STEP 1: TAKE CHARGE
It isn't possible to make good, conscious decisions in the midst of confusion and shock. Slow down and don't be rushed. Listen to your inner voice. Weigh the options and make decisions and choices based on what you feel is right for you. We stay far more empowered when we take charge and make decisions we feel good about.
STEP 2: DEVELOP AN EMPOWERED ATTITUDE
An empowered attitude is always in sync with inner guidance or a sense of rightness about something. Developing an empowered attitude requires a conscious effort to change any habits we have adopted that make us feel weak, overwhelmed, or powerless. An empowered attitude is one that knows that whatever the circumstances, you can and will find a way to keep or regain a sense of centeredness and strength within yourself.
STEP 3: CREATE A HEALING ENVIRONMENT
A healing environment is the foundation upon which we can live our lives more fully present and alive. The place to start constructing that environment is from within. We begin to create order out of chaos by first building an inner sanctuary where we can retreat at any time to reconnect with our centeredness and grounding. A healing environment is also something we can create externally by consciously transforming the space around us that we have control over -- our offices and home environments -- to be places that inspire us, lift our spirits, and connect us with our hearts.
STEP 4: PRACTICE FORGIVENESS
Forgiveness is often one of the hardest things to practice, but it is a powerful means of personal transformation. When we forgive we are saying, in essence, that we are no longer willing to carry around pain in response to someone else's actions. Forgiveness is a core life lesson. It means cutting the cord of resentment and trusting God or spirit to bring that person the experiences he or she needs to heal.
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STEP 5: EXPLORE ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS
Beliefs and attitudes can become so embedded in our subconscious minds that it's easy to lose sight of them. We can even hold conflicting beliefs without being aware of it. The words we use to communicate are symbols of our internal beliefs and as we pay attention to the words we use (and the thoughts we think) we may discover attitudes and beliefs within ourselves that don't support our healing.
STEP 6: TRANSFORM NEGATIVE FEELINGS -- HEAL AND RELEASE THE PAST
Paying attention to how we spend our energy can provide major clues in the process of healing. When we hold on to bitterness or anger or fear toward another it is ourselves, not the object of our focus, that is hurt. Holding on to negative feelings is simply an exhausting expenditure of energy that can lead to emotional and physical bankruptcy. To really heal we need to open up to the transforming power of compassion and forgiveness, both toward ourselves and others.
STEP 7: BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
It's common to feel isolated when facing a life-threatening or debilitating condition, even when surrounded by loved ones. We need and can appreciate the support from family and friends, but we also need support from more neutral sources -- who can hear what we're feeling without being hurt or shocked, or who have had similar experiences. A supportive counselor can be invaluable, as can a support group with empowering guidelines.
STEP 8: SIMPLIFY LIFE
Our lives are often so cluttered and busy that we find ourselves racing to keep up. What we lose are the simple basics of life that provide the balance we desperately need: walks in nature, unhurried time with our loved ones, precious quiet time alone for meditation or reading, or just being mindfully grateful for the many gifts around us. Changes don't have to happen overnight but if your life is tied up, start loosening the knots.
STEP 9: ESTABLISH PERSONAL INTEGRITY
In order to be at peace with ourselves we need to live from a place of personal integrity. Living with integrity means that we know ourselves well and can trust ourselves to do the right thing. If we can't trust ourselves we don't trust others. The best way to establish a sense of trust in life and safety in relationships is to practice personal integrity. It doesn't matter what someone else is doing. What matters is how we choose to live our own lives.
STEP 10: EMBRACE INTUITION
Intuition is not a gift that some people have and others don't. It's a built in system that we all have; but as muscles that atrophy from lack of use, it simply becomes weak if we don't pay attention. We've all felt it. It might be a hunch or an uncomfortable feeling that nudges us to do something. Too often, though, we don't trust our intuitions when they come, especially when they seem silly or irrational. Too often, we simply don't act on them. But if we continue to tune them out, we stop being aware of them.
STEP 11: LOVE YOURSELF
It sounds simple enough to love ourselves, but all too often we become so wrapped up in feelings of guilt or low self-esteem that it isn't easy to do. Most of us carry around an inner critical voice that is often called the critical parent. Considering this, most of us could benefit from consciously directing our inner dialogue to be that of an encouraging parent. An interesting thing about learning to give ourselves unconditional love is that it creates an opening that lets others in more fully.
STEP 12: DO ALL YOU CAN AND RELEASE THE REST
One of the biggest stressors we put on ourselves is trying to control situations or outcomes that are out of our hands. Whenever a difficulty or problem confronts us, we can break it down into the parts we can do something about, and those that we can release. There is a solution to every difficulty we encounter, a way through or around or over the top of the mountain. We have incredible potential and creativity within us, just waiting to be tapped.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Healing Arts Press. ©2004. www.InnerTraditions.com
This article was excerpted from:
Profound Healing: The Power of Acceptance on the Path to Wellness
by Cheryl Canfield.
Profound Healing is Cheryl Canfield's down-to-earth account of her journey as she inadvertently experiences a modern-day miracle, and her subsequent reflections on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. More than a biography, Cheryl's story contains exercises, dreams, visualizations, and experiences--from encounters with the modern mystic Peace Pilgrim to her own acceptance of cancer--that assisted her healing process. Others can use her hard-earned insights as a source of hope, inspiration, and practical advice. Relevant to anyone seeking personal growth and life wisdom, Profound Healing is not merely about dying or living. It is about discovering one's life and living it fully while here.
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About the Author
CHERYL CANFIELD is a wellness counselor who lectures nationally on topics of profound healing and steps toward inner peace. She is the editor of the book, Peace Pilgrim's Wisdom and co-compiler of Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.