Escaping the Mind Trap
What if I told you that the only problem you really have is within your mind? The belief that you have a problem keeps you attached to what you believe is the problem. A simple shift in perspective can clear resistance and get you moving forward. The mind is a wonderful tool when it's clear and used properly. It can also be a very frightening and dark prison of our own making.
A few years ago, I left a full-time managerial position because I felt like I was drowning. Every day seemed like I was just treading water and barely keeping my head above the surface. Stressed doesn't even come close to describing the feelings I had. I couldn't seem to leave work at work. I was constantly trying to stay ahead of problems, feeling like I was the only one who cared enough to keep things running smoothly and efficiently. What I didn't realize is that all of those "problems" I was trying to prevent were keeping me living in a fear-based stress response that was taking a toll on my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I felt like I had lost myself somewhere along the way while doing my best to make sure employees were taken care of and the daily routines of the business were handled. My home life was suffering because I was never really present when I was there with my family. My mind was either on work or I was attempting to escape by having a drink or two and scrolling Facebook.
Long story, made short, I finally realized that I needed something to change and the only way I felt that could happen was by leaving the job. I had no idea what I would do, but I knew that I was tired of feeling so frustrated and overwhelmed. I somehow knew that everything would be ok if I just stepped away. My partner was supportive and I had a good chunk of money in my savings account so I took the leap with faith that something better was waiting for me. I felt like a weight had been lifted when I finally decided to resign and it was as if the sun came out again. I was excited to live and see what else was out there. It was as if a switch was flipped and a window opened letting in fresh air and I could breathe again. I began to open myself to all sorts of new ideas and opportunities.
I began to dive into inspirational books, learn more about health and wellness, not just physical, but mental and emotional, and watch videos that made me feel better about life. I took time to be alone and listen to what was happening within my own mind. I realized how misaligned I had become from my own truth and authenticity. I had thought of myself as an independent, didn't give a shit what anyone else thought of me, type of person. When I took a deeper look, I found a little girl still trying to prove herself and people please. I had been going against my own intuition and justifying it by telling myself that I didn't want to be judgmental about people. I was taking responsibility for things and people that weren't mine to be responsible for. I just wanted everyone to be ok, but I was leaving myself behind by thinking that if everyone else was ok, I would be, too.
Some of my biggest insights came from flying solo to Costa Rica to a place called Rythmia Life Advancement Center to take Ayahuasca and get to know myself, away from all the normal routines. I researched Ayahuasca and learned as much as I could about other people's experiences and I was convinced that it was what I needed to get my life back on track and figure out my life purpose. It was nothing like I thought it would be, and yet it was some of the most profound experiences I have been through to date. The thing about Ayahuasca is that a person doesn't always understand the healing taking place within the journey; the understanding comes on the back side and during an integration period. What I realized in those few ceremonies was that I was the only thing getting in my way of enjoying life. My own mind was trapping me. I was torturing myself with self-doubt, judgment, criticism, fear and I had been repressing all of my emotions, especially grief.
Within less than a 10 year period, I lost my Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, partner's Father, Dad, and Father of my two sons and a couple of other family members. When my Dad died, I didn't even take a day off of work. I went on believing that it didn't really matter. People die and life goes on. When my ex died a month before our son's high school graduation, something shifted within me and I started to feel things that made me question everything that I was doing. I started to realize my boys were almost grown and out on their own and I wasn't even sure I really knew who they were. I started to evaluate my priorities to some extent, but kept plugging away, going through the motions of daily routines and work until a triggering event at work made me stop and question why I was doing what I was doing. It was the straw that broke this camel's back, and I knew it was time to move on.
During the first Ayahuasca ceremony, I felt I was meeting with and talking to my dead relatives. They assured me I didn't need to feel any guilt and that it was time to let go of any anger or resentment I was holding onto. Waves of grief went through me, and yet waves of joy and love and release also flooded my being. The next ceremony was very different as I waited for the medicine to begin to work and felt like nothing was happening for the longest time. I asked for more as we were told, "if you're thinking, you should be drinking". I laid down after that dose and just hoped something would happen. Something happened and it wasn't what I was hoping for; I felt like I was dying, physically in pain, mentally and emotionally a battle was waging within my mind as I fought the sick feelings within me. I felt terrible stomach cramps and like I couldn't move. It felt like this went on for hours as I talked myself out of puking and tried to calm myself. When the lights came on, I opened my eyes and began to move and all the feelings of sickness were gone. I came to understand that I was creating my own pain by not letting things go. My mind was holding me hostage as I dealt with anxiety and fear about what I should do and how I should be, what was right or wrong...I was doing this on a daily basis in my normal life and not realizing it.
I went through four ceremonies in Costa Rica. The third was like being in the womb of a peaceful, unconditionally loving Mother. I felt completely held, supported, warm, at peace and connected beyond anything I could ever remember feeling in this life before. The final ceremony was supposed to be the most potent medicine, and the Shaman did individual healings for every participant. I honestly felt like nothing profound happened that night and I even asked for more medicine when it was my turn to join the group for the healings. By that time, it was morning and it felt too late to have more. The Shaman told me to wait until after the healing and then if I wanted it, I could have more. I didn't ask again afterward. I accepted that whatever needed to happen had, but I still felt as if something was missing. I talked with other people throughout the day and felt better as I wrapped up the week and prepared to go back home the following day. I knew I was changed. I didn't know how much my life would change. I didn't know that path I was on was one of freeing myself from all the mental constraints of conditioned thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I didn't know how simple life could really be.
What I have learned, it would seem in the last three years but it's been a lifelong journey, is how to be in this world and not of it. I've learned how to escape the trappings of thought and the mental maze of fear and anxiety. I've realized all the ways I have kept myself living small, cowering from adventures and opportunities as I create from a fear-based program instilled by society, generational trauma, culture, consumerism, government, the education system, and more. We all point fingers and blame other people and institutions for our own misery and the suffering of others not realizing that each of us is responsible for our own happiness and freedom. These things are internal states that come from surrender, acceptance, compassion, and LOVE. Until we become free from the trappings of belief systems full of lies meant to keep us living in fear so we are more easily manipulated and controlled, we will remain victims, merely surviving, not really living. It's time to remember and know our own power as creators.
What kind of world do you want to live in? You have the power to change, to transcend the fear-based belief systems and the ideas that keep you stuck. Transform into your Authentic and full potential as a unique whole within the whole. Become sovereign. Be the change you want to see.