As a passionate advocate of self development, I have put myself through many different levels of education and training over the course of the last eight years. I started long before that, but I cannot really connect the dots before that time.
I knew I was always searching for something, but never really knew enough to know what it was. I was obsessed with Eastern philosophies, but had no frame of reference. So I decided to check it out. I found a form of Buddhism that teaches the Law of Cause and Effect without being all in-your-face about rules and regulations. Awesome! Sign me up!
The meditative practice involves repeating a mantra out loud for as much or as little time as you like. Again, cool! I never was very good at the discipline of staring at candles...
At the time I was beginning my Buddhist practice, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto hypothyroidism, which is a disorder where the body created anti-bodies to fight the thyroid gland and force it to stop producing one of the most important hormones in the body. I was depressed, overweight, disoriented and suicidal.
When I received the diagnosis, I was given hormone replacement pills. I was told I would be on these meds forever.
Now, I was raised in the typical American, single-parent, divorced household on the SAD (standard American diet). Because of my diet, lack of physical activity, and suppressing emotional traumas, I developed a lot of coping strategies in the form of addictive behaviors.
I overcame smoking, drinking and several other destructive tendencies. Over the years, I experimented with nutrition, diet, supplementation, my meditative practice and how I treat my body to see what triggers or inflames my condition.
For the past two years, I have been able to successfully manage my hypothyroidism with a combination of diet and herbal supplements - WITHOUT DRUGS! The one area where I still seem to struggle is food - sugar and carbs in particular. When I fall off the wagon, I can FEEL it!
About three weeks ago, I began a course in developing mind power. As I did my daily exercises, I found myself really getting in touch with the concepts. I also found myself uncontrollably craving junk foods I hadn't eaten literally in YEARS!
It took two weeks for me to make the connection. When I did, I was astounded! Being in this place, I am noticing how my body feels. My joints hurt. I feel stiff, tired and cranky. I marvel at how I could possibly have lived this way all the time just a few short years ago!
Personal development and growth is a process that generally takes time. I understand this more with each day. It's frustrating as hell to be in a place where you see what's blocking you, but you don't seem to be able to do what needs to be done to release the grip of the addiction.
As human beings, we have the power and capacity to change our circumstances in the blink of an eye with just one sincere decision. However, as human beings, we tend to wait until the situation is so bloody uncomfortable we feel like dying or killing someone before we feel the need to commit.
If you are on a journey of self-discovery, take heart. It will almost always feel uncomfortable when you really dig down and find habits or behaviors you want to change. You are not crazy. That's how it goes.
Support yourself through the process by using some of the following tools:
1) Cultivate relationships with a small group of like minded people. These are the people who will support you through your shift. Generally family and old friends don't work here, just because they helped create the destructive patterns. Often, they are the product of the same circumstances that got you where you are. They don't know any better. Don't worry about them now. After you heal, you can offer them help, IF THEY WANT IT. For now, focus on yourself.
2) Write down your WHY and read it EVERY DAY! Better yet, record yourself saying your WHY and listen to it right when you wake up and just before you go to sleep every day. It's easy to lose sight of why you got on the superhighway, as your own personal demons are confronting you. If you keep your prize always in sight, you will be stronger as you move through even the darkest of forests.
3) Forgive yourself your transgressions. No baby ever learned to walk on the first try. Often the patterns you are attempting to shift have been in place for decades. You developed these habits as a way to cope with your environment. Your mind is only trying to protect you. Don't let yourself off the hook - but don't abuse yourself for tripping. Keep going. This is a great time to call those friends or re-listen to that recording.
Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. You are an amazing person. Keep moving toward your goals.
Every day is a gift. What gift did you receive today?