I am constantly amazed at how people want to put limitations on us, and how easily we accept them.
Even someone like me, who has studied all sorts of meditation, and knows first-hand of the power of the mind to heal the body (and more) – even I fall into that negative belief trap way too easily.
The trick, I believe, is jumping right back out.
I was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic arthritis in my lower back. Apparently all those childhood years falling on my ass, while chasing Olympic dreams of figure skating glory, have come back to haunt me. After being walked through my MRI results, I asked my very charming and reputable doctor what I could do about it. I’d been forced to stop basically all forms of activity for the last several months, because the pain had grown to a concerning level. That meant no yoga, no dancing, no strength training – nada. Which was hard for me! So now that I had a diagnosis, I was anxious to figure out how to fix it and get back to my life.
Instead he broke the news that other than steroid injections and a life of anti-inflammatories, I should just accept the fact that I’d have to stop doing yoga and dancing. The two things that bring me the most joy in life.
I left his office, got in my car, and cried.
“You might as well bury me now,” I told my parents.
I felt old and hopeless. Luckily, my dad is the one who took me and my brothers to our very first meditation class, nearly 30 years ago. He quickly reminded me how very limited that kind of thinking, and prognosis, was – and basically to ignore it.
“There are countless studies on meditation and healing the body with the mind, and any doctor who tells you otherwise doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” my dad said, coming to my defense.
One such meditation advocate is Dina Proctor, author of Madly Chasing Peace: How I Went from Hell to Happy in 9 Minutes a Day. In her excerpted article “Healing with the Power of Meditation: How to Heal Your Body with Your Mind” Proctor writes, by “changing my perceptions (which I’d been doing with my 3×3 healing meditations) I was changing my body.”
“Yeah, I know you’re right,” I halfheartedly agreed with my dad.
I’d taken lots of similar classes and knew the whole mind over matter routine. Yet I was still buying Dr. FeelBad’s dismal prognosis. That there was nothing longterm I would be able to do about the pain. He seemed SO certain about it.
My amazing new functional medicine doctor, Dr. Alejandra Carassco, put those lingering fears to rest when I shared my results with her the following week.
“He’s an amazing doctor,” she said of her esteemed colleague, “but he’s only got so many tools in his toolbox.”
He only has so many tools in his toolbox.
That one sentence beautifully explained why this doc seemed so certain about it, and yet was so wrong. It’s all he knows.
The same could be said about anyone who tells you you can’t do anything.
Luckily, I picked myself up and went to see a sports medicine physical therapist who took that prognosis and turned it completely upside down. And although only 3 short weeks have passed, with the help of her incredible knowledge plus a very patient dance instructor, I am already back doing the two activities I love most, 90% pain-free.
I also recently saw the spectacular trailer “We’re the Superhumans” for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. And again, I cried. This time out of joy for the human spirit and the fact that yes indeed, we can do ANYTHING we put our minds to. It’s an incredible video, and one to bookmark for any day (or every day) you are buying into the bs that you can’t do something.
The dancing Superhumans. There’s no such thing as can’t.
As I’ve been reminded, the only limitations we have are the ones we accept. So accept nothing short of your highest goals.
Yes. You. Can.