How I Stay Motivated After 2 Years
That's me celebrating two years with some bubbles!
Last month, I celebrated two years of commitment to a daily rewiring practice. Woohoo!
When I started the program, I had it in my head that I would be fully healed within six months. I think that's a common myth or misunderstanding among retrainers--that you only need six months to heal, no matter what situation you're in, or how long you've had limbic system impairment. For me, that looks like approximately half of my life of various triggers to add up to my "perfect storm," so it's understandable that it might take longer to heal.
But if I had started this program thinking I'd still be doing it two years later, I probably wouldn't have even attempted it! So, looking back, it was probably a good thing that I only thought I'd have to be committed for half a year. I can honestly say that rewiring my brain has been the most challenging--and also the most rewarding--thing I have ever done for myself.
I have grown and transformed, all while working a full-time job and also starting a business on the side. Throughout this journey, I've rediscovered myself, and started pursuing all of the passions I never thought I had time to explore, or didn't give myself permission to embrace. I see my inner joy and my inner beauty starting to shine more and more, and it even rubs off on other people on occasion.
So, what do I do to stay motivated?
Here's a few things I've introduced to my practice in the last few months to keep me going, even when I. just. don't. wanna. anymore. :P
While I made a small attempt to add music to my rounds early on, I dismissed it because I felt that it was hard to concentrate on what I was saying. I remember trying to add some salsa music to a round I was doing about dancing, and it was great to move around a bit and hear the music, but I quickly got distracted from the point of the round so I ended up turning it off. That was pretty much the end of my experimentation.
When I was lacking motivation a few months back, I tried adding some nature sounds to my rounds (my favorites: waves crashing on a beach, the sounds of a crackling fire, or jungle sounds). I found that as long as the soundtrack wasn't too loud and didn't have words, it would work for me. Now I have my favorites saved on YouTube and on the Calm app. I have a couple future visualizations that I like to do with those specific sounds; for example, sitting at a beach cafe with my husband eating fish tacos while listening to the ocean waves or doing yoga at a retreat center in Costa Rica while listening to the sounds of the jungle and the birds singing. I use the fireplace sounds to visualize a past camping trip with friends on Lake Lanier and also a future skiing trip in Colorado with my husband, where we're sitting by a fireplace in the lodge after a long day of skiing, munching on cheese and sipping red wine.
2. Beautifying my practice space
For most of the time I've been rewiring, I've done my rounds in the same spot in a small corner of my home office. There aren't many places in my house without walls, so it makes it hard to have enough privacy. Especially now that my husband is also working from home, I don't do my rounds in the attic anymore, like I used to. So, my multi-function space is where I spend 30 minutes before works starts and after I'm done to finish my rounds for the day. And I come back on the weekends to do my full hour.
I realized I needed to liven it up a bit, but didn't really know what to do. I typically stand in front of a bookshelf which is next to the wall, and have my little paper anchors taped down on the floor. I went out for Valentine's Day with my husband (our first time eating inside a restaurant since last October!) and there was this little pop-up shop selling cute plants. So, on a whim, I decided to get two for my office. I've always liked the look of houseplants, but I've never really gotten them for some reason. So now, when I do my practice, I also have the joy of facing a nice green plant and being grateful for its beauty! One more thing to celebrate and elevate my mood.
3. Reminding myself of how far I've come
I think something that is easy to forget the longer you practice, is to remind yourself of your wins and to continue to celebrate them. I'm also someone with 24/7 ITs, so it's easy to forget the small, and not so small, things I've accomplished along the way. Things like reintroducing gluten after not eating it for ten years. Now I eat it every day with no second thought. Or ITs I used to experience on a daily basis that I now forget I even had.
I've now made it a point to periodically write down all the things that I've rewired, or all the things I can now do, that I couldn't before starting. I'm pretty much able to do everything I've incrementally trained on, so that's a huge win. Of course, there are things I'm still working on, but everyday life is generally back to pre-limbic status in terms of triggers. I still have daily ITs and POPs, but I know that is normal to experience until you're fully healed. And reminding myself that it's okay to still have those things is what I've been focusing on. As some past retrainers have said before: Symptoms are not a marker of progress in your recovery!
And another one of my favorites: Keep going, because you did not come this far, just to come this far!
So I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and have faith that one day, all of this will be worth it. It actually already is.