A retreat, a mantra, and who I know I am

Written by Amie on November 14, 2011 – 1:54 am -

My new mantra: “Be Who You Know You Are”

Before I get to the part about creating my new mantra, I want to share my weekend experience with you. I’ve been digging deep for the past three days, focusing on inner growth. I went on a retreat called, “the art of living”. Writing, creating art, singing, and movement were all included. Even though this is something I chose to do, I arrived with feelings of resistance. This is pretty typical for me though. It is an interesting process. So many times when I know I will be doing deep processing, I feel resistant to it. I know it is fear based. I think it is normal to be afraid of what I might find when I start digging around! In the past, I have often chosen to run from the experience, but for the past few years I have chosen to push myself past my comfort zone. As long as it is *my* choice to push myself, I am able to do it. If someone else tries to push me, that is never a good thing. Growth has to be a personal choice. Each individual knows when and if they feel ready to look within, and if they feel safe enough to share with others. For me, safety is a very important detail. I completely shut down emotionally if I don’t feel safe. It is the way I protect myself from being too vulnerable with someone I don’t trust. We all have things we do to protect ourselves, and this is a very good thing.

I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth

The nice thing about the retreat was that we always had the option of not participating. I suppose I could sit on the sidelines and never participate, but then what would be the point of going? It is so incredible to be in the company of others who are on a similar journey of self discovery. When others share what is true for them, there is always someone who is helped by their sharing. What a gift! I participated in some of the exercises on Friday and Saturday. I also chose not to share during a few of the exercises. It was interesting to notice how empowered I felt by knowing it was *my* choice whether or not to share. That, in itself felt great. I think this is a very important part of the healing process. I have to know *for sure* that it is my right to make choices and decisions for myself. This did not come easy for me in the past. I made too many choices based on the conditioned belief that I should please others before considering my own truth. I can say this is definitely no longer the case! Step by step, I have learned to speak up for myself and to put my foot down when something doesn’t feel right to me. It took me a very long time to trust my inner voice and to follow it. It was scary at first for sure! As I have said so many times before, depression will stay with you as long as you keep choosing to drown out your true voice. It is a process, so be gentle on yourself!

More about the retreat

Singing in a circle of women is so incredibly powerful! It is amazing to me how beautiful all of the voices sound together. Many of the women have been afraid to sing in the past. It was something new to them to hear their singing voice. I was always a bit shy about singing. In the past year, I have been focusing on my throat chakra, which has steadily helped me gain confidence in my singing voice. Feeling the vibration of my own voice is just amazing! Feeling 20 other voices along with mine was just beyond words. It felt wonderful! I really encourage you to use your voice as much as possible! Sing in your car, sing in the shower, sing whenever you can! It really is a healing tool. The more you sing, the easier it becomes to use your voice to speak your truth.

This has always been one of my favorite body movement videos. Always listen to your body, as it will tell you exactly how it wants to move. The key is to notice the judgments going on in your mind if there are any, but don’t believe them.

The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers

Another part of the retreat was movement. I have talked on here quite a bit about how moving my body helps me release emotional energy. This happened again for me at the retreat. As I said at the beginning of this post, I was feeling resistant at first. I finally broke through it on the morning of the last day. We did a meditation/movement exercise, and the flood gates opened! I cried and moved and then cried some more. It felt so good to release a bunch of stuff I had been holding onto this whole week. Without going into too much detail because other people are involved, I will just say I lost trust in one person this week, and two people did things that triggered one of my biggest wounds. Each situation seemed insignificant at the time. However, after reacting to 3 different scenarios with the same core feeling, I knew it was a healing opportunity for me. One of my core wounds is that of feeling disregarded. In the past, I felt as though my voice, my opinion, and my true self were not heard or considered. Because the Universe is so amazing, it keeps giving me chances to heal this wound. People are in my life to help me heal. I know that sounds weird, but it is true! The people that bug us the most are our biggest teachers! Really, I promise you.

Helpful tools used in my journey through depression

All of the exercises we did at the retreat are tools I have used on my journey through depression. The retreat gave me the opportunity to go deeper in my healing. I am grateful for this. Now I will finally get to the  part about my mantra. I want to share this experience because I want to encourage you to make one for yourself. I have had many different mantras in the past few years. They are so comforting, empowering, and nurturing. It always amazes me to hear what others come up with for their mantras.  The process requires you to really listen to your inner knowing. When you ask yourself what your mantra should be, your body will respond. You may have to listen closely, and you may have to change it around a few times before you feel it is the right one. I had to play around with mine for awhile before I knew it was right. Also, we were asked to put a rhythm to the words. Some people even put body movements with theirs. I knew in my body when I found the exact words needed for my mantra. After the events from this week, I knew my mantra had something to do with being who I am and not being afraid to be that 100%. So, my new mantra is, “Be Who You Know You Are”.

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Take charge of your emotions

Written by Amie on October 2, 2009 – 11:54 pm -

You can’t make me feel a certain way

The quote, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent”,  by Eleanor Roosevelt was one of my favorites at the beginning of my healing process. It made me realize that I can’t “make” anyone feel anything, nor can anyone “make” me feel anything. I am in charge of how I feel, and I get to decide what my reaction is to what people say to me. As an adult, I take charge of my emotions and reactions to what others say to me. I had to learn how to “not take things personally” when someone would say something to me that felt as though they were attacking something about who I am. In reality, when someone says something hurtful to me, I can see that it is more about them than it is about me.  Also, quite frequently when someone says something that hurts me, they don’t even realize they are being hurtful. It is sometimes my story that makes me feel bad. I am assuming that I know what they meant by something, and I tell myself a story that matches that. This makes me suffer. Instead, I can tell myself that maybe they meant something else entirely, or maybe they are shut down to their own feelings. When I am taking charge of my reactions, I can choose how I want to deal with situations that are hurtful to me. There are more options open to me when I am present with my reactions. It still takes work for me to stay present with my reactions. I try to practice conscious awareness, and listening to the stories and thoughts going through my head. It is empowering knowing that my stories are stories and I am in charge of what to do next.

My reaction is my choice

It feels good knowing I have control over what I choose to think. And, it feels even better knowing that I can express myself without the fear of thinking I make anyone feel anything. Obviously, I am not talking about saying intentionally mean spirited things to people. I am talking about responsible, healthy shows of emotion. For years I held back feelings and thoughts because I thought they would hurt another persons feelings. I thought it was my fault if someone reacted in a negative way to something I said or to a feeling I expressed. It was a very long process, and one I am still working on. I talk to myself often! I have to remind myself that expressing emotions is healthy, holding them back for fear of another persons reaction is not healthy. When we hide who we really are for fear of another persons reaction, depression sets in. Many of us are able to “act” as though things are fine, but if we are hiding our truth underneath the facade, depression is present on some level. This has been my experience, anyway. Suppressing truth invites depression.

No more just keeping the peace

Once I learned that I can’t control how someone decides to react to my emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, I felt a freedom awaken in me. I felt a sense of relief that it really is OK to be who I am. The message I learned previously was to hold back who I was in order to “keep the peace”. What a relief to know the only reason I was doing this was because I learned to be the good girl, to go along with what others wanted from me, instead of listening to my heart and following what felt true for me. I learned to be afraid of what others thought of me. I would judge myself through the reactions I received from those around me. My emotions were based on how other people saw me, and what they said to me.

Guilt, shame and anger

Discovering the fact that no matter what someone says to me, it is up to me how I respond, I can never be a victim of someones words. It really is true that nobody can make me feel inferior without my consent. Nor can they “make” me feel anger,guilt,shame, etc. I may still feel these emotions at times, but now I know it is in my control as to what I do with these feelings. I took responsibility for my thoughts and feelings, and I also gave back the responsibility for other’s feelings to their rightful owner. What a relief to know that I can’t control another persons feelings! I am responsible for my own emotions and reactions, and other people have the same responsibility for theirs. I felt as though a weight was lifted off me.  I know that I can express myself in a healthy way, and others can as well. I am not responsible for their reactions to me! I am not responsible for the way anybody else reacts and I am not responsible for their feelings!

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