According to Eckhart Tolle we all have something called a ‘pain body’.
In Tolle speak: ‘the pain-body is my term for the accumulation of old emotional pain that almost all people carry in their energy field. I see it as a semi-autonomous psychic entity. It consists of negative emotions that were not faced, accepted, and then let go in the moment they arose. These negative emotions leave a residue of emotional pain, which is stored in the cells of the body.’
I really wish he’d cut it out with the phrases like ‘semi-autonomic psychic entity’ but I think I understand what he’s saying, which is that we each carry around a life time of old pain with us, which determines how we see the world.
This morning I went for a walk on Hampstead Heath. It was cold and grey and gloomy but I walk most mornings, trying to kick start some sort of motivation and can-do attitude. It rarely works, obviously, but I do it anyway.
As usual, some random dance track was blaring in my ears and I was squeezing my bum (my workout) while walking as fast as I could up the hill.
My head ran through what I had to do today and I realised there was quite a lot. I have three articles to finish and some paper work to do. Usually this would send me off in a tailspin of adrenaline, I’d walk faster and faster and berate myself for not waking up sooner and imagine all the ways the day could go wrong.
But strangely, today I did not feel overwhelmed by my to-do list and my usual dread didn’t quite kick in.
Last night I went to a friend’s house for dinner and I found myself going off on a proper binge of negative thinking. In real life, in the NOW, I was sitting in her kitchen, eating spaghetti and half listening to Sunday’s episode of The Voice. I was warm and with a friend and had actually done a good day’s work. All was well.
And yet in my head things were not well. I was spinning off into ‘Your blog is sh*t, what the hell are you doing with your life, when are you going to earn proper money, people think you’re an idiot, why are you drinking, you’re not meant to be drinking etc etc…’
At one point my friend asked me if I was OK, that I seemed sad, and I copped out and said, ‘Yeah, all fine, just tired.’ Bloody hell, the number of times I’ve said ‘I’m tired’ when I mean ‘sad, frustrated, scared…’. I didn’t say any of that because in my head I was imaging her thinking I’m a stupid, self-indulgent cow who should get on with things. Like she does. Like the rest of the world does.
Well, I’m still loving the Power of Now and I’m annotating like crazy. I haven’t underlined a book so much since studying Wuthering Heights at A-Level and Mrs Batch introduced us to a colour coded noting system.
The following paragraphs got me so excited I wrote a giant: “YES!!” next to them. They’re about the voice in our head. The voice that makes us miserable and ever so slightly crazy:
‘When someone goes to the doctor and says, ‘I hear a voice in my head’ he or she will be most likely sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way, virtually everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all of the time: the involuntary thought processes that you don’t realise you have the power to stop. Continuous monologues or dialogues.
‘You have probably come across ‘mad’ people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well, that’s not much different from what you and all the other ‘normal’ people do, except that you don’t do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn’t necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reviving the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining future situations. Here it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry. Sometimes this soundtrack is accompanied by visual images or ‘mental movies’. Continue reading
When I first picked up The Power of Now, last Easter, I thought it was impenetrable New Age gibberish. I couldn’t understand how it had become a number one best-seller, loved by everyone from Oprah (of course) to Meg Ryan, Annie Lennox to, er, Paris Hilton (who took it to jail with her, along with the Bible). In fact, I couldn’t understand it, full stop.
Despite being determined to prove that I have a greater – or at least an equal – reading ability to Miss Hilton, I gave up at around page twenty.
Sentences such as ‘It is a misperception of your essential reality that is beyond birth and death, and is due to the limitations of your mind, which, having lost touch with Being, creates the body as evidence of its illusory belief in separation and to justify its state of fear’ were too much for me.
Hello! How’s everyone? How was the first week back to normality? Any resolutions still in tact? I’m still booze free – hurrah!
I am also full of lurgy (like everybody in the world, it seems) which means that I don’t quite have the brain power to introduce The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, but I hope I’ll be feeling sharp enough to do tomorrow. It’s bizarre how much I like reading it, though, it’s like a new age comfort blanket. It makes me feel calm and content every time I open the page. Promising.
Anyway, today’s post is just a little one about something that’s been knocking around in my head for a while. It’s about honesty.
Since I started the blog there are two words that people generally say about it. First of all they’ll say, ‘It’s very honest‘. Often they say it in that way that people say ‘You’re very brave’, when actually, they mean ‘stupid, you’re very stupid’.
Hello! Before we get stuck into 2015, I thought I’d do a kind of sum up of last year, just for kicks. I realise that I can be very negative, so I’m going to BIG MYSELF UP and focus on the VERY COOL stuff that happened as well as well as acknowledging the moments where I kind of lost it…
So are you ready? Here goes:
January – Started with me chatting up strangers on the tube, getting naked in public, doing stand-up comedy (terrifying, awful, amazing!! I’m a hero!) and jumping out of a plane (never, ever, ever again) in a Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway extravaganza. Susan Jeffers self help classic advises doing one scary thing a day. I do. With bells on. A triumphant – if nerve shattering – start. The Daily Mail ran a big feature about my project which led to interview requests from BBC Berkshire and er, China. Hurrah! This is amazing and exciting!
Hello all, Happy January! How are you? Happy? Hungover? Optimistic? Knackered? Sick? I’m a bit of all of those things, but, to quote that great spiritual leader, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’M BACK.
And it feels good.
Just to recap, it is exactly a year since I started this blog. By now I was supposed to have gone through 12 self-help books – one a month, as planned. There would have been highs and lows, tears and revelations, romance and rejection, all coming together to form some sort of profoundly moving (but neat and tidy) epiphany on December 31st 2014.
I am typing this from a guesthouse in Dublin. Next to me is a silver pot of coffee and a scone with jam that Sara, the lovely Spanish girl behind reception, has just brought up – I didn’t even ask for it, she just said that she thought I might like something to help me get on with my work.
Last night her colleague, Rhona, caught me coming up the stairs and asked me if I’d like a snack. ‘What kind of snack?’ I asked. ‘Well, I just made French toast for a fella and he’s still standing,’ she said.
I asked for a cheese toastie and it was delivered to my room, with a pot of tea and a plate of custard creams. I ate this feast on my bouncy bed while watching a Sandra Bullock movie. I fell asleep just after 10pm and didn’t wake till gone 9am this morning.
If there is a heaven I think this might be it.
Be honest. Be kind. See the funny side. Exercise. Laugh. Lighten up. Have the difficult conversations and do the difficult jobs. Don’t run away. Speak your mind quietly, clearly and respectfully. People are not mind readers. Spit it out. Word hard and enjoy it. Take pride and satisfaction in your abilities. Have confidence. Go for the big things – why not? What’s the worst that can happen? Failure won’t kill you. Say no. Say yes. See the good in people, don’t judge. Listen, understand, forgive. Have fun. Be patient. Nothing is forever. Cherish the day and cherish the people in your life – you are so lucky to have them. Be humble: you’re no better than anyone else and no worse either. We’re all trying our best, we’re all the same, really. Love with all your heart and learn from everything. When things are hard know that it will pass and none of it matters that much anyway. Don’t be a drama queen and don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re just a little dot passing through so make the most of it. Sing, dance, look at the sky and be grateful. If in doubt tidy your room and make a plan – sometimes it helps to get out of your head and get practical. Most importantly though, have a cup of tea and remember this: You’re doing great. xx