A person who does this should probably look into why. It’s not always everyone else’s fault.
The mind works in mysterious ways…months ago you shared Christine’s desire for you to explore your childhood in order to “fix” your dysfunctions responsible for causing the marriage to fail. You said you didn’t understand how going back was advantageous to changing an emotional trait/habit/dysfunction in the present. I was quick to disagree with the notion that looking at one’s past is a waste of time. Exploring one’s childhood/past is an important key to making changes in dysfunctional behavior because the root of the dysfunction, habit, trait, trauma needs to be understood and processed as an adult so that a shift can take place in one’s worldview, beliefs and truth. And when the reality which we’ve known to be the truth shifts so does our views of ourselves hence how we relate, behave, view and interact with the world and everyone in it.
No, I am not saying living in the past, wallowing in it and using it as a crutch is good, but at times it’s worth a visit. Nor am I trying to say or hint in any which way or form you need to or should seek therapy or that something is wrong with you. I am simply sharing, but because this is a sensitive area for you I feel the need to clarify. What I am saying though, is that my experience has taught me learning to welcome the visit, make tea, have a conversation and befriend the “demons” makes living in the now and the moment even more delicious.
Working with Demons
Classic reactions to unpleasant sensation can range from anger, irritation, judgement, disassociation, fantasy, planning, obsessive thinking, anxiety, going numb, being overcome with doubt and paralyzed with self-judgment.As the saying goes, “It’s not what’s happening that’s most important, but how we are relating to it.”
The Chain of CausalityWhat happens when our experience slips by our awareness:* The raw data of sound, feeling, taste, smell and sight form into either unpleasant, pleasant or neutral sensations.* Our reaction to unpleasant, pleasant and neutral sensation forms into thoughts.
* Thoughts form beliefs.
* Beliefs form habits.
* Habits form our character.
* Character forms our destiny.When we train our attention to how we relate to what is happening in the moment, we can sometimes break that chain of reactive thoughts and beliefs. We can catch a reactive pattern before it proliferates.
Working with BeliefsWe can also explore our relationship to the moment in the realm of thoughts and beliefs, though it’s tricky because it can lead to more thinking and an endless chain of pontification.There is, however, another approach. When you notice you have some complaint or that things aren’t going your way, first ground your attention in your sensations, then you when you identify a belief that you are holding, you might ask yourself the following questions:1. Is it true?
2. Can I absolutely know it’s true?
3. How do I react and what happens, when I believe that thought?
4. Who would I be without that thought?
This line of inquiry requires rigor and brutal honesty, but I’ve found it that it can lead to tremendously liberating insights about myself and my situation.
A teacher by the name of Byron Katie has championed this form of inquiry. You can read more about her work here.
Pain and Somatic Inquiry
There is so much to explore in our relationship to pain. In class I mentioned a few strategies from somatic trauma modalities. These approaches are particularly helpful when you encounter sensations that lead to a sense of fear and helplessness.
I’ve found the work of Peter Levine, PhD, to be especially useful. He has helped many people explore how to heal chronic and persistent pain, particularly pain associated with physical and emotional trauma. He is the author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences.
Finally, I thought you might find this YouTube video of Dr. Levine interesting and instructive. Through the use of a Slinky, he explores the phenomenon of “somatic experiencing.” He also talks briefly about how to work with anger in the body.
Time to get ready for the day. 🙂