There are often moments where we make a decision to reorient ourselves toward living in a healthier way. Sometimes these changes last and sometimes they don’t. I remember one day when I was working on a landscaping job when I was 19 when I made a decision that stuck. I did not know at the time that this choice was actually a huge step that would change the way that I interacted with myself. When I made this decision it was a simple acknowledgement that I could no longer fight the negativity that was running through my body. To this point I was always attempting to overcome my negative thoughts and emotions. I now know that my attempts to continually overcome caused tension, depression, stress, and anxiety.
At this time when I was listening to my critical mind I told myself “if this is the way that it is, then I would listen to it.” I would let go of the constant battle that I had with myself, and I would begin to accept the negativity that was a constant presence in my experience. When the switch occurred inside of myself it opened up an opportunity for something new. It opened up the possibility of acceptance for what was occurring. The first thing that we can all do for ourselves to begin healing is to let go of the need to change, and begin to listen to ourselves. When we listen we are opening up to a new possibility that is beyond what we can force ourselves to become. When we listen we are sending a message that where we are is ok and I will begin to live from where I am, rather than where I want myself to be. The act of listening is a way of allowing energy in the body to move rather than cutting it off. When I was trying to overcome my negative thoughts and emotions I was simply cutting off the possibility for this negativity to move and change into something else. What I realized for myself is that my constant need to become confident or positive was actually a negative response to myself. It was confirming and establishing the fact that I am not good enough and that I must change in order to get what I want. When we decide to listen to the negativity within our bodies and minds we are creating a positive response to negativity. We are allowing it to be present and we are honoring it as the life that is within ourselves. The act of being with something is always a positive response that can feel challenging to be present for. The fear is often that if we allow something to be there, it will become true. For example, if I allow myself to think that I am worthless than I will in fact become worthless. Obviously feeling worthless is something that is very challenging for me to be present for and I am quick to dismiss it and cut it off. The problem with this response is that I am never able to hold, listen, and support this emotion and I continue to re establish patterns that are negative and dismissive; I am simply always cutting myself off from fully experiencing an essential part of myself.
When I began to practice listening and being present for thoughts and emotions in the body I began to see a difference within myself. I started to feel an energy inside begin to grow. I discovered that my ability to hold and listen to the part of me that I labeled as negative, were actually the parts of myself that were screaming out for me to listen and accept. We are often caught in a cycle of abandoning the vulnerable aspects of ourselves that are the most important. There is no part of ourselves we need to dismiss. If there is apart of ourselves that we cut off from our experience than we have not fully developed the capacity to be present for this feeling, thought, or situation. The calm, confident, positive, and courageous person that we are all trying to become is developed from our ability to listen and be present for ourselves. For myself this changed my direction from interacting and negating negativity to continually say yes to my experience and letting go of my personal struggle to overcome myself.
When this becomes a moment-to-moment practice then we are beginning to to take the first steps toward healing. We are supporting old negative patterns and are starting to live from a place of acceptance, compassion, understanding, and listening all of these characteristics represent our hearts. When we live from our hearts we are opening to the fullness of our experience, which includes the negativity that we fight so hard to get rid of.
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Jake White is a dedicated healing professional who practices Integrative Energetic Medicine in Winchester, Virginia. Since opening his practice in 2013 Jake has been offering private energy healing sessions, group meditations, workshops, and talks. He teaches meditation at Shenandoah University for the Recreational Department and has taught classes on spirituality for the Sociology Department. Jake leads group meditations at Jala Yoga, Capon Springs Resort, and his own meditation group at 611 S. Braddock Street in Winchester.