August 30, 2012

The Only Way Out is Through

Emotional pain is something that many of us turn away from, or may not even be aware of. It can show up in our lives in a myriad of ways. One of the ways I see it show up in my life is in the form of patterns. Patterns can be a set of characteristics that we operate by, and can often result in “stuckness” or disappointment in our lives.

Patterns, often times, don’t serve us and can hold us back from having a life filled of joy, connection and love. Patterns tend to show up over and over, and what usually happens is we become aware of them, but often don’t know what to do about them.

I spent this past week in the desert finishing up my grad school curriculum for University of Santa Monica. I have to say it was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life.

I cannot tell you what we did there, but all I can say is that I have finally found freedom within myself by going through my pain and not around it. My teachers call it spiritual bypass (the going around part). When we know we have an “issue’ or pattern in our life that shows up over and over, usually in relationship or having to do with finances, it can be easy to “bypass” the feelings that come along with the issue and stay stuck in our pattern.

These feelings may show up as fear, anxiety, dread, hate…you get the picture. And most of the time, these emotions can lead to self-sabotage and stagnation in your life.

An example of a pattern that I have had, in the past, is that I would keep engaging in unhealthy relationships. I would end up with my heart broken, giving away my power and losing myself. Co-dependency felt like my middle name. I saw how this pattern kept showing up in my life and how it was keeping me from having what I really wanted; a co-committed & loving partnership with a man who respects me and adores me. Can you relate?

Patterns don’t only show up in relationships, they could revolve around money, behavior or pretty much anything in your life. But what I have learned is that the only way to break free of these patterns is to take a deeper look at where the pattern started and what beliefs we picked up along the way. And what this means, is going through the pain instead of around it.

Our ego will do everything it can to keep us stuck in pattern. It wants to hold on as tightly as possible, because change is scary to the ego. And because of this, it can be hard to recognize when you have a pattern, because your ego will talk you out of it, in a sense. Your ego will avoid the pain that can come along with a long-lived pattern and keep you running on the pattern hamster wheel.

Once you have an awareness around your pattern, it becomes almost impossible to ignore it, but shifting it means you have to look inside, which is not always pleasant and many people are afraid of doing.

The one thing that I found that has truly helped me break my patterns is to track back to where they originated in my childhood. Most of us pick up patterns from our parents. The way they relate to obstacles in their lives is usually the way we relate to them too. The same goes for emotions, money, people, etc. This is kind of ironic because I have heard so many people tell me that they are not anything like their parents, yet they unconsciously operate the same way their parents did and end up with the same results their parents had. Coincidence? I think not!

My biggest pattern, as I mentioned above has been unhealthy intimate relationships and through using my tools from USM and my spiritual magnifying glass, I dove into my pattern so that I could heal it and create a different outcome in my life.

What I mean by this, is that I took myself back in time to where I thought this pattern started, and even though I knew that I had been engaging in what was familiar or familial (notice they only have one letter difference) what I also recognized, is that not only was my father abusive, and many of the men I had been involved with, but that I had become abusive to myself with the words I would say to myself internally.

I was beating myself up with words. I was in a pattern of self-hatred, self-loathing and self-mutilation of sorts (not physical, but emotional). It’s no wonder that I attracted men in my life that would reflect my own self-abuse and lack of self-love right back to me. I was beating myself up inside. On the outside everything seemed ok to my friends and people who knew me, but on the inside I was stuck in my own abusive prison.

This was a big a-ha moment for me this past week and one that was both exciting and painful. I always thought that I was just following a family pattern, which in a lot of ways I was, but not only was I doing that, but I was also manifesting my inner experience of self-abuse into outer reality. When I truly felt this and got to see it clearly, I surrendered into it and gave it over to the Uni-verse asking for love and support to help me clear this pattern out of my life.

I began to flood myself with compassion & loving while coming into acceptance that this specific pattern is part of me. This pattern has been an aspect of me that have served me up until now, but what I know now is that I no longer need it. I was obviously getting some sort of pay off for it, and now have come to realize that the payoff is not worth the pain it creates.

This practice of being loving and compassionate with myself is what will bring me to a peaceful place inside, so that my outer reality will reflect that. The more I love myself, and am loving with myself, the more that love will show up outside of me.

I am not saying this is easy, believe me, it takes work, commitment, persistence a strong heart and tons of courage & love, but to me it’s worth it. I don’t want to be run by this pattern anymore and I know that I can create a new story for myself by continuing to forgive myself for all of these past “short-comings.”

I knew that the only real way to shift my paradigm was to go through, not around. So, I ask you; what are the patterns in your life that keep showing up? What is the payoff you are getting for staying stuck in this pattern? Can you find a way to bring compassion and loving to yourself? Can you take a small step of kindness toward yourself and take a contrary action that will produce a different result?

I dare you to live boldly and bravely so that you too can experience a life full of love, joy and abundance! Take one step today and acknowledge how amazing you are!

Melissa Costello

Author, Speaker, Culinary Plant-Based Nutrition & Health Empowerment Coach | Cleanse Expert

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