Friday, January 30, 2009

PTSD Healing Resolution No. 1: Thinking From the End

A couple of times I’ve mentioned the importance of the subconscious in the healing mix, plus the fact that ‘imagination is stronger than knowledge’. One way to put these ideas into practice is to begin what Wayne Dyer calls (in his book THE POWER OF INTENTION) ‘thinking from the end’. He says,

I’ve used this power of imagination over my will in the production of all my life’s work… This thinking from the end causes me to behave as if all that I’d like to create is already here. My credo: Imagine myself to be and I shall be, and it’s an image I keep with me at all times.

Your imagination allows you the fabulous luxury of thinking from the end. There’s no stopping anyone who can think from the end. You create the means and surmount limitations in connection with your desires. In imagination, dwell on the end, fully confident that it’s there in the material world…

Think from the end: …. Assume within yourself the feeling of the wish being fulfilled, and keep this vision regardless of the obstacles that emerge.

Part of healing is retraining the brain to see ourselves as other than survivors; to see ourselves as healthy, well and PTSD-free. To encourage the subconscious mind to let go of the PTSD identity it has so lavishly developed (and to replace that image with the new, healed and healthy you) we must actively discover, determine and decide who that newly whole self will be. Here’s a simple exercise you can do to imagine, visualize and commit to your future, PTSD-free self:

Settle into a comfortable position either sitting up or lying down. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in through your nose – hold them, and then slowly release through your mouth.

Let your mind drift and relax.

When your mind and body have settled, slowly begin imagining what you will look like and who you will be when you are PTSD-free. This means consider your hair, your eyes, your skin, your weight, your clothes and your smile. Imagine the sound of your laugh and the lightness in your voice. Imagine the friend, colleague, lover, and family member you will be when your energies are not sapped by memory. Think BIG! Who do you wish you would have become if trauma had not gotten in the way?

The healing journey you are on is your chance to start over. It is your chance to deliberately decide, create, and build the new YOU. The more specific you get in your imagination the more powerful this image will be in your subconscious mind.

Take all the time you need to deliberately draw the picture of the future you. When you finish this visualization and feel you can see it clearly, hold it in your mind’s eye for at least one long moment. Then, slowly let it recede. Allow yourself to become aware of the room around you, the sounds, the smells, and the presence of the outside world. When you are ready, open your eyes and resume your day.

Tip: It will help you crystallize this visualization to write it down. Take a few moments to write out a whole description, or jot some notes about the main characteristics. As you look this over, you might recognize ideas you would like to add. Note them, too, and focus on them in your next visualization session.

The beauty of this exercises is that it can be done at any time of day or night, as often as you want. When you get used to the process, you can do this during a train commute, an airline flight, or even waiting for a meeting in a practitioner’s office. After a week or two of very deliberate planning, you will have completely designed an image of your future self. While you can always use a short visualization session to update it, you can now move into a new phase of thinking from the end: putting it in your daily thoughts. While you’re walking around, doing the laundry, driving to class – any time you’ve got a few minutes to spare conjure the future you. Get familiar with him or her. Become friends. Welcome him or her into your imagination and allow the image to grow. You’re the artist here, sculpt your new yourself!

(photo: rnolan1087)

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