I wrote this the other day in order to get my thoughts in one place about the scientific slant on a very confusing phenomenon of the human body. I have done this work alongside people from all walks of life for many years, and in every person, every time... this is the way it works. Take a moment to reflect on your own life as you read this. It could be the moment you make a decision to do the work, and change your life.
If the purpose of pain is to deter me from thinking my unthinkable things, then simply allowing myself to think of the unthinkable things disables this natural protective mechanism. In the process however, something happens which is very natural. I begin to think that thinking these things will hurt me "worse." It is part of the science. The brain wants me to stop thinking about them in order shield me from their deathly qualities, in its estimation. The problem is that if I stop there and cease to think about the things, then my brain’s last vestige of this protective mechanism wins, and the feelings are repressed once again. Then pain and more pain.
But, if I show up every day, like a warrior, and think of them again, and write of them again, and sit with them again, I am training this primitive brain. I am evolving right there in my own time and space. I am showing it, intrepidly, over and over again, that I don't need this pain in order to protect me from my feelings. I can sit with my emotions, and I am brave, and I can feel what I need to feel as many times as I need to feel it for my brain to be convinced that I need no more protection against it.
The thoughts that lead me away from my JournalSpeak can feel so logical. The brain is cunning and powerful. It uses my voice. These are “my” thoughts. They say, You should be embarrassed you’re still thinking these things. They say, You will launch yourself right into negativity and symptoms if you think this way. These messages sound right to me, because my brain loves me and values my survival, and is nurturing me into a “safe” space, which is the space of obsessing about my symptoms, and my failure at getting rid of them, and perhaps another doctor visit to make sure I'm okay. My brain loves me, and is doing it’s very first important job the best way it knows how: It is keeping me alive. Or so it thinks.
My brain needs a renovation. It is operating with primitive tools. It doesn't realize that I can feel these things 100 times, and I am strong, and I can do it. It is my responsibility to teach it this, because my brain is in control of my body and the way it feels. If you cut off my head, I will feel nothing even if there is a bulging disk in my back. My brain is completely and utterly the ruler of my feelings and sensations.
Yet, I have control of something much more compelling. I have control of my mind. My mind is infinite and as powerful as anything in the universe. And my mind says that my brain loves me, but it needs training and if I value feeling good and at peace, it is my job to retrain my brain to react properly to the proper stimuli.
For example, if there is a predator chasing me, then my brain is right on. The stimuli of being chased and having my life in literal danger is the correct one for my brain to respond to. Go brain! Nice work. Thank you for making me run a little faster, and think a little quicker, and respond with acute accuracy. Thank you because now I am alive, and perhaps without your quick thinking I would be dead.
There are places, however, where you need a little updating. I don't need you to react in that fight or flight fashion because of my feelings. You don't need to protect me because I am scared about my decisions being judged by others, or my personal relationships not being what I’d hoped for, or my children’s uncertain happiness, or the way my parents treated me as a child and the patterns I’ve developed as a result. It is my job to show you the difference. The way I can do that is by telling you, over and over, what I really feel. Then, little by little, you will realize that you need not run with agility away from these thoughts, or freeze in the high grass so they might not notice me, or fight with the power of 100 men. My JournalSpeak is the vehicle which will carry me to true safety.
You, my dear brain, will realize by and by, that I am thinking these thoughts and having these feelings yet I am not in danger. They are just thoughts and feelings. I am still here. Nothing has swallowed me whole because I regret my decisions, or I haven't spoken up for myself, or I lied about something, or I’ve gotten myself in over my head. It might not feel good, but it’s not going to injure me, so you can stop protecting me by giving me something “real” to focus on.
You know what, big guy? I’m ok. Yet, I know just telling you that isn't enough. I need to tell you every day, again and again, by sharing with you my dirty, ugly, unpleasant, shameful, embarrassing, terrifying, enraging thoughts. And thereby proving to you by feeling them and knowing them, that I won’t die. You will learn eventually, and stop sending signals to my body that I need pain to distract me.
I need to keep telling you, with faith that everything which I say will eventually lose its charge. By speaking my truth over and over enough, it will not hold the power it once held. I must have faith in this, but I must have equal acceptance that when one thing loses it’s charge, another seemingly new one will take its place with a similar charge. And then I will think, speak and write about that one. I need only communicate to myself, but I must communicate. I cannot stand quietly by, because if I do, my primitive brain will take the baton and protect me however it sees fit. And that is no longer acceptable to me. I choose to feel, rather than to live in pain. As I take on this way of life, things will cease to frighten me, because I’ll know that life is just like that. Every day there may be something unpleasant I must think and feel, but it will not kill me.
My life will be my own. My pain will flow through me as it must, but it will not own me. I will live a life of truth and choice. I will evolve to the greatest version of myself, and I will be free.