I’ve been doing a deep dive on how thoughts create reality. During my quest toward personal health, I have been learning how Eastern cultures view disease as originating in the soul. This concept takes healing to a whole new level! 

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I began asking myself the question, “What needs to change in my life to create integrity with total health?” Several specific areas came up for me: setting boundaries, protecting my energy and asking for what I want. The common thread of these three practices was my automatic pattern to shift to resentment when people didn’t conform to my unspoken needs. Crazy, isn’t it? I had not made my boundaries or needs clear, yet I was holding people to my unspoken standards. It certainly wasn’t effective at getting what I needed. I would marinate in my feelings of anger and resentment, and therein lies the soul problem that I’m certain was part of my being susceptible to cancer. 

If this sounds hard to follow or too woo-woo, let me explain further. When I would get to the point of resentment, I started to make up stories that reinforced my belief that I was the only one who could save people. This narrative reinforced a feeling of importance that filled insecurities about my worth, but it also created a vicious cycle of over-work and imbalance. The more I tried to meet others’ needs, the more depleted I became. My thoughts had created responses that began to impact my physical health. 

Another explanation of this process was written by Dr. Jennice Vilhauer in Psychology Today, “Your thoughts, if you think them over and over, and assign truth to them, become beliefs. Beliefs create a cognitive lens through which you interpret the events of your world and this lens serves as a selective filter through which you sift the environment for evidence that matches up with what you believe to be true…Because the brain’s selective filtering system, often referred to as priming, works on an activation/inhibition model, when the brain is primed by a certain belief to look for something, it shuts down competing neural networks, so you actually have a hard time seeing evidence to the contrary of an already existing belief.”

The opportunity in becoming aware of this pattern was that I had a choice. When I first realized this was part of my healing journey, I was honestly too deep in managing through chemo to have the energy to do much about it. But one of my commitments has been to only tackle what was immediately necessary, and I was able to trust that the way would become clear to change my patterns. I have prayed to be open to learning and to see meaning in anything that could teach me. 

A few weeks ago, I was weak after chemo, yet my appetite had returned. I figured it was obvious I needed someone in my household to make me dinner. Wrong. Honestly, I have a pattern of being so self-sufficient that I have trained the people around me not to expect me to have needs, so it was not entirely surprising. But I began feeling resentful. Then I had an “aha” moment. This was the exact pattern I had realized wasn’t working for me. 

I have never liked asking for help. And, in many ways, my drive has gotten me far in life. At this point, it became super clear to me that I needed to ask for someone to make me dinner. This request may sound so simple and clear, but it felt really hard. However, I was hungry, and resenting my family for not “reading my mind” was not helpful. So, I made a choice and asked for what I needed. 

The response was simple and miraculous, “Of course, what would you like?” Presto, not only could I drop my resentment and realize it had no merit, but I also received exactly what I needed. It turns out; my family wants me to tell them what I need. They are happy to help me, and it makes it so much easier for them when I am clear in my requests.

I am new at this, and I am committed to letting these new patterns of asking and being clear in my communication ripple out into other areas of my life. This practice of being intentional seems so easy and perhaps insignificant. But at least in my case, I believe it is these little changes that will have a profound effect in helping me stay healthy for the rest of my life.

Jeralyn Brossfield, MD, is the founder and physician of XO Health and medical director of Brain Treatment Center both in Rancho Mirage. She can be reached at (760) 573.2761 or BrainTreatmentCenter.com and on Facebook @XOHealth.

1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-forward/202009/how-your-thinking-creates-your-reality

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