Are problems gifts in disguise?
How can I possibly say that, are problems gifts in disguise, have I gone mad? I happen to believe they are. Three years ago, my world turned on it’s head, literally overnight and what followed was six months of hell, making discovery after discovery. How on earth could this have been a gift? I swiftly moved out of the marital home and I took my then 5 year old with me, it was self-preservation. I think we go on auto-pilot because to this day, I do not know how I got the courage and energy to do what I did. I started a contract the week after and as much as this was an emotional drain, it also gave me a lifeline and a sense of normality. Again, how I did that with all that was dismantling around me, I do not know. We are incredibly resourceful beings and when we are in survival mode, we are quite literally capable of anything. What followed for me was mediation, which was hell on earth and the feeling that everything I did as a wife and mother was under scrutiny, judgment and being portrayed in the most negative light. I recall the worst of these sessions and as I returned back to my mum’s I climbed the stairs and I really did want to lay my head on the pillow and not wake up, I wanted the pain to go away. But that’s not an option when you’re a parent, you have to dig deep, put on your brave face and carry on regardless. My mum told me recently that she used to hear me sobbing quietly at night and I did, I was mourning the life I thought I had and the for the little girl in me who felt alone, vulnerable and bereft.
So where is the gift in all of that?
Fast forward 3 years and I am sat in a beautiful little street in Tunbridge Wells, I am delivering a team programme to a new client tomorrow around communication styles. In those 3 years, I have turned my life around. I do incredible work, I have amazing clients and I feel fully alive and send love and gratitude every day for the life I live. So how did I go from that tunnel of darkness to the garden of light I live in today? I did a few key things, I know my situation is not unique and I can only share what has worked for me. It began with forgiveness. I recognised that I was saying all the right words about coming to terms with my situation and how I believed I was treated, yet deep down, at another level I felt this knot in my stomach every time I thought of what was happening. A coaching friend of mine did some EFT, also known as tapping, and it did clear some of the residue, but we also did a visualization exercise and I practiced this every single day. I would imagine my now, ex husband, standing in front of me and from my heart space I would beam a white light straight to his heart space, and through this I sent love, light and forgiveness. After six months of such pain, I cannot tell you what an impact this had. I noticed quite quickly that I was disassociating myself from him, that when we saw each other, my behaviour had moved from one of anxiety to kindness. This impacted him and his behaviour towards me also changed. There are still some challenges that show up, yet by sending compassion and love, it releases me. Remember that anger, bitterness, resentment that we hold is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die…which of course they don’t! So when we forgive and let go, we set ourselves free.
As an NLP trainer, I apply the tools I use and teach to myself. It started with belief. I stepped into my true identity as a transformational coach and I went outside my comfort zone over and over again, because that is where we grow and develop. I discovered using positive affirmations to be really powerful and each morning I still use the one I was given “I stand up for myself and life supports me in loving and unexpected ways”. Even as I write that I feel flooded with a sense of peace and calmness that sits in my heart. These affirmations are a way for us to retrain our minds, as we have over 60,000 thoughts a day of which 90% are negative….that’s a real drain on our energy. So by tapping into the positive space, we create a new neural pathway and over time, our unconscious mind listens to what we are saying and we have a new empowering belief. I started writing in a gratitude diary. I still practice this now and as I flick back through the years, it astounds me to see what amazing things have actually happened that I ‘ordered’ from the Universe. At the time as I slept at my mum’s, there was huge uncertainty around what the financial situation would be and after that hideous mediation session I mentioned, I think a shed was about the sum of what I would get. This is where I got lost in dreams. I thanked the Universe every day for 3 things, sometimes it may have been that someone smiled at me, I started small. What I noticed was the more things I appreciated, the more things I noticed to appreciate, it was amazing. I then future scripted and this is where I described the house that I was living in (no, I wasn’t but I wrote as though I was) and described the number of bedrooms, the sunny garden, the playroom and the quiet location. This was a long way off of the shed situation. Yet every night, I connected to that house in my thoughts and I got excited, I could physically feel it. I believed I would find it and it would happen, I didn’t have to worry about the how, the Universe would work that out for me. And guess what, I got the house 6 months later and the money I had also ordered. Wow, this stuff really works and the best bit, it’s fun to dream, so dream BIG.
The last key thing I did on my journey of recovery was to care for myself. Really care. I had a coach and my monthly sessions with him were an amazing way to really tap into my own identity, of who was emerging and what I was letting go of. I still have these sessions as they are my time to explore and also be challenged in a powerful but loving way. If you can’t afford your own coach, then who do you know that you can spend time with that will ask you those powerful questions that you don’t ask yourself? Go and spend time with them. I have grown beyond anything I imagined. I introduced daily meditations and this quiet time to just sit with myself, with the thoughts that gently flowed, moved me from a place of having to ‘do’ to just ‘being’ and that brings with it a sense of grounded-ness and it moved me from fear to faith. I don’t know what’s waiting for me in my future, what my next relationship will be and whom I will attract now, as this updated version of Louise. What I do know is that all of my pain has been a gift because without it, my life would not have taken the pathway it did. I love the journey, even the bumpy bits because I become curious about what will show up for me next. So as I order my bill, sipping my mint tea, I have a wave of gratitude for the experiences 3 years ago, that they actually set me free in a way I didn’t expect and for that I am truly grateful. I have a healthy set of beliefs now and I also have a sense of not knowing, and that’s ok.
As I always say, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
So if you find yourself in a dark place and you can’t see the light, imagine it is a gift and slow down, and patiently wait to see what emerges, because it will and trust that it is all working out perfectly. So go and buy yourself a lovely book and start now with 3 things you are grateful for and watch the magic of your life unfold.