When I was 19, I started exploring the esoteric realms, reading books by Sylvia Browne and the prophecies by Nostradamus. It almost makes me laugh now, but I was so intrigued and wanted more! I didn't grow up religious or following any specific ideologies, I personally felt that just one way of thinking about things was part of the problem and that there are many different paths to the same truth.
"Maybe one day I'll find the light, without having to run through all the fog."
Shayleen McHugh, Circa - May 2009.
Do you ever read something you've wrote and think - that doesn't sound like me?! Alot of what I write feels that way to me after a certain amount of time has passed. I used to write poetry, in my teenage years, as a means of expressing my emotions. Alot of it is emotionally heavy, dark and explicit so I wont be sharing any of it here, but sometimes I do miss it. Some of it was actually pretty good. Another reason I enjoy writing, is to see how some beliefs and attitudes change with time, while others remain true to you. It could also be my fascination with the human condition and wanting to understand and explore it. I used to daydream with an old friend about opening up a book store that was like a library, and it would contain people's journals, diaries, their memoirs and dream books. We'd call it the 'Memory Bank.' I just loved the idea of knowing what other people were thinking!
Shayleen McHugh, Circa - January 2010.
I used to feel like everyone else was walking around life with some kind of guide book and I was wandering aimlessly. I wondered if anybody else was wondering this too. For many years my endless worry and over-thinking plagued me; that constant stream of never-ending thought almost drove me crazy and to be honest, there are times when it still does. I can get lost up there in all that noise, I forget to touch back down and connect with my body, to feel my feet on the earth. I have to remember that sacred mantra:
I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS.
It took me years to figure this out, and writing helped me identify that I was playing the role of the observer. Witnessing my mind creating these thoughts and scenarios, some of which never happened and it all created suffering- to the point where I was depressed and physically and mentally ill. This blog isnt about my battle with mental health though and I feel that I have shared that part of my story in the past -infact there are a couple other blog posts about that time in my life, if you search through the archives! This blog is to share the realizations and insights that I gained from those experiences and the challenges in my life that have helped me, so that I could heal and help other people. I realized that I was observing these thoughts and dialogues that were creating pain in my life, even when I was on medication for Generalized Anxiety and PTSD.
"How can I be on this medication and still be eaten alive by my thoughts?"
Shayleen McHugh, Circa - January 2010.
Then there was the part of me that realized I was playing a role in my own suffering. If there is one thing thats certain, its that things change. Everything, at some point or another will change and everything is in a long, constant state of change. I realized that despite my external circumstances changing, my inner experience was still the same. Reliving my traumas so to speak, being in a state of mind that was responsible for the actions and behaviors that were creating my suffering and vice versa. Or atleast thats how I came to understand it. In my first year of university I read in one of my text books about information processing: Information comes in -->we process and integrate --> and it becomes a belief, behavior or action. I go on to quote the text that states "The more complex the brain circuitry, the more complex the reality created and subsequently, the more complex the thought." It sounded like a pretty damn good explanation to me!
Continued in part.4...