As some of you know I was injured this winter. The Cliff notes version of what happened is that someone collided with me on the ski slopes which caused a concussion (and yes I was wearing my helmet) and a hole in the lining of my carotid artery wall which closed off the artery and then led to a small stroke. The doctor told me that of three people he knows of that had this same carotid artery tear, one is ok, one is a vegetable, and one is dead. Are you beginning to understand why I am so happy and grateful to be here?
I often think about how the Law of Attraction applies to my life. So, at first, I just couldn’t understand why I had this accident and got hit in the head because I was having a wonderful time when the accident happened. I tried to understand what the universe was trying to tell me that I just wasn’t getting. After all, the universe hit me in the head, I thought.
As I spent countless hours surfing the couch this winter I meditated on this confusion. I thought back over the previous year which had been one of the most stressful years of my life. I began to understand the accident was related to the year long stress and the story I continued to tell about it.
What have I learned from my experience?
1) First, I was reminded that I really need to take better care of myself. All last year I worked long hours, was chronically stressed, and pushed myself really hard despite the death of my beloved, Bob. I just kept going like the energizer bunny.
2) Now I limit my work load and have a waiting list (there are 4 people on it right now). I get more rest. And I added walking and dancing back into my routine.
3) I focus on telling my new story instead of my old one. Instead of constantly thinking about the bad things that have happened I give more energy to what I want to create. I focus more on what I DO want instead of what I don’t want.
4) During my healing journey I imagined myself well again. I imagined my artery completely healed. I envisioned how good it feels to dance. I imagined myself out in nature when I wasn’t yet allowed to go for walks. I talked out loud to myself about how good it feels when my body is perfectly well and how I love feeling well and enjoy the sense of well being and ease.
5) Instead of telling the same old story of what’s been going on in my life over and over again, I realized I need to tell the story how I want it to be. I looked at and spoke about how I want things to be and practiced feeling like I already have them. What we see in our lives is a reflection of our chronic thoughts and beliefs. I made my thoughts and my story positive.
6) I focused on the positives. I thought of one thing I could still do right then. I thought of people I could ask for help if I needed it. I talked out loud to myself about the amazing ability of my body to heal. I told my self “all is well, I am okay, things are getting easier every day, I am never alone”. I reached for a feeling of relief.
7) I also continued to express gratitude about the positive things in the situation. I was thankful I was alive. I was thrilled that there just happened to be a dental/facial cosmetic surgeon in the Emergency Room when I arrived who stitched up the gaping tear in my lip. I was thankful for all the people at the ski lodge who took care of me that first night and for the couple who helped to drive me home from VT. I was grateful for the sunshine coming through my window as I surfed my couch. I was thankful for the friends who visited me in the hospital, gave me a ride home, took care of my mail and cockatiel while I was in the hospital, and shoveled my driveway. I was grateful for my new level of compassion for my clients with head injury. I could go on. But I think you get the idea.
Last week the Neurologist told me my artery healed about 2 months faster than originally predicted. Yahoo!
I know my work to rewrite my story, to imagine myself well and healed, my gratitude, as well as my efforts to interrupt the chronic patterns of negative thought helped me heal faster than expected.
Think about how you tell your story. Notice how often you fall back to telling your same old negative story. Tell your new story. It is amazing how fast you can see the results. When I tell people I feel great (even if I am not all that great right then) I actually feel much better than when I tell them how bad I have been feeling. Try it for yourself and see how it works for you.
Debra Burdick, LCSW, BCIA-EEG, The Brain Lady, owns Advanced Options, LLC, a private psychotherapy and Neurofeedback practice in Waterford, CT. Advanced Options, LLC is the home of the BRAIN FITNESS TRAINING PROGRAM™ which combines outpatient psychotherapy services, Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy and Neurofeedback to help clients of all ages to improve their lives by helping them feel better, think better, and perform at their peak. For more information, please visit TheBrainLady.com.