These inventories are meant to be combined with the guided meditations and visualizations as found on my website, holistichealth-counseling.com. Complete the inventory first, and follow it with the accompanying visualization. Really allow yourself to reflect on the experiences of your life when answering these questions. The deeper your self reflection, the more energy you will free up to allow healing in your mind, emotions, and body. Repeat these inventories as you progress along your journey of healing, for each time you revisit these questions, it will deepen your self-awareness and understanding of your mind and emotions.
Inventory I: Ego Mechanisms
Take the time to reflect on how the ego (described in the “Foundation for Awakening” chapter) may be influencing your life and experience of yourself. Remember, the ego is not personal. It exists within each person in varying degrees. It is a part of the field of collective unconsciousness, and is expressed through each one of us at different times. There is no need to feel shame, guilt, or any negative feeling about yourself when you identify the ego operating in you. In fact, if you do, notice how any negative feeling you may have toward the ego is also the ego at work. This is an example of some profound paradoxes that exist as you start becoming more aware of the ego.
A good strategy for not getting wrapped up in the drama of the ego when you observe it in yourself, is to simply smile and laugh at oneself as you discover the ego mechanisms in the moment. This helps you see how absurd, and even funny, the antics of the ego can be. It also helps you to create space between who you are as awareness, and the ego thought pattern. The more you can see the ego for what it is, the less control this part of your mind will have over your energy, your health, and your happiness. Answer the following questions in your Healing Journal.
Q: Can you identify the voice in your mind right now? What is this voice saying to you now? How can this voice be you, if it is speaking to you—which would imply that there are two of you; the one speaking, and the one listening? Can you create space between the voice in your head, and who you are as the field of awareness in which the thought is being experienced? Try it now….
Q: Looking back over your life, can you see how the voice in your mind has influenced your life decisions? How has this voice controlled you, and in what areas of your life does the voice have the most control?
Q: What kinds of judgments, criticisms, or comparisons do you find yourself making throughout your day? What behaviors in others (or yourself) elicit these negative thoughts?
Q: What situations do you find yourself annoyed, frustrated, angry, or upset over? Write down what kinds of “triggers” cause you to create these negative states within you. How does this negativity make your body feel? Where in your body do you feel this negativity?
Q: What stories do you create in your mind about yourself and other people on a regular basis? Do you know these stories are true without a doubt? Can these stories be proven? If not, are they stories that you wish to continue telling yourself?
Q: In what areas of your life do you role-play in order to meet the expectations of your friends, family, coworkers, boss, romantic partner, children, neighbors and community? Make a list of all the different scenarios in your life where you fill different roles.
Q: How does it feel to fill these roles? How do you notice your behavior changing from one role to another? Do you notice tension or anxiety in your body when you feel the need to fill certain roles? Where in the body is this tension felt?
-Now, make the commitment to yourself that from this moment forward, whenever you observe the ego within yourself, that you will come back to your breath, let go of whatever thoughts were captivating your attention, and feel the stillness and peace of the present moment. It may help to use the mantra, “I am the creator of my life, creating with every thought, emotion, and action…and I choose love.”
Follow this inventory by listening to the audio: Guided Meditation
Inventory II: Family History and Values
Spend some time reflecting on your family experience, thinking about the kinds of experiences that your family and ancestors may have had to go through. Was survival difficult for them? Were they involved in any wars or traumatic experiences? Was there physical abuse, sexual abuse, or drug or alcohol abuse present? Now think more specifically about your immediate family, and the types of experiences you had growing up. Write your answers to the questions below in your healing journal. It is important while doing this exercise not to become attached to any story you have about yourself as a victim. Bringing awareness to familial patterns is a technique for freeing yourself from unconsciously acting out the same patterns. When you see from where you have learned these patterns, it can be easier to realize that they are not who you are, and you can more easily let them go.
– What types of expectations did your parents have for you and your siblings? What roles did they expect you to fill? If you are male, do you remember messages that you needed to be “tough”, “strong”, hold back your feelings, or maintain control? If you are female, did you get the message that it wasn’t okay to express what you wanted, or that you needed to maintain control or be perfect in some way?
-What kinds of sayings or attitudes does your family have about life? What core beliefs would you say your family has about what it means to be a good person? To be a successful person? What similarities do you notice in your own beliefs?
-What sorts of behavior or attitudes are unacceptable to your family? What kinds of expressions or lifestyle choices would make them uncomfortable? Is it okay to cry? Is it okay to get angry? Is it okay to feel sad, joyful, hurt? Is it okay to sing, dance, laugh and celebrate life? What similarities do you notice in your own attitudes about what are acceptable forms of expression?
-How does your family deal with anger? Do you notice any similarities with how you experience anger?
-Reflect back on times when you needed love and comfort from your parents and didn’t receive it. Do you have memories of feeling angry or confused by your parent’s actions (or lack of attention) towards you? How did they discipline you? Did you feel loved and cared for even when you were being punished? What types of punishment did you receive?
-If you could change one aspect about your childhood, or how your parents treated you or each other, what would it be?
-When you think about your family and childhood now, what sensations and thoughts come up for you? What do you feel in your body, and where in your body do you feel it? Are there unresolved emotions within you about your family?
-Now, make the commitment to yourself that from this moment forward you will no longer allow the past conditioning or beliefs from your family to unconsciously shape your experience and perceptions of reality. When you notice yourself acting habitually based on outdated conditioning, come back to your breath and the present moment. It may help to use the following mantra, “I am recreating myself in every moment, and I choose love.”
-Follow this exercise by listening to the audio Healing Light Meditation
Inventory III: Physical Healing
This exercise is designed to help you deepen your awareness of your relationship with your body, as well as the health condition that you are dealing with. The thoughts and feelings we have about our body and physical health, affects our health in a profound way. By bringing greater awareness to the negative beliefs you may have about your body, you will begin to dissolve these limiting attitudes and energetic patterns. So take this time to reflect on how you have thought and felt about your own physical state, and answer the following questions in your Healing Journal:
-Are there any parts of your body that you have judgments about, or do not accept in some way? Make a list of any parts of your body that you do not feel total acceptance for, or have some negative feelings towards.
-How long have you held these beliefs, and can you think back to where they originated? Answer this question for each part of your body that you have negativity towards, taking the time to trace back in your memory to when each negative thought began.
-How were these beliefs reinforced by your family, your friends, or popular culture?
– Can you think back, now, to a time before you held these beliefs about your body? How old were you, and what were the circumstances in your life? Do you remember what changed that caused you to begin feeling negativity towards your body? And why do you imagine this might have occurred?
-Now take the time to reflect on the circumstances and time in your life when you first developed your current health condition? Do you remember what was happening in your life prior to developing this health condition?
-Continuing to think back on this time, can you see any connection between your beliefs and attitudes, or the circumstances of your life at the time, and the onset of your current health condition?
-How do you currently feel about your health condition? Do you have any negative feelings about your physical state? Do you feel that being sick is a sign of weakness, failure, or that you have let yourself down in some way? Do you feel disappointment for being unhealthy?
-Honestly reflect on the experience of dealing with your health condition. Is there some part of you that perhaps enjoys (even in some small way) being sick? Do you feel any sense of satisfaction in feeling like a victim of disease? Do you notice yourself often talking about your illness to others, or enjoying the attention or sympathy from others?
Take a moment now to connect to your breath, quiet your mind, and be still for a few moments…
…Now ask yourself, from a place of sincerity and openness….”why is this dis-ease or imbalance manifesting in my life, and what can I learn from it?”
There will likely be no single answer, but rather an awareness of how the process of going through dis-ease serves to awaken you beyond the limitations of the mind, emotions, and body. To genuinely get to this place of understanding may take time, so continue asking in meditation, letting go of any expectations of a particular answer that should come to you. Developing a connection with your inner wisdom takes patience and practice. Write down any thoughts or information that comes to you during this exercise.
-Now, make the commitment to yourself to love your body unconditionally, no matter what state of health you are in. Any time you notice a negative thought about your body or your health arising, come back to your breath, relax your body, and see if you can find the peace and stillness that exists in this moment. If you find it hard to drop negative thoughts about your body or health, use the following mantra, “I love my body unconditionally, and feel deeply grateful for the health and vitality in every cell of my body.”
-Follow this exercise by listening to the audio Healing Light Visualization.
Inventory IV: Healing Emotional Wounds
When most people think of trauma, they think of some type of abuse, a painful accident, or the loss of a loved one. The word “trauma,” however, can also refer to those times in our life where we felt helpless, unloved, or alone—particularly in times when we were expecting to feel safe, loved, and supported. As children, most of us experienced moments of not receiving the love and attention that we needed. Just the experience of being a child in an uncertain and unpredictable world is traumatic. These experiences of trauma, if left unresolved, are often carried over into adulthood. Many adults go about their days feeling this sense of anxiety, uneasiness, and abandonment as the result of unresolved emotional wounds from earlier in their life. This repressed emotion contributes to a negative energetic charge in the body, and can be a cofactor to disease.
While many people spend years in therapy rehashing old wounds, they are often still left unresolved. In order to heal the energetic component of trauma, it is necessary to move beyond the mind, the thoughts, and the “story” of trauma—(the “story” often reinforces the helplessness and victim-hood one feels, keeping the pain alive in a person’s emotional field). To heal and release the repressed energy, it is necessary to let go of any stories you may have about the traumatic event, bringing as much acceptance and love for the experience as possible. This means that you do not need to focus on why the trauma happened, or who was at fault.
Instead, the process begins by first allowing yourself to feel the repressed emotion associated with the trauma from a conscious and aware state—meaning that you do not get pulled into emotional reactivity, but instead, stay present with whatever it is you are feeling, without labeling, judging or reacting to what it is you are feeling. As the emotional energy moves through you, you then have the chance to offer yourself love from a higher perspective. This Love will naturally harmonize and heal your energy system.
This process can be done through visualizations. These are simple visualizations that anyone can learn to do. The following exercise will guide you through the process of healing an emotional wound. It may be necessary to repeat these visualizations until resolution is felt at a deep level within you. If you feel emotional during the visualization, allow yourself to release and express it, even if it disrupts the visualization. Attempt the visualization again once the emotion has naturally subsided. Continue repeating this visualization until your emotional charge is no longer present. Once an emotional wound is healed within you, you will know it. The memory will become neutral, no longer creating any emotional reaction in you.
Preparing For the Visualization
-Make a list of the few most traumatic events in your life that still feel unresolved. It does not matter how “insignificant” they may seem, what matters is how you feel when you think about it. Do you still feel some form of emotional charge when you think about the situation? If the answer is yes, then you can address this event to heal it through this visualization.
-Once you have a list of traumatic events that you would like to heal, label them in order of significance, assigning the number “1” to the event which feels the most unresolved in your emotional experience, and the number “2” to the second most unresolved event, and so on. Continue rating the events, until each one has been assigned a number.
-Now decide which event you would like to focus on for this visualization. Some people find it easier to start with less emotionally charged events for their first visualization, and work their way towards the more emotionally charged events. A good indictor of where to start is by following your intuition. By just looking at the list you’ve created, feel which event would be the best for you to start with. Let go of thoughts such as “I really should heal this trauma first.” Instead, trust your intuition to guide the way.
-Once you have decided which event you would like to focus on, briefly imagine the circumstances, people, and places involved (1-2 minutes only) so as to provide context for the visualization. Once you have completed this step, you are ready to practice the visualization.
-Follow this exercise by listening to the audio Healing Emotional Wounds
Inventory V: Decoding Co-dependency–How co-dependency in relationship can drain your energy.
As the ego becomes more dysfunctional, it begins to create a great deal of anxiety around attachment to people and things. The dynamics of codependency are explained in greater depth in previous chapters. After reading the previous chapter on co-dependency, answer the questions about your own relationships in your healing journal, taking a good amount of time to honestly reflect and examine any patterns of co-dependency. Remember, almost all humans experience this phenomenon to varying degrees, and these exercises are not meant to cause anxiety, but rather begin the process of liberating you from unconscious behaviors that may be draining your energy, and potentially contributing to poor health.
Co-Dependency Inventory: Write the answers to the following questions in your healing journal
-In what ways are you sacrificing yourself in order to make other people in your life happy–your partner, your family, your friends, your boss or coworkers?
-In what way do you seek validation from outside yourself, or put other people’s needs ahead of your own?
-In what ways do you take care of others with the belief that they should then take care of you?
-How does it feel in your body when you feel the pressure to take care of someone else? Is there a specific part of your body where you feel stuck emotion when engaged in codependent behaviors (your stomach, abdomen, throat, or head)?
-Do you notice a relationship between co-dependent behavior and your energy levels? How might this be related to your own health conditions, if any?
-What dreams and goals have you put aside because you felt you had to take care of others, or that by following your dreams, you might jeopardize being loved and accepted by others?
-Do you feel fear that by being successful (or unsuccessful) in your dreams, others may not love or accept you anymore?
-What types of activities or life goals have you always wanted to focus on, but have pushed aside? Reflect on why have you pushed them aside.
-Now that you have identified these patterns, begin to choose more wisely about how you are expressing your energy. When you notice a co-dependent thought, feeling, or behavior, take a moment to stop and take a conscious breath. Take that moment to practice the Inner Energy Exercise by bringing your attention to the field of energy within your own body—feel the subtle vibration of energy in your hands, feet, and the space around your heart. Breath that energy in more fully—take a few breaths before continuing with whatever you were engaged in. If you are having a hard time feeling anything, you can imagine a white light filling your heart and spreading out to other parts of your body. It is through this process of refocusing inward that disrupts the cycle of anxiety in the body, and replaces it with the awareness of our own Source of Energy.
This does not mean, however, that you stop giving your energy for those you care about, rather it simply means that you are rediscovering your own source of energy first. As you re-establish this connection within, you will have more loving energy to give to those around you. Over time this will begin to have a positive effect on your relationships, your energy levels, and even your health.
-Follow this exercise by listening to the audio, Healing Emotional Wounds