April 28, 2015
Letting Go of What No Longer Serves You
Part of what my therapist Stella uses in her work is hypnotherapy.
The reason hypnotherapy is so great is because it’s a way to reach the subconscious mind and speak to it directly.
Our subconscious is the part of our mind that does things by habit and holds our memories.
You know when you drive a route you’re used to and suddenly you realize you’re at your destination, but you didn’t really pay attention to getting there? Your subconscious got you there. It knows. It’s habit.
We do many, many things in our lives without thinking about them consciously.
Scientists have done studies and found that around 90% – 95% of what we think, the decisions we make and our behavior comes from our subconscious minds.
Which tells me that most of us go through life by habit, never really thinking about why we do what we do.
Wait, did you say you thought you were in charge of your life and had control of it?
Yeah, I always did too.
The answer to whether or not we’re in charge of our lives is complicated. We’ve all had different experiences, and we all react differently to those experiences.
For instance, what would happen to the subconscious mind of a 3-year-old who is bitten by a dog? Probably they would develop a fear of dogs. It’s likely that those feelings are deep in the subconscious mind, and as an adult, that child might not be consciously aware of them.
Or we can look at a person who is raised within a certain religious belief system. As an adult, more likely than not, that person does not for a second consider any other religion – their belief is strongly embedded in their subconscious mind.
Since our subconscious is where our belief systems are held, and our belief systems and deeply held emotions are what drive us, you can see how we go through life subconsciously without considering why we do the things we do.
My subconscious holds a plethora of emotions and beliefs that developed due to my having been sexually abused as a child. I learned, for instance, that no doesn’t mean no so I didn’t have a sense of personal boundaries, that even though my body belonged to me, the things that happened to it were out of my control.
As the years continued, and I acted from those beliefs, I found myself in terribly dangerous situations – as a young teen I was promiscuous, and began doing drugs. I remember being in a hotel in a seedy part of town with people smoking weed, snorting coke and doing other things. I might have been 13. When I was barely 15, I ran away with a young man who nearly killed me.
As I acted upon those original beliefs, my life spiraled, snowballed, picking up self-hatred, rage, deep sadness…the more I acted on how what I believed was true about myself, the more solid those belief systems became.
Our minds are complicated and fascinating.
I remember the time I realized I had developed lifelong habits, ways and patterns, and how they were nearly exactly the same ones that most adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse followed.
It was a revelation.
If I followed certain destructive patterns because of my subconscious belief system, picked up early on in my life, I knew that all I had to do was change the original belief and my life would change.
So, back to today…
This particular therapy session had to do with letting go of subconscious ‘chains’, or negative belief systems…letting go of what no longer serves you.
I comfortably lay back in the recliner in Stella’s office, listening to the recorded barely audible, deeply soothing sounds of water, covered in the cloudy soft teal blanket.
I closed my eyes and listened while Stella spoke. Her calming voice lolled me as she softly suggested I relax the muscles around my eyes, my forehead, my face, my shoulders…to let go of all the tightness in my body, to feel a warm calming wave as it begins on the top of my head and slowly travels down, calming every area as it goes down.
After I was in a deeply relaxed state, this is what Stella said as I remember it…
Imagine yourself in a peaceful tropical place with beautiful plants. There’s a burbling, flowing stream nearby. You’re lying on soft grass. The temperature is perfect, not too hot and not too cool. Birds are singing to each other and you feel you are part of nature, you belong here. It’s your time to rest. Listen to the sound of the water as it gurgles over pebbles. The sky above you is the perfect shade of blue, with a couple of fluffy white clouds drifting by. You watch them as they slowly move and as you watch you get more and more relaxed.
Deeper and deeper.
You might not even feel your body. Your breathing is slow and deep. You feel as if you are slightly floating.
There is a butterfly resting on one of the plants near you. Its wings are beautiful swirly designs and the colors are vivid. You feel grateful to see it and watch as it moves its wings and starts to fly. It floats on barely a breeze. You begin to feel as if you too, can fly.
But you see that there are chains all around you holding you down. You lift up and realize that the chains actually aren’t holding you, you are holding onto the chains. Each one holds you down. There is a chain that are your limiting beliefs – one of the beliefs is that the money that comes to you is limited in its amount, one of the chains are things that you’ve been told, one is your anger and fear. One chain is the anxiety of what others think about you, what you do and what you will do, one is guilt…
There are other chains too. All of them keep you from being free, from flying.
If you’d like, you can make the decision now to let go of the chains. Just let them go, and as you do, you feel so light.
So light that you know you can fly.
Perhaps you put your arms over your head like you’re diving into a pool and you push off the ground up, up, up into the air.
You fly effortlessly, freely.
You easily float around and see what you’d like. Perhaps you follow the stream, or you fly up over the trees, dipping down, then going back up.
You realize how free you are without your chains and you want to keep this feeling. You make the decision not to hold onto the chains again.
As you fly, you look up and notice other people who are also free, who inspire you, who have also let go of the chains that hold them down.
Spend some time freely floating and flying, perhaps flying with others, perhaps flying alone.
You now have a deep knowledge that you have the power to let go of what holds you back.
You make the decision not to take hold of the chains when you land.
Softly, slowly, you float back to the beautiful grassy spot and lie on your back watching the butterfly.
Listen to the calm sounds of the water trickling, gurgling in the stream.
Effortlessly you sit up, then stand. In front of you, you see yourself, but a lighter, happier version, a you that no longer holds the chains of fear and anger, a you who is confident and free, who trusts the universe to bring perfect experiences to her at the perfect time, a you who has no pressing worries because she knows everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
Step into that you.
Feel how it feels not to hold the chains, to be free.
As you come into consciousness, know that you are now free and happy. You have made the decision not to hold onto the chains.
Because you feel so light, you don’t have to walk, you can float.
Float through the garden toward a small flight of 5 steps.
As you float up each step, you begin to feel your body – you begin to come back into consciousness.
Stella reminded me after this session that I am able at any time to do self-hypnosis.
I can calm myself if I am triggered, or anxious, or if I begin to feel like I’m holding the chains again.
You can do it too.
Go ahead…close your eyes, relax your body…