Wherever you are today, whatever you may be feeling today, I want to tell you that it is not too late. For anything. However Autoimmune Disease has taken hold in your life, you get the choice about how you want to define your relationship with it. And no matter what decision you have made in the past about your illness, you have each moment presenting itself to you right now to change it and usher in more happiness into your daily life. Dr. Perlmutter (author of Grain Brain) just wrote an amazing article linking science with happiness. It turns out it is better for your health to choose happiness!
Often, I get asked exactly how to change one's mind about illness and foster more happiness. I am going to give you some tips that you can start using right now. The bottom line with changing your mind about your illness, is to change your relationship with your illness. (also applicable to career, relationship, etc) It is much easier to change your relationship with autoimmune disease than it is to change your autoimmune disease. And when I see clients take on a more friendly relationship with their illness, I see leaps and bounds of improvement. If you see your relationship with your MS or Lupus as a cooperative one, more cooperation will be drawn into your life. If you might, take a moment right now and ask yourself what your relationship is with your illness. Do you hate it? Loathe it? Are you scared of it? Do you appreciate it? I wonder what your answer would be.
1. There is no where you need to be besides right here. Say that to yourself a few times. Take a few deep breaths when you do. Did you find yourself relaxing a bit? So much in our world tells us we need to be somewhere else than where we need to be. This is especially true when we start changing our diet or the idea that we need to 'get on the road to healing' or 'create a healing journey for ourselves' or 'find the right path'. What if you already are on the perfect path for you? What if everything that has lead up to this exact moment was perfectly fine, and the force behind getting you to this place in this moment was working from your best interests? When I changed that feeling inside myself, everything felt more do-able. Everything seems less hostile. I feel less overwhelmed. I feel less lost. We are never lost.
2. Consider Loving. Ok, I laughed when I wrote that because I am not a hokey person by nature. I am quite structured and capricorn-like. But, if you want usher in the most healing possible, consider love. And this idea of considering love, starts with you. You, right now, are worthy of love. The love you would give to a little baby, or a grieving friend, would you give that love to yourself? Love is the only vibration in the universe that cannot be manipulated. It is the energy behind forgiveness, prayer, intention, manifestation, abundance. All of those wonderful things are vibrations of love. When you are having a low moment, perhaps with your endocrinologist, or sitting in your kitchen looking at the work ahead of you to prepare an AIP meal at the end of a long day, or waiting for MRI results, consider telling yourself how great you are doing. Consider how much courage you have, and take a deep breath of appreciation for all that you do in a day. That kind of caring for yourself produces cooperation for your situation. Cooperation for your situation draws more cooperation to yourself. It is a loving gesture for yourself.
3. You are never alone. This one may touch a cord or two in some of you. I have felt loneliness of epic proportions at times in my life. Have you ever asked yourself "where is god right now?" "why is this happening?" "why is there suffering in the world?" "why me?" I have asked all of these questions. So many times, I think I would embarrass myself if you knew how many. Yet when we ask those questions, there is a beauty because we are putting a call out to the universe asking for support. And since this is a website about Autoimmune Disease, you may have felt very, very alone in your illness. It could be the doctor who doesn't seem to understand. Or the partner who can't relate to your suffering because you look fine from the outside. I found when I got quiet inside myself in meditation or prayer, and listened to my breath, I made the connection inside myself that I am not alone. The very process of taking a breath in and out is a miracle. And collectively as a society we do this together. Every person on the planet takes a breath. We all share this. So even though others may not understand cognitively that we are in this together, I take comfort knowing that we all breathe together. In and out. Every moment we are alive.
4. Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian technique of reconciliation and forgiveness. This is one of the most transformative techniques I use in my daily life. This, along with the dropping the pebble technique are two things I do many times in a day. It is something you can do silently and as many times as you need to. When I have a professional, personal or existential conflict, this is my go-to technique. Here is how you use this technique. Lets say you have professional colleague that dislikes you. They talk behind your back, spread rumors about you and give you the stink eye every time you pass by them in the office. The how and why this person does not like you doesn't matter. And if you reverse the story and use a person you really don't like for whatever the reason, this works too. Sit quietly and think of this person. Imagine yourself looking at them and say "I am so sorry we had to do it this way. Please forgive me. I love you." There are some people I have been using this technique on in my life for years. Regardless of the issue, what brought you to the issue, what side of the issue you stand on, this technique works. It is a completely non-inflicting process. I have used this for my childhood memories, people I dislike, world events, even on people I have not met. I use this technique as many times as I need. You can't over do this exercise. There have been times I have done Ho'oponopono a hundred times in one day. One reason I love this technique so much is because it gives your brains something to do which will shift your focus. When you forgive yourself, or someone else, you change energy. You create a space that loving can come into. You also in your efforts to heal your life contribute to increasing love on the planet. It spills over into your life. People notice it. When you practice forgiveness, you make room in your life for abundance, love and happiness.
5. Make Abundance List. When I feel down, I write a list of all of the things I am blessed with. I find almost always I have way more abundance than I thought I had. Here is an example of what my list looks like:
Blessings: my pug Milo, great Pandora station I found, flip flops, breakfast sausages, local farms to buy my food from, fabulous 9 year old daughter who is healthy, great relationship with my ex-husband, loving mother in law, affordable health care, wonderful small community of friends, supportive and loving twin sister....
You get the idea. Because here is the deal with making Abundance Lists: it changes energy. Gratitude Is The Antidote For Lack. Gratitude changes cellular responses. It brings wholeness into dynamics. It resolves that which is unresolved.
So these are some techniques I have implemented into my life to increase happiness with great success. I hope you may find some useful. I find more important that diet, supplements or great recipes is changing the relationship I have with my life. That has dramatically increased my happiness level. I have stopped continually looking outside of myself for happiness. Happiness won't come through a relationship, perfect diet, wealth, health or community. I have found in fact that when I change my relationship with myself on the inside, it draws then the great relationship, career, diet and life. But it begins inside, with me loving myself and my flaws and my circumstances to do that. And that is the beauty of Autoimmune disease; it is so clear and such a loud speaker into our lives that it is hard not to pay attention to! So consider trying some of these techniques for a week or two. Let me know what you think. -xo jessica