As I've gone about my daily life these past 39 (even though I still feel 27) years there's been something going on I wasn't aware of, an undercurrent within my own life which I didn't feel pulling me down.
Sure, when I read all the self-help books in my "Get Enlightened" stage in my early 20s, this mystifying situation was written about. I read about it, eagerly practiced methods to battle it and as life went on my focus became other worldly things.
In my experience I'm a Soda Pop kinda girl.
What I mean is that I have a tendency to focus upon something, get all shaken up about it, full of the energy which comes from knowledge and the challenge.Typically, as time goes on and my focus is upon something else I go flat, the energy and focus of the information leaves me.
I did fads well.
Soda Pop Girl is now determined to be Slow Boil Woman.
The way I see it is that if I continue this Slow Boil the results will be much more satisfying, more flavorful and full than the flat taste I've been left with in the past.
I've always believed that our actions are direct results to the thoughts in our heads, eye on the prize and all that.
I can remember working on changing my internal thoughts back in my early 20s when I began a new diet fad, convincing myself that I wasn't hungry that I was just thirsty and wanted water. This actually worked for a short time but honestly who can live on 900 calories a day of frozen prepackaged foods that taste like cardboard??
Poor choice of diets on my part, but the positive thought process was successful. I actually got used to the low calorie eating and didn't feel hungry. But of course the weight crept back onto my body when I went off the strict diet.
Why did this happen? It's simple really, I didn't deal with the core issues which caused me to gain weight so it stayed in the black box.
Within my mind there is a section that gets very little conscious attention from me; let's call it the black box. I was born with this black box and over time and experience it's gotten filled with negative thoughts about myself. I've been unaware of these negative thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings, reasonings, theories and wants but each day when faced with a choice they influence the outcome.
For example during stressful or emotional times I was drawn to alcohol to help "deal." We all see this everyday, just watch a TV show and you'll see a character who says "I need a drink" in exasperation.
Each day we are met with temptation in our daily lives. For me these generally appear in the areas of money, materialism, judgements of myself, to hide from my emotions and the stressors of life -- there's so many to list, but they are temptation indeed.
Each time I'm faced with temptation there is something that happens within my mind. Negative statements are whispered out of that black box, pulling my perspective to the negative end of the scale.
On the day when I found out that my father had prostate cancer and 12 other serious health issues, my first thought was to open a bottle. It was completely acceptable to me. Of course I needed this fortification. Who wouldn't? It wasn't a conscious though, it was a gut reaction; I was angry, sad, mad and scared.
What was actually happening in my subconscious thought was a battle, one part of me wanted to pray, to grab onto my faith and scream my anger at God. It wanted to look for direction and hold strong in my faith. There was also another part of me in the black box that screamed how I couldn't live without my Daddy, that my Daddy was dying, that my life was going to change, that I might never get the chance to prove myself to my Daddy, that a blackness of despair was coming.
And the black box won.
My actions were determined by my thoughts.
Now that I am aware of this black box within myself I am working to correct this defect. I am building up my positive thought base by being rigorously honest with myself. I have identified my weaknesses and character defects and in doing so I am lightening up the black box. I'm cleaning it out and replacing the contents with positive messages which will enhance my life and strengthen my armor.
Prayer, faith, willingness and knowledge of God's word are my tools for these efforts.
Someone in my 12 Step Program gave me great advice within my first few weeks in the program. He said, "Don't trust your own mind for the first year, consider it broken from the drink."
My priorities were skewed from years of listening to the black box.
Now there's light in my mind I rely upon God to direct my mind and choices. I do this through reading the Bible, prayer, meditation, worship and spending time learning as much as I can through the experience of others.
God will never allow me any temptation for which I don't have the ability to resist.
That in itself is freeing.