The best medicine that is always free is the medicine that your mind can create. It doesn’t cost a thing to change your thoughts. You at any and every point can choose a different thought, one that is not focused on, consumed by, or aligned with the pain you experience in your body. You can choose to think about anything that you desire and I implore you to exercise this right of yours day-in-and-day-out.
The first step is to practice being aware of what you’re thinking about. I like to use the analogy of a basketball to help one grasp the concept of mindfulness. You are sitting in the stands and your thoughts are the basketball bouncing on the court. As you think a thought, the ball bounces. What typically happens within the context of the more than 60,000 thoughts we think on average per day, is that the ball bounces all over that court chaotically, from one thought to the next without any control, rhyme or reason. This is anxiety.
When we’re focused on something, however, the ball bounces in the same spot at different speeds and heights. What pain does is keep that ball bouncing on pain-ridden and driven thoughts. Or maybe the ball bounces again and again in the same spot as we’re thinking about the things that frustrate us, anger us, disappoint us. And the deeper we get into negative thoughts, the harder that ball bounces. But the same type of momentum and intensity is created when we think good feeling thoughts, when we daydream, when we choose to delight in something cool that happened.
What I want you to do is practice separating YOU from the basketball. Remember, you’re sitting in the stands and you are the observer of your thoughts only. Once you realize that there is actually distance between you and your thoughts, that you are not your thoughts, then you have the power to choose where that ball bounces.
The problem and the gift of physical pain is that it holds our attention. It shows us that we have an incredible ability to focus, but because we’re in pain, we focus on the pain, which essentially creates more pain.
You may be in physical pain most of your days, but you can travel to other worlds and create new realities inside your mind. It’s the simplest, yet most beneficial practice we can master in these lifetimes: controlling our minds. We do this first by cultivating mindfulness, then by making the deliberate choice to think about something else…anything else…that feels better than the thought we were previously thinking.
Some of the thoughts I turn to that calm me down from negative momentum are:
All is actually well. There’s nothing serious going on here.
I love you, thank you for what you taught me, and now I send you to the light (this is when I’m upset with something someone has done).
Things are always working out for my highest good.
I am breathing in. I am breathing out.
Alternatively, I will turn my attention to something cool in my immediate surroundings (there is always something amazing around that either nature or humans made and since everything starts as an idea, this reminds me that power of our minds is pretty damn incredible).
I also have 3 big gratitude stories that I keep on deck to turn to because they make me happy, instantly. I know you too, have had moments in your life that have brought you incredible joy or at least brought a smile to your face. Think of those things. All good-feeling thoughts, it doesn’t matter the subject, help us align with well-being.
When we talk about health, we’re talking about an entire spectrum…illness to wellness. Through the course of your lifetime, you’re going to move along this spectrum. And even if many years are spent on the illness end, it doesn’t mean you cannot travel to the other side. While many would not agree, illness has many gifts, lessons, and opportunities for growth.
However, to move through to the other side, you’ll have to ignore what you see to get what you seek. In order to move yourself from the illness end to the wellness end of the health spectrum, you’ll have to keep your mind trained on what it means to embody wellness.
I firmly believe that everything that’s created in the body can be healed in the body. With that said, we have to know how to create the conditions of health we desire with our minds. We have to see and feel wellness in our minds and emotions, now, while in pain, and then wellness will follow. The body is a messenger only. The physical state of our bodies when we are out of balance is determined by what we’ve been thinking and how we have been feeling.
Even with all the pain you’re experiencing, there is infinitely more good happening your life. There is more “right” happening in your body than “wrong.” If you were to make lists, the what’s hurting list will never outweigh the what’s working list. Your heart beats without you having to tell it to. Your limbs move. Your eyelids blink. Your hair grows. Your toes curl. Your brain is the most powerful computer that has and will ever exist.
You may be on the illness end of the spectrum, but your body never forgets how to do what it was designed to do: reach toward its version of wellness, wholeness and homeostasis. Your body is ready. Your mind will need to go through bootcamp to remember how to reach for thoughts that are aligned with wellness, well-being and love.
With all my love,
P.S. Enrollment in Herbal Medicine for the Soul is open. In my program, students have gotten off medications, reversed debilitating symptoms, eliminated chronic pain, resolved traumas, and started their holistic businesses. Send me a DM, so we can schedule a time to chat and see if you're a good fit (alignment is everything).