Healing our personal wounds takes time, patience and courage. When I was given the diagnosis of scoliosis at age 17 that I would be twisted and deformed. I felt my life had ended. My only escape from my abusive father was getting as far as possible from him. But how would I do it with a crooked back? I decided to kill myself. But the fear of going to hell stopped me. Then I reasoned, I will do whatever it takes to heal my back any which ways I am going to die one day. So why not at least try to do something. Thus began my research into this deforming condition called ‘idiopathic scoliosis’.
Power of Belief
We need to psychologically prime ourselves that healing is possible. Changing our mindset of hopelessness to hope and faith. Changing beliefs is not easy but it can be done. The best way is to read and listen to inspiring stories and heroic real-life events. I have a collection of favorite quotes which have been encoded in my brain neuron system. Honestly, inspiring words have the power to change any negative defeatist thinking.
For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. Each thing has to transform itself into something better and to acquire a new Personal Legend, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only.
George Bernard Shaw
1) Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
2) People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.
3) A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
Persistence and Sticking To Our Vision
Raising ourselves from the gutters of childhood abuse is very, very hard. Every time you try to hoist yourself up again you can hear the ugly voices of your family trying to tear you to pieces. You see their evil faces mocking you and you can feel weak and powerless. To counteract these negative entities in my life I have always found solace in reciting the following 3 Psalms:
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, LORD,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me…
May those who are happy because of my troubles
be turned back and disgraced.
May those who make fun of me
be dismayed by their defeat.,,
You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I trust..
One needs to prepare the mind for a journey into the realm of uncertainty and doubt. To persist on the path of healing means we need to fortify our minds with inspiration and prayer for courage to stick with our choices and continue to do whatever it takes to get there. Find what gives you strength, your own personal faith in someone or something bigger than yourself. Believing that there is someone up there definitely helps.
Expressing Your Emotions
You need to process your trauma, pain, and wounds. You need to let it out of your system to avoid the toxicity of suppressed emotions. Failure of information processing is the core of PTSD which I feel was the start of my developing scoliosis. I just had to keep silent and stuff my emotions. Some of my memories were totally blanked out. It was only when I had a complete breakdown at age 29 did the memories surface. Unfortunately, at that time I was destructive, high-stress relationship with a man who further aggravated my mental state. Having an empathetic listener is crucial to healing our wounded brains.
Psychologist Louis Cozolino in his The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain explains the neuroscience of psychotherapy and how it changes relevant neural circuits our brain. You don’t need a professional therapist, a loving friend or family member will suffice.
Another way to heal our distorted programming is by writing down our story. The writing process is not a quick fix or the definitive solution for your pain. It is the start of our healing journey. It helps us externalize what has happened to us, rather than keeping it painfully bottled up inside. Our thoughts become more organized. Most importantly, it helps us put a distance between our past and present. We can view our pain more dispassionately. Writing this blog has helped me release the past and I gradually look upon the people of past as the wicked villains of a sad story.
Keeping Your Body Flexible & Agile
Scoliosis is not an excuse for remaining unfit. You may not be able to do some exercises but there are some which are actually good for your spine. I occasionally do yoga. I find the Surya Namaskar easy and quick to do. Plus it gives a full body stretch. However, I have found some easy must do physical activities and positions that have helped me enormously.
1) Crawling – It is the best mind-body exercise. Easy to do and gently works on the entire body.
2) Squatting – Anatomically, the position stretches the lower back, decompresses the spine and releases the hips and lengthens the spine. When we squat, our lumbar spine extends, stretching the muscles in our low-back. There is little-to-no compression in the spine and stabilization is distributed between the muscles of the legs, hips and core. It is a natural posture that most young kids get into without much effort.
3) Inverting the body – You don’t need to do the actual Sirsana (headstand) Upside down with support has worked fine for me. The inverted position reverses the harmful effects of gravity, doing it is one of most effective treatments for back issues, load bearing joint issues, improving the nervous system, reducing mental stress, defying the aging process, strengthening the immune system, detoxification and, improving the mind.
4) Easy Cobra Posture Saral Bhujangasana – Sphinx Posture -Lying on your stomach and propping your body up with arms while reading, watching TV or while on computer/phone, talking is an easy way to stretch the spine. It stretches the back and builds your shoulders.
You can also try out physical activities you enjoy, like dancing, using the hula hoop. The key is enjoying the activity. There is no point in doing an activity that causes additional stress. Further increasing the release of cortisol which you are want to reduce.
Healing sound has the power to change thoughts and ease stress and anxiety. It is the quickest, easiest and effortless way to soothe the overactive amygdala and it is without any harmful side-effects. Check my Sound Therapy Resource.
Healing Sounds & Words – Mantras, Psalms, and Prayers can cause a shift in our mindset to heal our mind, body and spirit. In order to heal we need the help of someone. However, sometimes when we are alone and lost with no helping hand around, our only hope and solace is to turn to the Divine. Reaching deep into the recess of our souls, lifting our eyes with hope and faith. According to physician Larry Dossey, prayer does work. After practicing medicine for many years, he was stunned to come across scientific evidence of prayer’s healing power! Sound healing is the easiest way to ease stress and feel better without any side effects.
A good diet is vital for our physical and mental health. Studies have proven that gut / intestinal health is the foundation for assimilating and digesting all things in our life literally. It affects not just physical health but also mental well-being. The gut is sometimes known as our second brain.The brain and gut are intimately connected by the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects with most of the organs and plays a prominent role in activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Neurotransmitters essential to brain health are produced in the gut and scientists now believe some 95 per cent of our serotonin – a neurotransmitter essential to mood stability is made in our guts.
Consuming more fermented foods, like yogurt, kimchi and fermented beverages can be very beneficial. The healthy bacteria in these fermented foods have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety by affecting the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain. This transmitter is responsible for the production of things like serotonin, which can help to lower the amount of stress a person feels. And when the mind feels fine, the body will definitely heal.
Change Will Happen
We need to believe that there is a way out of suffering. Yes, belief is one of the most important aspects of our healing process. The next is beginning to live with intention, our whole mental focus needs to shift to what we desire. Third, overcoming hopelessness with positive feelings. I believe scoliosis was the result of adverse childhood experiences. However, now I choose to move away from the negative experiences of my past and live a life that is full of joy and hope. Every day I say Louise Hay’s affirmation “OUT” to every negative thought that comes to my mind. No person, place, or thing has power over me, for I am the only thinker in my mind. I create my own reality and everyone in it.”