TUESDAY, Nov. 12, CALL-IN: “What You Need to Understand to Heal,” CHAPTER 14, THE GREAT PAIN DECEPTION This Tuesday, November 12,the call-in discussion group will be discussing Chapter 14 (What You Need to Understand to Heal) in Steve Ozanich's book The Great Pain Deception starting at 9 pm Eastern Time. It lasts an hour, sometimes a little longer. Phone lines will open half an hour early so you can talk to hosts and early callers. Here's how to join the discussion (for detailed instructions, visit http://go.tmswiki.org/connect ): If you're connecting by phone, dial 1 347-817-7654 and when prompted enter the pin code 183 11 499 pound symbol. If you're connecting via your computer (Fuze Meeting), go to www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/app/48fb7aa8/18311499 and follow the instructions from there.For more information, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Call-In_Peer_Discussion_Group . Steve goes back to basics in this chapter and puts the meat right on the table: To heal back or any other pain you have to believe 100 percent that it is not structurally caused but TMS from repressed emotions. Believing that 90 percent won't heal your pain. Not even 99 percent. “It’s all or nothing for complete healing,” Steve says. We’re used to doctors or other health specialists such as chiropractors or sports medicine medics having us take X-rays and other new body imaging procedures and saying they indicate spinal disc problems such as disc bulging or protrusions or disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, arthritis, worn knee joints, or other physiological changes. The changes shown on medical images may appear to a doctor to be causing our pain. But SteveO says those changes are not causing your pain. It is not because you are over-weight, your posture is bad, how you walk or run, how you sit at a computer, or the position your body is in when you sleep. You don’t need a pain-killer, surgery, or a new pair of running shoes, office chair, or mattress. “You need to understand that you must have full belief in the TMS process,” Steve says. “You must be fully open to the concept, believe and accept it – or it will not work for you. You need to understand that you’ve repressed the thing that is causing your pain.” This can be tricky for many people -- believing 100 percent in TMS causing their pain, and thinking about or journaling to find out what their mind is repressing. Most of the time, one or more repressed emotion (anger, rage, fear, anxiety, depression, feelings of abandonment, physical or mental abuse, feelings of low self-esteem, etc.) go way back to our childhood. One person recently said he can’t remember anything in his boyhood that could be causing him TMS pain. He said his parents were loving to him and did not pressure him in any way. But something or some things in his boyhood or youth are causing his pain. He needs to believe that and work on finding out what they were. Maybe they occurred outside the home. Maybe in school… bullying or feeling the need to be the first boy at the head of the class. When I was in high school, our math teacher decided that four girls in the class were learning better and faster, so she had them sit in chairs in front of her desk while she gave them advanced instruction. All the boys, me included, and the rest of the girls were left to sit at our desks and read the text book. I wonder if that gave me a feeling of low self-esteem? My parents never pressured me to succeed in any way. That teacher did! I went on to try to be a super-achiever. I became a writer and a Chicago Tribune reporter for seven years until I left to be a freelance writer of books. I work hard at it, but I love it. Still, I know I have a perfectionist personality and in whatever I write, I always make sure I at least try to make it the best I can. Reading Dr. Sarno and Steve Ozanich it is very clear to me that a perfectionist personality is one of the many causes of TMS pain. I love the typical conversation Steve has in Chapter 14 with a TMS pain sufferer: Steve: “Your pain is revealing to you that you are unconsciously angered inside." Someone: “But I’m not angry, Steve.” Steve: “I know you don’t feel angry, but the presence of your pain shows that you have repressed your anger into your body.” Someone: “But I’m not angry, Steve.” Steve: “I realize that you don’t feel your anger, but that is the very reason that symptom is there, to let you know something you wouldn’t otherwise know, that you are extremely angry, but have repressed it – consciously ignoring it.” This conversation goes on and the “someone” keeps insisting he or she is not angry. Steve cannot get through to them that they may not think they are angry or feel anger, but nonetheless anger is there, hidden deep in their unconscious mind. It has to come to the surface or their pain will not go away. Steve then lists the many distractions we may have to convince ourselves that our pain is structural, not psychological with TMS. Some of these are to believe a doctor and an X-ray that a misaligned back disc is causing our pain so we must have surgery. Others are a need to gamble or to acquire wealth or positions of prestige and power. Also, the need to criticize others or to seek praise from others. In some of the most important parts of the chapter, Steve tells how to live with pain. “You need to understand that you must lean into pain… Allowing pain reduces the fear that has wrongfully been instilled in you, that you are damaging your body further if you exercise. It is an irrational fear that you are hurting your back or knee by the presence of pain, or that you can further hurt yourself through physical movement.” “How do you stand against pain?” Steve asks, then answers: “You let pain happen without fear.” Monks in monasteries learn to test their tolerance for pain as part of their discipline. In some orders, they lie on beds of nails while heavy weights are placed on top of them. Steve says, “They can endure unimaginable pain because they practice relaxation before they perform the test of pain endurance. Relaxation raises the pain threshold by calming the mindbody, rendering pain less significant. Defeat it by allowing it.” You don’t have to lie on a bed of nails, and Steve does not recommend it as a technique of TMS healing. You can lie in bed and do some deep breathing while you meditate on relaxing and tell your unconscious mind that the pain you feel is from a repressed emotion. Some people take their worries to bed with them. A very bad idea. No wonder they toss and turn and can’t get to sleep, trying to think of their repressed emotions. Do that earlier in the day, and as Dr. Sarno suggests, spend only 15 minutes or a half hour thinking about them, or journaling to discover them. Don't spend hours at it. That'll just increase the pain. “You need to begin exhausting yourself physically,” says Steve, “not mentally. Anxiety results from repression, which is held in the body as energy, an overdose of negative energy. Burn your tension away by staying in motion. Sitting at a desk and stressing out on a job is not what nature intended humans to do. Get up and do something you love!” The chapter is rich in other things you need to understand to heal. Steve writes about the power of visualization. He urges us to learn the techniques of visual guided imagery – envisioning your mindbody living healthily and happily and pain-free with a perfect spine, or cells, etc. Let these healthy images slowly seep into the unconscious mind. Steve says we need to remind ourselves of what Dr. Sarno has written, that our pain is from a mild oxygen deprivation, the result of reduced blood flow from repressed silent rage. We are enraged about something in our childhood? Hey, really? How can that be? I always thought I had a happy, carefree childhood, with loving parents who fed me lots of candy and ice cream. Well, the truth is, we are enraged, about something(s) or what someone did or said to us a long time ago. We just shut it out of our mind, even for many years. But something recent may have triggered that old hurt and it has surfaced to give us TMS pain. Steve says we need to understand that if our lower back hurts, we need to walk and bend and move while focusing our attention on our upper back. If our left knee hurts, walk while focusing our attention onto our right knee. Do the same with our shoulders, feet, etc. Think, as you move, about another area of your body that feels gooooood, each and every time you move. Do not be surprised if the pain moves to the area that feels good. It did for him. He calls it a “cognitive transversal” and is a form of behavioral therapy. Learn to be more appreciative of what you already have. Steve says appreciation is the highest level of peace and happiness because it encompasses both love and joy. Take time at night to be thankful for the day. If you have trouble being appreciative, it could be part of the problem in becoming free of pain. Steve then urges us to laugh and let go, as a child does. He said that he knew by the end of his long healing process that he wasn’t enjoying life. “But to have fun,” he writes, “is to let go.’ He says that isn’t easy for a perfectionist like himself. “Become enthusiastic and find silliness all around you. The mind holds both joy and rage simultaneously, each incumbent upon the existence of the other.” Near the end of the chapter, Steve tells us, “You need to understand that pain is not necessarily a bad thing. You are on the verge of growth through change, and that you are fighting the needed changes. There is opportunity knocking at your conscious mind in the form of pain, and you need only to look inward to see what that opportunity is.” As the pain increases, it is desperate. It moves around your body and often increases in intensity as you try to ignore it or fight it. It fights your fighting it. Steve says he began looking at an increase of his pain as a good sign. He felt he was winning the battle because every time his pain increased, he achieved a new level of healing. He came a step closer to pain-free. “This is reversing the way the pain is interpreted by the brain. When the pain increases, think, ‘Ahhh, tomorrow will be better. My brain is desperate because it’s losing its hold on me." You will not heal exactly the same way or degree each day. There will be ups and downs that depend on many interrelated things. A few of these are nutrition, exercise, stress, relationship energy demands, good sleep, motivation, criticisms, bills to pay but not the money to pay them, etc. They can determine the state of the mindbody process on any given day. Steve ends this very helpful chapter with a list of “You need to understands,” each of which can help you reach the finish line in what may seem like a marathon toward healing your pain. He ends with what may be the basic reason some people have not yet healed even after working hard and long on TMS recovery. “You need to understand that just because you don’t believe hidden rage causes pain doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It has been shown to be true through repeated observation. Since denial of the truth is what causes the pain, it is not surprising that you still deny TMS is the cause behind your pain.” This is a great chapter to read and reflect on as we approach Thanksgiving. No matter our pain or circumstance, we all have much to be thankful for. Even our pain, which as we learn from TMS, can be a blessing. It may not seem like it while we suffer, but as you heal you will come to feel as Steve does, that it goes way beyond healing physical pain. It heals us both in mind and body, and as many also believe, in spirit. I hope you can join Tuesday’s call-in about this really excellent chapter in Steve’s book. There is wisdom here for us all, even those who have healed their TMS-caused pain. Thank you, Steve, for sharing these guideposts in becoming free of pain so we can enjoy life to its fullest, and share our joy of living with others.