Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
Happiness is a factor of life that is well worth striving for. The pursuit of personal happiness and fulfilment is necessary for us to completely embark on a spiritual path. Our heart, soul, and creative spirit thrive when immersed in the energy of what makes us genuinely happy.
Let’s face it, many of us have had our fair share of trauma, tragedy and addiction. Those who have experienced some of the more “hard core” issues, or are currently working through them, may find that sometimes we have to work a little harder to find our joy. Many of us have also experienced the emotional fallout from realizing what we sometimes call “the Matrix”. I prefer to think of it as limiting patterns of thought and behavior that constrict our true power as creators and make us believe we have limited choices and potential.
What we sometimes forget among the past pain and trauma, among the expectations and limitations, is how to simply make ourselves happy. For most of us, we have to learn (or re-learn) what makes us happy, how to pursue it, how to truly be happy, and how to hold that feeling in our vibration – and write it into our neural pathways.
Our Emotional Baskets
Many people are currently experiencing a deep emotional process of realization, acceptance and release. This is undoubtedly a time for healing. The key is realizing that it is a process that doesn’t all just happen overnight, and it can be especially difficult if we’ve had abuse, addiction or other personal trauma in our past.
Happiness is a our natural state of being. It is our guidance system toward creating our ideal world around us. But, when we learn drudgery and limitation in its place, it can take time and focus to deconstruct perceived limitations and (re)learn what really makes us happy.
Our fears, traumas, abuse, and addictions leave us feeling pretty crappy – it’s true. It can take great effort to overcome them in a complete, emotionally healthy way. We all have (what I’ll call) “life baskets” that we use to help us define our emotions. They are part of how we identify, categorize and understand our own complex emotional nature. The basket could relate to an abusive parent, an untrustworthy relationship, a deep seated fear, or even financial constraints.
As an example, the “parenthood” basket helps us to understand and rationalize the unique emotions that come with being a parent. By identifying as “parents”, the extreme range of emotions we experience over our lifelong relationships with our children, and our self within that dynamic, are validated by the experiences and support of other parents. But in our parenthood basket we may also be carrying many social or personal expectations associated with “being a parent in 2014”, plus the emotional baggage we may have accrued from our own child/parent relationships and role-models in early life.
It can be a real mixed basket.
But as any parent will tell you, your sense of identity – and sanity – must extend further than being someone’s parent. In the same way, our tendency to put things into emotional baskets can be detrimental to our growth and healing, particularly if we have only one basket in which we place our emotional identity. And sadly, that’s the situation many addicts find themselves in. To many addicts and non-addicts alike, the “addiction” basket is all encompassing and cannot be put down.
For example, if someone has an addiction which has had a very negative effect on their life, they may have an emotional basket labelled “addiction”. Then, when that person has freed themselves from their addictive behaviors and addressed the emotional root cause of that behavior, they often continue to carry around the “addiction” basket. Organizations like AA even encourage it, reinforcing the “once an addict, always an addict” mentality. That person then carries this addiction basket around every day, “one day at a time”. Identifying primarily as an “addict”, they put their emotions in the “addiction” basket when something feels “off” or “wrong” in life — even though emotions may be unrelated, or the root cause of addiction has been resolved. Ultimately, the “addict” identification becomes a life-encompassing foundation for emotional perceptions – just like it did while addictive behavior was at full flight.
Then one day we wake up, and find that we have managed to fit our entire emotional self into one (very limited) “basket”.
Picking Apart the Straw
Once we have created a basket for our negative experiences, it can become a habitual pattern to continue to pile more negative experiences into our basket. We can tend to take everything we view as weaknesses or faults and put them into our conveniently labelled basket, thereby furthering the identification of self as an “addict”, or a victim of our past circumstance. By doing this, we give our power away to that negative self perception, often letting the other emotions already in that basket affect our perception of the “negative” (uncomfortable) experiences and emotions that newly arise in our lives.
In this way, the lifelong “addict” identification can be as damaging as the addiction itself. It too can become “addictive”.
What we sometimes don’t appreciate is that when we are constantly in a place of re-living our negative experiences we are also, however inadvertently, creating more negative experiences. Our memory is deceiving; our consciousness can’t tell the difference between experience and memory. This can be seen in physiological responses in the body, like pulse and blood pressure, as the body experiences memories of uncomfortable or threatening past situations. Then, resonating this old uncomfortable energy, and identifying ourselves by it, we tend to attract more of the same.
In this way, adding our emotional energy into old baskets can serve to prolong our experience of a negative aspect of our lives, which can ultimately affect both physical and non-physical states. From here, it can seem difficult to find the happiness that comes with understanding and accepting our emotional being. That is until we lay down our basket or weave a new one; a basket labelled “consciousness”.
Weaving a New Basket
All our experiences and emotions can be viewed through the universal lens of consciousness. After all, isn’t that why we’re here – to experience consciousness? Isn’t our unique perception of consciousness what makes us, US?
With that in mind, we should allow ourselves to grieve for our feelings of loss and trauma in a healthy, honest and conscious way; to go into the deep, and explore the shadows within. Without acknowledging and honoring our emotions in this way, the unresolved energy manifests in the body and the mind, often causing dis-ease and another bout of unresolvable negative thoughts, fresh from our basket of misery. This is when changing our mental focus plays a great role in overcoming and and truly healing from traumatic experiences.
It helps to recognize that long-term happiness is actually a learned behavior. It has long been believed that we can influence our own moods, perceptions and experience – consciousness – through conscious focus and choice. And science agrees. The study of neuroplasticity examines the changes in neural pathways and synapses that occur due to changes in behavior, environment and thinking. Essentially, the brain is wired for repetition – so what you repeat, you become.
In these challenging situations we do well to maintain conscious focus on our hearts and minds, and find a way to weave happy, loving, blissful experiences into our basket at the same time. It may not be easy, but it is always possible. This focus helps us to identify the positivity in our lives, to consciously create positive actions and reactions, and in turn to create opportunities and experiences which – funnily enough – are more in line with your bliss.
The fears, traumas, addiction, abandonment, etc. will still be a part of our life experience – they never fully “leaves” us. But our perception of it, the emotions around it, the effect it has on our lives, our being, and how we define our self – all that can change, and will change… if we allow it. It is the natural order for our perceptions to change, as we live and grow and experience. And as we truly heal from our afflictions and addictions, we learn to appreciate those feelings and experiences without feeling the need to run away from them, or continue re-living them in our mind/consciousness, or identifying ourselves by them.
The trick is then learning to navigate your own route, free of the limitations of experience and identity.
In the process of weaving a brand new consciousness basket, we may find ourselves reaching for future dreams and happy memories. We may not have very many of them, and some of us may have forgotten how it feels to be in that peaceful emotional place, where we can dream. But we all share the tendency to look back, and reflect. At these times, when we intentionally steer our focus to happy experiences (past and future) it takes us away from the tunnel vision of solely focusing on the trauma, allows the consciousness to experience happiness (since it doesn’t know time) and helps to rebuild “happy” neural pathways in the brain.
Our other option? To continue filling our consciousness with negativity, re-living our traumatic experiences and addictive behaviors over and over again.
As much as we may hate to admit it in those moments, when we’re so deeply focused on the trauma we may not see any positivity in our lives, the choice to perpetuate that negative experience is ours. And we know it.
“Snap out of it!” … so to speak.
That’s not to say the issues we all face aren’t real. We ARE our experiences. We are consciousness embodied. But in that, we are what we perceive. Our universe is one of free will, and we have a conscious choice about what we focus on, what we look for, and where we spend our energy – and in return, our focus manifests into our physical reality.
This is the part we have to work at. As I said, happiness is a learned behavior – a habit. Because our patterned emotions and responses are ingrained in our brain chemistry, it can take a great deal of work to re-train our mental and spiritual focus when we find ourselves uncomfortable in our lives. This is where the concept of “focusing on our mental focus” comes into play. Our awareness of our own behavioral patterns can help us change how we perceive and interact with them, and how they ultimately affect us – on all levels.
In the bigger picture, our conscious recognition of the “problem” is the first step in the process of showing the Universe our intentions of healing and weaving a new vibration into our energetic being. From here we start to affect our own emotional fabric, and can begin to consciously interact with our difficult emotions as they happen, perceiving them from that conscious view point. This is when we can start to shake them out of our old trauma basket and put the emotions back again, this time into our new consciousness basket. When we acknowledge and embrace the divinity of our consciousness, and see our experiences through that divine lens, we find comfort and acceptance of our emotions, and our self.
A great way ‘focus on our mental focus’ is an exercise I call “emotional imagination”.
We’re quite used to hearing that “thoughts create things” and that’s true… to an extent. The real key to creating is using our emotional imagination.
We know we can influence our moods, perceptions and emotions through conscious focus and choice. We know that consciousness can’t decipher memory from experience, and reacts to both as though they are real. And we know that what we repeat, we become.
So how do we weave happiness into our vibration?
Emotional imagination is the practice of reinforcing new “happy” habits (and neural pathways) by consciously immersing our consciousness in positive emotional stimulation. This can involve evoking memories of past events or future plans, such as planning a dream vacation, the warmth of a loving relationship, dreams for our future, the pride of our child’s accomplishments, the love of a strong support network, the feeling of sunshine on your skin, the perfect friendship, the perfect cup of coffee, and on and on we go. As we imagine and remember happiness, and remember love, our consciousness experiences the happiness of those ‘moments’, and learns with time to embrace loving happy experiences again, and let go of old trauma.
As humans, we are not defined by our traumas. Experience cannot define consciousness itself.
Previous articles by Jennifer Deisher:
- The River – Navigating Your Own Spiritual Route
- Our Purpose is to Heal
- Diamonds in the Sky
- Quantum Mechanics of the Soul
- Stop, Look and Listen: Healing a Society in Denial
- Healing The Trauma Drama
- Let It Rain – Finding Gratitude in Grief
- Into the Deep – Learning from the Shadow Within
- The Ties That Bind – Releasing Toxic Relationships
- Remember Love
- The Science of Miracles
- Dying to Live: Unity and Oneness, or Corporate Rule?
About the author:
Jennifer Deisher is an empath, intuitive, emotional healer, spiritual transformation artist, and the writer of the Moon Hippie Mystic blog. Aaron Deisher is a psychic medium, shaman and intuitive specializing in behavioral and paranormal aspects of spirituality. Together they founded Blueprints For Butterflies as a safe, loving space to support people who are awakening and making a spiritual connection with their Higher Self. Offering professional healing and reading services, they work to help others confront their ‘demons’, realize their divine spiritual, emotional and creative blueprint, and create a life that resonates with each individual’s unique energy signature.
For more information or to book a session, please visit BlueprintsForButterflies.com.
This article adapted for Wake Up World by Andy Whiteley.