What is wrong with me????
There is an insidious approach to illness/disease/injury/conflict that can have a radical yet unknowing impact on stress levels. Stress, as we all know, is well documented to negatively impact health and wellness. I am speaking of the “What is wrong with me?” approach, and would like to introduce you to a simple practice that my clients and I have found powerful to re direct this to something more useful and expansive.
Anytime my clients (and I) experience a mental, emotional and/or physical symptom that hangs around long enough to become of concern there tends to be an inner dialogue that can vary in intensity to resolve the what is wrong dilemma. This dialogue stays internal for some, but often comes out in a confessional manner when the issue resolves and we look back at our experience. You know, that insidious fear that you really are weak and incompetent and that this challenge is surely the indication that your luck has run out and you really must be “fixed” this time…
The conventional model of allopathic medicine tends to frame illness,or injury (physical, emotional and mental) with the question of “What is wrong” or more precisely “What is wrong with me? What lies in the underpinnings of this question is the belief that the body and mind can break. The next logical assumption if we are broken is that we then need fixing in the form of an expert, surgery, device and/or drug, i.e. some external force to intercede and “make it right”. The advertising world preys on our susceptibility to this fear and is the basis of successfully bombarding us with a litany of diets, pills and devices to “fix us” and allay our fears. For some this model works and provides a satisfactory and fulfilling health and wellness experience.
For those “seekers” out there who are looking for a new perspective that might be more useful and expansive I would like to invite you to experience the power of reframing this internal question/dialogue. The first step in this reframing process involves the recognition of an internal wisdom or intelligence in the body/mind that synchronizes and integrates all the systems of the body/mind. Think of this internal wisdom as the conductor of the symphony orchestra of your body mind. Each system must be integrated and synchronized like the instrumental groups of an orchestra to make beautiful music or function with optimal health and ease. It is just a matter of communication breakdowns between the systems that results in illness/disease/pain and/or conflict ( or in the case of an orchestra, a cacophony of sound). Resolving these communication breakdowns will provide the internal wisdom the platform in which to re-establish health and wellness. This is one of the foundational principles of the BodyTalk system, and the sessions I provide at Limitless Living.
The body/mind is truly a masterpiece that is often beyond even the understanding of the most highly educated experts and it does a pretty darn good job of navigating challenges much of the time. When was the last time you thought about all the challenges your body/mind effortlessly resolved in the last year even? We don’t often give our body/mind credit for all that it manages particularly those that resolve without external intervention ( cuts, scrapes, colds, flus, sprained ankle, broken fingers, stress etc). We unfortunately tend to focus more on what it has not handled (myself included here). This is why I take a health and wellness history from my clients. When issues resolve in the joyful experience of a Bodytalk session without pain, struggle or surgery the human mind tends to forgets it ever happened. I will say to my clients on their second visit..how about that pain you were having in your hip?? And they will look at me in amazement; “I forgot all about that, its completely gone!!”. Oh the human mind, it is so funny!!
Let’s take a look at the old egg and sperm. We don’t actually know what gives the direction for an egg and a sperm to unite let alone begin to reproduce ( it is clearly something we can’t “see” yet or we would have named it). Somehow once this one egg and one sperm unite under some sort of magnetic attraction, not only does cell division ensue, but these cells then differentiate into specialized cells to become a heart, a lung, a liver, etc. A true “miracle” or phenomena that cannot be explained by our current understanding of how/why things work. Modern medicine knows “what is happening”, but has no idea what directs or stimulates the events to occur, and it happens time and time again without external mental or physical intervention.
So knowing “what is wrong” is limited to the understanding we currently have for how the body/mind works, which as we can see just from the egg and sperm example, still has many gaps. In contrast the simple practice I share with you below re-directs the conscious mind to honor the profound yet often poorly respected or even understood internal wisdom of the body/mind.
I invite you to experience the following:
- Take a moment to notice your body and mind right now, such things as breathing pattern, tension level, posture etc.
- Now allow an emotional, mental or physical challenge you are experiencing to float across your awareness.
- Now close your eyes and think “What is wrong with me?”
- Take a moment to notice your body and mind again, state of mind, breathing pattern, tension level, posture etc. I often feel sensations of tightness in my chest and head but this may be different for you.
- Now allow that challenge to float across your awareness again.
- This time I want you close your eyes, take an exaggerated breathe in and out and redirect your thoughts to your body being a masterpiece of design with a powerful internal innate intelligence. Imagine what this intelligence might look like in your body…use colors, shapes, textures or whatever comes to mind. You can end the exercise here.
- Take a moment to notice your body and mind again, breathing pattern, tension level, posture, state of mind etc. Perhaps you notice you feel slightly softer, less stressed, more grounded, centered or even at ease. Perhaps you even feel more clarity about an action you desire to take to support this wisdom to flourish in a manner that is unique to your individual nature.
- If you feel like taking it a step further you can ever so gently tune into that intelligence and get curious about the challenge you are experiencing. Imagine you are the conductor of the orchestra of this beautiful symphony of your body/mind and are observing it to see what it has to show you. Perhaps your body/mind is desiring to express something to you via this challenge. Maybe you can even get a feel for what that is through one of your senses…a smell, a taste, a vision, a sound, and/or a feeling. Just notice whatever you experience, even if your mind is judging the validity of the experience. If you find it a little challenging at first this is normal. Try taking a nice cleansing breathe in and out and allow it to arise in the time that is right for you. The experience of imagery is like building new muscles and often takes time.
- Always end with noticing your state of mind, breathing pattern, tension level, posture etc. If no change is noted I invite you to take some nice cleansing breathes in and out and try it again. The power of imagery to enact change is powerful and well documented in the literature, but like learning to riding a bike takes some practice. One can enhance the power of imagery to enact positive change in the body/mind in a Franklin class or workshop . Check out the schedule at the event pages at www.karenbetten.com. and join us.
Many of my clients experience tremendous stress around needing to know “what is wrong” particularly when they are without a label or diagnosis. The negative impact of stress on the body/mind is well documented in the literature. In short, stress stimulates the fight or flight response in the body which directs the sympathetic nervous system to initiate a whole cascade of events to “run from the bear”, i.e. our body shunts blood to the extremities to support us to physically run. Therefore, circulation and nutrients are shunted away from the healing power of our organs, and endocrines compromising our resolution capacity. So any practice that we find to reduce stress can have a powerful impact on our capacity to experience health and wellness.
This practice is simple, yet powerful as it dials you away from the “what is wrong, I need fixing cascade of stress” and back into the awareness and truth of the masterpiece of your body/mind. This can support the systems and internal wisdom of your body/mind to co-ordinate and function with more ease and efficiency and do what it does best; reestablish balance.
This practice can be used any time you are experiencing stress in the body/mind and that pervasive “what is wrong with me” fear arises. It can often provide enough grounding that you gain more clarity about your next steps whether that be to nourish and nurture yourself however you are called ( salt bath, walk in nature, meditation, yoga, franklin class etc), or reach out for the support (doctor, alternative practitioner, etc) that you feel most aligned with. It’s not about “going it alone” but rather navigating the path that is most aligned with your internal compass, unique make up and wisdom.
My clients and I love using his simple re-direction and report a positive impact on outlook and stress levels and maybe you will too. Feel free to leave a comment below.