The key to mindful freedom is to be brave and to take yourself on an adventure to explore the past!
In my journey back to health, I discovered something truly miraculous. To kick off our Mindful Mondays post, I want to share the background to how I came onto applying a simple 5-step tool in recovering my health.
However, before I share the 5 Steps to having a Miracle Mind next Monday, I want to give you the prologue in how I came across the wellness discovery.
So this post will be divided into 2 parts.
Part I is today, focusing on how understanding your past is key to freeing your present life.
Part II will be posted on next Monday, which will focus on the 5 Steps to having a Miracle Mind.
This is your Wellness to go takeaway from today’s post:
If you have time to spare or just chilling, read on below!
If you have ever felt stuck, or you are beginning to notice that you seem to be in the same situation over and over again. This post will be useful in freeing you and help you move forward in a better way. When I say free, I mean freeing your mind as to be able to live fully in the present, to make conscious choices based on what is in our lives at that very moment.
Usually, when we feel stuck, we are subconsciously operating in a thinking pattern that originated in the past. We don’t realize it that thinking pattern as useful it was in enabling us to survive in the past, it is no longer serving us in the present. Sometimes, we may continue to operate in it and we hit a road-block or something has surfaced in life that no longer cannot be ignored.
Along with feeling stuck, we may feel frustrated, helpless, moody, low in energy, lacking in motivation, or we seem to be fighting day in and out with life, instead of freely flowing with it. These feelings may be specific in one area of your life or it may span across multiple areas, or it could be how you generally feel.
For me it was the fact that I was stuck in the depths of anorexia and depression. I had no clue how to get out and thought that this was it to life. However, the better reality was, I was only stuck in my thinking patterns from the past and which I had built up upon across the years, never realizing that it was no longer serving me.
Wellness in a pill
In the beginning of my counseling, I was offered to take anti-depressants. The depression had become so crippling that I constantly felt I was engulfed in this deep, dark, hole, to which I had no more energy, no more motivation to even go about my day. I had felt I had no more reason to go on living.
Admittedly, the antidepressant was an attractive offer at the time, since it was the quick fix I needed. The medicine I was prescribed to take was guaranteed to work within a few weeks, as it would work its wonders in the chemistry of my brain, harnessing the serotonin, and making me feel well again.
However, deep down I felt a strong reluctance to take it. Intuitively, I knew that the medicine was only a temporary plaster and even though it would make me feel better. My mind would be fooling itself that it was well, and I was scared that I would latch on to this and lose the motivation to actually get down to the root cause of my depression and anorexia.
As scary as it was and counterintuitive to my feelings at the time, I was determined to heal naturally.
Understanding the past: Toxic Seeds
You see, I eventually discovered that it was my own thinking patterns and thoughts that came from the past, which I had been believing and operating in for more than a decade that were causing my illnesses.
Along my recovery journey, I came upon Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is a neuroscientist and also renowned author and speaker, whose work regarding the mind-body connection furthered my motivation to heal naturally.
In her words, my subconscious mind had become a fertile ground for growing toxic trees.
What are these toxic trees?
Toxic trees are grown out of toxic thoughts. As we grow up and as we go about our days we all encounter these toxic thoughts.
It may come from negative or traumatic events where the emotions have left an imprint on our lives. For instance, healing from an unexpected car accident, enduring a physical injury, being physically or mentally abused, or a divorce.
By being in such circumstances, we would experience strong emotions coming from within us. Or we would be affected by the negative emotions by the people around us that are going the traumatic event.
In particular, if we were children when we went through these unfortunate circumstances, we would not have the understanding or capacity to fully explore the emotions we were experiencing or even fully grasp the complexity of certain situations.
Toxic Thoughts —> Meaning —> Toxic Seeds
As a result, our mind begins to weave a story of its own so that our inner child would understand the emotions and situation we were experiencing.
From a personal experience, at the age of 6 I had to go through my parent’s divorce.
Weeks leading up to the divorce I had to witness many painful fights between my mom and dad. There were many nights where the house was filled with my mom’s anger and painful screams to my dad of how he had betrayed her. There was one night in particular where I had been asleep and was suddenly woken up by loud screams. I looked out from my bedroom window and saw my mom throwing clothes and other household items toward my dad.
A few thoughts had entered my childhood mind at this point:
Why is mom and dad always arguing? Why are they hurting one another?
Is it because of me? Am I not good enough of a child?
Did I disappoint them?
Unable to understand the complexity of a divorce at a young age, these thoughts started taking root in my mind. A couple of weeks on, as I was standing in the driveway of the house, I saw my dad packing up the last of his things into his car. He walked toward me with a sad face, crouched down, and gave me a hug and said goodbye. He then left and that was the last time I ever saw him.
My childhood mind confirmed itself without fully realising it:
Why is dad leaving?
Maybe it is because of me.
I’m not a good enough child.
He doesn’t like me.
In an attempt to understand my parent’s divorce, my childhood mind weaved up the only explanation that made sense at the time, which was that my parents split up because I was not a good enough child.
What were only thoughts arising from an unfortunate event, my childhood mind had attributed meaning to it. With meaning, those toxic thoughts, became rooted as toxic seeds in my subconscious mind.
Toxic seeds —> Toxic Trees
I was unaware of this at the time. However, you can now imagine how my childhood was. The toxic seed grew roots overtime, and I was subconsciously operating in the belief that I was not good enough as a child.
My toxic seed grew its toxic branches. As I progressed in school whenever I did or created something, I never felt I was good enough. No matter what the teacher said or even the grade I got, inside I never felt good enough. I lacked confidence and this spread through all areas of my life.
The toxic branch grew into a tree. My mom as a single working mom was barely at home. She had to work to provide for us. Every time I wanted to show what I had done in school, or there was an event that parents were invited to come. She did not have the time to attend. Unknowingly, this confirmed my toxic thought and the branches in my toxic tree grew into:
I am not good enough, hence I need to always do better in order to be able to get my mom’s attention. If I can do really really really good in school, I can make her happy and the lessen the stress that she has from work.
As a result, of this toxic tree, which had grown very deep roots of over a decade of operating in the same harmful beliefs over and over again, I became a slave for perfectionism, a workaholic, developed a very critical view of myself and felt that I was responsible for everyone’s happiness except my own.
I felt that I needed to continually do better in order gain another’s approval.
Freeing the Present
In short, without becoming aware of my thoughts and where it came from and without really questioning the meaning I had attributed to it had led me to continue to operate and validate its harmful ways.
After 10 years of continuing to operate in them, the harmful thinking patterns from that toxic seed manifested in my physically, and my body and mind became stuck in anorexia and depression.
As I continued in my healing journey, I learned it is not the events in life that really affect us. It is how we perceive and the meaning that we give to the events that leaves its ultimate imprint in our hearts and minds.
In order to get unstuck, I needed to go back into my past and discover where the toxic seeds came from. But instead of perceiving it through the eyes of my 6-year old self , I chose to view it an open heart and a curious mind that wanted to understand what was really happening. I decided to be brave and face the feelings I had buried for so many years regarding the divorce and let my rational mind guide me to the lessons I needed to learn.
What did I learn?
Stay tuned…. for Part II next week Monday for the lessons I learned in unlocking my past and the 5 steps to having a Miracle Mind!
If you feel called to share, in the comments,
Is there or has there an area of life that you felt stuck in?
How did you get unstuck?
Were there any patterns of habits that you had to let go in order to move forward?
I would love to know!
Share this article with others that you may know who are wanting to presently benefit from mindful freedom and to let go of their past!