Thursday, 24 April 2008

Do Things Get Worse Before They Get Better?

It was foul-smelling. It was foul-tasting. And it was a ritual in my family when people turned thirteen. A kind of rite of passage, I guess. What it was, was a tea made from dried Leonotus leonurus leaves, something that one of my great (great?) grandparents had picked up along the way from the indigenous people of South Africa, where we lived at the time. Whether or not the rumours that the plant could be smoked as a kind of cannabis substitute were true or not, we never knew nor tried :). Instead we drank it as a “blood purifier”, and parents made it specifically for their young ‘uns entering their teenage years as a way to stave off acne.

I remember my turn only too well. I can even still smell it if I take myself back to that time in my memory! Three glasses, one every twelve hours, downed really quickly after taking a deep breath, followed swiftly by a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Luckily, those three glasses comprised the entire treatment and it was unlikely to ever need repeating!

Luckily, too, it worked! At least, I remember myself and all my cousins sailing through our teenage years with nary a pimple in sight compared to our peers, so either our family was largely genetically blessed with “no-pimple” DNA, or the brew was effective in “purifying our blood” and removing any of the toxins that would cause acne. Writing this now, I’m not too sure of the scientific merit of “blood purification”, but that’s the story that was handed down in our family and it seemed to make a kind of logical sense at the time!

The only catch in this whole process was that the brew caused any toxins that you already had in you to be pushed out… so shortly after drinking the brew, some pimples would erupt, and once the smoke and debris had cleared they would slink away, never to be seen again. For that reason, this treatment was always doled out over a weekend, so that you could stay in if things got ugly!

Regardless of the type of physical detox regime followed, I’ve often heard people report similar experiences of initially feeling worse until their system has been cleared of all toxins, after which they feel lighter and have a level of physical health that is higher than where they were prior to the detox.

This process also seems to occur when we’re going through a “spiritual detox”. I’ve noticed that when I become aware of limiting beliefs, or start focusing my energy on making a significant positive change in my life (even if I’m intending to go from good to great), things often get worse before they get better. For example, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while (for the little while that it’s been up and running, that is!), you may remember me mentioning that honouring my boundaries has been an ongoing issue for me. I’m certainly way better at this than I used to be (can anyone say “doormat”?!), but it is an issue that still crops up every now and then. It’s been cropping up lately – I’ve had two colds related to the issue, and the latest evidence of the issue was a (minor) burglary – nothing got taken, but how’s that for a clear physical manifestation of violated boundaries?!

Now, in Law Of Attraction terms, focusing on something negative can cause it to manifest in one’s life. I know this, and so when I identify a limiting belief, I use it to clarify what the opposite positive belief is, and then direct my energy towards that. In my case with boundaries, for example, whenever I identify a belief like “People don’t respect my personal space”, I use it to figure out what I do want to create, in this case “People do respect my personal space”, or “My boundaries are respected”. I don’t even stop there – those are great, but they do still focus on other people, so I look at where I might be disrespecting my own boundaries, or where I’ve disrespected others’ boundaries. This leads to affirmations like “I honour and respect my boundaries” and “I honour and respect others’ boundaries”.

So, if I’m focusing on the positive side of things, and doing affirmations, why do I still experience the temporary negativity? What’s up with that?! Well, here are my thoughts on the matter:

When we live in a state of unconsciousness, we will more than likely still have limiting beliefs about a variety of subjects, but they all blend into a kind of low grade background hum and we don’t really notice the specific effects of them on our lives. That may initially sound like a good thing… but, usually life lived at this level of unawareness is not really a life lived at all. These are people who are not very happy with their lives in general, they experience a general sense of dissatisfaction, but can’t really seem to change anything in their lives for the better.

However, when we decide to live consciously, we bring those beliefs right into the open. As we progress, different beliefs will come under scrutiny at different times, and bringing them to the forefront of our attention can temporarily manifest these into our experience. This can be seen as an opportunity – we can clearly see what we are dealing with, and make a choice regarding what we are ready to let go of and what we want to create in our lives. Like a physical detox, a spiritual one can move us to the next level of health. It may be temporarily unpleasant, but the next level of health brings with it a significant increase in feelings of lightness and vitality.

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of things getting worse before they get better? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts and experiences!


Andrea|Empowered Soul said...

Great article, Mags! I've definitely noticed the same phenomenon when I do clearing work on my own behalf of for clients.

The way I see it, our energetic vibration shifts when we do spiritual development work. I do that through Soul clearing, but we do it all the time when we release limiting beliefs, etc. We shift our energetic vibration. Well, now we are for a short time out of sync with our environment, which was a match for our previous energetic vibration.

Now everything that does not fit with our new and upgraded vibrational pattern has to go! Just like in a physical detox, it rises to the surface, which can look like total mayhem in our lives (that burglary is absolutely the most perfect example). It's a period of adjustment that makes room for that which matches our new vibration rate.


Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom said...

Hi Andrea

Thanks for your input - that definitely adds to my understanding of the phenomenon.

It's an interesting challenge holding on to that new vibration through the temporary chaos! Mags-of-a-few-years-ago would have gone into full-on drama queen mode after hearing about the burglary, with a big dollop of self-pity and resistance thrown in to the mix. I'm very grateful for all that I've learned and how I've grown that I managed to stay (mostly!) present throughout and find peace in acceptance of what had happened. Out of that came a very distinct feeling of "cementing" a new higher level of vibration!