Keys to Healing

Sandra Keros

Doctors hardly address one of the most important aspects of healing: Attitude. 

During my days of fibromyalgia, when getting rid of the pain was truly beyond my best efforts to find the right doctor, let alone get a diagnosis for my pain, I felt like there was little I could do. Only until I was on the brink of giving up - seeing how often doctors had failed and I couldn't make my body heal - was I able to pause and reconsider my approach. 

It's not a new concept that change - whether physical or circumstantial - starts in your mind. If we want something better and different, how open are we to changing our routine thoughts and ideas of what should be? And where do we begin? We have to start somewhere, and although many things could be added to this list, here's a place to start:

1) Wake up in the morning and be thankful for the simple things. The sun shining outside. The quiet or the bustle of activity. Your breath, your eyesight, your sense of touch, your ability to smile reminiscing about fun times with old friends who love you without your having to be anybody else. Make a list of ten things that come to mind when you first wake up every morning for a week and you'll start seeing a shift after the first day or so. 

2) Look for things that are going right. Once more, keep it simple. You are alive and breathing; you can see, smell, touch and hear - basic go-tos when things get really bad. For a little more feel-good, recall someone remembering something touching that you told him or her when you thought they weren't listening. Or when someone lets you into their lane or opens the door for you serendipitously. Although sometimes it feels like things can hardly get worse, it can be very helpful to remember the many things that are going right to diffuse momentary grief and shift your focus.

3) When you're having a bad day, just have it out. Emotions are our barometer for how off center we are from who we are, what we value, what we want, what we think we deserve. Not everyone is nice, and we don't always feel our best. Let heavy emotions have their way for a while in a way that informs you of what's going on internally and then sit back and observe. Like trying to stifle a child's cry when he's fallen down, let out the difficult and uncomfortable so you can clear the air; when the storm is over, see what really is the issue that has you upset. 

4) Talk to people who "have your back" and are positive. Sometimes people who know us well can lend an ear at difficult moments and give us the reassurance we need to get through a bad moment. We are not alone and we need to be heard and valued; good friends can do this for us, as we can do for them. It's feeling like our pain is separate from others' that compounds our despair. So connect with someone who cares and it can make you feel like you're not so alone.

5) Speak up for yourself and don't let anyone belittle your emotions, goals or dreams. What could cause more distress than being around someone who doesn't let you be yourself, let you want what you really want, or see your side as valid? This kind of stress wears us down and ultimately affects every cellular interaction in our bodies. (See Candace Pert's book, Molecules of Emotion) Negative/downer people can tempt us to change who we are when we are around them just to "please" them when really we're not being ourselves with the implication that we're not enough. Dismiss the diss; be yourself or "dis-ease" will perpetuate. 

5) No one is going to help you as much as you are able to help yourself. Why is this so? Some people have been sick for so long that they've become accustomed to being treated for their condition as a way of wanting special consideration from others, while others disdain this kind of attention. Only you feel the pain the way you do and know how much it costs you in your life, your relationships, your career. Maybe you were like me for a very long time and you don't know the answers. Once hitting a wall, I stopped thinking I could solve all my problems using logic and kept asking questions and talking to people. Eventually, I found my answers and you can too. With your skin in the game and ego checked at the door, you can find the answers you need.

6) Help that's beyond you is above you. This is a good thing. When I felt like my arms were too tired to swim against the harsh current of reality, I finally let go of trying to figure things out and asked myself what I hadn't tried. Answer: praying to God. It seemed abstract and I had resistance because of my über religious mom, but it was the only unchartered course. The consequence: humility and receptivity. I said a simple prayer asking for help, even accepting that the pain might be something I'd always have to live with, but that it was beyond me and I was willing to follow the Universe's lead. Result: my attitude shifted. I kept talking to people and listened. Within months, I was finally lead to the right doctor who lead me on a program that lifted a fog in my life and lead me to a life-changing body/mind healing.

The above are things that take time and usually don't result from will, just experience of appreciating what good is around us and dropping walls of resistance. Having hope, being yourself, staying connected with people, and looking for answers outside your comfort zone may just help you make the shift that leads to healing.

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