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Unbecoming Who you Had to Be + Becoming Who you Choose to Be

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Hello friends! Here is part 3 of my Excavating Your Essence series—exploring identity beyond chronic illness. This entry calls upon your imagination and peeks into the world of possibility.

Pretend we have access to a time machine and can fast forward from the point that you are reading this. It is now some time in the future...

You are recovered, whatever that means to you. You are whole. You are the person you've dreamed of becoming. That time is here. You are now the fullest version of yourself.

Who are you? How do you feel? What are you doing?


I encourage you to sit with these questions and soak into that experience. If you feel inclined to recall and replay it, write your responses down on a piece of paper or save them on a device.


If the answers to these questions came easily, I applaud you. If the answers weren't clear yet, I still applaud you for trying. Experiences may distance us from who we are and it's okay if the answers to those questions are not yet so clear. That is a very normal part of the journey.

Who am I or what is my purpose are two existential questions many of us continue to ask ourselves as we move throughout our lives. Something that can happen through life is that our experiences become layered on top of us and may veil the person we know ourselves to be. We can get detoured.

Finding the way back to the self, back to home, back to a felt sense of wholeness can come as a result of shedding the layers you no longer identify with and curating the qualities you do align with.

Reconnecting to my identity, the essence of what made me "me", came more through this shedding of what I was not to assist me in re-creating and re-learning who I am (or desire to be).

This involved unlearning protective layers I had carried with me that hindered or dulled who I was underneath.

With chronic illness, there can be a blurring of what is experience and what is identity. We can grow so accustomed to limitations that we forget or lose sight of what may be in reach outside of those walls.

Embracing and leaning into the world of possibility can be a necessary step towards releasing limiting beliefs constructed out of what may simply be more familiar or historically true of the past. A whole world still exists outside those parameters, beyond our imagination.

When we stay mentally attached to the world only as we've already known it, it keeps us stuck on auto-pilot with patterns subconsciously repeating based on what already exists in our mental archive. When we step more fully into that awareness of possibility, we position ourselves in a direction that guides out of past patterning and opens up more potential for the future.

If you had difficulty with the questions from earlier and would like to approach it from another direction, try: Who are you not? What qualities or characteristics do not define you? This can be a more comfortable starting point to redefining yourself. So often we focus on the things that we don't want in life, that it can be completely foreign to think about what it is we do want. This approach may be a middle ground that brings about personal values or virtues with more clarity. It can be cathartic or insightful to have a tangible list of the things that are separate from who you are or desire to be, if your personal values or guiding principles are not already clear.

This declaration of what you are not can also serve as a reference point to filter your continued experiences through. Who you are without those things may increasingly become clearer and reveal your essence and values. As you break out of past patterning and conditioning, you can shed what is no longer of service to carry into your future and free yourself from such restrictions or limitations collected from the past.

Duality emerges where there is a choice between the path to the past and the path that aligns with your desired future. Having a clear directive of the destination you are seeking to reach can further clarify the path that leads there.

Examining the beliefs I embodied, the feelings I internalized, and the coping behaviors that kept me stuck in survival mode were the basis where I've found the most profound shifts and healing. Core belief work is deep work, but it can get to the bottom of things, or the root of dysregulation acquired from our previous experiences.

If you'd like a tool to use to help sift through limiting beliefs and reroute thought patterns into a new narrative, I'd like to offer you my framework for core belief work.

Module 2 of the Brain Gardening neuroplasticity program dives deep into mindset and core belief work. A component of the program is available as a standalone journal.

The Outgrow Limitations mini-workbook outlines a simple process for using self-guided neuroplasticity to break out of past limitations and embrace your new narrative. Available globally on Amazon!

Until next time, dear friends.

If you're interested in connecting more regularly, I have a blog on Brain Gardening called Seeds of Hope where I share more insights from my journey to wellness and wholeness, a weekly email list, as well as an upcoming neuroplasticity program.


About Alina

Alina Bachmann is a multi-disciplinary artist growth mindset coach, and creator of Brain Gardening®, a neuroplasticity resource inspired by her own healing journey. After over 20 years of chronic illness stemming from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), natural disasters, chemical injury, and toxic stress as an adult, Alina found wellness and wholeness through brain retraining—or brain gardening as she prefers to call it. She now uses her personal story of recovery and professional background as an informational designer to support others on their healing journeys through Brain Gardening®. In addition, Alina is attuned to Reiki Level II and certified from the Integrative Sound and Music Institute. Products and services by Brain Gardening® are rooted in science and cultivated through the arts. Research materials are presented from a designer lens using simple language, relatable visuals, and interactive tools. The upcoming Brain Gardening® program combines neuroscience with creative expression, somatics, ecotherapy, and the healing arts for an integrative approach to wellness. Subscribe to the mailing list for more tips or join the program waitlist at

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