I met several people in the past week who are holding on to their substances or failing relationships as if they will save them from the drudgery of every day life. One of the most limiting beliefs people with addictions have, (whether they are to substances or to bad relationships) is that after they stop using their substance or end their dramatic relationship, they will have to go back to normal life, a normal job and do the normal things that people do. This is a big block to abstinence and recovery. It does not have to be the case. There are many jobs out there who are interesting and exciting, and not the standard 9-5, 5 days a week jobs.
The need for excitement and mental stimulation is probably one of the main factors that drive a person to start using substances and to get involved with dramas. Then it is also the main factor that sustains substance use and intense relationships. There is a deep underlying fear that if nothing is used, life will be boring and mundane, full of duties and responsibilities, without any fun, pleasure, adventure. This fear perpetuates use because there are no other visible alternatives. Either the boring normal life which is healthy but tedious and uneventful or the exciting life which is unhealthy but eventful, colourful and exciting.
And… there is a very clear and real alternative – substance free life plus excitement minus a boring job.
There are so many interesting and exciting jobs, which take people from all walks of life, and which provide training, without the need for previous education or experience.
Life is meant to be exciting and vibrant and joyful. Reach out for it and set yourself free from any limiting beliefs.
Many people say ‘I have been working on myself for years and have developed many skills and strategies for dealing with my emotional pain and traumas, but still there is something missing and still I feel a lot of pain from what happened and although I am better at managing it, it still hasn’t disappeared completely and still gets me when I least expect it. Just when I think I have dealt with that successfully and I have moved on, it comes back and it hurts and feels raw as if I’ve never done any work on it’. Join the club. We all feel like that, therapists or clients. All of the mental and emotional strategies are very good for alleviating extreme inner pain which comes from unacceptance of what happened, from the injustice of it and from the severity of that. And yes we need to continuously develop skills and strategies to make ourselves feel better in a crazy volatile and unstable world which one minute looks like it is becoming better and fairer and another minute looks worse than the past. And the inner work that we do is mirroring the ebbings and flows of the world around us. It can only help us to manage the traumas and the pain from not enough love but it can’t replace love. And on the other hand and in parallel to the inner work we do, we also need to drive in the opposite lane at the same time which is to consider that if we were supposed to process traumas easily and quickly, our brains would have been structured in that way. For many years I was going only in the direction of developing skills how to make myself feel better as above, and was succeeding to a great extent. And one day a very different idea occurred to me: what if we were designed like this on purpose, to struggle with processing traumas and to feel deep pain, and to be in strong resistance to what is, and what if this purpose is that we get moved from the pain to such an extent that we get acting to make changes and to make the world a better place. Imagine a world where humans process their traumas very quickly and seemlessly. There would be rapes, murders and abuse all around. 500 years ago, people in London used to watch hangings of pirates in their lunch break. They used to gather by the river at around 1-2pm, watch the hangings and then go back to work. If this sight happens to anyone of us today – we will be traumatised for life and we will never forget that experience. So the human brain in the past was much better adjusted to process traumas than the human brain today.
Clearly the brain is not developing in a direction to process traumas easier and faster. The brain is coming from that place and is developing in a direction to be more sensitive and more unaccepting of traumas and emotional pain. And while we continue developing on the road of ‘how do I make myself and others better’ we also need to start thinking what if there is a meaning of this direction of brain development and what are the benefits of this direction of brain development, not just the costs. It is our mental and emotional intollerance and resistance to injustice and suffering, and our inability to process traumas, that actually lead to making changes in the world from one year to another and from one century to another. If all people could process traumas easily we would still be living in the age of public hangings and short lives many people had those days. If all women were processing their traumas easily – we would still have no equal rights today. And if all minority people were processing their traumas easily – they would still have no equal rights today. What if the way to deal with traumas best is to accept that we are purposefully designed to be unable to process traumas so that we can stop these events happening. The ugly dysfunctional resistance, unacceptance that lead to so much inner angst and pain and that look so unkind to oneself and so maladaptive and so rigid and entrenched and leading to personal unhappiness are actually the propellers for change and progress and for making the world more equal and more just and in this way improving our health and wellbeing and prolonging our lifespans. What looks maladaptive and dysfunctional on the surface is the most adaptive and the most functional for the commmon good of humanity. Most human rights were achieved by this lack of acceptance of what is. A symbol of maladaptiveness and dysfunctionality such as Courtney Love, was actually the first woman who revealed publicly the truth about Harvey Weinstein. That was 10 years ago, a decade before other women gathered the strength to speak up. And if humanity was more sensitive at the time towards sexual crimes against women, her statement would have had much bigger consequences. Unfortunately at that time there were too many well-adjusted individuals in Hollywood and and in the press to take much notice of what she said. It took another traumatised person, son, brother, Ronan Farrow, whose sister was raped, and who could not process his trauma of being a son of a rapist and a brother of a raped woman, and his suffering was so great that it moved him to fight against the Harvey Weinstein establishment, which no one else had done before. His individual suffering brought so much goodness and progress for all women in the world. After his exposure of Harvey Weinstein, the world in 2017 is a far far better place for women than it was before. We can now talk openly about so many things that even a year ago we did not feel comfortable to talk about and the truth about how much women are still judged for being victims revealed so many rotten parts of the human consciousness which only until a year ago were kept hidden. Your pain and your suffering and your ever bleeding wound is moving you to action to make this world a better place for everyone.
It is not unusual for humans to drive with our thinking in two opposite directions. We do this as parents naturally. We are loving towards our children and we are strict towards our children. So the same approach can help us with our emotional wellbeing. On one hand we drive on the road of developing ourselves to process our traumas and heal our pains and at the same time we drive on the road of accepting our emotional suffering and looking at the benefits of it and stop counting only the costs of it. Abundant blessings for more love and more compassion in the new 2018.
Below is my response to the recent truth emerging about a climate of sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.
In my view based on observations how the leaders of humanity in the present days behave,e.g. bullying each other, calling each other short, fat, old…, humanity is still at a very very early stage of development, and sometimes it is most useful for me as a woman to just switch off and accept that things are what they are and my role as a woman is simply not to reinforce and collide with the unpleasant male behaviors towards women – such as sexual harassment, devaluing, demeaning, disrespecting.
I think women spend too much time complaining about the male behaviors and less time practicing negative reinforcement to those behaviors, with their own behavior. Words are cheap.
There is little awareness amongst women and men, that every plant contributes to the surrounding climate. There is a lot of awareness how the surrounding social/political/sub-cultural climate impacts our wellbeing as individual plants and we are all aware that the climate at present is not facilitative of compassion, mutual understanding, love. These values are not in the mainstream of life, but still on the peripheries. But the awareness that each one of us contributes to the climate we don’t like, is lacking.
When a big unpleasant truth is revealed like Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior, we need to be asking ourselves ‘how did I personally contribute to this to happen?’. Every woman who has agreed to have sex with a man to advance her career has been contributing to the global climate of sexual harassment. She had a choice. I’m not talking about the women who got raped. But the ones who have agreed – are active participants in the climate of abuse.
There is no point wasting energy on why men are like that, and why are there such nasty guys like Harvey Weinstein…
Don’t give him what he wants and be brave to endure the consequences of not getting any more acting jobs. Don’t adapt to that climate and adjust yourself to that climate.
This element of making a strong stance against the prevailing climate is almost non-existing in the female community.
And the reason for this is the natural intrinsic inclination of women to be adaptive and to choose adapting to the surrounding environment instead of resisting adapting.
This natural inclination of women is either genetically passed on from one generation to another, or is acquired from the socio-cultural environment. Young girls are praised when they are smiling and happy, they are disliked when they are unhappy and disagreeing. These social rewards and punishments have moulded many women into smiling agreeable dolls. Women are much more social and cultural than men and we do care a lot about how we are perceived and how much we are liked, as opposed to men who are much more natural and not that easy to mould into socio -cultural norms.
One of the socio-cultural norms is to be adaptive and being adaptive is seen as a sign of good mental health. Being maladaptive to the surrounding environment is considered a mental health problem or even an illness. Most mental and emotional illnesses are officially seen as problems of adaptation to the world and this is the official medical view in DSM V.
The subtext of our society and culture is: the environment is good, if you don’t adapt to it – you have a mental health problem. Despite examples in history how the individuals who didn’t adapt were the ones that brought the most positive changes. If the scientists in the medieval ages had adapted to the Catholic church, we would still think that the world is flat. If Martin Luther King had adapted to the racism at the time – things would still be the same today. And millions other examples. But despite these examples there is still a dogmatic cult towards adaptability in our present times.
So the most important change we need to make is to expose and destroy this cult towards adaptability and to see adaptability for what it is: facilitating the present status, maintaining the present climate and obstructing change and progress.
It took another symbol of maladaptive behaviors – Courtney Love to expose Harvey Weinstein for the first time, years ago, when everyone else was scared of him. She was the only brave woman and person, out of all men and women who knew what he was doing, who made the first public statement about him that he was an abuser. She was on a red carpet, in front of all the flashing cameras she said: ‘If you are a young actress in Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein asks you to visit him in his hotel room – don’t go’.
Adaptability is a highly dysfunctional behavior which leads to much more mental health problems than the lack of adaptability. The short benefits of adaptability are much less than the long term benefits of lack of adaptability.
Adaptability is also a bi-product of fear, which is a bi-product of feeling powerless and too small to make big changes.
These are all delusions which have been circulating in the collective consciousness and impeding progress.
Every individual can make changes and every voice counts. There are many examples in history when that has happened.
Every plant contributes to the surrounding climate. This is a physical law applicable to the physical climate and it is easily applicable to the social climate.
I am not saying that women and all humans who want to make changes, should be risking their lives and do heroic acts. That is up to the individual to assess how much they want to go in that direction.
But a simple refusal, a quiet resistance with our own behavior, is often enough to create a strong message that something is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. If all women who had agreed to have sex with Harvey Weinstein had refused him, he would not have ended up abusing women for 30+ years. That climate would have been terminated much earlier.
If all people stop eating meat – then the meat production will stop. There is no point complaining how greedy those manufacturers are and how they are abusing the animals and exploiting the animals. It is a waste of energy and time. A simple quiet behavioral stance of refusing to consume animal products will be sufficient to terminate the practice of abusing animals.
And this is how individuals today still don’t own and don’t understand their power or choose not to own and understand their power because it is so easy to blame politicians, governments, corporations. Us versus them. I’m so good and so innocent, but they are so bad.
They are only trying to serve the demand. Every politician is only trying to serve the majority. If the majority changes and swings in the other direction – the politician will change too. A politician will never go against the majority. And who makes the majority? The individuals.
All the power is in the individual and until this awareness grows in humans we will never be able to create better social, political, cultural, economical climates for ourselves.
There is no point getting your hands dirty and analysing the situation, why did it go wrong. Most people, including me, have this compulsion to dig our teeth into the WHY? when a break-up happens. There is no analysis in the world that will help because the more we analyse the why and the how, the tougher we get on ourselves, we feel worse and worse and worse with each onion layer of analysis. So how is that helping us?
So here is the trick. One sentence only. One sentence which delivers instant release from all the tension of not knowing the why and the how, from all the anger, frustration, confusion in relation to the break-up.
You say to yourself with the most loving, gentle, and light voice you can do: “I’ll get through this in the easiest possible way” and then breathe out with your voice. And then repeat: “I’ll get trough this in the easiest possible way” and then breathe out with your voice. You can make the release of air louder to be more symbolic of the emotional release you are experiencing. Repeat as many times as you wish. How does it feel now? This creates spaciousness and distance from all the questions you have. You are no longer digging and getting your hands dirty with pulling dirty stuff out to analyse it. You are distancing yourself from the question with this so so easy expression. The questions remain questions but they no longer matter. This new spaciousness that is created feels soothing and comforting, which is what we need in hard times. The questions doesn’t matter any more and guess what? As the questions doesn’t matter any more, so does the break-up. The analysing of the questions keep us in the importance of the break-up. No questions, no importance. The importance shifts from finding the right answer of the WHY? and the HOW? to finding comfort and ease. That is the only important thing after a break-up – to feel ok, to feel accepting, to feel light and mobile, to feel loved and cared for by someone and if that someone cannot be our partner, then it has to be you. But someone has to love you and care for you in the most difficult of times. So let that person be You. Allow yourself to love you and care for you and not give you hard unrewarding tasks.
“I’ll get through this in the easiest possible way” exhale. Watch the miracles unfold after that.
So the ending has arrived or you are thinking of making the ending and you feel that you have to because there is no future between you two, or because they have not treated you right, because you are exhausted from all the arguments or because of another reason. So you have used your discernment, you have projected the relationship in the future, and you have reached the cognitive decision to end the relationship or they have made that decision and you are on the receiving end. It is tough either way because you still love them, and your heart does not seem to understand your reasons, and it feels pain, sharp or heavy pain in the heart and chest area. Because of this pain many people do not start new relationships easily and choose to stay lonely for a very long time. This pain becomes the synonym of love to them, and they think ‘Love hurts, I don’t need love any more’.
This pain is not from feeling love for someone, it is pain from restricting our heart to feel love for someone, because we have assessed them cognitively that they do not deserve our love, that they do not treat us right, that we you are not compatible, that you are too different etc etc. And that is great to be able to see the reality of a relationship with sober eyes and to be strong enough to stand up for ourselves and to stand up for our future and long-term wellbeing, and not to trade them for the passion of today. That is awesome work. Where most people go wrong from there, is, once they have made the assessment that the other person is not worth of their love because of the way they have treated them and once they have made the decision to end the relationship, they then start trying to stop feeling love for them. And they start using the facts from the 3-dimensional reality to justify why they will stop feeling love for them. “I can’t love someone who does that to me, I can’t love him/her if I am ending the relationship, that will be too painful”. So in their cognitive attempt to protect themselves from the pain they actually create the pain. Because everything that we resist persists. This is a law of human existence. It is not given to us to control our feelings and to adjust them as per our cognitive observations, insights and decisions.
So the solution of your problem with still loving them despite…. is very simple. You allow yourself to love them. You don’t try to stop loving them. You don’t go cognitive trying to justify why you should not love them. You have done your cognitive work that has brought the ending of the relationship and that has been great, self-affirming and long-term wise and astute assessment. But after you have done it, leave the cognitive work to one side and listen to your feelings and acknowledge your feelings. And give voice to your feelings instead of shutting them down. If you still love them – you allow yourself to continue loving them.
Feeling love for someone is not a 3-dimensional physical behaviour. You don’t have to do anything to express your love. You just feel the love. Allow your heart to love them. Many people complain from being hurt from the endings and from Love in general, many people leave relationships bruised and make themselves lonely after that because they felt too much pain in their last relationship and they do not want to do Love any more. Love is too painful for them. And that is not the solution. That is a sad interpretation of Love. Love does not bring any pain to the carrier. Constriction of the heart, telling ourselves not to feel love for someone because they are not worth it, that is what gives pain to the heart. When we assess that someone is not good for us and we tell ourselves not to love them and we feel the pain so strong, so strong. This pain is not from the love for them. This pain is from the constriction. I did not know that until I allowed myself to love them. I felt very strong pain in my heart and chest area because of unrequited love and I was so scared. That pain was not going away. Day after day, week after week, the pain was strong. And I hated Love. I asked Love: “why did you come in my life, to hurt me so much, what good are you?” Until one day I decided to try one more thing. After doing everything else and nothing had worked, I decided to let my heart love him. Just allowed my heart to love him. We had stopped being in touch, there was no more expression of my love towards him but I allowed myself to love him. And all the pain disappeared. My heart was glad. And that is how I learned: allowing the heart to love is its own reward. It does not want any more rewards. It just wants to love. It is happiest when it loves. And that is how I learned where the pain came from. From constricting the heart and from confusing our profound sacred feeling of Love with behavioural expressions, and expecting that once the behavioural expressions stop, the feeling has to stop as well, and that is – it gets even sillier- because we want to protect ourselves from being hurt. This is the logic of our mind which speaks the language of logic. It does not understand the language of the heart so it is just doing its best in its capacity, to protect us. And we need to love the mind because the mind is innocent and it is constantly doing its best in its capacity to protect us. I do not support any negativity towards the mind. Where most people go wrong is that they listen only to the mind and they don’t listen to the heart. The heart does not have logic. I know I am not the only one, and men are always so puzzled with women, when we choose very wrong guys to be on the receiving end of our love. No one understands this because everyone is engaging their mind and its logical reasoning capacity, to understand something which does not have any logic. The heart does not have logic. The heart does not understand discernment either. The heart just wants to love. The heart wants to love everybody. If you listen to your heart and you allow your heart to love – you will see that your heart enjoys loving everyone, all the people in the world, all the animals in the world, all the plants in the world, all the planets around us, all the satellites of the planets around us, all the stars, all the galaxies. This is how the heart loves – all inclusively and indiscriminately. So if you want to heal emotional-physical pain of the heart – you need to understand where the pain comes from, and you need to slow down and start listening to the heart and start communicating with the heart. Ask your heart at any point in time what it feels like doing, what it feels most comfortable with. Ask, listen and act. Act according to the wishes and desires and calls of the heart. Trust the heart that it has wisdom which will not hurt you. Trust the heart that it knows best what is good for you. If you had trusted the heart and had made your choices according to your heart – you would not have ended up in a situation where the emotions are loud and the heart is in pain. The heart would have been very happy if you had trusted it before, if you had listened to it before and it would have rewarded you with creating the best reality for you, the most suitable people, the easiest and most pleasant circumstances. The heart does not believe in tough circumstances that teach you to grow. No. We create the tough circumstances for us when we don’t listen to our heart and then we grow tremendously from them, and we think they are necessary for our growth. The reason why that has worked to our favour is because all roads lead to enlightenment. But, there are easier roads than others. Exactly because all roads lead to enlightenment, we don’t need to choose the toughest possible reality for us. The easier roads will also lead us to enlightenment in much smoother and comfortable ways. The easiest road is the road of the Heart. Ask, listen and act according to the heart and you will enter the easiest of circumstances and the easiest of people to deal with, whether that is in relationships or at work, on holidays, on the roads, on the trains, on the planes. When you listen to your heart and have the bravery to act according to the heart, you enter a natural state of alignment between you and the surrounding environment and from there on the sky is the limit. People, events, circumstances run to you to help you and to support you and even in the most neutral level – you are become surrounded only by pleasant and compatible people with who you have pleasant and mutually supportive relationships. The difference is so great that it is impossible to ignore. When you listen and act to the wishes of your heart – the shifts of reality happen very fast.
I often ask clients to write a list of ingredients of their ideal relationship and ideal partner. Then something happens: they put their hand in front of them as if to protect the secrecy of their writing and their whole body language becomes stiff and closed with the thought of having to share that in the group or just with me.
I know straight away that person will not get the partner they want for as long as they put that protective secrecy veil over their deep authentic wishes and desires, that concrete wall they have built between their wishes, wants and desires and the rest of the world, and themselves. Yes many people do not admit even to themselves what kind of partner they want and they dream about. Because they are judging themselves or are scared that they will be judged by others if they state their wants openly and honestly. The problem with that wall is that it does not protect the wishes in a safe place, it keeps the wishes away from gaining 3-dimensional form. To make a wish come true, to turn it from a wish to a real 3-dimensional person, it needs to be made clear to the Universe what exactly it is, and voicing it and putting it into words is one most common way to do that. Without that clarity the wish is ambiguous in the person’s mind and for as long it is ambiguous it will not be powerful enough to gain 3-dimensional form. Clarity with ourselves, and with others is the most important factor in manifesting the relationship we want. Clarity equals energy, equals power, equals straighforwardness, equals straight direction, equals simplicity, and all of these are cathalist for fast change. Imagine a stream springs from the top of a mountain. It wants to go to the ocean at the foot of the mountain, so it flows in a very direct stream. And now imagine a stream which springs at the top of a mountain and it prefers to go around the mountain, to explore other sides of the mountain. So it spirals around the mountain and it spirals around the mountain, and it gets weaker and weaker and may even dry by the time it reaches the ocean. This is what happens when we do not have clarity about who we want and why we want them. If someone does not feel comfortable to admit to themselves who they want, the Universe will not give them who they want because we live in a benevolent Universe which does not want to make us feel uncomfortable. If someone feels comfortable within themselves about who they want and they trust that there is a wisdom in that wish and that will lead them to the highest good, then they will manifest exactly the kind of man/woman they want. And when that comfort and sincerity is extended to sharing their wishes with other people around them – the statistical likelihood is also higher. Who knows, may be their friend knows someone who is exactly like that. Voicing the wishes openly to oneself and the world is also a transition to making them real. The voice is real. The voice is of the 3-dimensional reality. Giving silence to desires is one of the most unloving, unkind, unsupportive and self-destructive thing a person can do to themselves.