Updated: Sep 4, 2021
I wanted to start this series of blogs with an important insight that I offer my clients whose lives have become intolerable through a perceived sense of loss of reality. This sense is quite common in my IBD clients.
That insight is the perceived loss of self-recognition that presents itself in my therapy room in a number of narratives. These clients talk about how they “can’t believe my life has come to this” - expressions which create an uncertainty within one’s self, where they feel condemned to a future of nothing more than the same endless episodes of suffering.
The self-critic which most of us are unaware of, feeds further doubts, which in turn fuels the physical pain of enduring the condition, whilst also rendering one helpless to make any healthy choices. Amongst the common physical symptoms of anxiety discussed in therapy, there is a recurring theme of flare ups in clients with IBD.
This debilitating condition described by most clients, whilst unaware of the own role that they can also play in contributing to the suffering, I recognise, as part of the psychological suffering. The lack of motivation in managing IBD keeps the suffering in line with the subconscious belief of needing, or even wanting to suffer, to allow some validation of what they are going through in their own psychological state and being.
In this overwhelming state I bring attention to Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now – the idea of focusing on the now. This brings a natural pause to the therapy, to reflect on the uses and power of becoming present. This idea is welcomed in the realization that not all self-control is exhausted. Tolle’s idea of the “present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant” brings an enlightenment and a renewed self-belief in controlling their condition or reality.
When we infuse the power of now with the painful stories of poor gut health, we can reflect on how ownership of our actions and choices can impact greatly on managing the condition. Learning that if we become present, it empowers us to control that physical and mental pain that persecutes daily life. Understand that we can honour this suffering by listening to our true needs. Embrace the idea of listening to your body, being authentic in mind and body elevates self-awareness, restores self-control and most of all improves general health.
We talk about truth and authenticity in therapy, becoming true to the self. Part of that search, particularly in IBD clients, is finding what is natural to the body. Exploring natural food choice through gut health has changed the life of so many of my clients. Their painful stories are replaced instead, with a collection of self-celebratory accounts of natural healing in many areas of the body. There is often a renewed sense of claiming their true life, but only by the journey they took to embrace the power of now.
If there is one thing I would like readers to take from this, is to allow yourself the chance to reflect on the power of being present in the moment to make choices, and where possible honour your body’s needs, each and every time; be it through diet, exercise, stress management or just simply celebrating, and, enjoying the power of now.