Day 212/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
It's taken decades of inner enquiry and a Masters degree in Psychotherapy to truly understand how much of the way we show up in life is informed by our coping strategies.
Coping strategies, we call them creative adjustments in psychotherapy, a lovely expression of the ability of the human spirit to prevail, are our operating programme. The full repertoire of instruction we've adopted and given ourselves to feel safe in the world, to craft our existence.
We come to think of them as who we are.
We manage perfectly well until we don't anymore. Eventually we outgrow those creative adjustments, and it's difficult to understand why life isn't working as we planned, or as we thought it should.
The job of psychotherapy is to explore below the surface with you to discover the source of those coping strategies. What are we coping with? What are we trying to manage? We think of it as stuff that we've buried because it's too difficult to face, to manage or to change. Or we might feel so badly about it or ourselves that we can't bear to confront ourselves.
This is how we psychotherapists practice the Japanese art of Kintsugi with our clients. We know that when the cracks are explored and mended you'll feel renewed and happier and be able to live life more fully.
Our coping strategies are not who we are. They are the bandaid we place over our emotional wounds when we've become overwhelmed. Not far below the surface is the you that wants to be received, accepted and loved.
My experience is no different. My life provides ample opportunity to discover my inner most stories that limit my life and self-expression to coping strategies.
As I begin to discover the next thing, revisit, review, and revise some old belief about my worth that I'd stored away because I couldn't bear the pain of it's existence, I'm able to live more fully. I'm able to shed the behaviour that was the bandaid, and live from a place of deeper authenticity.
Listening to that inner voice is the first step. For me the next step is feeling into the discomfort in my body. That discomfort is a sure sign that there's something that needs attention. Another glass of wine or another cigarette or a big piece of chocolate might deaden that feeling, but only until next time.
As you listen to that small inner voice and seek to know yourself better on this journey to self-mastery, take the time and solitude to really explore what's underneath the way you show up in life. Get some supportive assistance when you find that it's too difficult to do alone.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.