My favourite client to work with is someone who is ready to move forward with their personal goals. In order to accomplish this, they are willing to make choices and take steps toward shifting their identity. An identity shift involves exploring pieces of yourself (behavioral/emotional patterns) that are no longer serving you. It involves upgrading with new beliefs and behaviors you want to embrace to change how you navigate in the world.
In these digital times we watch others share their identity-shifting stories. We see the before- and-after pictures of people losing weight or mastering yoga asanas. We engage in facebook challenges to learn habits such as chewing your food for 20 bites before you swallow to improve digestion, taking a breath when you feel anxious to slow down the self talk, or piggyback a new habit around an old habit to integrate it into your routine. These strategies are offered to assist you in moving towards your goals. It is not always an easy process. Sometimes we are meet with emotional/behavior resistance to change.
Course correction is something sailors do. It happens when we are on a course, meet an obstacle (limiting behavioral patterns) and self-correct. Course correction can initially present as the resistance we experience as we attempt to establish new behavior patterns. New behaviors and Identity shifts are choices and not overnight events. The road can be long or short with twists and turns. Change can be painful but necessary part of our evolution. It is the feeling that comes with the choice of stepping into the headwind with your comfort zone at your back and trying something new.
Course correction can show up in many forms of internal resistance: frustration, anger, self-doubt, depression or anxiety. It is the number of times you walk back and forth in front of the fridge and open and close the door during the mental debate around food consumption. It is when you don’t want to exercise but you show up anyway, one foot in front of the other. It is when you are sad or frustrated and make a choice to not put on a social mask or self-medicate and instead journal what you are feeling and present yourself to the world as you truly are. We are given many tools to assist in shifting our behavior and identity. We just have to pick them up.
My most challenging course corrections happen when I challenge old memories and beliefs that are firmly embedded in my emotional and physical bodies. I needed professional support and guidance to help me identify, re-organize and reroot patterns around abuse. Author Ruby Gibson, author of My Body My Earth taught me how to use techniques of somatic archaeology and brainspotting to locate emotions (self worth, shame, guilt) that were holding me back. One strategy was using my breath to explore old emotions themselves rather than getting lost in the story. I was resistant, it was painful and it was a course correction. The outcome was acknowledgement of generational beliefs and autopilot behavioral response patterns I had fallen prey to. Ruby provided a safe space to explore, expand and shift my perspective.
You can’t change the past but you can renegotiate the power it once held over you. I learned that people are really doing the best that they can at the time with the tools that they have. Forgiveness is the key to emotional health. The Law of Forgiveness Prayer was written by Rev. Dr. Roberta Herzog. Reciting this prayer helped me to forgive myself and others. Thus, providing me with the opportunity to resculpt neuro pathways and stimulate different parts of my brain, crucial to my mental and emotional well being.
Law of Forgiveness Prayer
“_______, I forgive you for Everything you’ve ever said or done to me in thought, word or deed that has caused me pain in this or any other lifetime. You are free and I am free! And _____
I ask that you forgive Me for Anything that I have ever said or done to you in thought, word or deed in this or any other lifetime that has caused you pain. You are free and I am free! Thank you God, for this opportunity to forgive _______ and to forgive myself”.
Forgiveness is a gift. It gives you freedom.
Course Correction for the Emotional/Mental Body: An analogy
Think of your mental/emotional self like a baseball team. Visiting team has self-esteem, confidence, communication and self-care on the infield. Bases loaded by the home team with guilt, self-judgement and anxiety on base. Depression is up to bat. Spanda (the Ayurveda principle of pulsation between expansion and contraction) is pitching. Will the home team get a hit or will the visiting team end the inning? It fluctuates, like Spanda, pulsing back and forth as we shift and grow, shift and grow. This is a process. There is no magic wand.
What is important to remember that the visiting team hasn’t played together as long as the home team. The visiting team is getting to know each other. Their positions may change and they may add to the roster as they get stronger with players like empathy, forgiveness and self-love. Sometimes the home teams wins. What is crucial is to get back in the game. I can assure you, the more your team practices, the easier it gets. How will you know this? The triggers that have held you back will have lost their power. It is a soft subtle shift and it feels amazing.
If you have made it through a course correction please feel free to unpack and comment below. I also encourage you to read or re-read past YHC blogs as they hold inspirational gems which may comfort and inspire you.
How to Make Friends with Your Shadow: Kristen Polzien
Marcia Wilson Who Struggle with Change: Marcia Wilson
Clear Ancestral Karma with Ritual: Jackie Prete
From Breakdown to Breakthrough to Easeful Living: Khim Lim
Treating Trauma in the Moment with Ayurveda: Gin Burchfield
*Special thank you to my editor Kari Zabel for her wordsmithing genesis