure and expressions of intimacy that can eventually have a negative effect on a relationship.
A lack of sexual arousal can be caused by negative emotions, which may be the root of some physical discomfort that cause you to shy away from having sex, be it that you frequently experience headaches prior to sex or pain during sex to some other problem. If you have already explored with your GP the possible medical causes then it is more than likely that an emotional issue is the obstacle to you experiencing a joyful sexual encounter with your partner. If you lack sexual arousal or feel you do not match your partners needs, exploring ways to restoring balance is just a consultation away.
If you have experienced a negative sexual experience in your past then the memory of the trauma can have a detrimental effect on how you view sex and intimacy. However, there are solutions to be found and although the emotional recovery period may take some time with the considered approach of Life Therapy it is possible to bring about a quicker closure to the painful trauma of the past experience and return to a happy healthy sex life. More than any other therapy Hypnotherapy can support you to rediscover a comfortable relationship with your sexuality.
Sexuality and intimacy goes beyond sexual intercourse. Oral sex and touching your partner in ways they enjoy is just as much a part of intimacy as the rest. For some people it may be difficult to find ways of pleasing their partners beyond just intercourse and this can lead to problems in a relationship if it is not addressed. Feeling more comfortable in pleasing your partner is just another one of the issues covered with Hypnotherapy
For a loving and intimate relationship to succeed, trust is crucial. If trust has been broken due to infidelity then the bond needs to be restored if your relationship is to survive. Forgiving your partner is one part, forgetting and letting go of the past is the second. If you are finding it difficult it get that past moment out of your mind during intimacy, you should at least explore what Hypnotherapy can do to bring closure and forgiveness even if you decide you no longer wish to be with that person, quite often the loss of trust is carried over to the next partner and will have a negative impact on your sexual relationship with a new partner.
Medication can also have a negative effect on your sex life, If you are on antidepressant medications, you already know that they have a negative side effect on your sex life. If you have been wanting to get off the antidepressants because you no longer need them, or for whatever reason then the Life Therapy approach to Hypnotherapy can support you to transition to a healthier relationship with yourself which will benefit all your relationships including the one with your partner. Viagra! Erectile dysfunction is not as prevalent as the sales of Viagra would have you believe. Not everyone who takes Viagra actually needs it. That little blue pill only works on one part of sexual dysfunction, getting the blood to where it is needed. The biggest group that actually needs Viagra are men that have already suffered damage from smoking. If you have never smoked, then the chances are very high you don’t need Viagra you simply need to adjust your thinking.
Studies show that Hypnotherapy improves the functioning of your mind, a healthy mind is more present and less prone to be distracted, most of us have an over developed left-brain. The job of the left brain is to review the past and rehearse the future. This can keep us trapped in a past / future thought cycle and rob us of the ability to be fully present in the right now, which is the only time an orgasm can happen. The right brain is in charge of present moment awareness and this is the part of the brain that Hypnotherapy gives a workout, kind of like a gym for your mind. Like your body if you exercise your mind through regular hypnosis the right and the left hemispheres of the brain come to a balanced and harmonious relationship with each other. Self hypnosis is a skill you can easily learn in one Hypnotherapy session to use as and when you need to. The result of this is more attention, awareness and computing power for the task at hand. And depending on what you and your partner(s) are into it may take quite a few hands. Nobody likes a distracted lover.
Hypnotherapy can support you to develop a more secure sense of self and stop you looking to your partner to complete you. “You complete me” are probably the most damaging words to come out of Hollywood. No one can complete you. No partner, job, degree or number of zeros in your bank account can complete you. Your happiness exists in one place and that is inside of you and it exists in one time and that time is now. If you do not have a secure sense of self then you are more inclined to seek fulfilment externally. If you are looking to your partner to prop you up mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually then you will always be disappointed as there is nothing outside of you that has the ability to give you access to your bliss. Happiness is an inside job.
Hypnotherapy might make your partner think you are psychic! If you haven’t heard about mirror neurons yet, get ready. Scientists say that mirror neurons are going to do for psychology what DNA did for biology. Think of mirror neurons like tiny boomerangs emitted from your brain that go and dance with your lover’s mirror neurons and then report back. Mirror neurons allow you to “intuit” what your partner is feeling. It is your mirror neurons that make you cringe when you see someone get hurt or why you smile when you see a happy baby. It is also the reason why the porn industry is so huge. Just the act of watching someone else being pleasured can create a pleasurable experience in your mind. Hypnotherapy has been shown to significantly improve your mirror neuron functioning. This along with the fact that you will become more relaxed and present in your life makes it far more likely that you will become a more intuitive and generous lover to your partner.
So before you reach for the little blue pill why not set an intention to improve your sex life with a few Hypnotherapy sessions? I strongly recommend it. There is little else more rewarding and fulfilling in life than having a stimulating and exciting sex life. It is effective, easy and most of all it is oh, so much fun!
January is a big month, for many people it is a time to break from the past, a chance to start over, even if in reality every day is the chance to make a fresh start many people still associate January with the time to make significant changes in their personal and professional lives.
In this age of constant contact even as early as the 27th December there has been a significant rise in the number of people seeking advice and assistance to set the ball of change rolling. Often referred to as Twelfth Nissi (a half pun for those who have already begun their divorce proceedings ) marks the first Monday of January when the number of divorces petitioned in a year are at their zenith. If you are married there is a one in five chance that you are considering a split this week. It sounds like a very high number, but there we have it according to the statistics of legal firm Irwin Mitchell. So if it is not you then it is probably him, check his phone, that is how all the best divorces start. For others a total transformation of self is on the cards, for some that will be a dry month (alcohol free for 30 days ) 30 days of white knuckling it through long dark wintery evenings just to prove that alcohol is not your most trusted friend and ally. For others there will be the gruesome and rather joyless task of trying out one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s highly ascetic detox programmes, something akin to entering a gourmet monastery for a few painful days, or weeks if you are hoping for a full conversion. None can alleviate the troubles of the mind that are bound to arise as you try in vain to make superficial changes in the hopes that ultimately your life will get better by sheer force of will.
These are all noble attempts and it is important that in such endeavours you are sure to thank yourself for the discipline of mind to instigate such change. Changing external patterns can be a great impetus to move further along the road and create change at a more fundamental level; changing beliefs and the habits that lead you to feeling the need to create external changes. For the most part external changes such as New Years resolutions come with their own set of limitations and before long they fall by the wayside and once again you are struggling with the same thoughts, feelings and emotions that brought you to resolve to change in the first place.
Real change occurs when we shift our perspective entirely with an intention rather than a resolution to turn the coin over and make a deeper commitment to see life differently. A change in perspective naturally brings a change in the way you actually experience life. By letting go of attachments to suffering, illness and painful experiences it is possible to leave the past where it well and truly belongs, in the past. A task which can often feel well and truly daunting. A task well worth the effort if you are of the mind deep down that life is supposed to be wonderful.
When you surrender to ‘what is’ with an open heart and a willingness to make true and lasting change, something different starts to happen inside you. You are instantly absolved of the desire to cling so tightly to what has gone before and seek new ways to open up new vistas in your thinking and ultimately in your way of being. You give yourself permission to enter unknown territories, otherwise known as a bright future and seek holistic constructive ways to create something different, something positive. It is not enough to just think positively least of all if you don’t truly believe those positive thoughts and affirmations to be true, saying so wont make it so. It is a start, a great start, just not quite enough to create a solid foundation for staying in those new greener pastures. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to achieve a different outcome. For an ever growing number of people in the UK in recent years Hypnotherapy has proven to be one of the most positive and constructive ways to create meaningful changes in life often in the space of just three or four weekly sessions.
Life Therapy with Zita offers a dynamic new approach to Hypnotherapy that allows you to instigate change in every aspect of your life. With a greater awareness and understanding of the patterns of behaviour and thought that have been unconsciously running your life for most of your life it is possible to change outmoded patterns and upgrade them to patterns that suit you and your real needs better, to create the life you actually want to live, rather than the life that has been prescribed you by the circumstance of your birth and genetic blueprint.
There is no detox or split that will ultimately give you that degree of lasting New Year satisfaction, a life times worth as opposed to a few weeks worth. Divorce only becomes a good thing if a forgiving, peaceful resolution is found for you and your soon to be ex-partner. There are millions of people who have long since divorced their partner only to find that years later they are still in locked horn conflict with each other. Nobody wins in the game of blame, it is just endless, tedious and expensive not just financially, emotionally the price is extremely high for all concerned. Detoxing only really works if five years later you are still eating in a much healthier way, giving up alcohol is only purposeful if it is easy, in which case you would not need to take a break in the first place. Like many other resolutions these are just presenting issues, the real issues often remain unaddressed and will continue to haunt you or compromise the quality of your life until you chose to do the seemingly unthinkable, open the box and see what is really going on inside you.
The truth is most people are afraid to look inside, afraid of what they may or may not find. All I can say here and now is I can assure you it is really nowhere near as bad as you might think. In truth what you may be struggling to come to terms with is that it is your right to be happy. I don’t mean in the pejorative sense of ‘happy’ as in happy with the misery and struggle that life brings. I mean happy in the universal sense; as in joyful, at peace with life, at peace with yourself and living abundantly.
Celebrities can share their secrets of beauty, slimming, detoxing or whatever fad needs to be espoused to sell more stock however, few share the secret that got them the life, job, body, beauty they are selling. That secret, the one rarely spoken in the society pages and gossip columns is therapy and rarely is it the navel gazing kind that goes on year in year out. Nobody needs that kind of therapy. Therapy has progressed a great deal in the last 10 years and the number of people benefitting from it has increased exponentially. A great therapist will be keen to move you through change at a pace that suits you and your needs. Your life is happening now and great therapy works to keep pace with the flow of your life. Over the years I have worked successfully with hundreds of clients, celebrities and non celebrities, in Los Angeles, Stockholm and London with one single aim, to support them in creating positive healthy change in their life.
It is not luck that makes some people live happier, healthier, wealthier lives than others, there are plenty of unhappy, unhealthy wealthy people. Success is a balanced combination of all three, limited only by the definition you bring to it. It is just as easy to be rich as it is to be poor, so you might as well be rich, similarly you might as well be happy and healthy whilst you are at it. So, here is the bottom line. If you don’t have it all are you sane enough to believe that you deserve to have it all? If you are, but are just not sure how to have it all, then it is a wise and worthy investment to make an intention this year to find out what you can do for yourself to create the life you actually want. Success does not come to those who wait, success comes to those who have an intention to live it.
Wishing you a very happy and prosperous New Year! Over to you. Call or book a consultation now if your wish is to make it true.
Take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still living. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more.
You’re doing just fine.
Be kind to your self your self will appreciate it and repay you in kind.
Anytime we deny our feelings we set ourselves up for a victim perspective. Feelings are real. They are “energy-in-motion.” When we discount or undermine our emotions we end up overtaken by them, becoming impulsive reactors. We can’t take responsibility for ourselves when we refuse to acknowledge our feelings, which means that these disavowed “inner tyrants” will go on driving our behavior from behind the scenes.
Although it is true that our feelings are generated by what we believe, feelings are nonetheless important. They alert us when we are thinking unhappy thoughts; feeling “bad,” for instance, lets us know we are thinking a most unhappy, possibly distorted, belief. Instead of denying the feeling, we learn to follow the feeling in to the belief behind it. This is where true intervention is possible. The feeling dissipates once the belief behind it is made conscious and addressed. We learn to recognize that our feelings are what point us to the limiting beliefs that are keeping us stuck on the triangle.
Parents who never learned that feelings follow thought and who grew up without permission to acknowledge or express feelings often deny their children the same right. They may have decided early in life that certain feelings are wrong or bad, so they deny and repress them without examining the ruling thoughts behind the feelings.
Telling ourselves that our feelings are unacceptable does not make them go away. As long as we continue to attach belief to painful stories about ourselves and others we will go on generating these same negative feelings. When suppressed, these denied emotions become secret pockets of shame within the psyche. They only serve to alienate us from others and sentence us to a life on the triangle.
Sometimes we deny feelings in an ill-fated attempt to avoid feeling bad. Perhaps we tell ourselves that we can’t handle our feelings, that they are too much for us. We may think we are at the mercy of our own misery because we don’t know from where these feelings come or what to do with, or about them. Maybe it is better to stay away from these messy inner states under such circumstances.
But when we know that it’s our thoughts that produce painful feelings; that indeed our unhappy feelings act as gateways into greater understanding of ourselves — then we no longer have the need to suppress uncomfortable feelings. Until we are able recognize and grasp the implications of these simple truths however, we may go on trying to escape pain using various suppression tactics. These attempts at avoidance only keep us stuck with dysfunctional behaviour patterns where the guaranteed outcome is suffering and misery. Getting honest with yourself is the basic requirement for getting unstuck from dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.
Of course, when feelings are denied, honesty is impossible. Remember that denial comes out of negative self judgment. If we have decided on some level that we cannot accept our thoughts, behavior or feelings then, chances are, we will not be able to admit we have them. It’s too painful to admit something about ourselves that we have judged as unacceptable. We must practice self acceptance if we are truly going to be able to be honest with ourselves and others.
Unhealthy beliefs about ourselves and the world, instilled in childhood, become rigid rules that may need to be violated. Family dictums such as, “don’t talk about it”, “don’t share feelings”, or “it’s selfish to take care of yourself,” are some of the old beliefs that have ruled us and must be challenged if we are to find inner peace. We can expect, and even celebrate, uncomfortable feelings when they come up for us, learning to see them as opportunities for freeing ourselves of the painful beliefs that keep us trapped in negative patterns of behaviour.
Sometimes we simply need to sit with an uncomfortable feeling such as guilt, without acting on it. Guilt does not necessarily imply that we have behaved wrong or unethically. Guilt is often a learned response. Sometimes guilt just means that we’ve broken a dysfunctional family pattern.
I am reminded of a story I often hear among therapeutic circles about the way to cook a ham.
A little girl noticed her mother cutting the butt end off the ham to cook it for the family holiday dinner and asked, “Why do you cut off the end to cook it?” The mother without giving it a moment’s thought, replied, “Why, this is the way my mother always cooked a ham, so I know it’s the right way to do it!” Well, the little girls grandmother happened to live close by, so she visited her and asked her the same question, “Grandma, why do you cut the butt end off the ham before you cook it?” Her grandmother replied that her mother had taught her to cook a ham like that. Great granny happened to be visiting for the holiday so the little girl went to her and asked the same question — and this time she got the “real” answer “Child, when I was cooking hams back then, I only owned one baking pan and it was too small to hold a whole ham so I would cut the butt end off the ham to make it fit!”
This is how it happens. We follow, without question, family dictums and internalized beliefs that create nothing but misery.
A wealthy man died and knocked on the pearly gates. Saint Peter opened the door and asked him what he desired. The rich man said, “I would like a first-class room with a good view of the earth, my favourite foods every day, and also the daily paper”
Saint Peter hesitated, but the rich man was adamant. Saint Peter shrugged his shoulders and gave him a first class room with a good view of the earth, and brought him his favourite foods and the daily paper. He said well “here is what you wanted, I will be back in a thousand years.” Then he left and locked the door.
After the thousand years had passed, he returned and looked into the room through the peephole. “There you are at last”, cried the rich man. “This heaven is a terrible place”.
Saint Peter shook his head and looked at him with pity. “You are mistaken” he said “You chose hell”
When we hold on to the past we create as many problems for ourselves as trying to control the future, holding onto the past limits our freedom. Nothing changes or grows in the comfort zone, rather it stagnates. It becomes a living hell. It should come as no surprise that the majority of people in the world would rather be miserable than experience joy or happiness, such that therapy and personal development is often ridiculed or demeaned. Playing safe to avoid problems does not provide any security or protection, it simply limits our experience. If we have courage and faith to leave the comfort zone, challenge the beliefs we inherited or learnt there is a strong possibility that we will indeed experience something different, what surprises people who take those brave steps out of their comfort zone is that what they experience is often far better, not because life has suddenly become easier, as our perception of life changes the results are surprising because it is different from what we could contrive or wish from the comfort zone. A whole new world of possibilities open up to us, this is heaven.
Everything about it was perfect and it healed me all the way to the core. There are no words for what I feel because of this. I will carry these memories in my heart forever. Can’t wait to share it with my new family.
- Francesca Federici