Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tool Box

I'm about to challenge something major here folks. Here it goes: Meditation, positive affirmations, vision boards, focusing only on the present and gratitude journals are not going to bring you the inner peace and contentment you desperately seek. "What?!" you exclaim, "This is blasphemous to all new age gurus and healers." Please, let me explain.

I don't mean to imply that these techniques hold no value or healing potential. Indeed, I too have used and continue to use most of them. What I believe is missing is the knowledge that these are meant to offer a variety of instruments with which we can incorporate healing into our world. There is no one right way to inwardly grow and heal but instead we have a plethora of tools at hand that we might utilize. Thus, we need a toolbox.

A toolbox suggests that different jobs require unique tools for each task at hand, many projects requiring multiple tools and each tool limited in its capacity to be of use. Our personal growth is no different than the home project that sits under construction in your garage or basement, multiple approaches are necessary to bring structure and progress. While filling that toolbox one should always leave space for, here comes another moment of blasphemy, your past.

I know, I know, this too flies in the face of all we are being fed. "The past holds no power," we are instructed. Well, I've yet to meet anyone of us mere mortals that has been able to flip that switch and never look back. Who I have met are a lot of people who remain unhappy and restless despite the fact that they are dutifully performing some of the tasks mentioned above. Denying our past and forgetting its existence, which is how it is understood by the masses, is a denial of part of who we are and how we came to be. The past holds innumerable insights and gifts for us if we choose to consciously engage with it. Once we understand the impact of our past we are free to make new and healthier choices, and the other various forms of self care and awareness begin to pack a greater punch as barriers are lifted. How so?

Let's compare moments in our past to a broken leg, which of course is a physical wound. Some of the pain and unhealthy beliefs from our past certainly do not define all that we are, just like one leg is not the entirety of our body, they are simply an emotional wound. We could never imagine not seeking help and healing for a broken leg, yet many allow emotional wounds to remain unattended. A broken leg, if ignored, will prove to be a permanent source of discomfort and a steady reminder of the hurt as we proceed to limp our way through the world. Obviously, emotional injuries are no different and deserve time and attention if we are to remain unhindered, or "limp-free" if you will.

As we sit in the ER with a broken leg, the nurses and doctors go to their toolbox in an effort to bring about healing. Syringes, medicines, x-rays, cleansing agents, casts, wheelchairs, crutches, etc. all play a role in mending our leg. They don't simply rely on one thing to get the job done but many different devices.

Never do they ignore the wound that lies in front of them, suggesting instead that we go home and meditate to deal with the discomfort. We are not prescribed the task of making a vision board with photos of ourselves or others engaged in the act of running or strolling on a walk to facilitate healing. They do not send us gimping out of the hospital with instructions to write in our gratitude journal about all the joyful things that happened in the day. Statements such as, "Focus on the positive, at least your other leg isn't broken," is not how our need is approached. And it is fully accepted that the process of healing might involve physical therapy in the future as you make efforts to relearn what was once natural to you.

The past, my friends, is simply the broken leg that may need tending and a hands on approach. If left out of your toolbox of personal growth you will find yourself stymied and frustrated, your project of self awareness forever limited by the trauma and its remaining scars. It is exactly through the sifting of our past that we once again learn anew what was once so instinctive in us, our truth and authenticity.

So yes, heed the wise words of the likes of Deepak, Oprah, and Eckhart Tolle but don't forget to listen to the sage lessons offered to you in understanding your past and its impact in your life today. Seek counsel from the wisdom within you that need only be given attention and a voice. It is with a well rounded toolbox that the luster of the masterpiece that is you can once again shine in the halls of your life.

Be well and happy.

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