Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Discover Your ‘Self’ – The Person You Were Meant To Be!"

Welcome to The Awakening Center’s new Blog: “Inner Wisdom.” We started this Blog to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of The Awakening Center! We would love to hear your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, suggestions and reactions to our new Blog. Please visit often – we plan to have two or more new Blog entries per week.

The Blog’s title “Inner Wisdom” refers to The Awakening Center’s philosophy that deep inside each and everyone of us is an inner feeling of strength, peace and wisdom; a place of peace that knows what’s right for you – not a thinking kind of knowing, but a ‘gut wisdom’ kind of knowing. This is your ‘Self’ – this is the person you were meant to be!

Your Self is who you are, your identity. If you are like many of our clients, your Self may have been sacrificed years ago – for many reasons personal to your individual history. It may feel as if there is nothing on the inside of you, you may experience an inner emptiness so profound and deep that it’s frightening. Without a Self you may not know who you are; you may feel as if you have no control over what happens to you or how you react to things. Without a Self, you may feel powerless.

The therapists at The Awakening Center believe that with therapy you can recover your Self – and get to know yourself all over again. You are not the person others told you that you were – oh no, that was just other people’s opinions of you – but that is not who your Self is. Their opinions often say more about them than it does about you. (Hmmm, there’s another subject for the Blog!)

So if you are not who others told you that you were, then who are you? That is one of the big questions of therapy. It is always exciting to me when a client finally begins to ask this question for themselves. To find the answer, I teach them to get to know themselves through what is known as ‘Beginners Mind.’

Beginners Mind is like coming to earth from another planet (like the television show “Third Rock From The Sun”) and not knowing anything about being human, in a human body, living with other humans in the world. Every experience would be totally new – you would not have any opinion, judgment or criticism about it. You would need to stop a moment, go inside and figure out for if the experience is pleasant, neutral or unpleasant for you.

I encourage clients to start with something very small. In my office I point to the various pillows sitting on my couch and ask, “Which of these pillows do you like the most?” When they give an answer, “The purple one” I ask, “What is it about the purple pillow that you like the most?”
Let’s say they answer, “I like the color; it’s calming. The fabric is smooth. The pattern on the other pillow looks too busy.”

I then encourage them to ‘put that inside and own it.’ By that I mean, you acknowledge that you know something about yourself, “I, Sally, like calming colors and smooth fabrics. I, Sally, do not like busy patterns on pillows.” Like I said, we start with something very small.

I give them the assignment to use Beginners Mind about everything for the time between sessions, “Drive yourself nuts asking questions about everyday things. Do you like tea or coffee? Do you prefer brown shoes or black with blue jeans? Do you like to wear blue jeans? Is a walk in the park a pleasant, neutral or unpleasant experience for you? When you hear a song playing over the radio listen to it as if you never heard music before in your life. How does it feel to be with other people? Whatever you notice, put it inside and own it.”

I remember when I did this exercise during my own recovery. I had an experience that opened a whole new door for me, literally. I lived in a large apartment building with many doors opening up to the courtyard. One day when I opened the front door it made a sound like a little horse whinny! And I noticed it, as if for the first time! I felt a sense of delight deep inside me, like a child laughing and clapping her hands. I realized that “I, Amy Grabowski, like doors which make whinny sounds.”

I also realized that the maintenance man probably hated the whinny sound of the door – since I had seen him on a ladder by that door many times and had not even paid attention to why. What made it profound for me was that I also gave myself permission to like something that I knew someone else did NOT like. I was giving myself permission to have my own opinion based on my experience, not on the opinion of others. (Wow! That could be another Blog as well!)

So I encourage you to slow down and look at your life through Beginners Mind. Allow yourself to feel that delighted child inside you. Own your own feelings and opinions as you get to know yourself, the person you were meant to be!

Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC

Please visit our website: http://www.awakeningcenter.net/ - we have 15 years of past issues of our newsletter archived on our website.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for an awakening center blog! I love the beginners mind-set, in my life I am always excited to continually identify myself. What are my interests, my beliefs, my likes, my favorite things? It can be a very powerful thing to think about! Keep the posts coming :)