I have been mooching on what to write for the first TGF post this year and had decided to tell you about my chosen theme is for this year. Then, a newsletter email came through from SCD about the very same thing – about choosing a ‘theme’ for each year and how it can help to keep you on track. How weird is that – and actually that fits in quite nicely with part of the theme I’ve chosen, or that chose me actually (more on this below).
I’ll copy the SCD email for you below at the end of my missive to help you sort out what your own theme might be if nothing strikes you immediately- I’m sure they won’t mind. I can’t link to it as it’s not on the blog. First, here’s my take on it.
Neuroplasticity theme for 2015
As many of you know, I have been trying to use neuroplasticity brain techniques to get my mind to change the way it thinks fearfully about food and, increasingly, life in general. I was becoming habitually fearful. It was a learned behaviour and entirely being driven by my subconscious mind and didn’t fit at all with my conscious sense of self as a successful, happy-go-lucky woman.
It got to such a fever-pitch that my biggest fear last year was actually whether I was going to survive or not. Sounds dramatic, but I kid you not. And I do know some of you have felt – and sadly still are – feeling the same, so I’m being brave and showing you that this happens, you can control it and you are definitely not the only one!
Mine wasn’t helped by losing so much weight, even though I thought that was what I wanted – and the number of people who congratulated me on it and had no idea of the scare it was giving me was numerous! To lose so many foods that your weight drops down dramatically, as mine did (see this post here on weight loss), then you do start to wonder how you can stop the weight loss if you physically can’t tolerate any more foods and can’t seem to get enough in. It’s a conundrum, and a very scary one.
Anyway, last year I really feared that I was going into the second year of a very restricted diet with no sign of it getting any more expansive. So, I deliberately chose a theme that Gloria Gaynor fans will know and love:
I will survive!
Enjoy it here. How many times have you sung that at the break-up of a relationship? Or is that just me?!
Anyway, I used it as passwords (for non-essential things, of course!) which made me have to say it several times a day. I had it written everywhere, I had it as my screen saver, I used it during Yoga Nidra meditation as the ‘san culpa’ – the intention message you give to your subconscious in the alpha state when it is most receptive. (Thanks here to Michelle at Foodsmatter who sent me a copy of this excellent CD by Rebecca Allen and started my whole meditation ‘journey’ off!).
I repeated it constantly when I was walking, I sang the song whilst I was cooking or cleaning. I drove P mad…It became my theme for the year. It became so ingrained in my head that I felt it was repeating itself without me eventually -a kind of helpful ear worm!
And it worked. I lost the overwhelming feeling of fear and it no longer rules my life. Sure, I have moments of it but the feeling that I am a victim of this illness and that I didn’t want to live with it, wasn’t going to be able to live with it, was easier to just give up and die – thankfully – has gone. And I am sure this and, of course, the PTSD treatment was a part of both the emotional rollercoaster I went through last year and the reason the fear has now gone. Phew.
Theme for 2016: Survive to Thrive
This year, the theme has chosen me. It just popped into my head after the last PTSD session during a meditation and is now ‘I Will Thrive!’ How’s that for much more positive?
I’m not yet sure what it will actually transpire as but the feeling so far is two-fold. On the one hand, I have a real sense of just wanting to let go and trust that I will get better. On the other hand, I am already taking practical steps to improve my health and wellbeing if I have to continue to live this restricted life. I suppose the two do go together if I think about it. And it is often said that, ironically, letting go allows the healing to actually happen. I so hope that’s true – it was certainly a theme of all the success stories I listened to in Secrets to Recovery mentioned here.
Let Go and Trust.
That’s half the theme. In fact, in another of the quirky coincidences I am now looking out for (see more below), the next book on my to-read list on my Kindle a few days ago turned out to be Letting Go: the Pathway To Surrender no less. Twiglet zone…!
I have no idea if it’ll be any good, although I’m enjoying it so far. If you get past the enlightenment thing, it is really all about removing emotional blockages and negativity thought states to enable healing.
There is a real sense of relief at just trusting in my body, the universe, whatever that what is happening is happening and there seems to be bugger-all I can do about it other than live with it and find ways to cope. I’m supposed to think there is a reason for this and maybe there is; I just don’t know it yet. Many people say such suffering is a necessary part of ‘finding yourself’ spiritually or as an individual and I have certainly been doing a lot of that over the past year! However, I don’t actually believe that and tend to side with Deepak Chopra who believes suffering is not necessary for spiritual growth at all.
Read his book Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul here where he focuses very much on the joy of life feeding the soul rather than suffering. I like that.
Maybe I’m just tired of the fight – my whole life seems to have been a fight in some way or another to survive. I give it up now, although strangely that doesn’t feel like it’s in a negative way at all; it feels immensely positive.
Make the best of it..
The other ‘half’ of the theme is much more practical. I have decided to try and make the best of the situation I have. I have much to be thankful for and I refuse now to let this diet restriction and illness continue to hold me back. It’s true: I still have bad days when I feel like crap, usually when I’m trying to reintroduce something or I’m stressed, but I now have a better coping mechanism and I don’t fall into the same pit of despair as I did and the consequent cycling that causes.
I’ve already moved to a healing environment by the sea. The illness already feels less significant as a result of this. I will thrive also is translating into better self-care: starting to get baths back in, use a nail polish, find nicer things to go on my skin, getting out and about meeting people, volunteering etc.
Diet-wise, I have decided to try and make the best of the foods I can have. I went through a stage recently where I was so sick of my 20-odd foods that I could no longer eat them. I literally felt nauseous every time I ate them. Then, I realised they were my friends and had actually kept me alive! So – actually inspired by something one of you said on the Facebook group about trying to make better recipes etc, thank you – I have decided to do the same.
This weekend, I was thinking about how to start that and had just decided to start with breakfast and try to make that a bit more exciting than half or a full melon…every…single…day. I thought: I have managed to get ginger in so why don’t I start with a gingery juice of some kind?
I sat down to eat my half melon as I was thinking this and lo and behold I switched the TV on to a chap talking about how he has a ginger ‘shot’ every morning as an anti-histamine and general zinger! Weird coincidence or another message from the ‘let go and trust’ theme of my life?
Later that day, I was watching something else – I’ve forgotten what now – and a person was talking about how they’d realised they had to do much more than just survive on their diet, but to use it to thrive again. I nearly choked on my dinner!
Anyway, I took these as a message and set off to order myself an ‘everyday use juicer‘ that can sit on the countertop as opposed to my workhorse of a Champion that comes out for apple harvests etc. I had some points to use up from my credit card use over the year so I treated myself – always better when it’s free! As I type, it has just arrived. Very exciting.
I know it’s a small step but expanding to include a juice in the morning is much more like the old me (trust in food as medicine, not going to harm me) and is an important indication of self-care that has been sorely missing during the PTSD days of the last 10 years.
In addition, I got a mango splitter, a sharper veg peeler as mine is worn out, not surprisingly with all the root veg I eat, a 3 in 1 avocado tool (cuts, de-stones and slices) and an avocado saver as I am fed up of losing halves in the fridge! Just to make life a teensy bit easier and have some fun in the kitchen again. Daft, I know, but there you go – gadget-queeniness is in the family, what can I say?
Whilst I was there of course I had to buy a new book. I’ve been coveting this one for a while: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. Yes, it’s a big book!
So, small starts but positive ones, and hopefully from little (ginger) roots, may my own roots get stronger or something like that.
Incidentally, I couldn’t resist looking if there was a song for I Will Thrive and I found this. I don’t agree with some of the advice, of course, but it made me smile nonetheless. Enjoy.
So, have you got a theme for this year to hold onto, to help you direct your healing? If not, do as I did and just lie there after meditation and ask for one – see what comes up. Or, do as SCD advises here:
The #1 Tip for New Year’s Resolution SuccessIt’s that time of the year for Resolutions, Goal Setting and Transformations.Have you committed to any of these?I secretly hope so. Sure, some people will tell you that it’s silly to attempt them. But typically those are also usually the people who are afraid. They are afraid of change – for you and for them.Have I failed at resolutions? OF COURSE! In the last 6 years, I’ve probably failed many more times than I succeeded.Have I missed my goals for the years? OF COURSE! In the last 6 years, I’ve missed goal after goal, whether it was for the business, for my health or for my love life.But I’ve transformed over and over!Everyone who knows me… knows that I’m healthier, happier, more grounded, have more evolved relationships and a bigger business than ever.So, that tells me that missing goals, feeling pain, changing, and failure to achieve the desired outcome… is NORMAL.It’s an important part of the transformation piece.And through all my “failures,” I’ve become the best man I’ve ever been – more capable in every area of my life! 2015 was my best year yet… and I fully intend 2016 to be even better.How am I going to do that?By using the #1 thing I’ve found to create a great year… a theme.In 2012, I chose a Theme for my year, “The Grateful Professional.”I put sticky notes in my car, on my fridge, on the top of my computer, and in my bathroom. I wrote it on my journal. It was everywhere.At that point, Jordan and I had been losing money in this SCD business for 2.5 years. I was working 40 hours during the day at a boring engineering job and working all night trying to figure out how to inspire people to better health and get paid for it.That theme helped me change everything. For me, it meant dropping the victimhood, the oh-poor-me’s, dropping the complaining, showing up every single day to do the work that needed to be done to make this a real company — and to be grateful for all the pain and frustration and annoyance… because one day soon it was all going to be worth it.And 2012 was the year I learned how to grow from “wanting to do business” to “doing business.” And in 2013 I finally started to get paid some money from this company!Ever since this time, I’ve chosen a theme for my year. And every year, as long as I keep that theme in my mind most days, I say yes to the theme no matter how scary or painful… by the end of year it comes true.My 2015 theme came true.And I know my 2016 theme will come true. This year for me… is the “Year of Being.”I’m not very good at just “being.” It’s scary for me to think about “being” more – which to me means to stop working so hard, to stop trying to solve every problem, to slow down, to be in nature more, to connect with people more, to meditate more, and to trust more.But it’s precisely this fear that tells me it’s the right theme for the year.So, here’s what I challenge you to do today.I hope you have resolutions, I hope you have goals — because I want you to keeping transforming.But I challenge you to pick a theme for 2016 and to think about it every day, every week, every month and to reflect on it every quarter this year.How to pick your theme:(Step 1) – Look for commonalities in your intentionsLook at any goals or resolutions you’ve committed to or thought about and figure out what they have in common. (Or put them in buckets.) Are there several that are based on health? Are there several that are based on wealth? love? travel? freedom? Figure out what buckets are coming up for you this year…(Step 2) – In which areas are you most excited about change?Now, I want you to go to a quiet place and think about these buckets… health, wealth, love, sex, freedom, travel whatever it is. And I want you to think about what it would be like to achieve your goals or desires in these buckets. I want you to see yourself 12 months from now having accomplished them. Which one get’s you the most excited?(Step 3) – In which areas are you most afraid of change?Next, which of these areas of your life are you most afraid of? Which one scares the hell out of you? Meaning, for instance, if you fully committed to your health and that meant that you had to stop cheating on your diet, put $1,000s of dollars into information training programs, supplements and doctors and you finally had to come face to face with the facts of your current health… does that scare you? If not, try on another bucket.(Step 4) – Brainstorming your theme choicesSo, now it’s time to craft a theme for the area of your life where you want change that feels good and for the area that scares the poop out of ya 🙂 Make your themes very high level and generic. It’s like a guiding principle… here’s some examples:
- “The Year of the Grateful Professional”
- “The Year of Trusting My Heart”
- “Warrior Up, Hippie Down”
- “The Year of Being”
- “The Year of Trusting My Body”
- “The Year of Connection”
- “The Year of Healing”
As you can see, from these examples, this is your guiding light for the year. It helps you remember your focus for the day and week. So, when opportunities for you to transform come into your life, you can ask yourself does this help my theme? Does this add to my theme work this year? And if so it’s an easy yes.(Step 5) – Selecting your themeNow, pick ONE theme. And only one – either the exciting one or the scary one. And know that both choices are okay. But the one that you feel more intensity (notice: not good or bad feelings) in your body right now with will be the one that will produce probably the biggest transformation is the scary one.So tell me… what’s your theme going to be this year?I’ll be reading every single email response I get… can’t wait to hear your thoughts on my #1 tip for a great year. Just hit “reply” to this email to write me back.In being,Steve
In essence, today’s message is:
Think about where you are in your healing or life generally. Have you got a theme for the new year that will help direct you and keep you moving forward in some way? Is that a ‘doing something’ theme or a ‘let go and ease off’ type theme, or a mixture of both? What does your gut literally say?
Take 15 minutes to meditate or just before you go to sleep/wake fully in the morning and ask for a theme to come to you. What comes up? Go with it even if you have no idea what it is on about! Don’t worry if nothing comes up then, it will – keep your eye out for clues. Create a password with it and use it daily. Start changing your mindset.
Good luck – and here’s to 2016; it’s going to be a goodie – and that’s another of my phrases for the year – you can use it if you like 😉