Saturday, January 17, 2009

Healing PTSD: 4 Ways to Support the Healing Process

Ever since we moved to Florida I get sick much more often and the colds last much longer than when we lived in New York City. I’m not sure why this is, except that it can be 80 degrees outside and 60 degrees inside most establishments, so your own thermostat is constantly being jerked around and sometimes, the transition just isn’t smooth.

The upside of these little colds is that they force me to slow down and give me more time to read. Last weekend was one of those weekends when I pulled the chaise lounge on my balcony into the sun and just tried to recuperate. While I did that, I read Wayne Dyer’s book, THE POWER OF INTENTION. I’ve referenced Dyer before, but it’s been piecemeal. My own introduction to him has been through his PBS lectures. He’s a dynamic speaker, but this is the first time I’ve ever sat down with him for more than a few minutes.

I decided to read THE POWER OF INTENTION to see if Dyer had any insights that would apply to how PTSDers need to access this internal source of healing. Lo and behold, he did! Today, reduced from all of Dyer’s ideas, a brief outline on the top four ways to support the healing process:

1 – Become indifferent to doubt. I’ve written about 4 ways to boost belief in your ability to heal . Here’s the crux of why it matters: Dyer says, “When doubt is banished… anything is possible. We all… use our thoughts to create the world we choose. If you doubt your ability to create the life you intend, then you’re refusing the power of intention.” The strength of our intention to heal is the foundation for our success. We cannot allow any cracks. (Later next week I’ll write more on this.)

2 – Remain confident that through reliance on your imagination your assumptions will materialize. According to Dyer, “… if we focus on what’s ugly, we attract more ugliness into our thoughts, and then into our emotions, and ultimately into our lives.” But if we use our imagination to focus on positive, healing and supportive thoughts – if we use our imagination to conjure the new person we wish to become – then we bring these things into our world. If the power of intention is the driving force of healing, the power of imagination is the fuel for that force. Give yourself permission to imagine the new you. Get into the habit of daydreaming. Let your imagination run wild!

3 – Reconnect to intention. Dyer writes, “When life appears to be working against you, when your luck is down, when the supposedly wrong people show up, or when you slip up and return to old, self-defeating habits, recognize the signs that you’re out of harmony with intention.” This whole month we’ve been working with the idea of intention as a way to kickstart the healing process. Dyer describes seven faces of intention and says the utilization of each aspect deepens and further supports the power of it. Those seven faces are: creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, unlimited abundance, receptivity.

4 – Imagination is your new strategy. Dyer teaches, “Act as if anything you desire is already here. Believe … all that you seek you’ve already received, that it exists… and know you shall have your desires filled.” In the midst of PTSD it’s hard, so very hard, to imagine we will ever be whole and happy and well again. But look around you. There are people who heal every day, not only from PTSD but from much more horrible mental and physical illnesses. If they can do it, so can you. Practice the daily exercise of imagining the end result of every step of the healing process. Dyer calls this ‘thinking from the end’, an exercise I’ll elaborate on next week.

Sometimes, we all just need to take an hour (or two or three or ten!) to pause, to stop the busyness and make a space in which to think. This has been a busy BRIDGE THE GAP week. There’s a lot of work to do. Find a patch of sun somewhere. Pull a chair into it. Give yourself the space to work through this week’s exercises. Give yourself the gift of imagining who you will be when you have banished PTSD forever.

(photo: Will Fuller)

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