Note: This is part of a 7 lessons challenge spread over 14 days called “Say Yes to Your No”. It is meant to help you become more confident in saying NO to what doesn’t serve you anymore so you can say yes to yourself. This is lesson 7.
Affirmation is the 7th A of healing in the book “When the body says NO” by Dr.Gabor Maté. The following paragraphs in ” ” are excerpts from the chapter “The 7 A’s of healing” in this book.
“When we affirm, we make a positive statement; we move toward something of value.”
There are two basic values we need to pay attention to that can support us in our healing process.
The first value is our own creative self.
Dr. Gabor Maté’s workaholism story
For many years Dr. Mate has been workaholic and avoided noticing his deepest urges.
In the few moments when he allowed himself to be still he noticed a “small fluttering at the pit” of his belly and the “faint whisper of a word” in his head: writing.
He finally admitted that he had to start writing not only for the benefit of others but also for his own healing so that he could hear himself.
Everyone has an urge to create. And if we don’t honour it, we don’t heal ourselves and others.
“We deaden our bodies and our spirits. When I did not write, I suffocated in silence” says Dr. Maté.
He then cites Hans Selye:
“What is in us must out, otherwise we may explode at the wrong places or become hopelessly hemmed in by frustrations. The great art is to express our vitality through the particular channels and at the particular speed Nature foresaw for us.”
The second affirmation is that of the Universe itself or our connection with all that is.
“The assumption that we are cut off, alone and without contact is toxic, but – no matter how cruelly and how consistently life has shown us this dark shadow – it is no more than a bitter illusion. It forms part of the pathological biology of belief.”
Many of Dr. Maté’s patients “seek their spiritual selves almost instinctively” when faced with serious illness. Some of them changed their religious system, such as moving from Judaism to Catholicism or from Presbyterianism to Judaism or they reaffirmed their confidence in their traditional faith, or they started to meditate or to commune with nature.
“Many people have done psychological work without ever opening to their spiritual needs. Others have looked for healing only in the spiritual ways – in the search of God or universal Self – without ever realizing the importance of finding and developing the personal self.”
“Health rests on three pillars: the body, the psyche and the spiritual connection. To ignore any one of them is to invite imbalance and disease.”
The ideas that I most resonated with and how I use them
The idea that we are all creators and that we need to express what’s inside in order for us to heal and to also benefit others is a cornerstone for me.
After struggling many years because of the false idea that we should know very early on what we’re passionate about and start doing that as soon as possible I’ve realised I’m a person with many diverse interests and I still can’t stick to just one and say that this is it.
We need to pay attention to what our gut, our higher self or whatever you want to call it whispers to us and start acting in that direction. I love writing, dancing, practicing Yoga asana, singing, painting and other forms of creative expression. I explore different creative outlets when I feel drawn to them.
I’ll probably discover new ones as I continue to evolve.
One of them I’m currently exploring is the ability to listen, ask questions and hold space for someone else to facilitate their inner process of self-discovery. It’s a co-creative healing process that I’m fascinated with and that feels so natural to me.
Affirmation & saying NO
When we’re not actively expressing our creative self in the sense described by Dr. Maté we become a bit like walking zombies.
We suffer in silence because we don’t listen to our deepest yearning. It’s easy to ignore the whisper of our soul when we’re so busy with all the other things we’ve said Yes to.
So it feels to me that the practice of saying NO more often can help create the space in our lives where we can actually listen and follow our deepest creative desires.
By saying NO to the unessential we can finally pay attention to what really matters. It might take a while to get there but we got to start somewhere.
So think of it this way: if you set up a clear intention to make room for your creative self, regardless if you already know how that creative process will look like, it will be way easier to say NO more often.
When we have something that we want to attend to, something so precious and important to us like our creative self, we have a strong reason to reject most of the fluff that comes our way.
With a gracious NO we can go a long way.
My creative self & spiritual journey
The most honest thing I can say about this is that I am on the path.
I’m constantly wondering, exploring, questioning, listening to find what creative expression my soul wants in a certain moment.
And that also applies to what spiritual system, views, values, beliefs I resonate with. I have found that what worked for me 10 years ago in certain areas doesn’t work anymore for my current self.
As troubling as this might be for the part of me that needs security and fixed rules and beliefs, the ever-evolving and growing part of me knows that change is OK.
Change is the only constant, the only certainty we have is that we and everything else around us are changing. Even if some changes are more subtle and harder to notice, they are happening.
You and I have changed since we started this 7 days challenge. Because it has been a short time we might haven’t noticed it.
But we did change, both physically, mentally and emotionally. And who knows, maybe even spiritually.
Next steps – Practical exercises
How does affirmation feel in your body
If you haven’t already listened to that whisper in your gut that tells you to do something to express your creative self start doing this today.
Take a few minutes to sit in silence, become aware of your breathing and simply notice the sensations in your body.
When your thoughts have settled a bit and feel still and quiet ask yourself:
“What should I do to express my deepest creative desire?”
You might not get a clear answer immediately so give yourself time.
Repeat the exercise throughout the day and in the next days. Ask yourself this questions when you are talking a walk in nature or when you enjoy a cup of tea by yourself.
If you are already expressing your creative self pay attention to how you feel when you are doing that action. Notice how you feel when you are honouring this calling and how you feel when you ignore it for too long.
Questions of the day
“Am I expressing my deepest creative desire?”
“What creative expression do I feel drawn to?”
“Do I still resonate with my current spiritual beliefs and practices?”
Once you’ve went through today’s exercises go over to the Facebook group and share your experience. If you are not on Facebook leave a comment below.
Missed day six? You can read it here.