I have long had a problem with the idea of gratitude creating the wonderful life you wish for.
I know our thoughts shape our lives, yet the idea that thinking happy thoughts creates happiness is a little too simplistic. There is just something missing.
I am currently reading The power of consistency, by Weldon Long. and came across the quotes;
" Your thoughts drive your emotions. Your emotions drive your actions. Your actions drive your results"
Now I really get that, it works a as a practical principle for me. But- you are not aware of all of your thoughts.
It is the power of hidden thoughts that I think is missing from many ideas on positive thought (and of course positive thought is very valuable), but it overlooks the power of hidden thoughts....
Firstly you have that nagging inner critic (well maybe you don't- but everyone I have met has had one). The one that gently undermines you, pushes you, scolds you, goads you. They are all slightly different. And the thing is- most of us are so used to hearing that inner voice we completely blank it out. Like the ticking of a clock. We live with undermining thoughts every day, and are not fully aware of them because we are so used to the pattern.
The inner critic is reasonably easy to deal with. Just start listening, to your own thoughts. Then imagine saying them out loud to someone else. It may take a while to break the habit, and it may return in times of stress. But becoming aware of your inner critic is a simple way to slowly be more kind to yourself, and build more helpful thought patterns.
There is another level of hidden thoughts though, that is far more difficult to deal with. Those thoughts that you have consciously chosen to bury.
It happens for many reasons, often in childhood, and no not always a result of abuse. Perhaps you experienced something you just couldn't understand- and children so often believe it is their fault- maybe a sick parent, parents rowing due to finances, divorce, new baby, getting lost, maternal depression or difficulty bonding, house move. So many small things a child can mis-understand, despite parents trying their very hardest.
And because you don't understand it, to survive, you bury your true thoughts - perhaps it is a sense of shame, or guilt. A deep belief that it is your fault, or you deserve it. Your logical brain decides to ignore, or forget these thoughts as they are so difficult to live with. But those thoughts are still there, and they still impact your emotions & actions- even if you aren't aware of those thoughts!
So what can you do about these hidden thought patterns? I am sure there are many different ways and I will only share the two I am experienced in.
One of the greatest ways I think tarot works-is it picks up on those hidden thoughts, and can therefore predict how you will shape your future! Of course seeing that laid out in front of you can be a great incentive to change your thought patterns, work on hidden thoughts, and create a different future!
I like to do a reflection spread, a sort of "mini" Celtic cross;
2-something you need to integrate/understand.
Used as a spread to spot self-sabotage I am looking to see if the conscious mind is thinking something different to the unconscious.
I am looking to read the mini spread between card 2, card 3 , and the card at the bottom of the pack which I think often shows something hidden.
In this spread (which was for me) I felt I had been self sabotaging (devil is often a key card) but I am now more aware of this self-sabotage (8 of swords) but creating chaos & drama as a distraction (5 of wands) from facing this.
The Hierophant-often a teacher- reflects my focused reading to more fully understand the process.
Finding these hidden contracts, and helping them to release them is one of my main jobs as a shaman. And some contracts are deeply hidden, tracing generations & past lives.
There are several ways to achieve this, through the "classic" way is through a soul retrieval. Where I journey for the client, deep into the shadow lands, to find the contract, why they chose it, and what part of their soul was lost or "forgotten" as a result of this contract.
After the shamanic journeying I use stone work to support the client in fully understanding what the contract has meant in their life up to this point, and how re-writing the contract can create new opportunities. I use the stones & breathing techniques to allow me to connect with my clients heart space or right brain, because at this point the left logical brain is often still seeking to deny the hidden thought patterns.
The shamanic work is only the start, the client needs to work then to re-integrate this lost part, and to commit to stepping forward with their new thought patterns. They have to follow this through in their daily life.
It is a deeply personal experience, and obviously completely confidential. But I was lucky enough to have a client choose to share their experience though a blog, and I share a link to it here
If you'd like to learn more I have an online course exploring shadow work that costs £9 you can find out more here.