Dr. Robert Holden, Ph.D. wrote a book that came out last year, Shift Happens. I think it was intended just for me. If you've ever thought, I'll be happy when________, or felt like something is wrong or missing - then he wrote it for you too.
My big take away: Don't let something that happened to you become all that you are.
I’ve always dealt with nightmares; as a kid I was plagued with their intensity and realism. I have learned to maneuver in them as an adult until the day the nightmare emerged in full sun. A simple accident while swimming turned into a flashback. They are real! Memories like electricity thru my nerve endings flooded in. I couldn’t breathe. My memory of panic without air shot into my mind creating the same gasps in the pool as I choked and coughed out the water. How could this be? I love my daily swim, how could I have been held under water as a kid and not remember?
Everything within me was turned on end. No choosing to be happy, no more putting bad things aside in a corner, no more options for my chin to the sunshine. It wasn’t possible; my heart, soul, and mind were filled with shrapnel and debris as memories surfaced. I was done, checked out… over.
I reached out, learned more about repressed memories and some calmness returned. Soon I found my way to Dr. Robert Holden via a simple “like” on my friend, Colleen’s facebook page. We were set for a trip to the beach to help me ease the pain when I clicked over to Amazon, 1-click and moments before we left, Shift Happens was at my front door, ready for me. What I thought might be a way to stay positive turned into the perfect book for the moment.
Toes in the sand, this is what grabbed me: (shared from Shift Happens, some paraphrasing.)
- The fear that something is wrong with you is the greatest block to joy. In truth, there is no other block.
- For as long as you can feel there is something wrong, bad, lacking, or not good enough about you, your life with reflect this belief.
- Often we are condemning and sabotaging all that is good.
I’m refraining from telling each glorious detail and realization for privacy, however, as some one who found out she was adopted, I do wish to share the following-
First, there is nothing wrong with me or you. The Dr. recommends-
- Be sure to empty your bowl of yesterday’s rice.
I’ve stared so long now at the many sides of adoption, all while learning about my own beginning, that I got lost and prevented me from truly being me. (Identity crisis!) And when a repressed memory surfaced it almost did me in. Now, full circle, the found memory was essential. Painful, yet essential, and now I'm moving forward.
Before going any further here’s a bit of history; Arizona does not allow adopted people to have a copy of their actual birth certificate. AZ is a closed state which to us who were born here and adopted feels like, in regards to our identity and beginning, we are faced staring at a brick wall. We have other ways to find biological familial connections, but they are often taxing and not 100%. The bricks can stack up on the wall quickly, making for feelings of isolation.
There is no film of our beginning that we can order, so we’re subjected to the desires of many others. We have to take what they want to share; limited info, skewed stories, admissions of forgetting, and sometimes lies and denial. Occasionally, it works out and the wall crumbles down and reunions can happen that are fulfilling and wonderful. Other times, rows and rows get added to the wall. It gets so high it feels insurmountable. Depressing.
But, here’s a good question; who knows what’s on the other side? Right? It could be a brick wall built on a cliff with a 200ft drop-off. And yes, it may be built right in front of a magic kingdom. No matter what’s there we can’t live wondering or fantasizing. Then we are no longer living in the present at that point.
For the past three years I have felt there is a wall that blocks what I seek. Until the day I woke up and five words appeared on my wall. Almost graffiti like~
You are what you seek.
We all know that we can’t change another person, we can only change. And we’ve heard, “Happiness comes from within,” along with, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Yes, you are what you seek. I thought, Oh my God, how did I get here? Seriously, how did I become so lost?
What I learned early on is that adoption is complex, at the very least. But being a late discovery adoptee tends to put one in a position of uncovering more secrets, families often let slip a little more detail here, another family secret there. It can feel never ending. When your history has been kept from you, it sends you flying out of the atmosphere. With no gravity, not to mention – air, with many of us sort of lost in space. We get stuck somewhere between the earth and moon, and are unsure how to find our lives in the world. Know that we can all get back, we just can’t ever give up.
Often, many adoptees have inherent challenges at different points in their life. Identity issues and problems with trust, just to name a few. We often boil in the frustration of not having any control for a very long time; choices, actions, decisions happened to us, and we had absolutely no voice. It’s always important to remember that how you were treated is not who you are. Occasionally we hang on to some of their treatment and get stuck in our own heads. That’s where the real battle is, in our minds.
I don’t think you can truly live in the moment carrying a satchel of yesterday’s pain. One must lift the flap, dump it and sort it out, and let the clean space welcome the present. Don’t carry around the past, empty yesterday’s rice, be free and open to abundance today.
- Buddhists say that attachment is the source of all suffering in this world. This is especially true of attachment to suffering. Whatever you identify with you attract more of. Ask, what am I attracting today?
- We become attached to suffering not because we like it, but because it feels familiar. Sometimes problems aren’t fixed, they are simply outgrown. You need to leave them behind.
- For healing, one must give up the attachment to the self that has made mistakes, that has been abused, that was betrayed, that was rejected, that has been victimized, and that was lied to.
Shift Happens also explains that you are not the things you’ve suffered. Rather, by being afraid, you are simply “with fear.” It is important to distinguish between experiences and identity. I was with great sadness and felt heartbroken at the end of my mother’s life when I learned I was adopted, but I am not sad or living in the present with the pain any longer. I know that I am what I seek.
- Truth is here, inspiration is here, love is here, peace is here, help is here, and God (or what you believe) is here – all because I am here. (And this is for all us!)
Try this exercise today, recommended by Dr. Holden~
- Close your eyes, be still, and take in a deep breath. Picture a beautiful healing light shining into your mind and heart so there are no dark corners left. Imagine the screen of your mind completely clear. A large blank artists canvas. Now you can insert a belief or scene. Play out a love story, a success story, an enlightenment story, choose your belief, run the film, and then live your life.
- The unconscious mind communicates mostly with metaphor, dream and story. It enjoys these types of meditations/visualization much more than conscious logic.
Today will not be any better than my thoughts. I want a great happy day. I choose joy, love, and creativity. Chores show the abundance in my life; they are all good. I choose to not carry the past, as I want to be free to new ideas and ways to create abundance in my life.
You can see how focusing on the past really needs to have a shelf life, even in adoption. The things that were done to me, or how I was manipulated – they don’t belong to me in today. Even if one day I found a kingdom on the other side of the brick wall, it isn’t who I am. It could be a connection to my history and hopefully a new family member that I can get to know.
Sharing the stories of my discovery was to help validate the late discovery experience for others who’ve been through similar events. It was all me in the moment stretching my wings; creating a wonderful book while learning about my mother who gave birth to me, helping others by sharing my story, and raising awareness to the need for honesty in adoption. I am always going to be open to helping other late discovery adoptees and sharing what I learned. My story and yours is from yesterday, always remember - live in today, it is number one!
Thank you to Colleen Campbell for your friendship and always being open, and for the “like” on your facebook page which lead me to Shift Happens by Dr. Robert Holden.
Being willing to show up differently is what makes something different happen. BE the difference you are looking for.
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