Being Honest with Oneself

A couple weeks ago I read a man’s revealing blog entry about how his world was suddenly upended by his loving wife dying from a fast-acting form of cancer. He wrote how he simply came apart after her death and spent the majority of his time tipping a bottle. What saved him, he said, was bottoming out, letting everything go, and being brutally honest with himself about every aspect of his past, present, and future without her.

While these words below (inspired by his article) are mine and not his, it was a powerful and hopeful message that needed to be shared—how he slowly rebuilt his life from the ground up by changing how he viewed his role in the process.  I’d like to list his url page of the article here for all to read it directly but unfortunately I can’t locate it again. Sorry. This is the best I can do.

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Jack, my counselor, told me he had one rule, and that was to be honest in our talks. “Be honest?” I sneered back at him. The only truth I knew for certain was that I was still sinking in a tar pit of pain over my wife’s sudden illness and death that past year—I raged for half an hour at the unfairness of it all to both of us.  “You want REAL?” I told him, “THAT is very real to me—so there Jack, THAT is my being honest with you!”

My counselor then said to use that very real pain as the starting point to feeling what truth is for me—to use it as the gauge of honesty for every other aspect of my life to help determine what I expected from life in general, and even more importantly, what life might actually expect from me—which made no sense at all to me back then. “What LIFE expects from me?” I yelled, “Screw life! What did it ever do but give me more pain?”

He said that if I could just be honest with myself over what I truly felt for my wife before and after her illness, and allowed myself to feel the real depth of my loss over her death, then I could be honest about other parts of myself as well. That honesty, he said, would help me determine how I wanted to live the rest of my life.

The booze, he said, was keeping me from ‘feeling’ in general because if I never really let myself feel the pain, then I could never get past the pain to move on from there.

The court-required AA meetings helped because other addicts/alcoholics won’t let you lie about what you do or why you do it. They know. They’ve been there. They’ve said and done the same things, and they call you out on your stuff. You can’t hide it from them. You get that real fast. And I needed that.  I needed their truthfulness to help me uncover my own.

But I wouldn’t call those meetings support as much as I’d call it a mirror held up to your face that you can’t avoid.  There you are—twenty or so different versions of you—all gathered in one room sharing stories, shame, and self-loathing.  And there I was with a bunch of other people supposedly just like me—like being called by some other name to tell something similar to my story, like Jim or John or Lori, …or Frank or Jerry—but they were all different versions of me. “Same brand of ice cream, just a different flavor,” Jack said.

Well I didn’t like how that made me feel, so I told them about it. Said I didn’t belong there.

“Accept it,” they said. “We are alcoholics. You’re an alcoholic—lying is what you do, especially to yourself.  That’s who you are because that’s the most comfortable way to be—at least it always has been. Problem now is that even lying doesn’t work for you anymore.”

They were rough with me at times because I was so stuck in denial—claiming I was the victim here—why couldn’t they see that? One guy even pointed to me and said, “You want to keep seeing this same lying sack of shit staring back at you every time you look in the bathroom mirror? NO? Then change what you’re doing—change what you’re thinking. Because if you can’t accept the living proof of who and what you are sitting here all around you—if you can’t stand to think that you’ve been lying to yourself and to everyone you say you loved day after day for most of your life, then don’t expect your future to be any different. It’s your choice. YOUR choice, man!”

The “Your choice!” repeated over and over in their own stories. It’s always your choice. It’s your decision. “No one makes it but you,” they kept saying. “It isn’t really about life’s unfairness, or how much you miss your wife,” one of them told me. It was about being honest with myself about what I was feeling—what I still AM feeling about it all, and deciding if that’s what I want to feel in the future.

“If you can do that,” my counselor who led the group said, “if you can be honest with yourself, then you can pull yourself together and get on with your new life without the booze. But it’s really up to you.”

And as a parting shot, another guy who looked a lot like my sleezy Uncle Charlie, who was the last person in the world I ever wanted a lecture like this from, told me, “If you aren’t willing to help yourself buddy, don’t expect us to help you.”

Well, a couple years later I can tell you that it wasn’t easy by any means. Some days are still a struggle, but eventually I learned to view that past history of my previous self and life in a different way—what Jack called “in a more constructive manner”—one where I could refocus on how I had survived those painful life lessons, and use that survivor mentality to help me feel good about myself again, …which was far better than feeling so rotten all the time, where I simply wanted to numb myself into la-la land with the booze.

But maintaining the what Jack had named “lesson-filled, boot-camp view” of my previous life which he said I had successfully survived, was a difficult choice that I had to keep making day after day—sometimes every minute of the day for awhile, until I grew more comfortable in my new skin.

And getting to know this new me who thought and acted completely different from the old me, was the hardest part of it, because I finally realized that for 42 years I’d basically been doing nothing more than lying to myself, so I hardly knew what truth looked like, or even what being truthful felt like.

In fact the more I considered it, I’m not sure that I had ever been honest with anyone, let alone being honest with myself back then.

Was everything I’d said and done in my entire life a lie? If so, then wasn’t any part of it real? And what part of me was the real ME who was actually worth knowing? To figure that out, Jack tried to flip my mind again to see WHO it was that I wanted to become, to know how to get there. He said it was like creating an image of the new and better me that I would simply have to GROW into. But how could I do that?

Jack framed it to me this way: If I were the adult parent of a newborn ME ready to be introduced into this world full of challenges and wonders, what kind of parent would I truly need to be to successfully raise baby ME into a solid, well-balanced adult? Would I need a critical, demanding, drill sergeant constantly condemning ME and beating me down for my failings, or a nurturing, caring, coach continually encouraging my daily progress and raising me up to feel good about myself?

Not a tough choice, really. I didn’t need to feel any worse about myself than what I’d already been feeling.  What I needed was to feel more loved and supported than I had actually felt throughout most my childhood. Jack agreed. He said what I needed to help me succeed in my new life direction was my own loving guidance and support, not more self-condemnation.

Per Jack’s instructions, every morning now when I look in the bathroom mirror, I ask myself this question: “How are you going to encourage the best from that young kid in you today—how are you going to parent yourself to become a strong and loving person?”

Then I look right into my own eyes and say the words of a speech I’d memorized for doing this daily self pep-talk, “How can I express myself in more compassionate ways—in ways that other loving and caring people want to share in—ways that help them to recognize the goodness of my heart so they want to become more a part of my life?”

“How can I be a good person?”  I ask the ME staring back in all my imperfections. And that’s the goal I set for the day—every day—just trying to be a good person in some way—trying to help somebody or to do something nice for somebody else, because it makes me feel good when I can do that. And the more good I do for others, the better I feel about myself. Funny I know, but that’s how it is.

Well, as you can see, I’m still working on that goal of being a better person. But I wanted others to know that being honest with myself was a key to clearing out the garbage from my life. Think about it: You got to keep taking out the trash to keep from stinking up the house.

And if that ain’t being honest, …then I don’t know what is.

Faith and Belief

rocks.jpgThere are things I have faith in, and things I believe, if only at this moment in time.

There are people I feel comfortable with, and those I avoid for reasons both known and unknown to me; unknown because some “intuitive discomforts” are hard to put into words by the rational mind.

So as an energy worker I would simply say that some people’s cocooning energy vibration does not resonate with my own surrounding energy field, and leave it at that.heart split.jpg But in truth, those are the people that I would avoid because in their presence their vibrational dissonance is so pronounced that I simply cannot stand to be in their energy for long.

There are also people who believe things that are considered to be religious doctrines within their particular FAITH’s creed that lay out the do’s and don’ts for all of us—the should’s and should not’s, the “thou shalt this” and “shalt not do that’s.”

There are even religious doctrines that define the reason for our existence as the whim of a jealous God, and state that our continued progress forward depends only on following the very narrow path that religion prescribes; as no other path will suffice for our salvation, whatever salvation means to that belief.

Tbooks rel.jpghere are faiths that spout hatred and intolerance as the way to achieve heavenly bliss in the hereafter, which makes little sense to anyone other than believers of that faith.

But the fact is, there are people who DO believe these things: the DO’s and DON’Ts, the jealous God, the only path forward, along with holding tightly within one’s being the toxic, dissonant energies of intolerance and hate.

I can honestly say that I believe many things. But foremost I believe that HATRED begats only hatred (love that stupid word “begats”—probably because it is SO officially Biblical).

But I also have FAITH that LOVE is, and will always be, triumphant over hatred not because of a single man, however Divinely connected he may have been; but because of our collective end-game goal of “heavenly bliss” which cannot be reached by any other vibrational frequency than LOVE, which only makes hate doctrines the surest way to avoid such a possible state of future blissfulness.

You can call whatever you wish the particular philosophy that you stake your existence on.

I really don’t care.mlk-quot

For myself, I believe in Love and in holding a high-vibrational, blissful focus every day of our lives as the solution to our present inner turmoil, as well as the peaceful guide for our external actions.

But I don’t have to convince anyone else of that belief, especially when it is so easily experienced for one’s self.

I know this to be a fact: HATE will eat you alive, while LOVE will set you free.

I have FAITH in LOVE.  I BELIEVE in LOVE.

FAITH and BELIEF do not exist between the covers or a book, or the walls of a steepled structure.

They are your personal connection to your very reason for being if you only take the quiet time to feel them for yourself.

Who Is the Healer Here?

It’s such a shame that by the time most of us finally get a handle on how life really works, it’s pretty late in the game.

It turns out that all those vices that we once adored may not have been so beneficial after all.

All thexcessose wild and crazy times with friends and anyone else around us back then, might not have been so “fun” the next morning when our eyes finally opened and our head stopped spinning. But then we went right back to them the next weekend, and the weekend after that, etc.

All those wheelbarrows full of chips, dips, sodas, hot dogs, nacho grandes, and candy bars we carted home from the grocery store or the fast-food joint, might not have been as nutritious and body-supportive as our younger minds once told us that they were. (Or as nutritious as our after-adolescent/pre-retirement minds told us they were.)

All those times we took the elevator rather than the stairs because the extra exercise was just too much effort, is starting to add up around our ever-expanding middle. Elastic waistbands or sweatpants have become our favorite mode of lower-body coverage. And those spandex pants stretched to infinity trying to cover 20-lbs of potatoes in 10-lb sack, is almost obscene from the rearview people! (Please don’t make me see that again.)

So here we are now….approaching middle-age from one side or the other (that’s if we live to be at least 100yrs), asking various doctors and nutritionists why we feel so awful.

  • Why does my body hurt?dr and pill
  • Why do I have indigestion?
  • Why can’t I eat the things I once did without regretting it in an hour?
  • Why do I have no energy?
  • Why can’t I sleep?
  • My head hurts. My body hurts. My back is killing me. My feet fall asleep.
  • Is there some pill or supplement that I can take to feel better NOW?

You know, I could claim that as an energy therapist or a hypnotist these are the very symptoms that I hear when people come to me hoping that I can help them find relief from some suffering and pain symptom; but in truth, I’m no different than any of those folks are—I’ve been there doing the “not so healthy” things in my youth that have likely contributed to my own present-day aches and pains. I just don’t do as much of them any longer, if at all.

So it’s pretty hard for me to criticize anyone; and it’s even hard for me to listen to those proselytizers who mount their mobile soapbox in front of a captive audience and shake a pencil-thin finger at others for their evidential health transgressions.

I mean really. We ARE human. We likely have had poor role models throughout our youth (and I don’t mean the razor-thin ones walking the fashion runways).

Not to mention that most of us didn’t have “Michele Obama mothers” who were as educated and disciplined about our early eating habits; because we more than likely had “Bill Clinton appetites” for fast burgers and fries on the side, oh yeah, …with a chocolate milkshake—to go, please.

However, in saying that we are both the products of tainted genetics and marketing-driven environments, there is still the important fact that WE are in charge of our own health; and it is UP TO US to change our ways to eating a healthier diet and to getting more exercise.

But it’s also up Jesus and the blind manto us to realize that the only one who really “heals you” is yourself. I and any other health practitioner can help all that we are able to help, but the rest is up to you (or me with my own aches and pains). We actually are the main determiners of our own healing—sometimes at this level of awareness and sometimes at the level of our Higher Self—depending on the lessons we came here to explore.

In reality as we presently know it there are NO silver bullets that magically eliminate a health foe. Nor are there instant “feel better” pills for chronic suffering. Yes, there are “feel-nothing” pills (or alcohol) that are addictive, but those aren’t the same as actually improving your health condition. Those just make you care less if you ever feel anything again—good or bad. That’s why they should be avoided.

In conclusion, I wish I could tell the person who called me over the weekhealthy body quoteend pertaining to his deteriorating health condition that, “Yes, you bet. I’ll have you feeling WAY better in no time.”

Except in all likelihood, I might be able to help you a little, but most of the work will be up to you and how you choose to live your life.