Early on Monday December 11th 2007 someone broke into my apartment in Puerto Vallarta Mexico and stole all of my money, my camera and phone, my briefcase with many important documents it in, and the biggest tragedy, my laptop with my latest book on it – it was due to be sent to the publisher on January 1st. The thief also got all my backups.
I was cleaned out so completely I had to borrow bus fare to go to the police station to report the theft. The police showed no interest in the case whatsoever, they didn’t even take my details.
I am a whole health practitioner and life transformation specialist; my forte is psychoneuroimmunology (how the way we think impacts our health and well being). I believe that nothing that happens to us matters anywhere near as much as how we choose to feel about what happens, because it is this choice that determines what happens next.
I believe that completely, and I have to tell you that on the Monday I was robbed, choosing how I was going to feel wasn‘t an option. My whole life had been on that laptop; all of my brave new choices were embodied in it, now everything was gone.
I spent the longest time looking stupidly around the table it had been sitting on, completely unable to believe that my stuff wasn’t there anymore. I couldn’t imagine how I could continue without it; this was not only my livelihood it was my life. Without it I had no way of paying rent, or buying food or making money.
I couldn’t update my site, I couldn’t even change the phone number on it, or let any of my friends or clients know what had happened. All of my information and contacts were in the computer, or in the books that had been in the briefcase.
Monday was a long, hard day in which most of my thoughts revolved around ‘this is the worst thing that could happen to me’: ‘all my work is wasted’: ‘Everything of value has been taken from me, I have nothing left.’
By Tuesday I knew I had to get back to choosing how I was going to feel, because those thoughts were leading me to places I didn’t want to go!
The theft had been a terrible blow, but that was all the more reason not to give the thief more of my power, or let him hurt me any more than I was already hurt.
Pain was inevitable, how long I was going to suffer was up to me.
I have learned that a wrong is like a snake bite – no-one ever died from a snake bite, you die when the poison takes over your heart.
I couldn’t do anything about the wrong, the only thing I could do was choose how much I would let it hurt me; and how for how long.
I could easily let the injustice of what had happened poison every thought I had, even taint my entire life with bitterness, but why would I do that?! If I am going to get on with my life sooner or later, I might as well make it sooner.
Continuing to agonize over the loss would not hurt the thief; I would be the only person that would be affected by that, I was the only person who could decide how long I would let this upset me.
I needed to bring myself hope and comfort, not more pain.
I exchanged a promotional article with a local restaurant in return for food, and sat myself down to review my situation.
When something awful is happening I find it helpful to put boundaries around it; to give it a Beginning a Middle and an End. And if possible decide how long to grieve.
It sounds cold and calculating, and to a degree it is, but the alternative is to stay stuck in an awful situation and who wants to do that?
This process helps one to move far more quickly through a painful situation because it honours the pain while giving it a time limit. You are assuring your subconscious that there will be an end to the pain; that ‘this too will pass’.
It’s amazing how effective it is. I wonder where you could use this technique in your life.
Monday morning was the Beginning of the trauma. I gave myself the entire day to be in shock and do nothing but grieve before trying to do anything to help myself. Sometimes you have to give yourself over to the pain before you can move through it.
I decided the End would be Friday, by then I would somehow have things back under some semblance of control. I could still be grieving but I would at least know what direction to take, and be able to take it. I decided that my stuff would somehow be returned, or I would have new stuff and be recovering.
That left Wednesday as the Middle, by then I needed to at least have a phone and be on my way to understanding how I would continue with my life.
I knew my focus would determine how well and how quickly I would recover from this blow. The Law of Attraction proves what we focus on we attract. It would be all too easy for me to focus on what I had lost, and how bad I felt about it, but consider where that would leave me in a week, a month or a year…
You’ve probably had similar feelings when something dreadful has happened to you, and the more you let yourself get down about it, the worse you feel, until you find yourself in a spiraling dark pit of depression that is very, very hard to climb out of.
I’ve been there, done that, and I don’t want to go there again, so I make different choices now. These days when bad stuff happens I support and uplift myself, rather than let myself get dragged down even further, I highly recommend this as an option.
Unless we consciously choose different thoughts, we can stay stuck in painful situations. You can’t expect a different result as long as you are thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things.
I committed to these new thoughts, and this new focus, on Tuesday.
By Wednesday I had traded a business article for a new phone that was better quality, and had a new phone number that was a lot easier to remember. I had also exchanged healing sessions for a far better camera than the one I’d been using.
I had moved to the Middle of my process.
By Thursday I had a new client who was so ecstatic with my work that she took all my old business cards down to the beach, hand wrote my new number on each of them, and sent me two new clients that afternoon.
Another client advanced the money for a new laptop in return for ongoing life coaching.
By Friday my friend Fabio reminded me that he had taken a backup of my computer not all that long ago. I had lost much, but certainly not everything.
I was able to declare End, and begin moving forward again.
The pain was still there but bearable at last.
Whether or not we are willing to put in the effort to think new thoughts and make different choices depends in large part on whether we like the lives our current thoughts are creating.
If we always do what we’ve always done then we’ll always get what we’ve always got, which is fine, if we like what we’ve got, but if we want something different we have to try something new, and we need tools to make that happen.
I have lead a cartoon-like life that has inspired me to learn an enormous number of fast, easy, fun ways to embrace change and create happiness regardless of circumstance. Sharing these skills is how I make my life make sense.
I hope this helped. Let me know if you need more tools or a session to clear a trauma.