This is an article about overcoming the fog that inexplicably can descend over our lives.
It’s early December, and we are experiencing the drama of fog in Grants Pass, Oregon like a blanket of darkness and dungeness that hangs on for days. The pervasive grey mist engulfs and suppresses my mood and spirit: easy to understand the power of seasonal affective disorder known as SAD.
Some good news comes from a little relief we had several days ago. The sky actually cleared up in the afternoon, and the Sun felt deliciously warm as it touched my face.
As I draw hope from this comforting vision, I also flash back to the gorgeous sky show that premiered just over a week ago.
I recall the sky mysteriously parted with one half being a clear, pastel blue, and the other remaining slightly dark. A soft, fresh rain drummed in the background. Slowly, the remaining fog morphed into horizontal slivers of ferry mist, kissing our green covered mountains. Such a glorious image was juxtaposed with an enormous rainbow arch, which towered over the whole, living, inspirational picture.
This soothing scene sustained me for a while, but I am confronted with a challenge more dramatic and painful than the weather today.
You see, I invited a relative of an inmate to participate in a family therapy session at the jail medical clinic. The powers that be stated I had caused a security breach. I was in deep shock and felt blindsided by this accusation. To make matters worse, they refused to discuss the situation, pulled my security clearance, and escorted me out of the facility.
I had worked for Corrections via Mental Health under temporary contract with high performance marks. Now my personal fog descended from being treated like an inmate who lost all dignity; and I apparently no longer possessed the right to work out problems in fair, logical, and rational ways.
Naturally I contacted my supervisor through our local Mental Health Clinic. He understood that I was caught within a clash of systems between the safety concerns of Corrections, and the client centered approach of Mental Health. However, when he contacted the jail administrator to offer having a meeting to work out the problems, he was summarily dismissed. Needless to say, my buttons were pushed. I started heading into an emotional tailspin full of anger, worry, fear, sadness, and shame.
Over the last 39 years, I have counseled my clients to use positive mental skills to contain and resolve toxic emotions. Time to apply these skills to my own personal fog:
#1. I took a deep breath, holding the air in for at least three seconds, and slowly exhaled for six.
#2. I recited positive affirmations like: “I refuse to poison myself with negative thoughts,” and “I deserve to have a better life today.”
#3. I also vented my frustrations to my wife, friends, and peers.
#4. Most importantly, I prayed with passion and persistence.
But, I was still furious that I had been humiliated and treated with so much disrespect. My dark secrets pertaining to control, authoritarianism, and emotional abuse had kicked in on overdrive.
I turned to a new healing process called Emotional Freedom Technique promoted by Gary Craig online:
#1. I made my left hand into a karate-chop. I started tapping the pressure point underneath it with my right hand.
#2. I affirmed over and over: “Even though I am having this problem at the jail, I totally love and accept myself.”
#3. I worked the upper body by tapping the top of my head, the inside bridge of the nose, outer corner of the eye, the center ridge beneath the eye, between the nose and upper lip, between the lower lip and chin, down to the collar bone, ending with tapping under the arms.
#4. Lastly, I took a deep breath and felt some marvelous relief.
However, the anger, rage, and other stressful emotions unfortunately came back. This escalated into obsessing about how to confront all my perceived injustices by involving the media or some other form of grandstanding.
Yet, I held my ground despite the internal battle raging between my negative and positive side. I used all mental tools including emotional recovery process, EFT, and prayer. Then I remembered the wonderful rainbow, sunshine, friends, family, hope, faith, and the ocean. Slowly, the fog lifted and retreated into the background.
I still hurt a little, but I choose to walk and breathe in the Light. Today, the Sun is out again in Grants Pass, Oregon. The mountains are green, the air is fresh, and the rainbow within glows with comfort, acceptance, unconditional love, and enduring relief.