Updated: Nov 23
In late September, I attended a 5-day workshop hosted by my teacher and mentor, Michelle Long, the founder of The Practice for Women. We talked about the conditioned-self and letting go. Coincidently, I decided in early September that October’s theme would be about releasing, and the Mindful Sunday card I pulled on the last Sunday of September was “Devote time to sit back and observe.”
“Hey Universe, I get it!” is all I can think as I see the connection now. October rolled around, and BAM! I knew I would have to employ all the wisdom I gathered last month if I was going to “sit back and observe” what was coming up for me.
It all started with a feeling of being out of alignment with myself. Trying to live life in joyfulness felt too hard and phony. I felt apathetic and spiraled into a negative mindset. I spent a few days in this space ignoring any feelings and forging ahead All the while, my body was telling me I was exhausted, but I didn’t listen until both my body and emotions where screaming for attention.
The trigger for these negative thoughts is nothing new. However, because it came up again, it meant I needed to go deeper and shine the light on my conditioned-self.
The Conditioned-Self is not a bad thing or something to be conquered. It is a part of us. We created it from responses to outside influences. Most of us operate from our conditioned-self our entire lives without even realizing it (until we start doing inner work).
I stayed curious and asked myself, “Why did I automatically go into a negative headspace?” I meditated on the question waiting for an answer to bubble up. Nothing came. I walked the pups, prepared dinner, ate, and cleaned. And still, crickets from my inner wisdom.
So, I decided to catch up on my TV shows and eat a handful (think of Green Giant sized handfuls) of Trader Joe’s Caramel Sea Salt baking chips. Halfway through the bag, I had my A-HA! and I heard a scream inside my head say, “OH NO! YOU ARE EATING YOUR FEELINGS!” and then in a much softer tone, “Put down the baking chips and walk away.” I took another handful before putting them away and agreed, I had fallen back into old patterns of comforting myself with food.
The realization was like a full-body release. I felt my breath deepen and my body soften. I felt my inner wise woman say, “Finally! You feel it now.”
I was disconnected from me, my intuition. I wasn’t feeling. I was looking at my conditioned-self, but I wasn’t feeling into it. I needed to feel what was under the conditioning and stories.
What I found was my tender-hearted inner child, hurting because she felt unworthy and alone. So I knelt in front of her, with love and compassion, gave her a big hug, and whispered in her ear how special and loved she was. I told her that she does matter and she is worthy, capable, and more than enough. I told her she was perfect and then I looked her straight in her eyes and told her she might feel alone, but she wasn’t. All she has to do is sense the love around her and know it is true.
As I felt the shift, I realized my conditioned-self is pretty sly. My conditioned-self was in control. I didn’t know there was a blockage and went back into old patterns, including comfort eating. (Sorry Glenn, we ran out of ice cream again.) It’s like that saying, “Old habits die hard.”
How do you know if you are you are moving from your conditioned-self or your authentic-self? I found this nifty little table of characteristics put together by Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC of the Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy and Coaching. In retrospect, I was displaying about 80% of the Conditioned-Self aspects listed below.
Signs you are in your Conditioned-Self
Signs you are in your Authentic Self
Expressing, moving forward
Worrying what other people think
Focusing on what YOU think about you,
and loving yourself