Thursday, April 2, 2015
One Word Derailed My Successful Life (Guest Blogger)
There’s an exciting thing about the mind … while it works endlessly to protect the one it serves, it can judge stuff in black and white. The mind can be adept at the process of dissociation to defend its human it helps from painful memories of traumatic experiences. This is generally considered a good thing. It might choose to release the stored memories at a later time, once its human is a safe distance away from the danger. Then again, it might not.
Along with all the memories of trauma and pain and suffering, the mind might also sequester memories of non-threatening events. It’s hard to say what could get tagged for long-term dead storage, never to be seen again.
After living the first 16 years of my life in a most dangerous environment, I have now spent a couple of decades unpacking the storage locker of my mind, slowly sifting through the myriad experiences locked in my own dissociation vault, blowing off the dust, and looking them over one by one. It can be a painful process at times, and I feel endless gratitude for the skilled professionals who have held my hand along the way. Interestingly enough, there have been some relatively benign memories locked away there, too.
Imagine my surprise when I realized the profound importance of one word recently. It was a word I have used many times in my life. It isn't a curse word … a “dirty” word … in any way, but it is a word that my mother often used throughout my growing up, which she always said with a lot of emotion and emphasis. Apparently, my mind thought this memory was threatening enough to be locked away for my own protection. My mother often said,
“A lady must never be conspicuous!”
Now understand, she wasn't just talking about wearing gaudy colors or white shoes after Labor Day. Her admonition was filled with Lindbergh-Baby Fear … that’s “Capital F- Fear.” With my curly blonde hair spilling down my back, startling blue eyes, and willingness to smile at practically anyone, she was terrified that a kidnapping was in my future … even though she wasn't married to Charles Lindbergh. She had grown up and lived most of her life with a modicum of affluence ... that, together with her tendency to “put on airs” at times, led people to assume her family was quite wealthy. In fact, the opposite was true. Her best option was to impress upon her darling little girl – me – the virtue of being inconspicuous. I grew up with this principle as my guiding force.
Now, let’s fast-forward this movie to the present day. Most people under 40 have never heard of the Lindbergh Baby. However, I am now living a life which is bringing me ever closer to the public eye. I want to teach … not just in a classroom … but on a grand scale, to dozens and hundreds, maybe even thousands of people. I want to tell the world about the lessons I've learned and the wealth of experiences which life has brought me.
But I don’t!
I do my job …
and nothing more.
Why? I beat my head against a wall.
I seek professional help.
I pray … Dear God, “What is holding me back?”
Then one day not too long ago in speaking with a dear friend, I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “One wouldn't want to be conspicuous.”
Oh HOLY COW! How can I ever get up on stage with this fear of my mother’s rooted in my mind? Of course, I would never take the first step to achieve my dreams. Her message … inconspicuousness is next to Godliness … is my guiding force. Having dissociated from the power of this message, and the fear which created it, I was stopped by my own mind before I could ever get started.
I am ever grateful for the kind and gentle guidance of one of the most qualified professionals in this field, Dr. William Tollefson, and speaking with him about this recent discovery from the dead vault of my mind brought the relief I've been seeking. We worked with the “Blackboard Exercise,” which changed the message written on the virtual blackboard of my mind.
It goes something like this … closing my eyes and collecting my will to focus, I write the ineffective message of my mother’s on the blackboard in my mind … “One wouldn't want to be conspicuous.” Then mustering all my will, I firmly shove this message off the board to the right and out of view of my mind’s eye. Then I write the message which will sustain me moving forward,
“I give myself permission to be in the limelight, and I am safe.’
That’s what it was all about. The dissociative mind is not a bad or evil thing. It is a self-protective device, without which many people suffer endless mental torture, re-experiencing their traumatic events. Often, they fail to survive. Now that I'm far removed from the horrors of my childhood, it is time to change the way I live. My guiding forces are those which I choose … those who will benefit my family and loved ones … those who will help each of you within the sound of my voice.
I'm just getting started …
Let me introduce you to Conspicuous Judy.
Judy Lee Thurber can usually be found on Facebook:
Dr. William Tollefson can be found in the following ways:DrBillTollefson.com