Positive change - your advances on the personal development or spiritual journey

Tinwen

Active member
We often tell each other on this forum to work on some issue, develop some skills, be happy in the moment or change something. The problem I see, as the receivers of such advice, we often have no idea how to start, or we even believe that the task is simply impossible for ourselves, period.

The idea is to show each other what positive change is possible and how it is done. I hope to create a collection of inspiring stories of improvement, and gather some useful tools in one place. The idea is also to lighten up as we focus on the development we've already been successful in.

So, I would like to ask all of you to take a very broad look at your life journey, and share the best of your advancements with others. This could include
  • Positive lessons you have learned, the biggest milestones on your life/spiritual/development journey, eye opening moments and concepts which have influenced you greatly
  • The means you have used to grow, and your favorite resources
All improvements to your happiness are welcome, spiritual or not, connected to polyamory or not. It could be written chronologically or not. It could be anything from 'it was such a relief to just stop picking up socks after my husband' to 'I had a profound insight at a meditation retreat, which caused me to totally rearrange my life'.

I would like this thread stay concise, pleasant to read and learn form. Also, the beliefs which have helped us most tend to be held very personal and dear. So I ask everyone to stay away of criticism. If something has helped, there is nothing to disagree with. We do not want to debate endlessly or divide into opposing camps.

I do encourage clarifying questions though, for there is a lot of understanding to be gained. Also, if a thought has really inspired you, it is always a good idea to say thank you, here of via PM. Thank you for participating :)
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
To be candid, I have to confess that finding the right medication helped me be a better person. Possibly the guilt I felt helped me to do better as well ... :eek:
 

A2Poly

New member
To be candid, I have to confess that finding the right medication helped me be a better person.

Me too. Better living through chemistry. It gave my brain the neurotransmitters it needed (that other people produce naturally) to be able to think and feel more clearly, more like myself than I have in years.

A good psychologist to call me on my sh-t is pretty helpful too, though I am now down to what we call my "monthly check up". More or less just reporting anything I feel strongly about good or bad, and unpacking it. Learning WHY things make me feel the way I feel about them has been revolutionary. Past trauma or past success bleeding into current behaviour is not always good, or bad, as long as you understand that you aren't just reacting to today's events, but also to your own history too.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I started to write, and then it got really long and personal, so short version :) Please let me know, if you would like me to expand on anything.

(More or less chronologically: )
  • In therapy, I learned to feel and express emotions.
  • Through yoga, I learned relaxation and got a taste of feeling calm.
  • Through relationships, I learned to make my own choices.
  • Through love and kink, I got to know and accept more of myself, which was huge.
  • Getting a little glimpse of spirituality helped me with feeling secure and connected, and showed me that it is possible to open up to seemingly contradictory things, which gave me more understanding of people and the world.
  • Kink, polyamory, and tantra helped me with boundaries, which gave me more confidence. Together with spirituality they also expanded emotional bandwidth and sensitivity.
  • Committing to personal development and starting to make choices about it's direction helps me feel more in control.
  • Tantra showed me, that substantial changes in awareness and attitude are possible really fast
  • Starting meditation showed me that the mind can be relaxed as well and helps my anxiety somewhat. I see great potential there.

Basically, I've started in a place of depression and hopelessness about the future, that held me for years. Today I am not depressed most of the time, although still stuggling with anxiety a lot. I am very hopeful about my life, sometimes even excited. Well worth work.

This is my favorite online resource for the past months, that I would really like to recommend: http://actualized.org/
This guy is using a very rational approach, while knowing it's limitation. He's got a variety of videos ranging from business to emotional openness, to enlightment. He's the one who convinced me to pick up meditation. If he suits you, pick your topic :)
 
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FallenAngelina

Active member
The change of perspective that has had the most positive influence on me is that I am no longer interested in judgement or upset with others, but instead see great value in understanding how we all fit together. There's an epic tome inside each of us, worthy of respect and witnessing, and life is so much more joyful and much less stressful when I'm oriented on understanding the depth of another person rather than on correcting so-called problems or deeming behavior right or wrong. It's self-serving, really, not altruistic in the least. Right down to my children and my lovers, my guiding principle is to assume that every person is doing the best he can, learning from experience along the way as we all do, as I remain focused on what I appreciate. Which isn't to say that I never feel negative emotion. Everyone does. But even a negative experience has much to offer when I look for my part in it, not to find blame or guilt but to understand how the interactions and people in my life are custom made for my own edification. Life happens for us, not to us.

What led me to this is what leads us all to seek improvement: unbearable pain. Having children was not the blissful, fulfilling experience I expected. From day one, my kids brought out every shadowed and not-so-shadowed fear and anxiety I'd ever had and magnified them until they took over. My life looked perfectly lovely and in many ways, it was, but inside I was terrified and feeling very separate from the many people who seemed to have life down pat. It doesn't really matter what my anxieties were about, I just didn't want to live with them anymore and I was determined to find a way.

Thankfully, one of my kids has autism and in his second year, he began showing me another way to live. All around me, other parents and "professionals" were responding to autism with great effort at correcting, ameliorating and even curing this neurological condition, but I kept looking at my kid thinking, "He's the happy one. People that fuss over him and struggle to make him different are having the difficulty, not him. When he is home and doing what he loves to do, he's completely at peace." So I decided to learn from him instead of correct him. He did naturally what so many of us struggle to do all our lives and that is he doesn't ever worry what other people think of him. He doesn't ever worry about not having enough. He doesn't ever worry that he will be mistreated. And you know what? That kid brings out love in everyone. In the best sense, he makes himself at home wherever he goes, having no regard for judgement from others, and people looooove him. It;s really quite amazing. Now, I'm not suggesting that all autism is great - there are many who struggle greatly with this. I'm saying that for me, in my situation, I chose early on to learn from my kid and appreciate his gifts because living in anguish was just not an option for me. I chose to follow him and along the way, gather up others who would enhance his attributes rather than be oriented on his problems or normalizing or curing him. I learn from him that every situation can be horrible, it can be frustrating, it can be peaceful or it can be amazing. Everything depends on how you think about it and if you can think about it, you can change it and if you can change it, you can be happy. It's never a matter of being stuck with something and it's never, ever, ever about the other guy.
 
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Tinwen

Active member

kdt26417

Official Greeter
I don't know. Maybe I turned it into willpower?
 

Nadya

Member
When I take a look back, there has been a constant change towards the positive in my life the last two decades. There is one moment I can remember, when I made a commitment to my personal well-being and started a concious spiritual journey. This happened after reading a book that made a huge impact in my thinking. I won't post the name of the book here since it is not available in English.

The first decade of the journey lead me out of the fundamentalist Christian cult I had been born into. The second decade of my journey has been practising polyamory, first as a possibility, then as a reality. It has lead me to having a very fulfillig life and the kind of lifestyle that reflects my personal values.

There have been many important moments on my journey, but they frankly are too many to even start writing about them. A process of constant growth.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Hi Nadya, thanks for writing. It all sounds like really nice progress.
There is one moment I can remember, when I made a commitment to my personal well-being and started a concious spiritual journey. This happened after reading a book that made a huge impact in my thinking. I won't post the name of the book here since it is not available in English.
What language is the book? Maybe it's one some of us understand, so it wouldn't be off to post the name.
 

Bluebird

Active member
I will write more maybe, when I have time to think more on this. One simple thing I started a few years ago though, that has definitely changed my life for the better, was writing in a happiness journal.

One page for each day of the year. I write one sentence at bedtime - one happiness - even if it was a truly terrible day. The best part is that unlike a regular journal, I can visually see what I wrote a year ago, two years ago, 3, that made me happy on that exact day. It's an immediate smile, every time.

Here's photo to give a better idea:



I had to page back a bit to find one that didn't have people's names mentioned in an entry! :)
 

Spork

New member
Happiness journal!! What a fantastic idea!!

I think one of the biggest things that has opened up new and wonderful personal growth and spiritual harmony for me, has been getting into BDSM stuff and the community around it.

I mean sure, I am having these amazing mind altering experiences. And have learned a lot about what great sex is actually like (I really did not know, before.) But it's so much more than that. I've immersed myself in a whole different culture.

People who genuinely want to see one another succeed and be happy, who will be supportive of each other in hardship and celebrate one another's triumphs. Acceptance and consent and respect. Wonderful ideas about self awareness and personal growth. New friendships and community.

The discussion groups alone, have been amazing and contributed hugely to my understanding of self and ability to find happy, healthy ways to be.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I've started to reverse my aversion towards physical activity.

I'm right now trying out the Wim Hof method. It's essentially a breathing exercise + cold shower, + any workout you feel like adding. I've been at it for three weeks and I really feel it's a transformative technique. I'm feeling more energized throughout my day. I can sometimes reach ecstatic states with the breathing (and it's pretty fast). (I have to be a bit careful not to overdo it, otherwise I mess with my energy body too much :rolleyes:)
But more importantly, it's the first time ever I can be consistent with daily exercise, even though it hasn't been long yet. It's a good strategy to start with just breathing. I don't have a strong willpower. But I can always take a few deep breaths - and then I've started already.
I hope I can keep at it and get more healthy over time. I wanna strengthen my body, my immune system and perhaps even keep my asthma in check.

Wim Hof is an inspiring man who holds several world records - staying immersed in ice cold water for two hours and similar things. He's training people to gain more control over their body. He sells a course but good-enough basic descriptions of his breathing exercise and the whole method can be found on the internet. Check him out :)

But what I really wanna say is, even if you feel like something is unchangeable for you - and I've felt this way about my utter and complete resistance to exercise for years - there's probably some little step out there that you're willing to do (or will become willing to do at some point) that will make the whole process easier. For me, it's deep breathing.
 

Kajibabu

New member
Just wonderful

I will write more maybe, when I have time to think more on this. One simple thing I started a few years ago though, that has definitely changed my life for the better, was writing in a happiness journal.

One page for each day of the year. I write one sentence at bedtime - one happiness - even if it was a truly terrible day. The best part is that unlike a regular journal, I can visually see what I wrote a year ago, two years ago, 3, that made me happy on that exact day. It's an immediate smile, every time.

Here's photo to give a better idea:



I had to page back a bit to find one that didn't have people's names mentioned in an entry! :)

Just loving your way of polyamory....
 

Kajibabu

New member
What kind of Tantra

I started to write, and then it got really long and personal, so short version :) Please let me know, if you would like me to expand on anything.

(More or less chronologically: )
  • In therapy, I learned to feel and express emotions.
  • Through yoga, I learned relaxation and got a taste of feeling calm.
  • Through relationships, I learned to make my own choices.
  • Through love and kink, I got to know and accept more of myself, which was huge.
  • Getting a little glimpse of spirituality helped me with feeling secure and connected, and showed me that it is possible to open up to seemingly contradictory things, which gave me more understanding of people and the world.
  • Kink, polyamory, and tantra helped me with boundaries, which gave me more confidence. Together with spirituality they also expanded emotional bandwidth and sensitivity.
  • Committing to personal development and starting to make choices about it's direction helps me feel more in control.
  • Tantra showed me, that substantial changes in awareness and attitude are possible really fast
  • Starting meditation showed me that the mind can be relaxed as well and helps my anxiety somewhat. I see great potential there.

Basically, I've started in a place of depression and hopelessness about the future, that held me for years. Today I am not depressed most of the time, although still stuggling with anxiety a lot. I am very hopeful about my life, sometimes even excited. Well worth work.

This is my favorite online resource for the past months, that I would really like to recommend: http://actualized.org/
This guy is using a very rational approach, while knowing it's limitation. He's got a variety of videos ranging from business to emotional openness, to enlightment. He's the one who convinced me to pick up meditation. If he suits you, pick your topic :)

You mentioned practicing Tantra... would you please elaborate on it what kind of Tantra you are practicing?
 

Tinwen

Active member
You mentioned practicing Tantra... would you please elaborate on it what kind of Tantra you are practicing?
Nothing serious, I've really just touched the basics. I took a course of ~15 evenings. I don't think the teacher subscribed to any particular school. The evening usually had some free dance and communication exercises to get into the flow, some meditation/breathing exercise/energy work, and some conscious touch an/or ritual. Nudity was added along the way. I managed to get rid of unnecessary shame and learned to watch my boundaries better through the interaction with others, and I learned a bit about how attraction works for me. I also was really surprised to see how this kind of a fun work helped with my anxiety throughout the week.

What really did make a difference and stayed with me after the course were the breathing/ energy work exercises which we slowly built up during the course. We started with breathing into the chakras :)o I still don't believe in that model in it's entirety but apparently the exercise was doing something :eek:) and proceded to 'transport the sexual energy through the body'. It's simple but profound: You breathe in deeply through your mouth and visualize your breath and energy travelling from your pelvic floor (which you pull in just a little bit) up your spine through the chakras all the way above your head, then exhale and visualize the energy sink back while you let loose. Do it for 10 minutes, then relax, and it's definitely gonna get you energized or change your emotional state at least. A bit surprisingly it does bring up emotions throughout your day and you'll have to integrate stuff. To ample up the effect, you can do it while masturbating without orgasm, or with a partner.
Apparently, this exercise is quite powerful when done regularly, a woman can even learn to stop the menstruation cycle through it - which is like wtf - I'm looking forward to trying if the teacher has a follow-up course on that.

That's really all the tantra I did, but I got more of an emotional bandwidth through it, more of a shift towards positive than years of talking therapy have achieved. That's why I'm so amazed. I'm sure there are other ways to achieve the same effects though, but for me connecting sexuality and personal development (&bringing some spiritual aspects in) was really profound.
 
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Kajibabu

New member
Nothing serious, I've really just touched the basics. I took a course of ~15 evenings. I don't think the teacher subscribed to any particular school. The evening usually had some free dance and communication exercises to get into the flow, some meditation/breathing exercise/energy work, and some conscious touch an/or ritual. Nudity was added along the way. I managed to get rid of unnecessary shame and learned to watch my boundaries better through the interaction with others, and I learned a bit about how attraction works for me. I also was really surprised to see how this kind of a fun work helped with my anxiety throughout the week.

What really did make a difference and stayed with me after the course were the breathing/ energy work exercises which we slowly built up during the course. We started with breathing into the chakras :)o I still don't believe in that model in it's entirety but apparently the exercise was doing something :eek:) and proceded to 'transport the sexual energy through the body'. It's simple but profound: You breathe in deeply through your mouth and visualize your breath and energy travelling from your pelvic floor (which you pull in just a little bit) up your spine through the chakras all the way above your head, then exhale and visualize the energy sink back while you let loose. Do it for 10 minutes, then relax, and it's definitely gonna get you energized or change your emotional state at least. A bit surprisingly it does bring up emotions throughout your day and you'll have to integrate stuff. To ample up the effect, you can do it while masturbating without orgasm, or with a partner.
Apparently, this exercise is quite powerful when done regularly, a woman can even learn to stop the menstruation cycle through it - which is like wtf - I'm looking forward to trying if the teacher has a follow-up course on that.

That's really all the tantra I did, but I got more of an emotional bandwidth through it, more of a shift towards positive than years of talking therapy have achieved. That's why I'm so amazed. I'm sure there are other ways to achieve the same effects though, but for me connecting sexuality and personal development (&bringing some spiritual aspects in) was really profound.


Thank you very much, Dear TinWen for elaboration. I got your point and love this way of flow which helped you approach your basic nature. Yes, there are different kinds of schools of Tantra. I don't know what kind of was that, but I loved reading "Tantric Quest - An Encounter with Absolute Love" by Daniel Odier. This is a mixing of Tibetan Buddhist Tantra and Hindu Shaiva Path, but mostly focusing on Left Hand Path with great adventure.
 

Tinwen

Active member
I did an amazing thing yesterday. I started a personal development peer group. I invited a bunch of friends to connect over these topics, we shared discussion and food and meditation ;) I also led a breathing exercise. That was rather hard, I was nervous.

It's a huge personal step for me, because I've never been the organizer of any community event, let alone any sort of leader. I was also moved when some of my friends shared how I had already affected their lives in the last year by sharing suitable material with them.
We're going to keep it up, likely every two weeks. So we can support each other discovering spirituality for themselves, and maybe we can go deeper together. It feels profound.
 
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