A personal reflection of a new understanding of self-actualization
An Introduction to a Different Realization of Being
A Newer Sense of Self
While attending an online summit hosted by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch in February of 2016, Laurentine recommended Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life." I purchased the book on Kindle and began reading. I hadn't even made it beyond the second page when what I read angered me, and I tossed my Kindle while on my bed, and it bounced off onto the floor. I checked to make sure I hadn't damaged my Kindle and started examining why what I read angered me. It wasn't like there was some extremely offensive statement that would merit such an emotional reaction—I came to the conclusion that it must be challenging some rigid, unyielding belief or bias I had not previously addressed. A member of the FMTV group shared a couple of days later that there was also a film by the same title as the book and recommended it to me. I watched the film twice that day (once in the morning and again with my husband when he arrived home). While the vocabulary of the book and movie seemed incredibly metaphysical and unfamiliar to me, at first, the logic started to make sense as the film illustrated the journey of a female character who was stifled by her thoughts of inadequacy, bitterness, and who was incredibly overwhelmed with stress, insecurity, self-criticism, fear of failure, and social anxiety. During the segments of the film where Louise Hay is interviewed about her life experiences and her journey of overcoming past trauma, I became more aware of how my own childhood traumas had shaped my underlying beliefs and views of myself, others, and the world around me. One of the most impactful takeaways from the movie and book was that when I was [we were] born into this world, I had [we had] no insecurities or self-criticisms—those were taught or learned, just as the bias or criticism of others is developed by external influences and experiences. I began seeing myself and others with this growing awareness.
The Sense of Urgency
In late 2016, I had watched a segment of a documentary on stress response. The man being interviewed shared that we have this innate flight or fight response for survival that served our ancestors well in an environment with predatory animals and treacherous terrain. In modern times, we still have this mechanism for survival, but instead of being triggered in actual moments of life-or-death situations, we are experiencing the engagement of our sympathetic nervous system when someone cuts us off in traffic or when we receive a notice of an overdue bill, a breakup, or employment termination, etc.. Being in a frequent autonomic stress response state not only impairs our ability to act rationally, it also has been linked to several health-related conditions.
As I sat there watching, he began to pose these two questions to change the perspective of what is true immediate urgency, "Are you not able to breathe, and are you bleeding profusely?" If the answer is "No," then there is no real urgency or reason for us to be thrown into a fear response. Upon hearing and answering these questions within myself, it resonated with me. I assessed past challenging moments in my life that created emotional reactions, stress, or worry that in the end, had become resolved. My reactions were of no aid in finding the solution but hindered making the best decisions in those previous circumstances. The immediate feeling of calm washed over me at that moment—my [then] current circumstances seemed more manageable and less impending. I began approaching daily life with a less arbitrarily induced sense of urgency and found life becoming much less stressful.
A Further Continuation in the Discovery of Self
As the next months proceeded, I began to practice long-deep-breathing sitting up with eyes closed or diaphragmatic belly breathing and tried my first guided meditations and mindfulness meditation practices. While spiritual experiences were not unfamiliar to me, I had been raised with a mixture of strict Midwest conservative Christian values and charismatic beliefs. These beliefs led to limiting or judgmental views of anything alternative to Christianity as wrong or sinful and that it would risk my relationship with God if not endanger my salvation. I didn't necessarily agree with those views, but there were many times I thought, "Why risk it?" However, my understanding of biblical Scripture had always been fairly, if not immensely, different from the churches I attended; some vocalized interpretations of Bible verses led to my being challenged, rebuked, or asked not to return. Within the first week of practicing breathwork and meditation, I began to experience this deep uninterrupted silence and profound peace. It wasn't entirely different from previous experiences of peace and connection with my faith in God. But it was no longer attached to being a shameful sinner getting a momentary experience of the Divine presence of the Spirit outside myself but within myself. The verse, "Be still and know that I AM GOD..," was forefront in my mind. And this profound acknowledgment that I was precious and loved at my core lingered within me. I felt being me without all the scrutiny of my past behavior or the necessity to have an overwhelming desire for approval in the presence of others who had criticized me, my looks, my choices, or my beliefs. It was my first taste of what personal freedom truly can be.
I enjoyed months of synchronicity and a flow of ease and Grace, but it was only the introduction of what is and can be, but required more growth, discipline, and the release of limiting underlying beliefs and the surfacing of suppressed emotional wounds that would bring with it challenges and at times upheavals, followed by periods of unshakable calm until the next cycle of destressing and dissolution of stored unaddressed experiences processed over the next two years. Not all release was disruptive, but as what had been explained to me, some emotional trauma can be re-experienced with similar intensity as when it first occurred. I was grateful that I had been equipped with additional techniques, Knowledge, coping mechanisms, a support system, and an understanding to reduce the impact (that I will share in future articles and presentations as they relate more to other topics in context).
Current State of Self Awareness
Since 2019, a great many (if not all of the most painful and unserving) of the deeply embedded impressions of previous stress and experience have been released or digested into valuable insights and integrated as compassion toward myself and others. There is a greater clarity in facing new challenges without the influence of numerous past preconceptions and previously developed misperceptions muddling the present experience to see solutions and possibilities instead of linking the current circumstance as an endless continuation of all once perceived conflict. Occasionally, an underlying emotion or stress will release and I will acknowledge its passing and in that moment it is gone without recurrence or lingering about.
Thank YOU for reading and your openness to understanding. Tell me if you found something notable in this blog entry that connected with you and how you view yourself.
With Much Love & Gratitude,