Archive for wholeness
In brokenness, I was so busy trying to keep myself together that any mistakes I made were monstrous and threatening. Clinging to the ideal of perfection as my ultimate redeemer, I wallowed in my mistakes. I re-lived them over and over in my mind, feeling this deep shame and guilt in knowing that I had messed up. Ultimately, I was linking my mistakes to my identity. I believed that if I made bad mistakes, then I must be bad too.
In rebuilding the foundation of what I believe about myself and working through where the lies came from that I was coping with, I have a new sense of freedom when it comes to my mistakes. I have a new belief about the goodness of my heart, and I can operate from a platform of valuing myself as I am, for who I am. Because of this, my mistakes lose their power to whack me on the head. I realize 2 things: I can take responsibility for the mental ruts I fall into now (as Darlene has said in a previous post, “The more that I repeated this process, the more I realized that I was the one in my own way and that underneath those other voices, was my own voice telling me that I was not really valuable, or loveable or capable etc.”) and secondly, becoming aware of the ruts I find myself in creates the opportunity for me to compassionately decide on a better way. I am free to choose; I’m not in bondage to the old mistakes and coping habits anymore. Though this might feel overwhelming at first, it is a healing freedom. In wholeness, we have the power to redeem our ruts… even if it takes numerous attempts to create new habits.
In this light, here’s a fun little story about the process of change by Portia Nelson: An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters. I doodled some pictures for your enjoyment, though in the future I may have to hire an artist! ~All power to you as you walk down your new streets~
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS by Portia Nelson
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
I received this message and question from a reader;
I love your blog, emerging from broken. I read it every day and I think it is the most ROCKING website going.
Okay, so you talk a lot about wholeness in your posts and it’s in your blog subtitle too. I think I have an idea of what wholeness is, but you seem to have this really rich, deep understanding of what it is. So I am really curious to hear you explain it in your own words. What is wholeness? What does it mean to you to be whole? Does it mean you don’t struggle anymore? Does it mean you have soaring self-esteem? Does it mean you’re never depressed and always happy? I am at the tail end of my own therapy, and peering into the world that waits for me. But sometimes I still have those little doubts that I’m ready, that I’m whole in the same way that you are.
Sincerely, 99% Sure I’m whole too”
Dearest Fellow Seeker
Thank you for your enthusiastic encouragement!
When I first read this question I wondered how the heck I was going to answer it, but then I decided to answer a small aspect of it. I am sure that other aspects will be covered in later posts.
I wanted to address your question asking me if I am never depressed and always happy. I rarely feel “depressed” in the way that I used to feel, but sometimes I feel down. Not every day is a perfect day and life isn’t always easy. I wouldn’t say that I am always happy, in the way that we think of as happy (although most of my friends would say that I am a pretty happy person).
What I would say is that I always have a sense of peace. I have an acceptance that I didn’t have before. I accept life in the way that it arrives each day. I know that I know how to DO life now. I don’t just “cope” anymore. I don’t disconnect or dissociate in order to deal with life. I don’t run to bed and pull the covers up over my head in the middle of the day if things get rough. I live. I face what is going on, I deal with it to the best of my ability, and I live.
Nothing changed overnight. It was a process of change and acceptance and getting used to the new way of living, and I continue to thrive and grow. I learned to trust myself by living in wholeness. There weren’t any shortcuts. In my process, I learned to embrace who I am, and stopped looking for approval from others. It stopped mattering to me what others thought. This is true even with my family and my husband. ~I don’t let them define me by whether or not they approve of me. (My son, at the age of 15, didn’t approve of me returning to work even though my work outside the home was only 2 days per week. His definition of love was that I stayed home and cooked all his favorite meals and focused my energy on him. He needed to learn a new definition of love, and it took me a while to help him with that.)
~ It doesn’t really matter what other people think. I don’t try to apply someone else’s idea of whole to my life. I wanted to be whole like ME, not whole like someone else. I don’t let anyone else define me either. No one gets to decide my worth.
In closing there is one other thing that I would like add that for me defines my wholeness. My life has purpose and I have a passion for my purpose. I wake up every morning excited to get into the day, sometimes way before I planned to get up! This feeling of excitement is consistent and following my passion and purpose is fulfilling and rewarding.
That is a very small glimpse of what wholeness is to me, but I hope that it gives you some idea. I would love to have other peoples comments on what wholeness means to them.
Bright Happy Squishes,
“Nothing can give it to you because you already have it… And not only do you have it- you are it, you are what you’re looking for already… the ‘I am’ that is stripped of all this and that, the pure experiencing of knowing yourself as… life itself; I don’t have a life, I am life.” – Eckhart Tolle
When I relate to others from a hungry heart, there is this feeling of intense neediness, of strong reliance on them to keep me “together”. This is why I’m so passionate about being whole in and of myself, of valuing myself as I am, for who I am. It’s not self-centered. I want to be whole in relationships too, and that all starts with the sense of my unique and worthy self.
I used to react to others who treated me poorly. There was always things “stringing along” feeling… this anxiety that I had to be just the right way around them in order to be treated well. For the subtlest reasons I would cower inside or adjust my behavior in order to win their favor. Sometimes I would get very quiet. Or other times I would be verbal and defensive, spilling all my emotions and putting myself in a very vulnerable place. For me, the heart of my reactivity was to try to correct their behavior so that they would treat me as valuable. I was trying to correct the “mirrors” to keep telling me I was “okay”. I relied on their treatment of me to define my worthiness. By attempting to correct their treatment of me, I was attempting to keep my small sense of worthiness intact. I gave a lot of my power away and opened myself up to be hurt time and again.
Building on a new foundation of beliefs about who I really am sets me up for a different kind of relating. I don’t need to depend on others to define me anymore. Inside, there is this growing sense of my own value. Just as I am, now. I exist in this moment with all my strengths and weaknesses, my personality, my hopes and quirks, my unique perspectives. I’m not defined by other people; my past reactions and hungry heart behaviours don’t define the real me either. It’s just a simple unalterable fact that I exist as a valuable part of this world. When I enter interactions with others from this truth, everything changes. I don’t have to hop around inside, adjusting myself to someone else’s requirements. Most importantly, to summarize Eckhart Tolle, I’m not relying on someone else to give to me what only I can give myself.
*Special Note!: My article Contexting Geese (click to visit) was published recently on the multi-author blog, Wisdom a la Carte. I found this blog via facebook, and it’s another great resource for thought-provoking insight! I’ll be writing more on that theme here, in coming weeks!*
Here are seven differences from my life between living in brokeness and living whole:
-Always on high alert
-Happiness came and went depending on circumstances
-Close my eyes and just push through…
-Threatened by other people’s success and unique qualities
-Giving because I felt guilty or obligated
-Determining my value based on how I compared to others
-Deep feelings of happiness and real joy come naturally the more I believe the truth about who I really am
-Believing I have the ability to…
-Freedom in relationships to appreciate other people’s unique qualities without being threatened by them
-Knowing I am not ultimately responsible for someone else’s happiness
-Pursing the kind of life I ultimately want, because I now believe I am worthy of it
-Having limits and allowing myself to fail without beating myself up; engaging in my own personal process of growing and moving forward with compassion and celebration
-Giving to others because I genuinely want to and with no strings attached
I received the following question from a reader;
“Darlene, I wish I would wake up one morning with this deep sense of my own self worth. How did that happen for you? Was it something you had to think about enough before you felt it, or did you just feel it right away? This is where I’m struggling. I still so easily cave in to someone else’s opinion of me. And I see that valuing myself is at the heart of my entire future of healing and thriving.”
This was a long process for me; in fact this might be the definition of the 2nd process. ( I have come to see my process in two parts: the first part where I got the help I needed for my mental health issues and became a whole person and the second part where I learned how to live in that wholeness)
I certainly didn’t wake up one morning feeling a sense of my worth and identity and resolving never to be defined by anyone else ever again! As I have written before, after digging deeply into the root causes of my dissociative identity disorder and chronic depression, I began sorting out the truth from the false about myself with the help of my therapist. This was what I call part one of my recovery.
Next I learned to listen to the little voice in my head that caused me to doubt myself all the time.
In one of the self help programs that I used to be in, I had been taught to ignore the nagging self doubts and little messages of fear in my head. In my process of permanent recovery, I learned to listen to that voice and even respond to it. This was very frightening in the beginning because I was afraid that the voice was actually true!
First of all, I identified whose voice it really was. When I first started to learn how to do this, the voice I would identify would not be my own, but would be my mothers, or brothers, or an ex boyfriend. I would ask the voice what else it had to say to me, and I would keep listening to it until it had nothing else to say. The deeper that I went with this process, the more illogical and childlike the things that would come to my mind (the voice) would sound.
This process made me realize where my low self esteem and limiting beliefs came from in the first place, and also made me realize that most of my fears and beliefs were no longer valid. The more that I repeated this process, the more I realized that I was the one in my own way and that underneath those other voices, was my own voice telling me that I was not really valuable, or loveable or capable etc.
I realized soon enough that this was the core of my survival system and that I had used it since I was very young. My inner world was so rooted in self protection that deep down I was afraid to define myself as worthy, capable, confident, beautiful, and smart- all those true words about me- in case my new life of wholeness was going to be dangerous! Those voices and beliefs were a form of protection, but they were also counterproductive to my new life of freedom and they were holding me back in the past where I was unhappy, and broken.
This is a hard question to answer in one post, but I am sure I will be expanding on it in the future. I thank you for asking and welcome anyone that wishes to remain anonymous to either use a fake name or nick name in the comments section, or use the contact page and your questions will be answered this way.
~Wishing you the best of mental health!
In the profession that I am in as a mental health advocate, I often hear the complaint that therapy is too expensive and not accessible to everyone. Therapy can cost hundreds of dollars per hour and many places in the world have no insurance coverage or health care supplement allotted for mental health issues.
I spent thousands of dollars for therapy. It was something that I made a commitment to do, and I didn’t care if I had to spend the rest of my life paying it off because I was so sick of being sick. For me it was just like the decision to go to University; if I wanted to live in wholeness and fullness, then I had to do what it takes to get there. I felt that I was making an investment in myself but more importantly, making an investment in my family.
Here is one of the ways I look at making the decision to pay for therapy or not to pay for therapy; a holiday for a family of 5 for two weeks costs between $12,000.00 and $18,000.00 depending what you do on the holiday. Several years ago our family went to Disney Land and the whole trip cost us $13,000.00 by the time we paid airfare and hotel, theme park admissions and restaurants, but here is the kicker. I came home exhausted because my coping methods had to kick into high gear in order for me to get through it. New things, new places, new people all caused me to go into emotional nightmare. Spending that much money and coming home exhausted and needing a holiday was a bit disappointing.
Last year we went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for our first all inclusive resort vacation, and it was really wonderful! I came home refreshed, I did not go into any “emotional spins” while away and the whole family, myself included, enjoyed every day of the 14 days we were away. Now that I have learned to live without coping methods, I don’t feel as though I NEED a holiday but rather I go and enjoy a holiday! The whole experience of vacation was so much better in wholeness then it was before. It was certainly worth giving up a couple of vacations in order to have this freedom that I live in now, especially since the vacations are so much better now!
Tomorrow we head off to Dreams Tulum, an all inclusive resort in Tulum Mexico for a couple of weeks! I am really excited!
Wishing you all good mental health! ~ Darlene
Happy New Year!
~On January 1st, this blog was officially one month old and I am really pleased with the progress we have made. Here are a few highlights this past couple days.
~Google is picking up our posts the same day we write them, which means that we are getting searched frequently by the search engines.
Sarah has compiled a great resource here if you are looking for reading material or information about Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder. There are some great mental health blogs listed whose focus is on other mental health issues too, so be sure to check it out.
~For those of you that have websites and blogs, have you ever checked your ranking with Alexa? Alexa is a website that ranks websites in order of popularity. For instance Google is number one, Facebook is number two and You Tube is number three and the list goes on.
There are over 5 billion websites on the internet and Alexa ranks them in order of importance. I have no idea how this works, but I am excited to tell you that this blog, Emerging from Broken, is ranked at 4,304,599 in just one month.
Thanks to all our readers and to those of you who have used social media to share our blog and tweet our posts! Without all of you, these accomplishments would not have happened!
I am excited about 2010. I am passionate about living in wholeness, equality and truth. I am excited about the message that complete recovery from mental health issues and living life to the fullest is possible. I am looking forward to meeting you on the journey!
Wishing you all great mental health in 2010
I saw the new movie “Invictus” this past weekend~ what a great film. It tells the story of Nelson Mandella’s first months as president of South Africa after being released from prison. According to the movie, the poem “Invictus” was his favorite; it kept his hope alive through all his years of imprisonment and remained his inspiration as he began as president. Morgan Freeman portrays Mandella so beautifully, a man who walked his path with a deep and confident purpose to use his power for good. In the film, his character quotes this poem (Invictus) by William Ernest Henley as scenes of his prison life fade in and out on the screen. Here is the beginning and end of it:
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul…
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.”
It can be overwhelming to believe yourself to be the “master of your fate and captain of your soul.” But I believe there is real freedom in embracing this as true. In brokenness, I imprisoned myself in the lie that my soul wasn’t capable of believing the truth about myself, for myself. I learnt this lie from others, but the walls of that prison had become familiar to me. At some point, I had decided to stay there, deceptively trapped.
In the middle of this self-imprisonment was my unconquerable soul. A seeking, unrelenting, beautiful soul.
I tried closing my eyes and moving forward anyways. Didn’t work. I called out to others wanting them to break free for me; not possible. I tried banging against the walls, chastising myself for being in there at all, willing myself to just believe the truth (already!) and somehow be magically transported to a different place. That didn’t work either.
What ultimately frees me from a lie-prison is not closing my eyes to it or trying to block it out, bust through or ask someone else to get me out. Now I see that I can light a lamp, cast this light on the walls, the ceiling, the floor… face the lies with open eyes. For so long they appeared large and looming; they were too scary to face. But knowing the truth about my soul, the goodness of my heart, changes everything. With new courage, I stop my vigorous efforts and look around. I see. Cracks appear in the structure and more light shines in.My soul IS capable of looking at the lies and rejecting them. And, my soul is the only one that can do this work for myself.
As grateful as I am for other beacons of light in my life, at the core of living whole is this choice that only I can make. The choice is mine and mine alone to grasp my lamp and keep my eyes open, to see how I’ve gotten entangled, to see what is really true and what is not true. Just like with any death, with any shift from the old to the new, no other being can take that step for me. It is this ability to embrace the truth completely on my own in these pivotal inner moments that propels me forward. Wow, there is some kind of joy and freedom in THAT.
How does this poem strike you on your own path of wholeness?
This list is a comparison of how my life used to be, compared to how it is today. ~Darlene
~the oppression of depression
~the guilt and shame of mental illness
~the guilt and shame of emotional abuse (or any other type of abuse)
~the weight and responsibility of the world
~the darkness that hangs over days and nights
~questioning self worth, validity and value
~not accepting or understanding having a right to equality
~difficulty trusting others
~false definition (misunderstanding) of what love is
~the joy of waking up to a new day
~unfathomable energy to accomplish tasks
~laughter straight from the depth of the soul
~embracing the truth and leaving the lies behind
~owning individuality and self worth
~realizing my soul purpose and embracing it
~facing fear; knowing the truth about fear
~trusting self, loving self
~ability to accept love and ability to love
~living life to the fullest
Each year that I continue to pursue living in truth and wholeness, Christmas just gets better. This year I am filled with awe and gratitude for how wonderful our family Christmas time was. When I went through my process of emerging from broken, my family got dragged into it too. There were a few tough years; many things had to change. As a broken mother, I had some hurt children to help heal after I healed, but I have made this my priority and I am committed to the process. This Christmas, everything was exceptionally marvellous and we celebrated with all the people that we love and the people that love us back. No obligation, no false definition of love, no bull. I could not have dreamed a better 3 days then the ones that we just had.
As it seems to be with celebrations, I ate too much rich food, so today I decided to make turkey soup and serve a lighter supper of homemade soup and fresh baked buns. I love to boil the leftover turkey bones in a big pot of water and chopped onion, simmering them for hours, into a deep rich broth. It takes time to make great turkey soup. There is a process involved. If I try to rush it, or get impatient, my soup will end up mediocre and not fantastic. I find a fantastic soup more satisfying, and always worth the extra effort that I put into it. Later on I will strain the bones and boiled onions out and I will add fresh onions, chopped veggies, leftover gravy and barley and continue the process of creating something special for our evening meal.
As I stirred the broth and thought about the process of cooking from scratch, it struck me how similar my personal recovery process has been. I set some goals, and made myself a priority. I didn’t rush it; I was willing to put the time and effort in. With expert guidance from my gifted therapist, I searched for the truth and the other components that I needed to get me started solidly on the road to freedom and wholeness. I discarded the lies that I had believed my whole life; that my feelings were wrong, that I was crazy, that my expectations were too high. I discovered my value and owned it. I learned to love myself, and that same love is where my love for others grew from. I kept going forward, confident that I would get a fantastic result one day if I stayed in pursuit of my desire. And the day came when I knew that I would not struggle with chronic depression and dissociated identity disorder anymore. I knew that my efforts had paid off and I am a fantastic result.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas Season! May all your dreams come true.