I recently had a strong realization — I have been listening to the wrong inner voice.
For the past 2 months I have been adapting my diet to being more supportive of my healing. This new plan has been very challenging. There are a lot of No’s: No sugar, no gluten, no eggs, no beans, not much fruit, no chocolate. Lots of vegetables and lean meats…. Despite these limits, I did eat a fabulous piece of chocolate cake last week — I really wanted it, and was determined to eat it, no matter what. Unfortunately, I did have a major reaction afterwards — my muscles tightened, my head hurt and my legs completely froze – much more than usual. This completely confirmed what the staff at my functional medicine doctor told me 2 months ago — “Once you start you cannot cheat – not even a little…”
I spoke with my therapist about how difficult it is for me to focus so strongly on myself and my diet in my attempt to improve my MS. I shared that I often feel that doing that detracts from my focus on my family and that I should keep quiet about my own needs — that I should not have these needs in the first place – that they take me away from my husband and family — and what if after all of these changes they don’t even work? I remembered that over the past 10 years, this nutritional approach to dealing with MS has come up at least 4 other times, but I discounted it in the past, feeling that it would be too hard, and what if it didn’t work?
She calmly told me that if my children needed me to do something this challenging, I would do it with no hesitation. She asked me why would it be ok for me to do it for them but not for myself? She talked about how the mind works — that when you make a strong determination to accomplish a goal, it often activates an internal voice that will try to keep you safe by convincing you that you can’t do it – that it will be too hard – to take it easy and remain the same.
I was reminded of a book that I have read before — The Untethered Soul : The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer. In it, he writes that “There is nothing more important than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.” He refers to that voice as a “roommate in your head” that narrates everything that happens to you, and among other things, argues against any thought that moves you towards changing the status quo.
My session helped me see more clearly how that voice has been operating in my life – especially lately as I work harder to solve this MS challenge. I have been paying too much attention to this voice lately, and that’s not a good thing. It’s creating (exacerbating?) a real impasse in my thinking, which is leading to a greater impasse in my actions, which is making improvement of my health very difficult. Paying attention to this voice is problematic, and I really have to change. How? Well, going back to Michael Singer, “The natural ups and downs of life can either generate personal growth or create personal fears. Which of these dominates is completely dependent upon how we view change. Change can be viewed as either exciting or frightening, but regardless of how we view it, we must all face the fact that change is the very nature of life.” I realize that have been afraid to change, afraid to do things dramatically differently on this search for improvement in my health. But no more following that voice! I am determined to pay attention instead to the quieter, more gentle voice that nudges me forward on this detour in a more positive, hopeful direction. See you along this pathway!