The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said that “An un-examined life is not worth living”. But the failure to examine our lives doesn’t make the rest of our lives worthless. I certainly don’t recommend committing suicide simply because we didn’t know it could be helpful to take a look at the patterns in our lives. No, it’s never too late to start examining our lives. This is another way to look at the first part of the cure for trauma and grief that I talked about in my last entry.
After admitting that there is a cure for feeling stuck, trapped, or lost, and after starting to explore one’s life a little deeper than before, we might discover that there are different ways to begin dismantling the Wall that’s blocking our way. One of these is making the choice to do so. Making an appointment to see a therapist can be a way of saying to yourself that you have made a healthy choice to examine your life and get passed that pesky Wall.
Another is to find a discipline, something “fixed” in the way we do things, something stable, one thing we can incorporate into our routine and make into a simple habit that is easy to do and doesn’t cost anything. Along with the ancients, modern psychological scientists who promote mindfulness suggest it can help to start focusing on one thing which can centre our attention. Commonly, this is breathing. Doing this is referred to as “mindfulness meditation”. Mindfulness is something one can do while sitting, walking, whatever and whenever. If there is anything to do in Mindfulness Meditation, it is just to notice what is happening now, what is coming up now. It is really more like “being” than it is about “doing”. Notice it, whatever it is, give it a name, refocus on breathing, and let whatever it was pass on its own. Take a look at the books I recommend for more information about Mindfulness or call and make an appointment with me to learn more about Mindfulness in person.
Opposite to what you might expect from a therapist, I’m NOT suggesting that you let go of past traumas and losses. Instead, experiences of trauma and loss are often among the most meaningful in our lives. Instead, I’m suggesting that learning how to detach from these experiences when we don’t want to be ruminating about them is the healthy way to go.
But there is a bit of a trick here. The trick is not as simple as letting go. This is what people in denial have done. They have convinced themselves that they have dealt with it when, really, hearing people talking about a lost loved one or events similar to the trauma is still quite bothersome.
Wondering what the trick is? Stay tuned for the next blog entry to find out “the trick”.