Through.

Pushing forward, through regret
Create my path of hope of joy
This pain around is life’s, not mine
To follow this heart will be my ploy



[ Woman Thinking – Etude. sketch by Frédéric Forest ]

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My Story of Change.

In my early 20s, for continuing self-improvement, I would identify facets of myself that I felt needed shifting. Perhaps an attitude to something that I realised I would be better off thinking differently about. I found that through the desire to change I would swing from one extreme to the other side and after experiencing that, eventually settle somewhere in the middle – a good place to settle.

When my depression got worse requiring medication and professional therapy, I struggled a lot with acceptance of myself, seeing this person as faulty and broken. Some of these feelings persist still, although I am currently breaking through that wall of self loathing.

Later on in life, with more experiences, differing therapies, differing attitudes to myself and my mental health, I really started progressing on my journey of self-realisation. Therapy required daily homework, sometimes difficult, but I wanted to move myself out of the depressive experiences that had defined most of my life to date.

I believed changing thought patterns and mental habits that were 20-30 years old would be difficult and would take a long time. But I was ready for the journey and determined. What I discovered surprised me. I believe the first major mental shift only took about 4 months, when I expected a year or more. And the more that changed the easier each change became, because they all built on the positives of the previous. Within the past year I have seen shifts that only took a few weeks to overcome a lifetime of negative patterns!

By setting my mind to it, by being determined to change for the better no matter what, and by learning to trust myself and rely on my abilities and the support of experienced others, I have surprised myself with what can change for the better.

Be hopeful for your own journey.

Reconciliation and Hope.

Today was Father’s Day in Australia.

I spent early parts of the day, with my limited resources, trying to find a picture of him that I could post for today on my FB page, in memory.

I didn’t find anything suitable. I found a selection of photos illustrating him wasting away in his last year and that brought back painful memories. I wanted to remember him in the best way possible.

I went out for a bike ride to a weekly markets in the city. It’s a good place to sit myself down with some live music in the background, think, write, and people watch. I had forgotten how much I enjoy observing what happens around me.

After a couple poetic sketches, I was inspired to write a poem in memory of my father today. And I found a picture suitable enough to use illustrating my creativity.

And I thought that would be that.

Friends on FB were posting pictures of their fathers. Old family photos of smiling people having fun together, mid-hug, joyous memories. Along with this, descriptions of their positive experiences, their support, their love.

And I thought about how I experienced very little of that. Since age 10, when my Dad was knocked off his motorbike by a drunk driver, family life was never the same again. He suffered many problems as a result, which resulted in a family of 5 active children living with a physically incapacitated person sensitive to everyday noise. He suffered brain damage which forever changed the way he would interact with us. We lived with a person who became increasingly angry, irrational and explosive.

After five years Mum left. Eventually I followed.

I don’t have photos of hugs with my father. I remember some very early days of young boys rolling on the floor playing with him and that is all. I remember years of hating him, of wishing he was dead because that was the only way I could see life improving for the rest of us. Many years of having space and time gave me the opportunity to let go of the hurt and eventually reconnect. With assistance I eventually came into my own acceptance of what happened, of understanding, of letting go of blame and letting go of my own guilt.

I have come to acknowledge the aspects of my parents that I encompass, focussing on the positives. But I have always struggled with feeling loved, with needing to be loved. And I guess I am envious of those people I know who had such support during their formative years, who have some solid grounding in their lives.

When I see their stories, it leaves me sad.

A lesson I have learnt clearly, personally, this past week, is that the pain of emotions is a response within our mind. It is a chosen reaction. And we can choose to deal with it, to look at it with a different perspective, so that the pain is simply not there. The pain is only ever within our mind and as such, we have the individual power to not feel it. And that does not mean to bury it away somewhere. No, I mean to simply understand that by seeing around the emotions with a self awareness, there simply is no pain.

Pain only exists when we choose to create it within our mind.

This gives me hope. It lets me know that I can train myself to not create the pain. To live with a greater awareness of my self and a greater awareness around my thoughts. To live in a space where I am at peace, while still acknowledging all that I feel, all that I am.

And hope, is perhaps the most powerful emotion of them all.

This Is Not A Manifest.

Time to sit and process. Take stock of the present me, and recent thought encounters.

I need to look after myself. I need to make decisions in my life that are the best for me, irrespective of how much that may* hurt others. There is no point in letting myself suffer for the sake of the perceived* comfort of others.

I believe my ongoing health issues are largely a result of the stress of my profound unhappiness. Said unhappiness being largely the result of a relationship that has not been fulfilling me for some time (10 years or thereabouts).

I have made my best efforts at the time to resolve the relationship issues. I have worked on myself. I have attempted to guide my wife. We have been to counselling together. I have made many attempts to open discussions about our relationship. And all through I have seen her narrow view. I don’t know whether her refusal to engage with me (verbally and emotionally) at the level I need is out of fear or a lack of understanding.

I have stepped back and left space for growth. I have engaged fully to encourage growth. At times I have also pushed heavily for growth. Ultimately for me though, this has all been relatively futile. Which has resulted in negativity calling me out as a failure. I know this is not true. I have been battling to believe that I have done the best I can and that the negativity is a lie.

I do not believe in static relationships. I believe we grow daily with every experience, every challenge to our thoughts, every discovery within and outside of our mind. I believe significant growth comes through shared experiences with others. I believe that resisting change is ultimately hurtful to oneself, and that resistance is usually based on fears. I believe love is the basis for all good things.

I know that no matter what happens, what occurs, or what choices I make, that I have good friends who will support me. I trust them, as I have appreciated their response to my opening up about depression. And they have explicitly stated their support of me.

I have nothing to fear but fear itself.

I am pleased with my personal growth. I identify aspects of my personality that have changed significantly, especially in recent years and I am proud of the person I am. I have surrounded myself with amazingly supportive, genuine and fun people, whose company I thoroughly enjoy. I am proud of my growth as a writer and artist.

I have come to realise that all I ever wanted in life, is in fact right there surrounding me already and I only have to reach out for it.

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The Response.

I am not broken
Nor faulty
I am alive
Surviving
Even thriving
Because I am here
Today
Been through so much
And I am here
in this moment
aware of myself
all that was
and all that is

I will step forwards
Through this
Because I know
it doesn’t end here
My life goes on
to bigger and better
That’s just how
it’s always been
This day is
just like others
that I made it through
that I grew through
I am life

(14 April 2015)

.

[ written in response to yesterday’s post First Awareness. ]

Who Am I Now?

I want to grow
I always knew I needed to grow
Somewhere along the way I decided that growing together within a marriage was what you did, was good
Somewhere within that I lost track of myself and when we stopped growing the same way it grated and tugged at me
Now I’m trying to find myself again
for my own growth opportunities and to rediscover who I am now
To rediscover who I can be

(29 December 2014)

Questions and Answers.

I asked myself “why do I need to know others feel good, to feel good about myself?”
Am I relying on other’s responses to me, to feed me positivity?
Am I sensitive to discomfort, such that when seeing it in others, I feel it empathically?
Yes to all of these, and many other answers.
So, I asked myself “what does it take to feel good about myself, from and within myself, without outside influence?”
It takes courage, love, daring, foresight, hope, compassion, optimism, caring, persistence
There is no quaint, quick, rhyming answer that’s easy to read and easy to forget.
There is hard work, in changing the patterns of thought. But much of the hard work happens within. Physically rewiring brain neurons, which takes up a lot of physical energy.
So when you think about change, and plan change, and wish for it to happen
Also give yourself space for rest and recuperation
Because the invisible changes may be the most challenging of all.

(7 December)