I am a psychotherapist. I have the sacred privilege of witnessing the process of growth and transformation in my clients. It is holy work as I watch my clients move beyond limiting beliefs and learn to live more masterfully.
My hope for them is that they become free to be their true selves. To let go of the bonds of the past and live a fulfilling life.
Sometimes the pain and hurt of the past is so familiar to them that it becomes scary to let it go. Because they have carried it for so long it brings them a comforting kind of familiarity. Like a small child who holds unto his favorite blanky a little too tightly. The blanket of their comfort zone keeps them small and fearful. And the peace and serenity they long for eludes them.
To help let go of the worn out blanky of false comfort and walk the path of living with more freedom, I utilize a powerful tool I borrowed from the Recovery Movement that insiders know as the Three A’s.
Awareness, Acceptance and Action
The world is not a problem; the problem is your unawareness. —Bhagwan Shree Rajnees
Awareness is the realization that my past has impacted my life. It is being conscious of defense mechanisms used to survive that are no longer necessary. As awareness increases, there is something in me that unfreezes. I become less stiff, more fluid. I begin to experience hope and relief. I breathe easier as my understanding of myself and my world begins to enlarge. In any moment that I feel discomfort, I notice feelings as they come up. What are these feelings? What brought them to the surface? Where do I feel them in my body? What if I greet them with kindness and respect?
Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices. —Paul Tournier
Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. -Katherine Mansfield
There is great relief in acceptance. There is a power that comes from admitting that this is the way it is. I cannot change that person, that situation or the past. I can accept that it is part of the journey of life. I can accept myself with all my perfect imperfections. Acceptance allows me to feel more serene. And because I am not resisting what is, I can begin to see that I have a choice to change what I can. And what I can change are my attitudes, my thoughts and my behaviors. And really getting that on a deep level allows me to take action.
We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action. -Frank Tibot
Action is a decision that takes me from victim to creator. It is freeing, empowering, enlightening. It requires thought, energy and movement. As I make a decision to take control in whatever way I can, miracles happen. The action can be as simple as taking a deep breath or practicing gratitude or taking a quick jog around the block. Or asking yourself a simple question “What needs to be done in this moment?” It can be as easy as changing the front porch light bulb so you no longer trip on the stairs. Or as difficult as calling a divorce attorney.
It is not always easy living in this world. We are in a constant state of giving and receiving of shrinking and expanding, and most importantly, growing and evolving. The more we learn to take care of ourselves the easier it is to thrive in this amazing and yet confusing world. It becomes a fun and interesting challenge to become a creator rather than a victim. And no matter what you are facing in your life keep in mind that through these steps, you hold the key that allows you to be free.
Call to action:
To gain awareness learn how to meditate and spend at least 10 minutes a day in quiet meditation.
To help yourself accept what is, use this affirmation: “This is the way it is. I can decide how I will think, behave and act.”
To help yourself let go of the past repeat to yourself, “The past is over. I will focus on what action I can do right now”.
When feeling confused or stuck, get out your notebook and complete these sentences.
I am aware that ________________________________
I accept that _________________________________
The action I will take is ________________________________
Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist with a practice in Southfield, MI. She combines traditional and alternative techniques to help you live with more ease, joy and freedom. Her belief in the healing power of love and forgiveness guides her work. She can be reached through her website at www.BrendaStrausz.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or her facebook page Open to Joy.
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