Do you know who you are?

Do you know what drives your actions?

Are you aware of the ways in which you help and hinder yourself through your life?

Are you living the life that you were meant to live, or do you sometimes look at your life and think ‘how the hell did this happen, it wasn’t meant to be like this?’

As you are reading a website that is about recovering from addiction, I am guessing that last question might have occurred to you at least once.

The Subconscious Ruler

face with swirls around the mindWe might think that we are in charge of the decisions we make on a daily basis, but in reality, we aren’t.

Our subconscious mind is driving the bus of our lives, influencing the choices we make with a huge store room full of biases, pre conceived notions, fears, likes, dislikes, memories, misunderstandings and more that make us think we are acting through choice, but really we are programmed to act in a certain way.

From the moment we are born, our subconscious mind begins creating a filing system in our brain, organising the information we are bombarded with into manageable categories, deciding which of the thousands of pieces of information our brain receives are important to us.

This is vital work, we wouldn’t be able to manage without it.  We would go mad if we had to consciously process every piece of information we receive.  The subconscious does a wonderful job, but it can also lead to problems.

The very nature of the subconscious means that we can’t see it.  So when we, for example, tell ourselves that we don’t like sprouts, we assume it is because of the taste, and don’t eat them. What we don’t know is that one day in childhood, we had a big telling off from our mother while we were eating sprouts, and after that our subconscious mind associated the taste of sprouts with the upset and shame of that telling off.

We are running on all kinds of hidden programmes every day, and they affect everything we do, think, say, feel, the whole way we experience the world.

These programmes can make recovery difficult, as until we dig deep and work through the programme that keeps us in addiction, we may be able to give up the substance, but the underlying issues will still be there, making us vulnerable to replase.

Getting to understand ourselves on a deep level, then, can be very beneficial to the healing and recovery process.

Finding your True Self through Yoga

Yoga offers us many tools to help us get to know ourselves deeply.  Indeed, the ultimate goal of Yoga is Self knowledge, getting to know the True, Divine aspects of ourselves.

Before we can learn to commune with the Divine, we must get to know ourselves as we are in the physical body.

Through the breath, through asanas, through relaxation, we can gain insights into ourselves.  Yoga also gives us the Yamas and Niyamas, one of which is Swadhyaya, self study.

To save myself I must face myself, which may be the hardest of all things to faceThis is a profoundly important aspect of Yogic living, and recovery, as we cannot hope to change that which we don’t understand deeply.

We have to know where we are so that we can work out the path to where we need to be.

If you are lost in the mountains, a map is only any use if you can work out where you are

A significant part of my recovery came through self study, bringing out things I only knew about myself 5 seconds after I had finished writing it…there were several moments when I sat back in astonishment at the realisation I had just given myself.

These revelations led to great healing…that healing often took time, but it comes.

We need to learn to see ourselves with love, compassion and acceptance.  That is not always easy

It isn’t easy, shining light into our darkness can be dazzling, painful and disorienting, just as it feels to suddenly be faced with bright light after sitting in a dark room, but after the confusion comes lightness and growth.

Getting to Know YOU

Gettimg to know YOU! challenge

For the last week I have been running an email and Facebook ‘Getting to Know YOU’ challenge.

I have set some very challenging questions to participants, and the feedback I have had suggests that people have uncovered much about themselves through the process.

I know that the work that people are doing will bring them great dividends with time, even more so if they develop a regular practice of self study.

If you would like to spend 5 days getting to know YOU, you can join the challenge.  You will receive an email every day for 5 days, with questions for you to ponder and reflect on in your journal.  You will be invited to join the Recovery Pathfinders Facebook group where you can share your thoughts, insights, struggles and get support.

Get To Know YOU in this five day email journalling challenge to inspire you to dive deep into you!
Esther Nagle

After 20 years of alcohol addiction that she couldn’t and wouldn’t acknowledge, Esther was forced to face all her demons at once when she had a breakdown. This led her to Yoga Teacher training, where she learned to bring her demons out, to talk to them, to soothe them, forgive them and loosen their grip on her life. On October 12 2014, she decided she never wanted to feel the pain and shame of a hangover again, and, by living the yoga she was taught, she has been sober ever since. She is now a Yoga teacher, recovery mentor, author and host of the Sober Living Rocks podcast

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