Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meandering Michele's Mind: Changing Your Mind Impacts the Healing Process

For years I’d heard the refrain, “The universe conspires,” and I never really got what that meant. If it was true, then the universe had a mean streak. My world was so black and depressing and traumatized. I felt so trapped in some horrible place. What kind of universe would deliberately conspire that??

And then I finally heard the second half of that sentence: “What you think about you bring more to you.” So, the universe conspires to bring you more of what you think. Now, that I understand!

At the healing ceremony the other night I was explaining to the host how I largely healed my PTSD by deliberately constructing a post-trauma identity. When all traditional and alternative therapies failed to free me, I decided to free myself. I determined that I could not see myself in the present or move toward the future if I only saw myself in terms of the past. So, I determined to alter my perceptions.

“You changed your mind!” the host exclaimed. And I thought, Can it be that easy?

And the answer was no, it was definitely not that easy. It took a hell of a lot of hard work! I started, made progress, and failed miserably several times. Years of conditioning and developing survival mechanisms don’t disappear overnight. But this guy distilled what I finally did down to its essence: I changed my perspective; I did change my mind in determining how to perceive myself, and that made a huge difference in my ability to heal. It continues to make a huge difference:

We are never finished in our healing evolution – and I mean that in the best possible way. We’ve lived so long in the shadows of the past that coming out into the light is…. Well, entrancing. My appreciation of what my new life is seems unending. I am constantly caught off guard at some new element of my healing. When we heal from trauma and PTSD we do see things differently. It’s as if everything was in black and white and now it’s suddenly in Technicolor. We change our mind and we change our world.

My mind these days is focused on helping others achieve their healing goals. Healing is the focus of everything I think about, act on, desire and do. As the foundation for my personal and professional goals healing guides and directs my every decision.

And true to the adage, the universe is beginning to conspire. The more I think about and work toward my own and others' healing goals the more the universe seems to be bringing to me more healing connections and opportunities.

This is just a reminder today that what you think about is essential to how you heal. When I held on too tightly to healing I suffocated my own energy and ability to actually make the progress I wanted. When I let go and opened my mind to new ideas – when I changed my mind about how I saw myself and worked to institute a new view - things changed for me.

I had to work very hard not to perceive myself as a survivor but as a strong person who was no longer going to let the past get the best of me. The more I pursued joy and a newly defined self the more I found both; the more I tried to whip the past into submission the more I struggled with it to no positive end.

We all need to change our minds so that we change our thoughts so that we change our behaviors so that we change what we bring to ourselves every day.

We all need to change our minds about what we think is important: Who we were and what happened to us yesterday does not have to define who we are today and who we will become tomorrow. We have choices to make; healing comes from standing up and making them. Healing is not an easy task, but we can achieve it one thought at a time.

(Photo: rbsuperb)


Kurt Taylor said...

I think you're dealing with powerful stuff here, the idea of creating a post-PSTD identity then becoming it. I think that concept also resonates with others, too, who choose to self-actualize and begin by imagining/visualizing who/what they want to become and then begin to change and grow. Sometimes the change is necessitated by abuse, PTSD, addiction, other times by choice not brought on by absolute need but by the desire to grow as a human being. Sometimes the opportunity to self-actualize is thrust upon people (divorce, lay-off from job, retirement, disease or self-disfigurement) and other times by wanting to change careers or other personal needs.
Interesting stuff here, Michelle. Keep up the good work!

Michele Rosenthal said...

@Kurt -- You're so right about everything you said. We are all on a continuum and our self-actualization is motivated by many things. The world is truly a collective conscious.

Thank you so much for your comment, which in its deepest essence says to those of us who struggle to heal from PTSD that we are not, in the end, so isolated on our path.

The Blue Morpho said...

I was struck by part of your post that said, "It’s as if everything was in black and white and now it’s suddenly in Technicolor." This really resonates with me and my own dealing with PTSD and anxiety disorders. So much of the mind of the anxious person is trapped in black and white - we want it, actually, we want the formula, the definite answer, not realizing that first of all no such thing exists, and that second of all living in the black or white world means you get nothing else. I've been working with the concept of gray area, not even color at this point! Finally understanding that the world is not a place of absolutes, but of constant choices and judgment calls has been both terrifying and liberating. I look forward to Technicolor with smiles and trepidation. Cheers!

Michele Rosenthal said...

@Blue Morpho -- I'm at a loss for how to respond. Your comment is so exquisitely perfect, real, and true there's no way to add anything except to say, 'YES!' and 'Say it again!'