When our life is difficult, it can be easy to turn away from the difficulty and towards the things that make us feel good. Those good-feeling things are necessary sometimes; we need them to balance our life and give us hope, comfort, and joy. A little escape now and then can be helpful. difficult times
But sometimes these things we turn to are destructive—alcohol, for example. And sometimes we turn to them not for a bit of comfort but to avoid our problems completely.
In the case of destructive habits, avoidance, and total escapism, here’s one way to gently deal with our issues: Spend 10 minutes doing something actively healing, before turning to the comfort.
My Own Example
Back in 2013, when my life and marriage had fallen apart and I was trying to live on my own again, I was faced with overwhelming emotions nearly every single day.
I had stresses piled on top of stresses, and constant pressures that I’d put on myself to be thin, do a labor-intensive cleanse, continue healing my old baggage, discover my “new self” as soon as possible, and more. Life was coming at me so fast that often, as soon as I got home from work and was in my private space, I would collapse into sobs.
A few times, I even begged for mercy.
As well, unbeknownst to me, I was empathic—I could feel the emotions of the people around me. This sensitivity was increasing the more that I opened myself up to the spiritual life. It wasn’t uncommon to find myself suddenly—and for no reason—becoming enraged, and having no safe way of expressing all of the emotion trying to come out of me.
At the time, I was focused on doing two main things. First, this newly single girl was trying to get skinny, thinking that I was not attractive. And second, I had committed to healing everything that came up, rather than numbing it or pushing it back down.
Also at the time, I found my comfort in ice cream. But I didn’t want to turn to this fattening substance, and got mad at myself any time that I did. difficult times
When the pressures got to be too much, this is what I finally did: I told myself that, before turning towards comfort, I would commit to spending 10 minutes doing something actively healing. Something that genuinely lessened and dealt with my problem. If after 10 minutes, I still needed the ice cream, then I would allow myself to have it.
My two tools
The tools I was specifically using were these: homeopathic remedies and mantra. I would pair them together—take the remedy, and then drop onto my yoga mat and recite mantra.
Here’s how these two things work:
Homeopathic remedies I refer to as “flower juice.” They are extracts of plants, and function as a vibrational medicine. These plant extracts are stabilized in alcohol*, and bottled for sale. The dosage ranges from a couple drops to a full dropper, depending on your constitution. The drops are placed either directly under the tongue, onto the skin, or into a glass of water and drunk. Each plant of course has its own benefits, so you choose—from dozens of options—which plant best suits your needs. (*They are harder to find, but some people make non-alcoholic homeopathic remedies; these are stabilized in apple cider vinegar, and sometimes in spring water.)
For the rage, for example, I used Cherry Plum (for rage with the threat of destructive harm), as well as Holly (for general anger).
For sadness and grief, I took Mustard (for sadness and depression).
And when I was just plain stressed, I took the well-known blend of five remedies called “Rescue Remedy.” This product contains Impatiens (for impatience or intolerance), Star of Bethlehem (for comfort–especially after shock or trauma), Cherry Plum (for rage with possible loss of control), Rock Rose (for panic or terror), and Clematis (for excessive daydreaming/fantasies, disconnected from reality).
I love homeopathy because it is fast-acting. I love it, too, because it actively heals—it does not cover up, suppress, or numb.
Mantra, for its part, also actively heals.
Mantra that has been written in Sanskrit or Gurmukhi is fundamentally a sound vibration. We’re not using them because of the literal meaning of the words. We’re using them because of the vibration that is produced when we pronounce the words properly.
When we pronounce the words properly, then we are generating within our bodies a sound frequency that is actively healing. Each mantra produces different frequencies; each mantra therefore has different effects. Generally, we know the effects of each mantra, and so we can choose one based on the needs of the moment.
For me, in 2013, I used two main mantras:
Chattr Chakkr Vartee: This mantra is said to bring direct energy to the heart, and to overcome blocks and bring courage. (Here’s a beautiful version of this mantra.)
Ardas Bhaee: This is a mantra of surrender. It tells the Universe to bring us whatever it is that we truly need, even if it is not what we actively want.
So, when I really wanted ice cream, I would start by taking one or several homeopathic remedies, then dropping onto my yoga mat and saying mantra for 10 minutes. If I was angry, then the mantra would come out angry; I would yell it, just as we would yell expletives. If I was crying, then I would sob the mantra out through my tears. It didn’t matter. The point was that I was doing it.
Dosed on healing remedies, I would vent my emotions in this healthy way, and transform the energies inside of me.
And you know what?
I never once needed the ice cream, once the 10 minutes was up.
The crisis had passed.
Did I still feel emotional? Yes, sometimes. But was I at the crisis level whereby I wanted to run straight to the freezer? No.
A 10-Minute Strategy
Here are some things that we can do to face our difficulties—if only for 10 minutes, and as a precursor to the simple pleasures.
Have a sanctuary
For me, my mat was my sanctuary. It was always unfurled on my floor, and set up in front of a gorgeous full-length mirror. Whenever I felt anything unhealthy, I would go straight to my mat. It didn’t matter what I did there—whether it was mantra, yoga, meditation, journaling, or just staring at myself in the mirror. It was my safe place.
If we don’t have the space in our home to permanently set up a sanctuary, then perhaps have one ready to go in the moment that you need it. Know where you can go for a moment of privacy—the corner of your bedroom, inside your closet, into the basement, in the back seat of your car. And if possible, have something beautiful or uplifting there waiting for you—crystals, aromatherapy oils, your mala, a journal with a pen, music, a teddy bear, flowers (real or artificial), or whatever inspires you.
Have some go-to tools
Know in advance what tools you will turn to in order to do active healing. If we have to figure out what to do while we’re in the middle of our crisis, then that can deter from our practice. So identify some things—and keep them simple. As mentioned above, homeopathy is literally just a matter of dropping fluid under our tongue—very simple. And mantra, once we’ve memorized it, comes out of us easily. difficult times
Some other healing tools are: journalling / cathartic writing; meditations; yoga, including Yin Yoga, which clears the meridians; aromatherapy; Emotional Freedom Technique (also called “tapping”); Reiki or other forms of energy healing that we practice; and crystal healing (with either one crystal or a set of them).
There are, of course, many other tools for self-healing. difficult times
Choose the ones that feel right for you. And feel comfortable changing the tools you use, if that feels necessary.
Set a time limit
Determine a minimum length of time that you will practice active healing, and commit to it.
Remember: This is your practice, and it’s you who sets the time limit. Therefore, it can be anything—30 seconds, five minutes, 12 minutes and 45 seconds. It doesn’t matter. Just choose something that feels right for you, that feels do-able, and that doesn’t put too much pressure on yourself. difficult times
Allow the comfort
If, after your time is up, you still want or need your comforting habit, then perhaps allow it.
Perhaps even allow it as a celebration—you did good work, healing yourself.
Caveat: If our habits are destructive in any way, such as with addictions, substance abuse, or other forms of abuse, then this guidance does not necessarily apply. In this article, I am speaking mainly to “sources of comfort” that are relatively harmless, and which do not cause harm to other people or forms of life. difficult times
In summary, our problems do not go away just by ignoring them. In fact, we often compound the problem by ignoring it. Our issues come with us everywhere we go, and in every single moment that we are alive. They frequently govern our behaviors, and almost always impact the people around us, including the people we love. difficult times
It is therefore important to heal our issues—at least gently, and in the manner that is right for us.
One strategy for doing this is by simply devoting 10 minutes a day towards techniques and tools that *actively heal* us.
After that, we can allow ourselves to indulge in an escape, if that is right for us.
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