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Things just feel like they are a total mess - how can I move forward in my life?

heart to heart About the Questioner
Philosophy: All things work toward good.
Hopes and aspirations: I activate my best life, love and work to live a fulfilling and contented life.
I am seeking counsel and ideas on how to move forward in my life. I am a 43 year old woman with four children. My husband passed away 15 months ago suddenly from heart disease. I am a nurse and ought to be able to find a decent job to support us. Yet it has been a struggle to find hours and location, which will work around the kid's schedule. My home is literally on the chopping block. I don't know which direction it is going to go.

I put my heart out there and liked a man last year. It turned into a total fiasco where he started going out with one of my children's friend's mom on the sly and messing around with me, too. Ugh. I don't want to go through that again. I am hurt and had to stop my children from staying involved with that child since there was deceit and lies regarding the situation. I had to be firm in that situation to be true to myself.

Things just feel like they are a total mess. I have been sober 17 years and go to meetings. I have a strong faith and pray. Lately I have just felt like, "What am I doing wrong, God?" I went back to a grief group to attempt to settle out any unfinished business with my husband so I can encourage moving on. Of course it's not easy. I plan to write him a letter and see if that will help. I am just trying to make good decisions on my own for the five of us and it feels impossible at this time.
Reply by Coach Doris Jeanette Doris Jeanette
Thank you for your question. Things ARE a total mess in your life. Often people do not seek counsel until there is so much pain they cannot bear what they have created.

When you are a mess and can admit that you are a mess, you are ready for transformation.

If you seek holistic psychology counsel and follow through with positive actions, you can move forward. You need to learn how to let go of control and allow your energy to flow in a healthy, empowering fashion.

This is the natural process of transformation. You let go of control so you can become the truth. Seeing and being the truth naturally allows you to sink until you hit the bottom of your unconscious. This stage in the transformation process is called the surrender. Think of the hanged man image in the traditional tarot cards and the hanged one in the non-sexist, round Motherpeace Tarot Cards.

Once you hit the bottom, you will naturally rise up to the top. From there, you will move forward if you stay aware and continue to take appropriate actions to keep your ego from controlling everything. I define the ego as your learned, conditioned, controlling self image. It is composed of a wall of frozen energy that blocks love and light.

Going with nature works, going against nature does not work.

If you let go of control, you will naturally rise up from the bottom. Think of what happens when the ocean wave throws you to the sand. If you let go and relax, nature quickly throws you up to the air so you can breath again. On the other hand, if you tighten up your body and try to stand up, you could end up drowning.

Hence, the reason you have not moved forward is because you are tightening up and trying to control everything. You are avoiding the truth and your ego is in charge.

Your story is a perfect example of the more you avoid the truth, the more of a mess you make. If you do not begin to be honest with yourself, things can get worse.

Avoidance behaviors are deadly.

When your husband died, you must have gone into high avoidance. You tightened up and tried to control everything. As a result you created a mess. I am sure you already had the habit of avoiding your feelings and reality or you would not have done so at this point.

This habit of avoiding your feelings, which is the same thing as avoiding reality, will cost you dearly if you do not change it. The way to transform your life is to stop and take responsibility for the mess you have created.

You must look in the mirror and OWN your mess.

You are accountable for your actions and behaviors. Look in the mirror and acknowledge your mistakes. They are yours and no one else's. Then, and only then, will you be able to transform your life into something meaningful, rich and healthy.

Being a mess is not all that "terrible" from some points of view. We have all been a mess before. People can empathize with you.

Being a mess feels awful when you judge yourself and make yourself wrong about your mess. Your ego loves to make you "wrong" and "bad." But if you look at your mess from another point of view, it is not so terrible. Step outside your ego and see other points of view.

My point of view is with an open heart. An open heart has the energy of compassion moving in and out. I see you where I have been and do not judge you. I also know I will be a mess again! I know from my own experience that you are unaware of how you are acting out your past learning.

I know you are reacting to life events, instead of being in charge of your life. Therefore, I feel deep compassion for you and your mess. So you could have compassion for yourself and the mess you have made.

You could also take your soul's point of view. Your soul does not consider you being a mess a terrible thing. As a matter of fact, your soul is quite happy. It hopes you choose your glorious soul energy over your controlling ego. Your soul knows you can hit the bottom, bounce out and clean up your mess!

So you could look at yourself from the cosmic point of view and laugh at yourself and the terrible mess you made. Humor is always good medicine.

If you use compassion and humor instead of self-judgment, you can learn your lessons and become wiser. Then you can dedicate your life to learning how to feel your feelings instead of avoiding them.

The positive results will be:
  • More effectiveness in making money
  • An open, happy heart
  • A stronger body
  • More time to relax and enjoy being alive
  • A better relationship with yourself
  • Better relationships with your children
  • Better relationships with others

Due to your history of addiction, I am going to say something controversial. I do not agree with the traditional psychological treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. In terms of learning research, it does not make any sense.

Avoiding alcohol does not produce any long lasting, positive results. Trying to solve a problem by an avoidance behavior is ineffective based on everything we know about avoidance behaviors! This is obvious by looking at the high relapse rate of drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Your story gives us even more proof. You have successfully avoided alcohol, yet you have not solved your problems. They seem to have gotten worse. There is no way you can solve your problems until you feel your feelings instead of avoiding them.

For example, it is helpful that you returned to your grief group. It is not helpful that you seem to have an unrealistic, impatient attitude over the time the natural grieving process takes. This judgmental attitude will always stop your forward movement. It is the every present lose-lose energy dynamics of the ego.

Your impatient behavior reveals your lack of authentic feeling and emotion. You are thinking, pushing, controlling. You are not feeling your body, emotions, energy and surroundings. You are still thinking and trying to control the outcome.

You need to give yourself two years to grieve from the time you start to grieve. So far, you are avoiding your feeling surrounding your husband's death. So it will be two years from the time you start to feel your authentic emotions. This time frame is a rough estimate but it is a realistic period of time to grieve.

After the sobering look in the mirror, give yourself a hug and be kind and gentle as you cry. Commit yourself to learning how to love yourself.

Action Steps

  1. Get in counseling with someone who will not allow you to avoid your feelings and emotions. You need a firm, seasoned holistic professional to guide you and teach you how to let go of control safely and securely.
  2. Allow yourself to grieve. Grieving is a process. This means, it does not happen all at once. It hurts and you need to stay with yourself in the hurt until it is healed. I highly recommend listening to the free Internet radio show with author Gloria Lintermans on "Live at the Edge" radio and buy her book. Also, the "Opening the Heart" audio was made to help you stay in your grief so you move through the hurt and out of it to become stronger. In addition, it teaches you to heal your childhood wound so you stop repeating the unhealthy patterns of your past.
  3. Read past columns on transformation, letting go, self-esteem, and emotional maturity. Search here.
  4. Get in tune with nature. Go with nature instead of against her. Use nature to help you let go and flow. Spend at least 30 minutes in nature everyday. To learn how to go with nature and develop your intuition, sign up for the April 30, Nature Workshop in Cape, May, NJ, USA.

Coaching copyright © 2011 Dr. Doris Jeanette
Doris Jeanette grew up on a North Carolina farm with her bare feet in the earth. As the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, "her co-therapist is nature" and she does the "work of the gods." She is a holistic psychologist who is also licensed. Dr. Jeanette has been helping people move through the natural process of transformation with more ease and grace for 35 years. If you want to become certified in holistic psychology explore the Center for New Psychology training and mentoring programs. Sign up for Dr. Jeanette's free newsletter to get started: "The Vibrant Moment."

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