Our mindset is a crucial component of healing chronic pain. It is our superpower. Our best thinking got us to where we are in our suffering. It is time to take stock and consider changing the strategy we have been using up until now. Our openness to questioning our way of doing things and the willingness to try something new are keys to a healthy mindset.
Determination and Commitment
Our healing begins with us. We can turn to health care professionals, but our healing begins with our commitment. We become determined to rise out of pain. I asked myself when I was suffering from chronic pain and I ask my clients now: What is your commitment to your healing? Are you done with the suffering? Would you go to any lengths to heal?
Where does the power to heal live?
There’s nothing wrong with your body. Your body is responding to the world it is living in. All we have to do is change the stimulus we are giving it. The first step in this is realizing where the power to your healing resides. This is the first step to unleash your healing power.
It is critical that we own our healing power. The body wants to heal. It has amazing powers to heal. It has an infinite pharmacy within to manufacture the compounds it needs to heal. First, we must be committed to our healing and learn to look to the wisdom within us. We are used to ceding our health to the external world, to doctors and other practitioners in the medical world. I was raised to do this. Our whole culture has the same mentality. When we get sick, we say, “It’s up to ‘them’ to heal me.” Let’s get the power structure straight. Doctors can set a bone, but they cannot tell the body how to heal. Only the body knows how to heal. The power to heal lives within you.
Who is responsible for your healing?
The rule I use for what the healing power structure looks like is that we take 80% of the responsibility for our healing to ourselves, and give the other 20% to the health care community. The scientific community has great insight into our health and can help us in many ways, but it does not hold the healing power itself. It has limitations. The limitation in science, the foundation of medical knowledge in the Western world, is the framework in which science operates. The design of scientific inquiry and its requirement for measurables restricts the questions it can answer.
Science works in probabilities, not in black or white ‘facts’, as we often believe. Things are not as certain as we might think they are. It is in the uncertainty that the power to shift our lives resides. Here’s what I mean:
We are made up of atoms. Atoms are in a constant state of motion, and depending on the speed of these atoms, things appear as a solid, liquid, or gas. It gets even more magnificent. As we look at the path of an electron around the nucleus of an atom, physicists have determined that most of the time, about 95% of the time, this path is predictable. This gives us an observable electron cloud that is a ‘reality’ we can count on – most of the time. There is, however, that other 5% when the electron deviates from the predictable path and streams out into empty space without us being able to track it.
Science and the medical world can predict what might happen 95% of the time, at best. Hope lives in the other 5%.
In addition, since science operated within a strict framework of measurables, it is limited. We live both in the scientific world and the rest of the universe. We live in the All That Is. Our healing lives both in the world of science and outside of it. So it is with your healing.
Your world is only ‘your world’ 95% of the time. Without any effort on your part to allow for change, new possibilities arise. This is the realm we might be tempted to call ‘magic’. This is the realm where shifts and changes in your healing can happen spontaneously. It is in that 5% place where the unpredictable occurs that the field of possibility lies.
As chronic pain sufferers, used to the conditions we have endured, we must unlearn what we have learned, locked into our old ways of living, and open ourselves to new possibilities.
We often come to a point of surrender when suffering from chronic pain and disease. We have had enough. We will do whatever it takes. As chronic pain sufferers, we tend to want to be anywhere but ‘here’ with the pain. We are not comfortable with how we feel. We judge how we feel as ‘bad’ and we fear it. We will look everywhere but inside ourselves. To heal, we must return to our inner world, to the Infinite wisdom that lives within us. We become curious about what may be revealed to us as we listen. We must be willing to be present to ourselves, no matter what is happening. We become willing to open our inner ears and listen to the words of the soul, where the wisdom to our healing lies. We must be willing to believe more in the power of healing than the power of illness.
Our willingness is the beginning of our commitment to heal. It is a powerful start. We become willing to say ‘yes’ to what is happening, rather than trying to avoid it, numb it, or make it go away.
This place of ‘saying yes’ to our experience was a pivotal one for me. I spent years trying to change my circumstances. To fix it. This strategy only kept me going in the same direction of pain and more pain.
Physics reveals to us that an object will remain at rest or in its motion until acted on by a force to change its motion. To heal chronic pain, we must act in a contrary way to that which we have been acting. Instead of turning away from our pain, the contrary action is to turn into it. Instead of trying to get away from our bodies, the contrary action for us is to turn into and go deeply into our bodies. We become inner explorers. We realize when we turn into ourselves, that the great undiscovered country is with us. We discover the healing power we have held all along, but eluded us.
Once we have developed the ability to say ‘yes’ to our experience, we can then take the next step into becoming curious observers of ourselves. We begin to ask: what are the beliefs I have about my pain?
For example, do I believe “something is wrong” with me? Do I believe “I am broken”? Do I say to myself, “I don’t know if I will ever get better”? Perhaps we say to ourselves, “I will always be like this, so I will find a way around this somehow.”
What do you believe about the possibilities for change? What assumptions are you making about your condition? Are they true? Are you willing to change your approach?
When we can shift our beliefs about our limitations, we open ourselves to a whole new realm of possibility for our healing.
Get curious about expanding beyond your limitations. Ask yourself, “Who will I be without my pain?” Perhaps you have been in pain so long, you do not know who you would be without pain. It’s okay not to know. Get curious about your not knowing.
Spend time being, rather than doing.
Chronic pain causes changes in the brain, and as such is considered a disease of the brain. The brain is chaotic and we are confused. To heal the brain, we must quiet the mind. The state of being, experienced through the practice of mindfulness, calms the mind and so allows the brain to heal.
We spend so much time doing this and that, solving problems, and doing all sorts of mental gymnastics. The brain of a chronic pain sufferer is turbulent. There is much ‘noise’ in the system. A key piece of healing is to quiet the mind by being rather than doing. When the mind can rest, it can heal. We rest the mind when we are in the mindful place of being. This is accomplished through mindfulness exercises.
Here are the basic action steps to a healthy mindset:
1) We decide we have had enough.
2) We become determined and willing to change and to try new things.
3) We commit to our healing.
4) We say ‘yes’ to our experience.
5) We turn within and open our inner eyes and inner ears to Infinite healer inside us.
6) Become curious.
7) Be willing to drop out of your habit of thinking all the time and spend more time being.
Mindset is at least half of healing. We feed, water, exercise, and rest the body, but we must also keep a healthy mindset if we are to heal and stay healthy.
For more reading on healing chronic pain, visit https://Elizabeth-Kipp.com/category/elizabeths-blog
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