Can you tell us why you wrote The Love Mindset? It’s a transformational book about healing and you share some pretty heavy, even gut-wrenching stuff about being addicted and suicidal but then reaching the proverbial “jumping off point.”
While I was healing myself, I stood amongst my broken pieces scattered around my feet. Beneath the pain, I realized that I was still standing. I realized that I wasn’t those broken little pieces. I was something else.
I used to hate myself, but then I found a part of myself I couldn’t hate. In the end, it wasn’t myself I hated. I hated some mask, some illusion. Once I discovered my true self, I couldn’t help but feel love and I couldn’t help but reach out and help other people find themselves too.
I can’t explain to you what it’s like to discover, after feeling broken for so long, a part of yourself that is more than intact; it can’t be broken. That’s a high I can’t explain. It’s like being hungry all your life and finally getting a piece of bread. Except it’s not food, it’s love. It’s a high that never goes away, a high you don’t have to buy because it’s within you.
Everything comes down to love, doesn’t it? Why do people, especially folks with addiction, have such a hard time loving themselves?
Most people are stuck on one of two things. One, they don’t know that love is a life necessity. They, like I once did, say that love is rare or non-existent. Two, they don’t know what love is. They search for it with other people, and they always fall short.
It is a beautiful, comfortable, and kind of silly truth that all of our troubles originate from a misunderstanding about the nature of love. Love’s not a feeling or an action. It’s not a temporary phase, nor is it hard to get or rare. Love is always there. We just have to figure out how to open up to it.
In the book, you describe what you call “feeding the mind” as a part of healing from addiction. Can you share what you mean?
You eat with your mouth, you breathe with your nose, and you love with your mind. This sounds strange, but. don’t we love with our hearts?
Technically, we don’t just eat with our mouths either. There’s an entire process of digestion that happens largely in the stomach and intestines. We don’t just breathe with our noses. The lungs do most of the work. Likewise, we don’t just love with our minds. The heart does the feeling part of love, while the mind, like the mouth and nose, acts as a gatekeeper.
A mind needs to be nourished with loving thoughts, about yourself, others, and life itself, and then it just falls open. When the mind allows love inside, then we get that feeling in our hearts. Like air in the lungs and food in our stomach, it’s a feeling we live for and die without.
What needs to happen in a person’s life before she or he can really experience self-love? Do they have to reach the depths that you did? Who needs to read your book?
My answer, now and forever, is a resounding No. We don’t need to hit rock bottom to change. We just need to make a decision.
I believe that, deep within, each “broken” person knows they can heal. Healing doesn’t happen when the people who hurt us apologize, or when those memories fade away. It doesn’t happen when our emotions suddenly disappear, or when we find a magic pill. Healing happens when we believe it will. It starts when we decide to heal or die trying.
And that’s who the book is for. It’s for a person who wants to find out, once and for all, how they can have a happy life and a healthy mind.
What’s the one thing you would say to people struggling to heal their lives?
I’d say – listen to your hope. There’s a little shred of hope in anyone who’s struggling. I know it’s in there, because I know what it’s like to face death and that’s the only thing that stands between life and death. The living have hope.
I’ve posted this on my blog and I’ll share it with you here. A few months ago I found a little note I wrote to myself as I was plummeting towards rock bottom. At the time, I was going through a profound crisis, feeling suicidal, self-destructive, and haunted by screaming thoughts in my head.
I think we all have these moments, from time to time. The key to healing is to realize that the pain isn’t reality – but hope is. Those moments of hope are your only moments of clarity, your only moments of really seeing what’s there. The hope is you. The pain is not.
Note: Vironika has generously offered to give away an e-book of The Love Mindset: An Unconventional Guide to Healing and Happiness. To enter to win a copy, leave a comment below. You can enter until midnight PST on May 1st, 2014.
Title photo courtesy of jdurham