Someone once asked what inspired spiritual beauty for me. I replied that it is when I see vastness – i.e. a huge monument, a magnificent mountain, a sweeping horizon, a large body of water, etc. We ruminated about why seeing something huge would trigger our sense of spiritual identity. The person suggested that perhaps it reminds us of how small we are and amidst such grandness we are forced to respect the omnipotence of the higher power. I wasn’t sure if it resonated fully with me and I’ve been thinking about it since then.
Tag Archive for: Focus and Intention
Many of my clients with addiction problems have asked why they often drink or use drugs when things are going well for them. “I can understand if I’d been feeling bad,” they say, “but why is it that when things are good I’d start using again?” There are many reasons and I am going to offer my views focusing on the aspects which I find particularly interesting.
Sometimes, we use the excuse of wanting to celebrate to go on a binge and end up abusing ourselves. This is not what I am addressing; here, the celebratory mood is likely to be forced just because we want an excuse to embark on our self-abusing behaviour. What I am addressing is when your life genuinely starts to look good and you’re feeling good, and then you choose an unhealthy habit and you end up sabotaging yourself.
Recently, I’ve been inspired by a couple of good friends who plunged into the adventure of pursuing their shared dream. In doing so, they demonstrated their faith in staying true to their dreams. They’ve reminded me of the value of following the internal compass of desire despite persisting fears. Moreover, they’ve stirred up my own sense of ambition and adventure around some forgotten dreams which I’ve stored in the back burner as I buried myself in work in the past 13 months.
As I examined my own fears around pursuing my dreams, I realised that a lot of the fears are just excuses. They aren’t that real once I put myself through an honesty test. Whenever I spoke to my dream-following friends, I would get a spurt of inspiration to nurture my own dreams. I knew that this inspiration would not last, so I dived into the energy of Inspiration to set forth some actions.
A few months ago during clinical supervision, I brought up some personal issues for discussion with my therapist. He pointed out that I had been coming from scarcity rather than abundance. Since then, I’ve been working on focusing more on the gifts in situations that appear to be negative. Through the process, I discovered how easy it is to let myself slip and get caught up in negativity.
That’s why a consistent practice of nurturing our mental-emotional wellbeing is so vital in managing stress levels and ensuring that we maintain a good presence of mind to deal with the normal stresses of life. The danger of over-exerting ourselves is that we can convince ourselves we can handle more than we’re capable of. Excesses in lifestyle such as over-consumption of ‘good food’, substance abuse, over-working, over-sleeping or any self-harming activities can go on for years before we realise the toil it has taken on us. By then, we’re likely to have set into a very negative mindset, because such excesses tend to sap us of any energy left to nurture ourselves properly.
I feel wonderful today. Fifteen years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself saying this on the day I turn 40. Growing old was just one of the many fears I struggled with, and my age-obsessed self then could not see any reason to go on existing beyond the age of 29. I remember cringing at every birthday, feeling myself sapped of life, as if another building block to the structure that held me together was being pulled out. Now I know that it was an illusion maintained by a practice of constantly looking out for bad things.
One of the reasons why we fail to create lasting changes in our lives is we tend to focus on what is not-yet ‘perfect’ and using that as an excuse to sabotage our progress. We tend to begin a process of change expecting to wake up one day with all our internal conflicts gone overnight. It’s called a “process” because it is an ongoing journey of healing parts of ourselves. But most of us expect our issues to disappear within a short time, and when we see that we’re still struggling, we consider ourselves to have failed. So we go back to our old habits or old structure – full on – because “it’s all or nothing”.