Discover more from True North by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Dr. Northrup’s Tips for Transforming Your Life
7 Ways to Improve Your Well-Being Next Year
The lotus flower represents rebirth, renewal, and spiritual awakening. But the beautiful flower that you see floating effortlessly on top of the water had to work really hard to blossom. Lotus flowers actually grow out of the mud from the bottom of a river or pond. They have to break through the mud before they surface on top of the water.
Like the lotus flower, breaking through the mud in our lives helps us to blossom into our true selves. But in order to blossom, we need to bring our attention toward removing whatever blocks are holding us back. And there can be a lot of things hiding in our mud puddles. Perhaps you have feelings of shame, or are recovering from an illness, or dealing with a difficult relationship.
We don’t have to uncover everything at once. Healing takes place layer by layer, like peeling an onion. But it’s impossible to manifest anything new or good in our lives if we’re not willing to stir up our personal mud somewhat.
Here are some ways you can start to break through your own mud, and truly transform your life:
Be Honest with Yourself. We have all heard the saying “the truth will set you free.” This is because truth is the pillar of spiritual awakening. We cannot grow without it. Whenever we explain away our behaviors, or sugarcoat the truth, we pay the consequences—usually in the form of illness or drama. I know this firsthand because, for many years I simply went along with what my family (and later my husband) wanted to do, which usually involved sports such as hiking, or skiing. I did this even though I have always preferred dancing, watching movies, and reading because I believed that if I didn’t participate in what they wanted to do, no one would want to be with me. Though this belief was largely unconscious for most of my life, I have now sifted through this mud long enough so that the belief and the behavior it birthed has gone—from both my life and my body.
Stop Resisting Change. Change can be difficult to embrace, especially if you are the “grab the bull by the horns” type of person. But when we consistently try to control and fix things to achieve the outcome we are comfortable with, we are actually reinforcing our deep-rooted problems. If we continue this rigid pattern or behavior, often the “stuck” energy will settle into our fascia and nervous system, and ultimately invite disease and disability. So, the next time you feel the need to control or fix something, simply try surrendering to what is and observe the outcome.
Come Clean. This is a loaded phrase. But, coming clean simply means stop hiding behind your “stuff.” Your “stuff” may be food, alcohol, drama, or any other addiction. Or it could simply be coming clean emotionally with someone in your life in order to develop a more meaningful relationship. This isn’t easy. In fact, “coming clean” is about the hardest thing ever.
Relationship expert Alison Armstrong, author of The Queen’s Code has a phrase for this: “Cough it up, blow it up, clean it up.” When you come clean and tell the truth, you can be sure that it will blow up an old pattern in your life. And it might even end a relationship. But living a lie is far worse. Sometimes coming clean requires seeking support. During your clean up phase you will feel a sudden release of toxicity in your body and with that, the freedom to flourish.
Forgive and Let Go. Mario Martinez, PsyD, author of The MindBody Code: How To Change the Beliefs That Limit Your Health, Longevity and Success, says “Forgiveness is freeing ourselves from self-entrapment.” How often do you put judgments on yourself or someone else? Do you say things like, “I have never been good at managing my money; I let my partner do that for me?” Then when you try to make an investment, you have already set yourself up for failure. When we try to move forward without letting go of the past, it has a way of sneaking back into our lives. But, when we forgive and let go, we give ourselves the opportunity to breakthrough.
Very often the person you most need to forgive is yourself. To forgive yourself for whatever judgments you hold, simply say these words: “I forgive myself for judging myself for (fill in the blank).” You can say these words silently or better yet, out loud in front of the mirror.
Address Your Guilt and Shame. Guilt occurs when what we think we should do or who we should be is in direct opposition to what we really want or who we really are. And it usually comes from some warped societal demand or family pressure. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, explains “Guilt says ‘I made a mistake.’ Shame says, ‘I AM a mistake.’” You can get rid of guilt simply by acknowledging that your higher self wants you to experience whatever you feel guilty about. In other words, your higher self wants you to enjoy that ice cream cone, or an afternoon away from your children. Once you acknowledge your higher self, you can just BE yourself.
Shame is perhaps the most painful of human emotions. Shame is lifted when you have the courage to talk about whatever you feel ashamed of and are willing to receive support.
Shame cannot live in an atmosphere of humor and light.
Take stock. The end of the year is the perfect time to ask yourself how you are doing. At the end of each year take time to write a list of all major accomplishments, events, and outstanding moments from that year. Ask yourself what accomplishments you are most proud of? What did you learn this year? How would you rate your well-being? You may want to have categories such as work, health, family, spiritual, or others. It can be enlightening to see the areas of your life where you are accomplishing your goals and the areas where you may need to pay more attention. Use your list to focus on your strengths and remind yourself to appreciate and all you have accomplished and what is to come.
Celebrate Yourself. Acknowledge yourself for having the courage to face your own personal mud. Celebrating yourself ends the cycle of shame and pain. Then you get to reap the benefits and wisdom from your journey as your beauty, strength and transformation shine through. You may also want to celebrate those who have been pivotal in your life. Be sure to share only with those who are truly capable of celebrating and supporting you.