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Dr. Hanscom's Blog The Enlightenment Light and Judgment Mirror

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member


    55 years of pain

    I had a patient come into my office recently who represents one of the most remarkable turnarounds I have witnessed and she definitely has the record of being in pain for the longest time before she pulled out of it. She had been in pain for over 55 years when I met her about a year ago. Her pain was located over her thoracic and lumbar spine and she had spent a lifetime trying to solve it.

    I reviewed her imaging studies carefully and her spine had an expected degree of degeneration for her age. There was no identifiable reason for her unrelenting neck and back pain. Remember that disc degeneration is not considered a source of pain. It simply means that your spine has lost water content and is stiffer.

    I was not optimistic that she would do well in that she had been in pain for so long and did not seem open to engaging in a structured self-directed approach. Much to my surprise she worked with one of my colleagues and began to improve. I saw her on my schedule a few months ago and was curious why she was back. From a surgical perspective I had nothing to offer her. She was returning to thank me because she had gone to pain free. She was beside herself to the point of being euphoric. I have to admit that I did not blame her, as 55 years is a long time to suffer from chronic pain. I spent most of the visit calming her down.

    Learn to fail

    My first advice to anyone who experiences this sudden shift is to prepare to go back to being in pain. The pathways are permanent and will be triggered. Coming out of the pain pathways becomes a learned skill and you will figure out how to go into them less frequently and come out more quickly. Indeed, as I have followed her she has had significant recurrence of her symptoms several times – but she knows how to resolve them.

    A year later she has remained essentially pain free and has stabilized with fewer highs and lows. She remains very excited about her new life.

    The enlightenment light and judgment mirror


    Last week she showed me two objects she carries around her neck. One is a small light and the other a mirror. Whenever she finds herself being judgmental she holds the mirror up in front of her. If she has a moment of insight she turns on the light. Both are great visual reminders of significant aspects of her journey.

    Variations of her story are common. Hers is unusual because of the duration of her pain and the intensity of her healing. As pain pathways are permanent after 3 to 6 months the length of time you are in pain actually does not matter. It is also the reason you cannot solve or fix them. However you can shift off of them anytime with the correct approach.

    I see her back regularly because I enjoy talking to her. She exudes optimism and hope and can hardly contain herself. It is inspiring to be in the presence of that level of positive energy. She is one of many reasons why I find treating chronic pain so rewarding.


    MWsunin12 likes this.
  2. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I was searching for something to read about enlightenment and TMS recovery this morning and this may be the closest.
    I don't pray a whole lot, I don't pray for things... but I do pray for a process of recovery for myself so that I may be of service to others.
    This morning I awakened to one of the scariest headaches of my life. For a few minutes, I thought it might be a stroke. I got up, made coffee, all the while telling my pain that I was willing to feel whatever was arising even though it felt, well, sort of terrifying to feeling whatever was big enough to create THIS much pain.
    I made myself go to yoga, all the while still in pain. As the pain subsided, I was left with a deep feeling of dread and self-loathing, sort of like a three year old having a temper tantrum of I HATE MY LIFE. The thing is: I don't hate my life. I love my life. I have spent over three decades creating an adulthood that I respect and love living. (except when the symptoms of pain or my darker shadow nature arise).
    I had to settle into the breathing and moving, all the while telling myself that I could feel the feelings but I had to drop the drama, drop the storyline and just be with the pure hatred and try to touch it with my compassionate heart. Not my compassionate mind or brain but with my heart.
    I don't know why that feels important but it does.
    The headache was completely gone within minutes of gently touching the hatred with kindness. The rest of the ninety minutes were spent stopping my mind each time it wanted to complain about something. I didn't let it get momentum. I aimed for C+ asanas instead of A+. I kicked back. I relaxed my face. I smiled the little yoga smile at myself in the mirror. I didn't judge anybody else and if I began to judge me I gently stopped it.
    Here's the thing: the vast self-hatred is not the core of who I am. It's like a little fragment from when I was a tiny baby getting yelled at by my overwhelmed father when my mom was sick. This sliver of me felt so unsafe, for years I thought this part of me was dead.
    It was this trauma, this tension, that was feeling my TMS.
    If I don't run from the hatred, which is very hard to do, there is something really lovely on the other side and I am writing this so that I will remember what it is.
    On the other side of the symptoms and the sad story of lacerating self-hatred, life hatred, is a spiritual vastness, a soul, with heart and kindness and compassion. That's the awakening. I understand now - again - more deeply than ever - that this is a moment by moment awakening that I cannot coast and take for granted.
    My failing up until this moment has been thinking that I was going to get somewhere and stay there. I have likely written about this in other posts and various times. I am a perfectionist and the -ism has some interesting acronyms: I Sabotage Myself, Incredibly Short Memory come to mind. I forget the path to being symptom free, I forget that the dark, twisty part of me is not my true nature. It's as if I am Shadow Possessed until I awaken to this other, kinder, force of love that exists.
    I feel a little self-conscious writing this but it feels important so I am putting it down here. This site has been a place where I have been my most vulnerable and trusted that process.
    I am grateful today to have a place to write this and remember that, as written above, it's not a permanent cure: the pathways of pain remember the way to the pain. It's attendant upon me to remember the way back out of the pain.
    Palms together, I smile.
    plum, Ellen and Lainey like this.
  3. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Bodhigirl I am so appreciative of you writing this post today. Wow! It reflects what I've been going through, as well.

    I've had days of feeling like I was "good to go," only to swoop down into multiple symptoms, fear, and feeling like I hate life.
    Then, I have to remind myself that I don't hate life...that my brain is SO used to playing a negative "what's wrong now" tape that I don't even realize I'm doing it.

    One thing I do, when I remember to do it!!!, is to ask my subconscious or spirit to "please let me become quickly aware when my brain takes a negative path." Just saying this has given me more awareness and I can stop them sooner.

    Right now, I'm getting ready to go to the east coast for my parents 68th anniversary. My parents are both very narcissistic, which I didn't realize until well into adulthood. I do remember being over at other kids houses and realizing they didn't have to "worry" about their parents being mad at them and that their parent s praised their accomplishments. That didn't happen for me. I know we all had some form of dysfunction in our families.
    I was cleaning out some boxes the other day and found a journal from 1988 about how much I dreaded going "home" for a holiday.
    I still resent going all these years later. They are both 91 years old. Even though I left home at 17, I don't think I left my guilt of "escaping" them, ever.

    I will try to meet that guilt with some love. We can't "coast" as you wrote. I appreciate you today. So, if you wonder if your story meant anything to anyone....please see me here, raising my hand. It did to me.

    plum, Ellen and Bodhigirl like this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    So much wisdom in this post. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insights.
    plum likes this.

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