I wanted to address one of the questions I received in response to my Healing Yourself from Chronic Pain Series (Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4): “Once you JournalSpeak™ your problems, or your anger, or your embarrassment, or your fear, or your concern out... is that it? Or do you have to journal it again?” Watch the video, or read on for the answer.
I thought that was a really great question, because a lot of people get caught up in the question of, “when am I done? When is it enough?”
The thing about these little voices inside that need to be heard is, there is no time limit for when you're done and when you're not. You have to realize that if something is still bothering you and still inside you, then it's still important to give it a voice. I have clients who are so sick to death of their own voices, who say to me every week, "Oh my goodness, if I have to hear myself complain about my husband one more time, if I have to hear myself lament about my job one more time." But the problem is, if it's bothering you, it's bothering you.
Part of this whole process is embracing who we are as human beings, flawed and soft inside, and things hurt us. If you don't acknowledge that, and you just say, "Oh, I don't want to think about it. Go away," then that pain needs to come out somewhere. What I've found in my many years of practice and in my own body is, it will come out in our bodies. It could come out as headaches, as back pain, neck shoulder pain, irritable bowel disease, migraines, skin conditions. I see it every day.
You may need to write about it time and time and time again. But don't be frustrated. Because every time you give it a voice, you dip a ladle inside of what Dr. Sarno calls our “reservoir of rage”, and I contend that it's not just rage. It's embarrassment, shame, fear, anger and whatever else is in there. Rage is certainly one of them. You ladle out a portion, a space of energy where light can come in, and a space of healing.
One of my clients was telling me she could not believe it. It's only been a couple months that we've been working together, and she is almost completely symptoms free, after being almost suicidal. I just want to implore you to give yourself the gift of this work.
When I was on the Home and Family Show, one of the things the hosts asked me was, "How is it possible that going to these dark places can get people well?” I like to explain it like this: if you get bad news, or if your phone rings at 3:00 in the morning and you see a number, immediately you feel it. Immediately your stomach is sick. It tenses up. You have a physical reaction to an emotional situation. Having a chronic pain is exactly the same. We have built up rage, things that we don't allow ourselves to feel. We’ve built up fear about the future or whatever's going on for us. All of a sudden, one day, we reach for a plate the wrong way, or even the right way, and our back goes out, and we say, "What is this?"
What I like to tell people is, if you can believe that stress can cause your headache, and if you can believe that getting bad news can immediately make your stomach sick, and if you can believe that being in a panic situation can break your skin out in hives, all things that have been documented millions of times over, then there's reason to believe that the emotional exercise of excavating these dark feelings using JournalSpeak™ can heal you. You don't have to confront anyone or change your life. Giving your mind permission to release the emotion allows your body to release the need for the physical symptom. If you think I'm crazy, all I can say to you is, join us. Give it a try.
The message I want to leave with you today is: this is your life, okay? There's a lot of debate that can go on. There's a lot of back and forth about what could possibly work and what possibly wouldn't work. This is your life. How important is it to you? If you might be able to do something simple like this, in order to heal problems that have owned you for years. Why wouldn't you try it? I invite you to get out the journal. Set your phone to 20 minutes. Turn it over so you don't have to watch the time tick away. And just write. Make a list of the things from your childhood, from your daily life, from your personality that wants to be good and kind, and write it.
If you're looking for more instruction, please pick up my book, “The Meaning of Truth” and give yourself the gift of being curious. Keep writing me your questions, and I will come back with another installment of help with journaling and healing.