When We Can’t Go Without, We Must Go Within

Love, Self

Today I heard a live broadcast on Facebook from a spiritual teacher I really love and respect. “We don’t have a choice – we’ve been ordered to stay inside,” she railed. Our freedom has been taken away from us with the order to shelter in place.” 

That made me wonder, is this really so? I believe that freedom of choice can never be taken away from us, even by the government. We can choose to obey the orders or not, the same as wearing a seatbelt when we drive. It’s all about the outcome we want: either be safe and compliant, or rebellious and get a ticket.

Think back to when you were a teenager. You didn’t have to follow your parents’ rules, but you chose to (at least once in a while) because you didn’t want to face the consequences. Same here. During the Corona Virus pandemic, we can follow the shelter in place order – or not. We have the freedom to decide for ourselves what we want to do: be penalized for defying the order, get sick, or make someone else sick by being a carrier of the virus. Or, we can chill for several weeks until the storm passes. 

So let’s say you choose to lay low – not because you have to, but because you want to. Then how do you handle confinement beyond going out to stock up on canned food and toilet paper? How do you cope emotionally?

During this time of isolation, when we’re not distracted by numerous activities we used to do, like choosing outfits for work, partying with friends, gossiping with coworkers during lunch break, sweating at Zumba class, deciding what color nails to get at the salon, navigating the crowded mall on date night, chatting with other pet owners at a dog park – we are left alone, face to face with our minds. And that, my friend, can be scary and intimidating, because many of us have never faced our inner demons. And by the way, those demons are fully responsible for the feelings of depression and anxiety most people feel during periods of intense stress, such as during the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

So who are these demons pulling the strings of our minds, creating chemical chaos in our brains, resulting in feelings of inner gloom, a disconnect from life, and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness? Stay with me. 

Remember how, back in school, as part of your classwork, you wrote statements on a board in your classroom? Believe it or not, we all have this metaphorical board in our subconscious mind, and it’s often filled with negative, self-demeaning statements. These are the inner demons responsible for our feelings of distress. But where do these demons come from? 

As children observing the world, we create unconscious, personal opinions about life and ourselves – it’s part of our cognitive-emotional development. All kids do it. For example, if Mommy and Daddy fight a lot and get a divorce, the child may decide: I am not safe. I don’t know what to do. I am not in control. Life is too much. I can’t handle it. I am not enough. These kinds of decisions become inscribed on the blackboard of our subconscious. And now, isolated, we may feel like the whole world has divorced and abandoned us. But since we cannot change the world, we can only do one thing to feel better: Change the statements in our minds. 

You want to give it a try? You don’t need to know or understand how the process works, because I do. I am a hypnotherapist. So follow me… 

Let’s pretend that you’re sitting in front of me in my office in a large, super-plush, black leather armchair. There is soft music with the sounds of nature filling the space – a soothing waterfall and tweeting birds in the distance. (Go to YouTube and search for “frequency healing music.” You’ll find many options available.) 

Now take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. But read the script below first, so you know what to expect; or, read it to a friend so they can read it back to you, or record it on your phone. You can also choose to keep your eyes open as you follow these instructions, as if you’re in a waking dream. 

So let’s begin. Imagine that you are going down a staircase, counting each step...20…19…18… Just allow your mind to guide you through this experience as you descend deeper and deeper into a trance-like state of relaxation. 16… 15… Let your mind do its job, allowing your thoughts to disappear while you keep focusing on the imagery…

14…13…12…  You begin noticing that at the very bottom of the staircase there is a door leading to your inner place of stillness and calm…

8… 7… With each step down, the door begins to open, connecting you to the feeling of tranquility, more and more. 6… Allowing this place deep within you to absorb all your doubts, worries, fears and concerns… 

3… 2…1… Stepping through the door and finding yourself in the midst of the most breathtaking paradise… 

0… 

This is the place of magic, deep within your mind, where all changes are made. The molecules in the air are filled with health, vitality and joy – inhale them fully. Let the sun shine gently, sending rays of pleasant warmth toward you. Let the earth beneath your feet radiate its magnetic waves, grounding, stabilizing, balancing and harmonizing you, as you continue to receive all the support you need from the nature around you. 

Right in front of you, there is an interesting structure – about 10 steps till you reach it. 10… feeling curious about what’s inside, trusting the process unfolding… 7… 6… 5…. a sense of excitement and anticipation comes over you…. 3… 2…1…

As you enter the structure presented by your mind, you see a small classroom with a young child standing by the board. This child is you, and it is scared. You notice that there are several statements written on the board, but don’t worry if you don’t know what they are; your mind does. These are statements that were written a long time ago by the frightened child, and they are negative and detrimental, causing you emotional pain today. 

I want you to come close to this child, which is you, and tell him or her that you are here to help, and you know what to do. Take a wet sponge from the table next to the board and clean all the old writing away, wiping it all off for good. Notice how easily the old programming disappears – from the board, from your mind, your body, and your life. 

Now, notice that there is a box with permanent markers of vibrant colors on the table next to the board. Let the child choose the color and then, together, write the truth about who you know you are. Let your mature mind guide you. I am loved and supported, you may write, feeling the positive vibe of this statement flowing through your hand and into your mind and body, melting within. 

Choose another color. 

I am safe and calm…

I am good enough and capable… 

I am blessed, and I trust that life treats me well…

I am happy and excited about my future…

I am healthy and strong; my immune system knows how to keep me well. 

As you write these statements, using the vivacious colors of the rainbow, what begins to happen is that your subconscious mind communicates them to your brain, and your brain receives them and begins re-aligning its pathways and regulating its chemicals. You begin to feel calm and relaxed, allowing your nervous and immune systems to replenish. And suddenly, there is no child by the board; he or she has merged with you, and it’s just you facing your updated mindset, which represents who you are today: a wise and mature adult, capable of withstanding the turbulent waters of life. 

Since we live in a universe of opposites (day and night, hot and cold), we can assume that our future can be the opposite of our past, if we change our negative statements into positive ones. When we do that, we can alter our future, so that out of every breakdown an exhilarating breakthrough can emerge. This is how this world seems to operate. And so, I want you to focus ahead, where the sun is bright and you feel its power beaming straight at you, calling you forward. Trust that even though we don’t know how and when the storm will pass, it will, and you’ll make it. And it will be all right. In fact, on the level of your mind, that already happened when you re-wrote your subconscious statements and the child vanished. And maybe, from now on, you can face the unknown with a sense of ease, calm – and even a glimmer of excitement!

I recommend practicing your newly chosen statements/affirmations every day, seeing them already written on the board of your mind. I also recommend that you don’t watch the news for too long, as a stream of negative information can rob you of your newly emerging sense of wellbeing. And every day, do at least one thing that you love: dance, sing, write, garden, read, do yoga, take an online class, learn how to meditate, feel the sunrays outside, eat light and well, stay well-hydrated. Be spontaneous and creative; think out of the box. 

Take advantage of this quarantine to develop the habit of feeling good. After all, it’s your mind – no one can control what you decide to think. And whatever you think will generate the way you feel. 

Just like exercising a muscle to gain strength and resilience, we need to practice a positive mindset to gain control over our emotions. And I think that, while in quarantine, that’s a worthy muscle to develop. 

P.S: Here is post I just saw on Facebook: “It’s okay to talk to your plants while in quarantine. Call your doctor when they talk back to you.” Just saying, get professional help if you can’t cope on your own – it’s the most normal, appropriate, and a mature thing to do!

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a medical hypnotherapist, holistic consultant, and author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. As the founder of the Achieve Health Center, she helps men and women attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.