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I have a very suggestible mind. Too suggestible, some might say. For example, someone on the non-secretor list recently talked about the work of Dr. John Sarno, whose name had escaped me until the day I read the post. I noted his name down and tracked down his books at the Toronto library, and now have them in my hands. The first book I got was his older one, about healing back pain through confronting the emotional issues we all have from time to time, at which time the very real pain in the body would disappear for all time unless there was a relapse of the mind not taking responsibility for current difficult issues in one’s life. The second book, written in 1998, and therefore much updated on the basis of his further experiences in his clinic, talks about the fact that just about every dis-ease known on the face of this earth can be traced to the failure to face up to emotional disasters in our lives. I haven’t had much time to look at this book, and have only dipped into various areas very briefly, so I should probably not be talking about it. However, these books have left me pondering the state of my health, the condition of my body-mind, and what else I can do to promote quality of life for myself.
Around the time of my move at the end of July, I visited my family doctor for various tests. I wanted to know if the tincture I’d been taking to dissolve the stones in my gall bladder had actually done that. The ultrasound I’d had a year earlier had shown my gall bladder looking quite tight and bulging with a great deal of stones. A flush earlier in the year had yielded nothing but discomfort, and I was delighted to find the tincture at a local herb shop. Even if the stones were still there, I was not disappointed with the tincture for a great many things in my body had changed – there was a lot more body in my hair, my bowel movements had improved in terms of quantity and texture (yes, I know, we’re not supposed to talk publicly about such things) and I had a lot more energy. Friends who had not seen me for a while commented on how well I looked when we met, after taking it for a few months.
The various tests results ordered by my doctor brought relief and concern at the same time. My gall bladder no longer bulges, though it still has stones to a fair degree. More of the tincture should help to alleviate this condition, and I have no problem taking more of it. The doctor even approved of my taking more of it! The tiny cysts on my liver noted a year earlier had disappeared. The doctor had basically laughed them off last year when the report was received, with no real information as to what they represented. The bad news was that my cholesterol readings, traditionally high for many years, have actually climbed a few points higher. To complicate matters, my heart is very strong, I don’t have any signs of diabetes, and my blood pressure is at a very comfortable low point. My average pulse during the days registers under 60 beats per minutes when I remember to take it as a check-in point. I’ve spent a lot of money for pantethine supplements, which did lower the cholesterol reading slightly in the past, but not enough to please my doctor. I’ve also tried red yeast rice supplements, but don’t take it regularly enough to do anything positive, it seems. The doctor wants me to take drugs to lower the cholesterol reading. I am more than reluctant to get the prescription filled. I feel very well indeed. I walk a lot, and recently returned to the discipline of T’ai Chi since there is a centre not far from my new home. I also returned to doing a bit of Turkish dervish whirling, which I like a lot but haven’t been able to do for some time because of poor physical conditions in my home.
I belong to that class of people who like to “fix” things - particularly myself. I like to fix my medical condition, my health decline, my low energy level, my general environment. The years I lived at the Ashram taught me to question myself at every turn, to take responsibility for my thoughts and actions, basically for my life. At age 66, with wrinkling skin and graying and thinning hair, I am at the stage where I need to not only try to fix things, but to allow myself to relax in those areas where fixing is not a possibility any more. I have come to the brilliant conclusion that pain will not kill a person, and no-one has ever died of it. Fortunately, I live with little pain at this point in my life, though I have a tendency to experience stiffness/pain in my right neck area, and the bunions in my feet seem to be turning into an arthritic condition that is forcing my big toes towards the rest of my toes, creating a pressure on the second toe of each foot. This doesn’t create pain, just a new, uncomfortable feeling in the feet, and it certainly doesn’t stop my movements.
So, to return to my starting point: how to integrate the information that I absolutely believe is correct, given by Dr. Sarno, into my current lifestyle that perhaps could reduce the pain in my neck, the movement in my toes, and reduce the build-up of cholesterol in my veins? So far I have not found any information on how/why cholesterol builds up in the human system. Perhaps I am forgetting about some basic things I learned some time ago about the importance of relaxing my body on a regular basis. Dr. Sarno’s second book mentions Norman Cousins, who confounded medical science by laughing himself out of an imminent life-threatening condition and then worked at UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles, for the benefit of non-North American readers) for some years before he finally did die, helping a great many people to work with their particular conditions, using a form of relaxation and visualization exercise with all of them. It sounds like it’s time to read the books of Mr. Cousins one more time to refresh my memory. I don’t think my doctor will be able to understand any of this blog.