Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Power Within


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It was when I stopped seeking for my solutions outside of myself that I found the power within myself to create the change that changed my life by owning my own power to overcome the symptoms of distress instead of coping, managing, medicating and in general avoiding it.


I know, I know...what is all this about "The Power Within"? This sounds more like a motivational tag line for an upcoming Tony Robbins seminar than anything useful.


Well, yeah. 


Until I actually discovered that the key to my living beyond the emotional and cognitive distress that haunted me and influenced my life-after-trauma-and-all-bad-things


really did come from within myself


not anyone or anything


not a tip


a trick


or a really great therapist.


But from within myself. 


Don't get me wrong...


Tips, tricks and a good therapy relationship...those external resources we seek out and find are very often helpful in our journey from


there (darkness)


to 


here (living in the light:))


but they are not the solution


the "fix"


or the 


source


of our healing or our peace. 


The thing is that these external resources were useless to me without this insight and I stayed mired in the bog of 


nightmares


flashbacks


resentments, panic, anxiety, depression, dissociation, physical illness, pain, distress and in general 


I felt hopeless that anything could be different


and


helpless that I could change anything about my life.


I felt and believed I was completely powerless.


I had no clue as to why I could not find my way out of that dark place. 


I could see there was a light shining at the end of that dark tunnel.


But I didn't know how to get there.


Until I discovered that I held the power to free myself from the pain of the past by learning to pull my 


thoughts and feelings


out of the past and into today.


This did not happen all at once. 


There were no bells and whistles that went off, no celebration telling me that I'd arrived...


"Yay! You are now done!"


There was no magic wand that anyone could wave over me to say 


"it is done"


in a deep wizardy kind of voice:)


No.


There was me, myself and I


practicing catching the thoughts that said things like


I'm scared


I'm stupid


What the hell...life sucks and then you die 


so why bother?


Give it up


I can't do this any more


and learning to identify those thoughts as coming from the source of the bad things in my life and that I had adopted those thoughts as my truth..


my belief system that my entire being and life was based on.


I had firmly believed that I was worthless and powerless to change my life or choose who I wanted to be each day.


And no amount of "you shouldn't think like that" could change that belief without some effort on my part.


It's very much like reprogramming a computer that was infected by a virus...sometimes the virus can be hidden but when we realize that something is wrong with out output we can follow the symptoms back to the source of the problem to the operating system and clean up the hard drive and we get new output...we get new results when we remove it instead of just masking it, avoiding dealing with it or pretending it never happened. 


And so it is in this journey from


there


to here


we don't arrive all at once, there is no software program to run, no pill, no therapist that can wipe our hard drive clean for us. They can guide us but when it comes down to it we find our own power to catch the virus


clean and rewrite the hard drive


and we don't do it all at once


but by


putting one foot in front of the other


one day at a time.





8 comments:

Michelle said...

SUSAN,
THANK YOU, THANK YOU THE WAY THAT YOU PUT IT INTO WORDS. MY SUBCONSCIOUS MIND THINKS THIS WAY BUT MY CONSCIOUS MIND IS NOT ABLE TO PROCESS THESE THOUGHTS AND ALLOW ME TO MOVE FORWARD!!!I SIT IN A POCKET OF DEPRESSION THAT HAS IMMOBILIZED ME, AT TIMES I THINK THAT IT WAS EASIER DEALING WITH THE ABUSE!!!!!THAN THE PAIN THAT I FEEL TODAY.I AGREE THAT IT HAS TO COME FROM WITHIN,IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT PILLS YOU TAKE,HOW GOOD YOUR THERAPIST IS...BUT ITS FINDING THAT WITHIN...THAT SHINING LIGHT... THAT BELIEF!!!WHERE I SIT TODAY I FEEL THAT IT WOULD BE BEST THAT THIS NIGHTMARE BE LEFT WHERE IT ONCE STOOD SILENT...
BUT YET AGAIN YOUR BLOG HAS GIVEN ME SOME POWER THAT TOMORROWS A NEW DAY AND WITH THAT I MAY FIND THAT ME,THAT I,THAT MYSELF....
TAKE CARE
CHEEERS MICHELLE

Susan said...

Michelle - you are describing what to me I've identified as the "frozen" part of the fight/flight response. When I could not "fight" any longer I felt beat down, wasted, used up. So I sat in depression and dissoicaton etc.

In time I learned to recognize that when I was "frozen" like that - that I was feeling powerless and that there was nothing I could do in the past to change it but I could today begin to change the messages I was sending myself by changing my thoughts and reshaping my beliefs.

I am grateful grateful to know that you've found something here Michelle! You are doing this!!!!

andrea said...

Thank you, Susan. You have given me the impetus to scoop up the torch and run with it again. I wad on the right track, then derailed. I have my inspirations - Geneen Roth, Martha Beck, Eckart Tiller and Elizabeth Gilbert. There are some great cheerleaders on Twitter as well and you are one of them. @andreager

Susan said...

Andrea - I'm honored to be invited to join you on your journey this way....thank you for letting me know that you found some insight and inspiration in this post to support you on your path. I am truly grateful to know you!

En joy a most wonderful rest of your day!

Susan:)

Becky Murphy said...

Susan,
Very simply stated truth about the complex spiritual journey that real recovery requires. Love the way you put it all together. Thank you for sharing your ever expanding understanding of yourself and what it is that helps you, in doing so you are also helping me! Love you! Becky

Susan said...

Hi Becky! Thank you, Becky - this post is a good example of the learning to live beyond that dark place that I found. This journey is not at all about never having a dark moment again, or never having a struggle but in the knowing how to become self aware I've found the inner strength to live in the light instead of the dark.

I'm grateful for your presence in my journey and that you share yours as well:)

darlene ouimet said...

Susan, this is brilliant!
I did not realize that the power was within me for a long time, even though I was doing it. I heard people give credit to a therapist, and I thought "hey, am doing this work" and today I know that I did this work! I dug down and faced the fear. I persisted when I was scared, and I slugged it out even when I was fighting with myself. I was so afraid to give myself credit in case I was wrong... just so filled with so much fear.
I love this! This power is within each of us. I believe that with all my heart today because I know. I found it within me. You found it within you. I know others.
I am so thrilled to have met you on this journey!
Love Darlene

Susan said...

Thank you Darlene! Wow! What a great compliment!

You describe so well part of the conundrum of finding our own power in that others want to credit it to someone else very often. What it comes down to is that outside support and validation is vital and core to this kind of work but - it is the reaching deep within oneself that the work is done.Without that - no amount of therapy will help.

And yes! Each of us holds the power within to create this kind of change....we need to only know that its there and how to tap into it.

Thanks again Darlene! I am also very grateful to share this part of the journey with you!