Sep30

Publisher - October 2019

Publisher 0419The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  —John 1:5

You don’t have to believe in ghosts for things to haunt you. Especially if overwhelm, guilt, busyness, sadness, exhaustion, perfection or resentment is a part of your daily repertoire. (If you don’t fit into one of these categories…will you be my life coach?)

I want so desperately to find peace, joy and time for myself in each day, but there are these ghosts…the ones that haunt my spirit and feed my mind narratives that hold me back. Because I have had a life coach—and apparently didn’t listen close enough— I know these inner narratives are referred to as shadow beliefs, and we all have them to a certain degree. Like the stereotypical television ghost that drags a chain around clunking it across the floor, paralyzing everyone in fear, our shadow beliefs are just as capable of dragging us down and inducing that same level of fear.

Often we get stuck in ruts—bad jobs, poor health, relationships, money burdens, situations, time constraints—and can’t find our way out or through because we have conditioned ourself to believe we can’t. Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Thats all well and good, but sometimes I have to wonder exactly what role do we play in creating our own hell. And, if we indeed are creating it, I don’t want to keep going, I want to stop creating it!

I know for sure that most of my worries are self-induced, born from a struggle of too much to do and losing the time management game—it kicks my butt every hour on the hour. As such, I now have these shadow beliefs that I am incapable of time management. It is bigger, mightier and more organized than me—so my brain tells me. My brain also tells me I have never won, or even showed well, against the clock. In other words, my brain, that I supposedly control, is not on my side.
All of us have both positive and negative personal beliefs of how we view the world and how we think the world views us. The negative beliefs shroud us in dark shadows. These are the stories we tell ourselves for so long we believe them, which gives them rise to limit, stifle, invade and control our thoughts, actions and dreams.

A few examples of limiting beliefs may start something like this:
I’m too old to…
I’m not smart enough to…
I never get included in…
Nobody ever talks to me…
I’m too fat to…
I just don’t know what to do about…
I hate to exercise so I will never…
I will never find a man who…
No one ever listens to me…
That is way to expensive for me to…
I hate my job and I can’t…
I’m not good enough for…
I can’t…
I don’t…
I won’t…
I shouldn’t…
I am always broke and will never be able to afford…

Pick your poison. Which category do your shadows fall into? Or do you, like many, mix them all together for quite an accomplished shadowy soiree?  I promise stinkin’ thinkin’ is toxic, and though you may believe it to be your truth, most of the time others are not thinking what you think they are.
For example, I once planned a birthday dinner for my then husband (now ex). I invited family and one other couple. It was a small group. I was accused of including the couple so I wouldn’t have to talk to my family. What?!? The thought never crossed my mind. I invited the couple because they were good friends. I was thinking of who my husband would like to celebrate his birthday with; it had nothing to do with creating a buffer to avoid talking to someone. However, there is nothing I can say to convince otherwise because that person has such a strong shadow belief, she is unable to see it any other way than hers.

Some things we think are not actually reality. What does your mind do if you are trying to get in your house in the dark, fumbling with the keys and you hear something? Immediate terror! It’s easier to believe the bad stuff. Have you ever noticed how much one bad comment can affect you. It can wreck an entire day, sometimes a whole life. However, comments that commend us have to be said over and over, and they are still hard to believe. American theologian Parker Palmer once stated, “The soul is like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the underbrush…and must be coaxed out.”

I’m hoping this article is coaxing you out in some way. Go back up to the list and truly think about which shadowing beliefs you have adopted as truth. Get clear on how these beliefs are haunting your thoughts and casting darkness over your life experiences. Sure, there are mean people out there who may think something rude about you sometimes, but by allowing your own thoughts to do the same, is even meaner.

It takes work to shine light through these dark shadows and rid yourself of stinkin’ thinkin’. My life coach told me you cannot accept yourself, until you know yourself—warts and all. I encourage you to do the work to really know who you are and bury the old thought patterns that are holding you back from life. I once made my children write the word “can’t” on a sheet of paper and go outside and bury it. They have never forgotten. Extraordinary measures get extraordinary results. Do whatever it takes to pull your brain from the dark side and start living your brightest life. I’m in. Are you?

Think Pink-
Elizabeth Millen