True to you
‘Be true to you
Don’t deny yourself
Ask yourself: is this what I want in life?
Start over, talk and share your feelings
Leave your past behind and grow together
Without any noise from outside
Experience happiness together
Instead of separate from one another
Don’t waste another second of your precious life
And enjoy the now to the fullest’.
While writing the manuscript for my book Pure Hearted, I wrote this poem June 13, 2013, two years after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had actually written the poem years before, in 2008 to be precise. I wrote it for a friend, who at the time was heartbroken. I wanted to offer her comfort and support with my words. In fact, the poem was not for her, it was for myself. Although at the time I didn’t think I suffered from heartbreak. In retrospect, nothing could be further from the truth. I have a tendency to write things down and read words over and over again. Then speak them out loud in order to feel and experience their meaning, to let them sink in quietly and to anchor the words. And now, 11 years after I had first put the poem on paper, I am reading it again only to find out I am still distracted by my patterns, defence system and triggers instead of living my life. Thanks to many courses and trainings, I do know how to recover. Nonetheless, returning to myself keeps on being quite challenging every time I try to follow the path I have set.
The content of this blog was initially addressed only to me, but I have come to realise that it can also give others necessary support. When it comes to others, I can help them much more easily than when it concerns myself. Probably something to do with blind spots. When writing for someone else, it sets a mirror to myself. And by sharing my story, I am possibly mirroring others, just as anyone you have ever been in a relationship with has been a mirror for what is going on inside of you.
Love can hurt a great deal and that is what is going on with me right now. When love hurts, my highly annoying defence system immediately kicks in, due to frequent exposure to traumatic events in my childhood. Most logically to protect me, as emotional protection is its all-important job, and it has done so for ages and will continue to do so. It was needed because of that one drastic event, or even more poignantly, several events in my earliest childhood that caused me mortal fear, insecurity, pain, sadness or panic. So when unconsciously, something reminds me of those events, I then completely block out and don't know what to do anymore. My defence system still runs as it is supposed to: get rid of love as soon as possible because it is hurting Ilona! Yet, my defence is not helping me now. It rather sabotages me to be who I am and how I want to be.
Nevertheless, through 3Keys to Self Understanding I have learned to make the best choices I can. At least, that is my utmost intention. Although I have to admit, it doesn’t always come easy. There were times I chose a different direction. Each time, I gradually set myself back on track, learning by trial and error. Even though my heart has been broken several times, I have a firm belief it will turn out well. Eventually. No matter what and as always. If it means that I will be on my own, then that is what it takes. Time will heal wounds. Just like after cutting ginger, a new healthy piece will grow back into my heart.
'Yes, I know, I am a romantic sucker', convinced as I am that I may continue to share my love with people whom I love deeply - in any form that suits me. Indeed, love hurts. But it is the most beautiful thing there is in this world. It is connecting people.
Both mental and physical pain are no fun and no one likes pain. Being honest and sincere to myself are of utmost importance in dealing with my pain. For myself, and later, to be able to be there for another. By doing so, I hope to create room for the other person and to be motivation to do the same. And then, to be there for me. By standing still and going through my pain, I dug underneath what is actually going on. With this, I broke through patterns that originated in the parental home in my early childhood. In this way I have set a course to where I want to go. Determining which direction to go gives me clarity, control and overview, for myself as well as for others. I know pain has a function and makes me grow on a personal level. Nonetheless, I wish I could skip all of it. For me, the ultimate goal is to grow together with someone I love. In order to get there, it requires the willingness from both sides to experience pain. The courage to make yourself vulnerable towards one another and then to pick up the thread; to communicate openly and honestly which way to go together. By not avoiding the process and not closing all options upfront. Instead, you can keep an open mind for whatever comes along.
I truly believe that the impossible is possible. As long as there is will. I have followed this principle many times in my life and will continue to do so. I have lost all I had and started from scratch. 'Anything is possible for those who believe,' says author Robert H. Schuller. In his book, he writes about four affirmations that enable you to change the course of your life. 'An affirmation is a declaration in the present that hope in your heart is in fact already reality,' Schuller says.
As mentioned before, when my defence system kicks in, I immediately shoot for the solution. Whether it is the most convenient, clever, or thoughtful one doesn’t matter at that moment. The light is completely off in the rational part of my brain. And the irrational part is having a blast. I might seem overwhelmed and have no choice. Or do I? It is absolutely impossible to get both halves of the brain working at the same time. It is either one or the other, just like in computer operating systems. It is either Apple or Microsoft. How the hell do I get it together? To go through life as a normal, balanced and mature human being? Not the way things are going right now, that is for sure. I am in pain and wondering how to get rid of it. A.S.A.P.! Am I going to let my life to continue to be led by my defence system? Will I continue to stand by and watch it prevent me from getting to where I want to go? To be who I really am, and from having access to my potential?
If I want to get there, first thing to do is to let go of my defence system.
Make a choice
Simply by choosing. I will make a choice. No matter what. And anyhow, it may not be so bad after all. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong and even if I might think it was not the right choice at first. At that moment, it is THE choice helping me to move forward. At any given moment, I can decide what to do. I know too well that every second counts. So, there is always a choice to start over again and, as of today, to live my life to the fullest. And I can and may change any choice at any time. This is freedom!
In order to make the best possible choice for me, I do need time and space, to stand still and think things through. I need to be able to hear myself, to oversee and reconsider matters.
What do I want and what not? Do I want to stay in pain or can it be changed for the better? Do I want to show my emotions, vulnerability and therefore myself? What do I need and how can it be obtained? I know the more specific I am, the more easily the universe will provide me with what I need. Miraculously, I experience this over and over again. Even when it hurts intensely, as it does at the moment, I realise it is allowing things to go easily and they don't have to be complicated at all. It is up to me how to interpret events and therefore in fact, I determine my own outcome.
As Einstein puts it: ‘if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got’. Am I choosing to grow or am I holding on to stagnation? In what issue have I asked the universe for help? And what did I get? I made the choice in advance!
I now make the choice to follow my own principle: 'To be connected in freedom. To be free in connection’. I also choose to no longer fight my imperfections and instead embrace them. As in Leonard Cohen's Anthem:
'Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in’.
After reading the full text of this hymn, I fully understand why recently things just happened. A beautiful, white turtledove recently appeared on my balcony. A song spontaneously came on my car radio. 'You can ring my bell' by Anita Ward, my very first gramophone record. Or the following quote appeared on my mobile phone this morning: 'Accept yourself, you are good enough’. Certain books that have come my way, like today the book of Schuller. And recently the book: 'The centenarian man, who climbed out of the window and disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson. This book allowed me to laugh unabashedly again. It brought back joy into my life, making it possible to celebrate life. I have a choice, again, every day. In 2012, I was given the chance to live again after all. It is up to me to seize the day by making a choice.
'Enjoy life to the fullest, make the best of it and let bygones, be bygones’.
2019, August 30