My Personal Transformation Through The 5 Chairs Method
While reading through Louise Evans’s book, “5 Chairs, 5 Choices”, and going through my transformation process, I came across a quote that really struck me. It was by Viktor Frankl from his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ where he wrote, “Everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.”
I wish I had read that book many years ago. Maybe I could have had more control over my own thoughts, behaviors, and reactions to many of life’s circumstances. Maybe I was meant to completely “lose my mind.” That quote takes me back to a time when I had no home, no job and no money. I felt as though my freedom and independence was taken from me. Every last ounce of it. I had changed countries and I was out of sorts, to put it mildly. I had no idea what to do with myself. I felt out of control. As if I literally had no control over anything in my life and I was just relying on others to make my decisions. I didn’t trust myself and my decision-making ability. I was fully immersed in The Hedgehog Chair, doubting my every thought. It felt horrible and it took a long time to regain confidence.
How did I regain my confidence? Well, it started with work. Bit by bit things would trickle in or I would find temporary jobs here and there. Then my mother and I started a business together. And from there, I have been able to grow and develop. Go on vacation. Buy clothes. Relax (something I am still learning). And generally enjoy the small yet beautiful things in life.
I married a good man who gave me a house. Food in my belly. Love. And a beautiful little kitty cat who we call Raffy. I have gained much after losing everything and for that I have much gratitude. Learning to be grateful for what I have, helped tame the defensive and attacking Jackal that would reside within me too often. Slowly but surely I have gotten in touch with my inner Meerkat. I have learned how to wait and think before acting and speaking. All without perfection, of course. Nobody is perfect and nobody needs to be. There is always more to learn.
The more financially independent I became, the more confident I started to feel and from there I began to see how I have always had the ability to make my own decisions. I learned that no matter how much money I don’t have, I am still capable of deciding yes or no and why. I don’t need the approval of another. However, I do need the support of those closest to me. That was the first time in my life I started asking myself – what are my needs? I had moved into The Detect Chair and started connecting with my inner Dolphin.
Then I started asking myself – what are my values? What do I believe in? I value kindness and compassion. I value my relationships with those closest to me. I value close, supportive and positive friendships with other women. I believe in human equality, gender equality and animal equality. And most importantly, I value my self-respect and am not willing to compromise that for anything. I moved into The Connect Chair and found my inner Giraffe. By understanding myself better, I was able to be open to understanding and connecting with others who were different from me. And from there, I’ve been working hard on keeping healthy relationships and inviting new people into my life.
My story is just one example of transitioning through the five chairs based off of a time in my life when I felt like the biggest failure. I was grieving the loss of a life I had always known and the independent person in me I once knew. I was unaware of how to handle my emotions. Now I practice checking in with myself regularly and slowly but surely I am regaining a new life that was better than before.
An Ayurvedic healer once told me, “rebuilding your life is like building a house. You must first start with the foundation.”