A Season of Decluttering: New Mindset for Relationships

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There are patterns I’m trying to make sense of. The question of why these relationships keep fleeting in the same manner, turns out, was the wrong one. That question left me in a never-ending loop, running around myself over and over again. I was circulating the problem, not unraveling it. A cosmic joke of sorts that I was the center of. What I’ve come to understand as of lately is that the question instead is, why do I continue to distract myself and hide within relationships when that space in my life is trying so hard to clear up for something else? Perhaps something more lasting? Something greater.

Since I was a child and acquired the same amount of frustration as I do now, my mother always responded with the same answer: “There is a time for everything. What you’re wanting, you will get. But this time, right now, it’s meant for something else. That time will come, too.” She was always annoying that way, you know, with her wisdom and such. I am socially inclined to roll my eyes at that. What does she know? Adolescent me wasn’t too fond of that response either.

But then came the time to reflect. The time where therapy found me instead of myself looking for it. Silly 21 year old me assumed that after those 4 years of therapy, after changing as much as I did, and after moving across the country and calling an end to what felt like a very significant chapter of my life, I must now be done. That this is it. I learned what I was meant to learn and now, I could be free and happy and satisfied all the time. I was finished the process of ‘becoming’. Ha. Ha. HA.

Moving to Vancouver, I found myself in a stream of relationships. I kept finding people, and not just regular people, but my people. It felt like a river of blessings being thrown at me. Friendships like the ones I’ve formed here are so different than any I’ve ever experienced. The partners I had, they were reflective of the type of person I was. It was strange for me, mostly because I was very happy being my introverted self, reading, writing, strolling along sidewalks and discovering new places to venture off to. But suddenly I wasn’t doing any of that alone anymore.

Everything in our lives is a preparation for what is to come. I wondered why after a period of intensive solitude, I was suddenly met with so much social activity. I mean, the last season of my life was spent in a cave of my own thoughts, writing the first draft of a novel and mourning over the loss of most of my friendships and relationships. But I went with it, as I try my best to do with most changes. I liked it even, so much so, that I let myself get used to all this new love I was stumbling upon.

If that is not foreshadowing enough, I’ll put it simply: Always be open to uncertainty. No, I don’t think that the answer is to “never get comfortable with things” or to forbode joy by any means. Trust me, I’ve tried that nonsense out for myself and it’s no good. But, for someone who has a mindset of being open to growth and change, it means your life will also come with a lot of hard lessons and endings.

Pain is the greatest teacher. I invite her in, always. I let her sit next to me for as long as she needs so that I can learn what I have to learn and relieve myself from having to repeat the same lesson over and over again. But still, my stubborn nature likes to resist certain lessons, especially when it comes to love and career…and friendships…and okay, pretty much everything.

I AM TRYING. I promise.

So what is the lesson here, right now? Why did a flood of people come into my life, only to leave again? Why is it that I cannot bare staying in one place for so long before my legs get itchy and I know it’s time to move again? Why did history repeat itself but with better people? Within a better place? Amidst a different version of myself?

Well, I suppose it’s because these endings were met with confrontation, tears, and sitting side by side with discomfort instead of avoidance — something I didn’t think I was capable of doing before. These endings were all met with saying the truth out loud and saying it in a way that is respectful, firm, and loving all at once (because I realized that there is such a way to do that).

Life is a series of endings and beginnings. It doesn’t mean we have to begin to walk into any sort of relationship with the prospect of its end. But instead, we do have to go in with an open mind. What is there to learn here? What value can I bring to this person and what value are they bringing me? For whatever amount of time that this is meant to last, how can we work together to bring each other to a greater place than where we stood prior to our meeting?

From getting used to this cycle of relationships, it’s so easy to get caught up in needing some sort of replacement right away. Find new people, find new friendships, find new partners. Something, something, now. You can get so caught up in it that you may even find yourself feeding off of others like they’re a bad drug habit. And what a great way to attract the right kind of people, right?

I guess, as my mother would say, there is a time for everything and just because you lost a lot in one area in your life, doesn’t mean you need to fill that exact space up right away. That time will come, but you don’t have to try so hard to do it now. And maybe replacing or trying to fill that area isn’t the answer. Maybe this space in my life is trying to clear out for something else, something I can’t even think of right now. Perhaps an expansion of another area of life is in order.

That’s what I’m choosing to believe, only because this frame of thought has gotten me this far and I’m sure it will take me farther.

Belief Systems and Hypnosis: When Wounds Make Us Victims

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There is no avoidance of despair. There is only really an acceptance needed for it. It catches us at odd times of our lives, but these moments, this tribute it pays into our being is always beneficial.

There are sacred places we all travel to, but often times, they don’t feel so sacred. They feel rather brutal instead. They challenge our every thought, every belief system we had in place for ourselves. They leave us isolated, fending for someone, something, anything really. They give us space we wish didn’t have to feel so empty in. And they are slow moving. Time seems to take a sudden hit and becomes silly putty, stretching to no end. We panic. We try to escape. But there is no exit. There is only us.

I’ve tried to escape myself so many times it feels habitual. Over the years, I’ve molded myself differently, created boundaries where they were needed, and held myself accountable for my own lack of judgments. What I once thought to be true was that there were some wounds that just needed more time. I’d been doing the work but maybe it just wasn’t the right moment for healing.

But what I’ve come to understand is that looking at our memories, our past pains and our stories as ‘wounds’ doesn’t create much resolution for them. It just lets us remain the victim. And as long as we’re the victim, we are also hopeless.

Instead, I’m beginning to really dig deeper into the belief systems I have in place from these wounds. Ones that have shaped not only how I’ve lived my life, but also how I continue to look at life in the present moment. They shape how we look at ourselves, how we react to conversations or behaviours from others.

A couple of months ago, I went to go see a hypnotherapist. My discovery of Groupon had me trying all of the things and this one caught my eye right off the bat. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical, but I was also challenged by a lot of high recommendations. When I went, Adrian (my hypnotherapist) explained the process. That he believed in rewiring our brains to positive thinking which is supposed to be our natural state of being. Hypnotherapy was just his method of helping people get there. Basically, by engaging our subconscious mind and bringing it into our awareness, clinical hypnotherapy reinforces positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. And when he explained the process, I realized as humans, we can fall into a trance pretty easily, and we do it fairly often.

For example in movie theaters when we become absorbed into the setting and the characters, whenever you become lost in thought, etc. And it’s in these trances that are uncontrolled that we become highly suggestible – meaning that we are sensitive to anything that gets thrown our way or pops up in our mind and forms some sort of belief system within us about ourselves.

It’s easy to fall into negative thinking traps in our present, so imagine just how easy it was to create negative beliefs and assumptions in our childhood, while our brains were merely developing. Any of these negative beliefs or assumptions we accepted about ourselves during trance in our childhood can follow us into adulthood. For instance: “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not lovable,” “I am incapable,” “I’m unwanted” just to name a few. But these lists, these beliefs that we have ingrained in ourselves have been wiring our outlook on life.

If we choose to break it down and look at the core, we might just find that the root of all our pain was always a belief system we formed in place for ourselves. And when we find that, and when we repeat the positive version aloud to ourselves (convinced of it to be true or not) each day, we can mindfully change our lives for the better.

As Saji Ijiyemi once said, “Whatever you believe is true is true even if it is not true.”

losing wisdom, losing years and getting older

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I don’t know where to begin other than by saying things were going well, too well in fact, until everything fell apart completely. That’s how these things usually go, right? That’s at least what I assume, and so when they were going well, I was walking on eggshells. I was waiting for the madness that follows. But little did I know that it wasn’t necessarily life that was creating this destruction, it was my own footsteps. The ones that treaded so carefully that they never really accepted what was being given to them. They didn’t dare skip, flutter, or prance around, afraid that they’d trip and fall if they got too comfortable with joy.

I was falling for someone again, someone who triggered an old self of mine that I thought I had left behind. But then I began to wonder, are all of our past selves still buried deep inside somewhere, waiting for the right moment to show themselves? I’ve refrained from love for a long time now and I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I took that time for myself. To become who I am now. To learn who exactly I am. What exactly it is that I want from this lifetime. Who I want by my side. How to heal. How to accept love from family, friends, strangers.

So much work, so much progress, so much healing, and then it all fell away in a few weeks where suddenly I felt I was back at square one. Like I woke up one day and forgot who I was again. I keep beating myself up over it, wanting to fall back into old habits. I broke it off with the guy I was falling for. I started questioning whether I was even a writer because I hadn’t written in a month. He was starting to consume my thoughts, my heart, my time, and I didn’t want that. I missed my solitude. I missed my sanity.

I began living in a whirlpool of emotions. Every day was a rollercoaster ride. I was 17 again. Then I was 16. Then 15. Time was warped and everything was backwards. It was like I was losing years instead of getting older. I realized pretty quickly that any romantic partner I would have, no matter how kind and lovely they are, is going to trigger me. I wished so badly that I was back in the seat across from my counselor, but instead, I’m across the country from her. I feel like someone erased me and I’m angry for not catching them in the act. Seeking familiarity in unknown territory is not the easiest thing.

I’m 22 today and I feel lost, but not the same kind of lost I felt at 17, because this person that I am now has resources that the old me didn’t. I have tools. That wisdom I’ve gained over the years, all that self-work, all that progress isn’t gone. It just has to be reworked once I figure out who exactly I am again. I’m not sure how to go about relationships, mostly because that’s the only area of my life I haven’t really worked on. They say that when it’s right, things are different. But what if things are right and you become different? And not the good kind.

I don’t believe people when they say they care about me and I think that’s the root of it all. That maybe I can work on this with friendships before moving back into the love realm again. A lot of the times, I find that I break my own heart because I’m afraid someone else will break it if I don’t beat them to it. These footsteps that tread so carefully do so for a reason, but that reason doesn’t exist in every situation. It’s hard to remember that sometimes.

It’s been a wild life so far in Vancouver, but I feel ready to start writing here again. To start sharing all these experiences with you guys. Because none of us are alone in the way that we are or feel. And this journey of mine that I thought I’d be doing alone doesn’t feel so lonely anymore. I made friends pretty easily, I’m doing well at work, I’m finding my feet. I’m not so sure how to go about love yet, but who does at this age? I don’t think I’m ready, and maybe it took breaking my own heart to remind myself of that, but I will be someday.

Progress doesn’t evaporate, it just evolves and takes different forms to adapt as you continue to become. And I’ll leave off with something I remind myself every night.

The sun will rise and we will try again.