Do you struggle from a painful past and wish to heal from it? Today I’ll share how I’m healing from my past, how I found inner peace, and also show you the simplest way to heal from emotional pain that anyone can do…
The fact that I experience peace of mind regularly in my life today is truly miraculous to me. This is not something that I take lightly, or for granted for that matter. What I consider my spiritual awakening started in the spring of 2014. It didn’t happen in a church or temple or some grand spiritual setting. It happened while I was alone painting my dining room on a sunny spring morning…
I’d had decades of what could be described as inner turmoil- starting with intense fears as a young girl. I remember being worried a lot of the time in grade school and junior high. I worried all kinds of things- about death, what it meant to be alive, breathing, my heartbeat, fitting in, my friends, my family, heaven and hell, you name it. I wondered if I was the only person in the universe and all this life was just a movie. Thoughts like this frightened me and I had them frequently.
I was a highly-sensitive child. I was brought up Catholic and often turned to prayer. I came from a stable middle-class family, and there was no outwardly discernible reason for me to have the amount of inner distress I felt.
As an adult, I discovered that I had endured sexual abuse at a very young age. I was only about 7 years old when it happened, and I repressed all memories about it, which is what young children do when they experience trauma. However, this experience shaped how I grew up.
My teenage and young 20’s were filled with angst. Intense fear and anxiety were what I lived with most school days, although academically I was a straight-A student. Deep inside I felt very vulnerable and scared. In 10th grade I started smoking pot and drinking alcohol in an effort to be cool and fit in. I had intense relationships with boyfriends starting at age 15.
I grew up, got married and had children. Life may have looked normal and good from the outside, but I lived my life with a great deal of angst, unease and unrest, most of which I squashed. I lived with lots of guilt, shame, regret, resentment, and self-loathing. I had panic attacks and anxiety all the time.
I could talk to no one about these feelings, because I couldn’t articulate them. When I tried to explain myself to friends, my husband, my sister or whomever, I always ended up feeling more frustrated and alone.
Even after discovering in therapy about the sexual abuse I endured as a child, I didn’t know how to heal from it.
Life continued, and I did the best I could, hoping that somehow peace would find me. I did positive affirmations, made vision boards, and read all kinds of self- help books. As a trained teacher and hypnotherapist, I did self-hypnosis for all kinds of things. I listened to self help CDs in my car on my commute to work.
I went to church, therapy, marriage counselling, and 12 Step groups. Some of this helped me, some of it not so much. However the undercurrent of fear and unease with feeling ultimately alone in the universe never left me.
A few years ago I was listening to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle on audio CD while I painted the dining room. My daughter was just about to graduate from high school and would be going away to college in the fall. For our little family, a big shift was about to happen, and I wanted to be prepared emotionally.
As I painted the walls on that quiet, sunny morning, all at once it seems I was overcome with a deep feeling of inner peace, something I’d never felt before. The constriction in my solar plexus was gone. The room seemed almost alive and radiant with the bright sunlight. The CDs, which I listened to without really understanding before, suddenly came to life.
For the first time, I could not only understand, but also feel what Eckhart was saying: that living and being fully in the now was the way out of emotional suffering. This was a glimpse into real peace, and it felt like heaven.
That was the beginning of my spiritual awakening.
Although the peace I felt that day was fleeting, I knew I could experience it again by accessing the power of mindfulness. From that moment on, I knew what I had to do- learn how to live fully in the present, in the now, and stop projecting into the future or looking back to the past.
This was not easy for me to do at first. As someone with a lot of fear and anxiety, my thoughts were almost habitually in the future. But I knew I could take baby steps to unlearn this. I learned to do little things Eckhart Tolle suggested to help stay present, like taking ‘one conscious breath’ here and there throughout the day. It was a start. And the learning was joyous too, for I learned that peace is just on the other side of fear 🙂
My commute to work became sacred as I listened to the CDs again and again. This continues to be part of my daily spiritual practice. When I don’t have a CD on, I drive in silence, and focus my attention on feeling my inner body. The art of inner body awareness is a way of anchoring yourself in the present, and having access to that radiant alive feeling of being in the Now. (This is taught in the book).
Being in the present is where I strive to be today. It is a moment to moment practice. Some days I have a lot of success and some days I have less. Some days fear still takes over. Some days anger gets the best of me. It takes some discipline and concentration. But today I have far more good days than bad.
And each day that I start with the intention of focusing my attention on the Present is a gift of the possibility of a peaceful day for me.
And I am here to say that possibly is available to each and every one of us. It is only through the incessant mind and mental projections that we as humans have lost touch with that fundamental aspect of ourselves. Being mindfully aware of the present moment – where inner peace abides – is the way we were meant to live. 🙂
Living in mindfulness, living in the present, is the true path to healing and peace. It is available to everyone, and all you have to do is notice it and be there fully.
Have you ever experienced the peace of living in the Present, where all negative thinking stops? I’d love to hear about your experiences with mindfulness. Please do share in the comments below!
I wish you peace,
I recommend The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle to anyone who years to be free from emotional suffering & wants to learn to finally stop being a slave to their negative thoughts.
Note: The Power of Now was first published in 2001. There are many used copies around – you can probably find one in your local public library or for pennies on Amazon. I purchased a hardcover copy at an airport in 2003. For me, however, I couldn’t understand very much by reading it. Listening to it on audio CD was more helpful to me.