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Surrendering and Listening to Our Bodies

happiness on coast

Depression is defined as:

1.  Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.

2.  A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.

However, Depression Doesn’t Exist!    

Now that I have your attention and possibly your anger, please, keep reading!  For anyone who experiences depression or has come through it, the feelings associated with it are very real.  However, one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my four years of Gestalt Psycho-therapy training was that depression in and of itself does not exist – it is a mental and physiological response to one of two things:  repressed anger or repressed sadness.  Think of it as holding a ball full of air underneath the water.  Everyone knows that it is difficult to do because the displaced air within the ball forces it to ascend upwards and we have to forcefully hold it to keep it under the water. When we do eventually let it go; it flies out of the water upwards proportionately to how deep we were holding it under.

This is very similar to what happens when we are holding anger or sadness within us – it wants to come up and be expressed – but we may not want to see it on the surface.  The problem with this is, the more we repress our anger or sadness, the less we can actually feel joy or happiness.  This is why it is crucial that we allow our anger and sadness to come to the surface so that our hands – and our entire being – is open to experience the joy and happiness life has to offer as well.

The fact that depression in most cases is a result of holding on to negative feelings – and negative energy – is very good news.  While depression feels like a heavy weight upon our shoulders or quicksand that we feel powerless to become free from – anger and sadness are simply emotions that have been trapped within our bodies in response to an experience – and we can be free of them, which in turn will eventually help lift the feelings associated with our depression.

How do we do this?   

I am certainly not going to advise for or against anti-depressants; but  sometimes they can be a TEMPORARY solution to severe depression until we can process and deal with the sadness or anger in which we are holding.  Times in my life that I have experienced depression I did not take drugs and I was able to work through it and come out the other side and that is what I want to share with you today.   The truth is there is no quick fix to dealing with depression.  If one is in this state, even affirmations and trying to lift our vibrational energy may not work – although they cannot hurt either!

Step # 1We need to first identify what emotion is causing the depression – is it anger or is it sadness?  And very often, even behind our anger lies sadness or disappointment over something that has happened to us.  For example, if someone has said or did something very hurtful to us, we are likely to have felt sadness but masked it with anger very quickly in order to deal with it and ‘feel stronger’.  Often we mask our sadness with anger in order to have the strength to stand up to or say goodbye to a particular person or situation in our lives.  How many times have we thought we originally felt anger towards someone and then a few days later, realize that we are actually sad about what happened?

Step # 2:  What are we feeling sad or angry about? The problem with trying to discover what and why we are feeling what we are is that many times by the time our bodies have gone into a depressed state, the actual original hurt or event has long since passed.  It may even have been something in our childhood originally and has been triggered again by something in our adult lives.

So how on earth do we get to the heart of the issue and figure out how and why we are feeling this way?  It isn’t easy. This is the step at which most people feel the most resistance – especially if the hurt did originate – and most do – in our childhood.  We have buried it so deeply and so strategically in order to not have had to deal with it – usually because we were too young to do so or simply not equipped – that there are a few layers that we have to peel away first.  It is necessary that we realize this is a process – and that is what I want to stress here – growth and healing of any kind is a process.  When we cut our finger, our bodies have a wonderful – some would even say miraculous – ability to heal the wound.  This does not happen overnight however; but we can apply ointments that expedite the process.  This is where therapeutic modalities come in – they can include anything from journaling, talking with a friend, talking with a trained psychologist, E.F.T (Emotional Freedom Technique), Reiki, Acupuncture and many more.  You need to discover which one works best for you. In the meantime, I will share with you some practical techniques you can do in the privacy of your own home.

Step # 3:  Writing to Heal 

I have done this several times and I cannot stress enough how powerful – and effective – a technique it is to get at the heart of many of our repressed emotions and physical ailments.  What we do is actually journal with the Depression – almost as if it is a person – or the physical issue – directly.  Why not give it a try? If it doesn’t work then you haven’t lost anything; if it does, I would love to hear back from you as to how it helped.

Dear Depression: 

You have taken over my body, slowed me down, made me feel lethargic and really awful some days.  You must be doing this for a reason.  Please, what is it that you are trying to tell me?  What real emotions are you trying to hold onto for me?  I know you are not my enemy.  I know that you are attempting to protect me from my real emotions.  Please help me to figure out what these are.

Take a few seconds and then respond from the Depression’s point of view – in other words, give it a voice.

Dear (Your Name):

Here is where you allow – freely and without judgement – your Depression (and you do not have to be severely depressed at all, you may just simply feel down or not so great) tell you what is really going on with you.  You may be surprised by what it tells you or it may make a lot of sense.  The trick is to allow it a voice.

This is the same for ailments in the body – another manifestation of repressed hurts, emotions or beliefs that have surfaced in a physical form.  It does not matter if this is a small annoyance such as a hemorrhoid or if it is cancer.  Our bodies are the mediator between our core inner self – our subconscious – and our minds.  They are constantly giving us messages. When our leg falls asleep and we begin to feel pins and needles, our body is communicating to us that we need to move and stop cutting off the blood supply to our extremities.  Why does it do this?  To protect us.  Why do our bodies develop “dis – ease”?  Because we are “out” of “ease” with our true selves and our bodies want to return to homeostasis and ease again – and it will help us do this if we are willing to give it a voice.

Dear Hemorrhoid/ Dear Cancer:  Again, allow yourself to be really honest about how you are feeling towards it.  Maybe you hate your cancer or your disease.  Tell it that.  It can handle it because it is in your body to tell you something as well.  Then let it.

Give your depression, anger, sadness and your pain – whether it be emotional or physical, a VOICE today.  Let it communicate to you in plain language what it has been trying to tell you silently.  Once you “hear” it – you may well be on your way to recovery and freedom.

Below is a website that delineates the Myths and Facts regarding Depression:   

http://www.webmd.com/depression/ss/slideshow-depression-myths

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Recalculating our Inner GPS: God Positioning System

An Introduction to listening to our GPS: 

God Positioning System through Gratitude, Prayer and Surrender

We cannot recalculate our past.  We can only bring about transformation and turn in another direction in the immediate present; and hope that this brings us to our preferred destination.

In order to “get out of our own way” we need to SURRENDER our thoughts and allow our mind and body to be recalculated!  Generally, we believe our thinking begins in our minds – our brains; however many scientists are discovering that our body – or the ‘mind’ of the subconscious, which works without us having to think at all – and is an operating system that has been developed since our conception and trained since birth to run our digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular – to name only a few – is the same operating system that learns to control our thoughts, based on consistent programming, which eventually turn into words, actions and habitual behaviours.

For many reasons, we should be grateful that throughout the day, we have this operating system to manage our bodily functions and that we do not have to think or worry about making our own stomach digest food, our heart beat living blood through our bodies or commanding our lungs to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide and thereby allowing us to go about our daily lives.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to think about these things?

We would not be able to focus on anything else – or get anything accomplished! Perhaps, in one sense, this would be beneficial. Isn’t this why the very ancient buddhas and sages encourage us to focus on our breath – in order to help us feel more connected to these miraculous cellular cases – our bodies – that keep us “together”; and also be aware – and grateful – that something with a greater intelligence – a greater love – than us, is always taking care of us whether we are aware of it or not!

However, while we need this operating system to sustain our bodily functions throughout the day and when we sleep; we are quite capable of thinking for ourselves regarding our decisions and actions – and yes, even our thoughts.  We can think about and reflect upon our own thoughts.   The problem with letting an over-riding operating system determine our thoughts and therefore our actions, is that this system is often rooted in our past and works from automatic responses to thoughts, desires and fears based on our experiences.

I only need to ask how many times we have found ourselves at the refrigerator door or about to open that package of cigarettes without asking ourselves if we are truly hungry or need to inhale toxic smoke into our lungs.  Or how did we drive the last 15 blocks while thinking about the argument we had with our friend before we realize we’re already home?  How does this happen?

The answer is that our body mind – has been trained to be on autopilot in order to allow us to function on many levels. The problem with this is that while it can allow us to do many positive things – it can also cause us to create what I like to call GPS glitches where we need to constantly recalculate ourselves to get back on track.  This often takes a lot of time, energy and self-inflicted pain that we needlessly go through in our lives.

This is because our bodies have become like unruly, spoiled brats that have time after time, demanded something and to quiet the discomforting tantrums we feel inside, we defer to autopilot and give them what they want without even truly considering the long-term effect.

The fact is that the long-term effects of the thoughts we already chose in our past, have now manifested themselves as issues in our present, such as bad habits, weight issues, health and money issues, or feeling trapped in emotionally un-supportive relationships.  How many of us, because of an impulsive choice to spend money in the past, are now working to pay debt off in the present?

Recently, I heard Joyce Meyers say this:  “Our body only loves what we allow it be introduced – and get used to!”

If we do not think one small choice can make a huge decision, how is it that one potato chip or one cookie turns into an entire bag being eaten?  Now, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t enjoy these things in life.  However, if we introduce our bodies to something without consciously thinking and exercising will-power in the beginning, it isn’t long before our body goes on autopilot and begins to crave more and more.

Imagine introducing a good friend to someone who you know to be toxic or untrustworthy.  Then ten years later, you hear how much that friend suffered because of that relationship.  This is what we do to ourselves in every given moment when we choose to introduce ourselves to a person, situation, or thing without checking into our own GPS:  God Positioning System – or intuition as many call it – about whether it is the best path to go down.

How many times have we made a choice to eat, drink, reach out to that toxic friend, say yes, when we really mean no; or get back together with someone based on automatic reflex, simply because our bodies crave the “high” or the praise we receive and very conveniently forget or push aside the lows or the chaos that soon follows?

We need not focus on regrets or past decisions, but we do need to empower ourselves in this very moment, taking ourselves off autopilot from our thoughts, our feelings and our “knee-jerk” reactions and begin making conscious choices – to step back if you will and truly look at the paths we are about to step out on – before we choose one.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. {Romans 12:2}

In other words, instead of conforming to the patterns of the world – thinking and behaving like everyone else – or to the patterns we’ve created in our own lives; we need to take time to listen to our intuition – our GPS – and pause to hear what it is guiding us to do, so that we start off on the right path to begin with and do not have to recalculate ourselves once we realize; oops!  I’m going down this rugged, arduous path again!

Is it possible for us to recalculate ourselves from ill to healthy; overweight to active; negative to positive; judgemental to accepting; controlling to allowing?  Yes.  If at each moment, in awareness, we catch each thought; look at it without judgment; thank it (because it’s our body or ego trying to keep us from change as it perceives it as a threat) and then let it pass through our mind without acting on it or letting it hook onto the next negative thought, we will train our body mind to begin sending more positive, peace giving thoughts.

We know that once that feeling of fear, anxiousness, anger, dread or desire is produced by the rapid onslaught of thoughts; it is not easy step back from that path.  In fact, we often make decisions in this place that lead to more problems such as cursing someone (which hurts our cellular bodies), sending a not-so-nice email or over-reacting and beginning an argument.

The good news is that it becomes easier and easier to catch the first thought and gently sweep it away and replace it with a better, more healthier one.  This may not work every time; but it will work sometimes and the more and more we can regain our peace rather than allow our thoughts to steal it, we are making progress.

Next Post:  Refund and Exchange Policy – How to exchange our negative thought for positive ones!