Mind over MRI?
The power of the mind is impressive. Research is building and showing that we can use our mind to change our thoughts and even transform our health.
Well friends, it’s time for me to walk my talk and put my trust and faith in the power of the mind and use it as a tool for learning more about my body.
Science has even shown us that you can have an impact on someone else hundreds of miles away and their health by using your mind with meditation and prayer. We see these requests for support for our loved ones’ health on Facebook now all the time and it has been practiced for decades.
We all have heard the plea or request for prayers and support…it’s because it works!
Stress is on the rise and one of the leading causes of dis-ease in this country. Our bodies and minds are taking on countless tasks and there aren’t enough sticky notes to keep track of them all.
My clients’ number one complaint is, “I feel overwhelmed!”
How often do you find yourself overwhelmed? Is this an emotional state you live or just visit time to time? And how do you manage? I want to know!!
My go-to tools to combat overwhelm are meditation, mantra, and mindfulness.
Of course, it’s easier said than done. It’s like someone telling you to “let it go” when someone has stamped out your heart and you wonder to yourself…but how?
Pondering the impermanence of life in an attempt to make this the best life yet has been my approach to mindfulness. And it hasn’t come without struggle.
We all have our stories of triumph and of wallowing in the valley of darkness. And we know that both will come and go so how do we move between the two?
Equanimity: The unattached awareness of one’s experiences as a result of perceiving the impermanence of momentary reality. It is a peace of mind and abiding calmness that cannot be shaken by any grade of either fortunate or unfortunate circumstances.
And equanimity…builds resilience.
Equanimity and resilience are essential in living a healthy and long life.
A recent injury in a CPR training at work left me with a locked up neck and back over a month ago. And just as I felt I was almost 100% healed, I woke up with vertigo.
Two vertigo episodes left my body with some rigidity, and a total sense of powerlessness. I was powerless in my voice, as I couldn’t yell for help, and in moving my limbs to support me in bringing myself up off the floor.
I will note that between the two episodes when I thought again I was almost 100% back to “normal”, I had nightmares that I couldn’t yell for help and more desperate feelings of powerlessness.
As I coach my clients when they are wanting to make big changes and create transformation in their lives…I asked myself, “How can I take back my power?”
If you resist what is going on in your body, whether it is weight gain, vertigo, insomnia, or any other symptom that can leave you feeling powerless, your body will resist you right back.
And the words you use to tell your story and the way you talk to yourself will determine how you move through the symptoms. Bottom line is, your body can talk. It’s our job to listen and support it in coming back into alignment.
Our bodies give us feedback all the time! It’s an opportunity to learn how we can better care for this vessel that we have been blessed with while we are here.
I found myself in a state of equanimity during my recent vacation to my favorite climbing spot. Now I certainly didn’t get there instantly. I went through the emotional turmoil of debilitating thoughts of why vertigo and why now on a climbing trip that I have soooo been looking forward to? Why spirit, why?
And I should share I was upset, but had more compassion for myself and was mindful in how I spoke to myself in a way that I hadn’t been in years. This mindfulness is a practice and another area we do not need to be perfect!
As I sat and meditated and listened to what my body wanted me to do, I could hear the silent whispers of what my body was trying to tell me. Slow down Shannon Lee…slow down.
So now I take my mindfulness to Colorado Springs Imaging where I will have an MRI and an MRA to look at what could be causing some of the debilitating symptoms I have been experiencing the last 5 weeks.
Now I have a whole story around MRI’s and I do recall (silly me, I know better) saying just a few short years ago, “I could never get an MRI, I am too claustrophobic, there is simply no way I could do it!”
Yep and then “never say never” bit me in the ass…again.
My meditation practice for the last 20 years has not been perfect, and certainly at times not effective, but it’s a practice I have been working on to get better at this thing called life…to build resilience and equanimity.
To be ready for whatever life throws our way…
I have the awareness to recognize that I have a wee bit of anxiety, ok a lot of anxiety, around being in claustrophobic spaces, and certainly in a tight tube for testing.
But I also have the awareness to see that I have created a story around this thing called an MRI. I picked my mother up after she had one and she was so fragile and devastated from it that her story became my story and that’s how “I could never” was born.
So I am creating my own story around it now. Letting go of my fears and anxieties around being in a tube, feeling powerless, and what they might find and using it as a tool to get feedback for my body.
I am a biofeedback practitioner after all, so surely I can reframe this:).
I am going to the imaging center today to look at the machines and get more information. I am also looking at a guided meditation I want to pop in and maybe some new kirtan music for my 45-minute and then 30-minute imaging “sesh”.
Yep, that’s right, I said “sesh”. I gotta make this appointment way cooler than my ego perceives it to be.
I want to share a few of my favorite tools for starting a mindfulness practice:
Calm app: a great tool with bedtime stories in case you have trouble falling asleep, plus guided meditations, and music to help you de-stress and relax. The Calm app is free to download, and you will not incur any charges from downloading it or creating a Calm. Calm is a mindfulness meditation and relaxation app, built to help you feel calm in a natural way that’s in tune with your body’s innate ability to switch from ‘ready for action’ to ‘resting’. There is a 7 day free trial and then it’s $9.99 a month or $58.99 a year.
Headspace: Train Your Way to Happier Days with Headspace. Hundreds of Sessions. Track Your Progress. Use Anywhere, Anytime. Build Healthy Habits. Start Meditating Today. Headspace is a popular meditation app with cute animations, available on both iOS and Android. Most of its content is locked behind the $12.95/month (or $95.88/year) subscription, but you may be able to get what you need from the ten free sessions they offer.
Insight Timer: is an alarm that times your mindfulness practice while simultaneously helping you to use your smartphone as a spiritual link to a worldwide community of meditators using “insight” Insight timer has been downloaded over 300,000 times and has tracked over 4 million meditation sessions. The largest free library of meditations and music tracks on earth. New content added every day with access to over 19000 meditations.
So where are you feeling fear? Or resisting the symptoms that your body is giving you?
Take time to sit, ask your body questions, and get some answers.
I want to validate your frustration as well, along with my own, when we don’t know what’s going on and we struggle to figure out what is going on with our body. But that is where connecting with your own heart and spirit can guide you in a way that will never fail you.
Trust that everyone on your path is here to guide and support you.
You are your best healer and have the divine guidance within! Trust in that and take charge of your health by starting a mindfulness practice.
Ps…for all you recovering perfectionists out there like me….you can’t do it wrong, so what are you waiting for?
Love to hear your thoughts below…
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