This is the post I have postponed writing the longest. For years I have wanted to and promised to write about the emotional and psychological impact of being chronically ill. But what I had to say at the time wasn’t very useful.
Chronic illness creates this downward spiral in your mind which eventually transforms and colors every thought and emotion you have every moment of every hour, of every day. When you reach the point at which most of your thoughts are about illness in some way, your brain is keeping you sick.
But, it’s a double edged sword. If your mind can make you sick, it can heal you too. Here’s how my awakening occurred – I finally accepted my MDs prodding to test my body for mycotoxins and house for mold. Both tests uncovered problems. I started watching the Better Health Guy’s interview of mold expert, Neil Nathan M.D. on YouTube (author of Toxic).
Dr. Nathan strongly recommends a neuroplasticity training program called DNRS and I became intrigued with it. As I explored it, I discovered that many people have overcome mold illness, CIRS, MCS, lyme disease and coinfections and many other conditions using DNRS.
The more I learned, the more it struck a chord in me. Your limbic system is the emotional center of your brain and it also controls the vitally important systems in your body that function without your conscious effort – sleeping, breathing, beating of your heart, and so on.
The theory is that the limbic system can become impaired by trauma of any kind, say from an infection, toxic exposure or emotional disturbance. This limbic system impairment results in illness, perhaps unintentionally, the result of a kind of protection mechanism as your limbic brain puts the brakes on some of the systems in your body (detoxification for example). Note, that this theory doesn’t say the illnesses that result from limbic dysfunction aren’t real. They are perfectly real and measurable with labwork and under the microscope!
I found very moving testimonials of people who healed entirely from all of my own conditions (including Lyme) and some were bed-bound when they started. Here’s a good example:
This theory struck a chord in me for many reasons. I’ve always been sensitive – I sense the mood in a room immediately and am extraordinarily sensitive to high emotions. I cry very easily. My memory doesn’t go back much beyond adolescence, but as a teenager certainly I was not well-adjusted.
There was no physical abuse in my childhood but I did experience some very unusual circumstances and events as a baby and toddler. Our family dynamics did not include any spirituality, much overt physical or verbal affection or any humor, though my childhood was full of marvelous character building opportunities for adventure, travel and learning.
How did my family come to be the way we are? Through quite a bit of inter-generational trauma. My mom is the child of two Jewish orphans and my dad grew up with an alcoholic father. I don’t know much about it, but feel sure their families were not overflowing with affection and joy.
To my rocky emotional start, add the unusual toxic exposures and infections I accumulated in our exotic family travels, and this is the perfect storm for limbic system impairment. I’ll never know if there was one dominant trigger, but I feel certain this limbic damage happened and deepened after the MDs I saw early on, made every mistake in the book with me.
So, I committed to DNRS which involves an hour of daily neuroplasticity training, a type of meditation designed to bring peace and joy to your limbic system. Over the first couple weeks I found myself crying through most of my practices. This would be a very unusual reaction for somebody with a healthy limbic system, but seems like a dead ringer for anyone with limbic impairment or ‘cross wiring’ as Annie Hopper teaches us to say.
What I love about DNRS as a therapy is that, not only can it heal your infections, but will heal your spirit at the same time – watch this beautiful testimony:
Through the DNRS community forum, I discovered that many of us practicing DNRS, also follow Dr. Joe Dispenza and use his meditations and watch his testimonials on YouTube for motivation. I started watching those testimonials and I try to see several every day. There are also a number of Lyme recovery stories like this one so, clearly one could recover with either DNRS or Dispenza alone.
There are hundreds of them and they are astonishing, including ‘terminal’ cancer and other ‘incurable’ medical diseases. I try to do Dr. Joe’s Blessing of the Energy Centers or his Walking Meditation every day (generally can only fit one of them in). Here’s a taste of Dr. Joe:
Ironically, in the beginning, as I was watching the DNRS DVDs, I had a great deal of trouble imagining myself doing an hour of practice every day. Then a kind DNRS practitioner shared a list of tips with me and I read:
Do two rounds immediately upon waking up in the morning. No excuses, no bullshit . . . Start your day with the most important thing in your life right now.
And it resonated with me. I immediately launched into an hour daily and now combining the Dispenza meditations, I’m often spending more than two hours in practice/meditation daily.
Sometimes the biggest fireworks in my practice come during my DNRS ’rounds’ and sometimes it’s during one of my Dispenza meditations, but when they come they are often overwhelming, intense spiritual experiences of joy and gratitude. That is a very weak description but it’s just the kind of thing for which words are inadequate.
I’m 43 days into my DNRS practice. Annie Hopper, the creator, asks for a minimum commitment of six months. I’m already experiencing some signs of improvement so I’m very confident in my ability to go the distance in spite of my initial hesitancy and skepticism. And as other practitioners have commented, it’s not a commitment you make once, it has to be made every day three or four times.
I’m also five or six chapters into Dr. Joe’s You Are the Placebo book, and what I’ve read there has also sealed the deal for me – there’s no going back, ever. Using supplements and pharmaceuticals feels so paltry and downstream, now, compared with working in the mind.
There’s no way that I can adequately summarize the book for you in a few paragraphs, but I will say that what truly exploded all my now out-dated concepts of healing, are the studies he cites that show that meditation switches on healing genes and turns off genes related to stress. This has been shown to happen even in a single meditation session.
What any person who has suffered many years with chronic illness needs is to fall in love with life again, and this knowledge is what does it for me! Of course, we won’t change the color of our eyes or our height by meditating, but many of our genes related to our state of health are just a reflection of our environment, mood and thoughts, which ultimately are under our control through DNRS and similar meditation.
Go back and read the post I wrote on my genetics and you will understand how foolish it now seems. Some of those unfortunate homozygous SNPs related to my immune system, detoxification and methylation systems might have been self-inflicted through my entrepreneurial obsessiveness and perhaps others are inter-generational markers of stress – a reflection of suffering in my parents lives. Now, I no longer think of these as brands of misfortune but rather as switches that I’m in the process of reversing from red to green.
My awakening has also exploded my concept of detoxification. For some time I had been torn between the two camps of healing – the first of which I have far more experience with, in which you kill infections and chelate toxins, which causes great suffering but makes you stronger in the end – and the second where you strengthen the body and allow it to heal itself on its own timeline and addressing each infection or toxin when it’s ready.
Now I see that the ‘no pain, no gain’, kill and chelate is fraught with tremendous risk of failure as the limbic system collapses into fear and paralysis brought on through deep and endless suffering. Yes, I understand there are many people who heal successfully with this strategy and I myself made progress. It will work best when there are few layers of illness and/or the duration has been short.
Ultimately though, my progress was excruciatingly slow and unsatisfactory. I do believe strongly that I could have avoided more than a decade of deep suffering had I avoided MDs, and effectively addressed my stress, environmental exposures and emotional life. Whether or not you are one who can heal quickly through a conventional pharmaceutical or naturopathic intervention probably depends on how much the deck is stacked against you.
I want to give you a taste of what I’m doing now and share with you some of the videos that have fired me up terrifically.
This is my personal ‘proclamation’ which I use in meditation.
I’m safe and loved, at ease, divinely healthy and strong. I’m an athlete and I sleep deeply… deeply through the night, waking up refreshed and renewed in the morning filled with gratitude and wonder at sleeping 7 hours straight, in love with life and my future. I’m a healer, with unconditional love in my heart, through my example and experience.
In Dispenza work, the meditation serves as a conduit or connection to the subconscious mind, a way of delivering the medicine where it needs to go. In DNRS rounds, the connection is primarily accomplished through elevating one’s emotions achieved by reliving memories and fantasizing about future experiences.
I’m extraordinarily fortunate to have a deep trove of beautiful memories to draw on. One of my favorite sources is the time in my twenties I spent living on Ocracoke Island with my friend Peter and later in a trailer for National Park Service volunteers. My eternal gratitude to Peter, Norma, Jerry (RIP) and Ivan for welcoming and putting up with me, you occupy a very special place in my heart.
I just finished a DNRS round where I relived the memory of taking this horse out at night with a fellow stable hand for a long ride on the empty and endless undeveloped, unlit beach. We walked out along a narrow winding path through the dunes which were only mildly lit by a partial moon and my initial nervousness quickly turned to calm and wonder when I realized that my horse could see perfectly well at night what I could not.
Up and down through a few dune valleys and we came out to the beach. We pulled a beer from our saddlebags and drink it slowly thinking about how few in the world could ever experience a ride like this. Later, we sped up to a trot on the hard sand and it was so dark my vision was of little use at this pace (on other daytime rides, I did canter down the beach with my eyes closed, counting up to 30). Then we cantered and I could’ve close my eyes because I really couldn’t see anything anyway. But the motion and sounds of the ocean, the hoof-beats, breathing and wind in my face were extraordinary. My trust in my horse was equal to his trust in me.
Reliving this divine experience brought an intense flood of tears of gratitude and joy and this is where the magic of DNRS happens. We use these emotions to rewire our brains for healing. As we begin the DNRS practice, we all worry that our circumstances are unique, that we are special in an unlucky way. But the beauty of brain neuroplasticity is that we are all the same.
Follow this protocol and your brain does not have a choice, it’s just our biology at work. Our brains may kick and scream a bit, but if we persist, we heal because neurons that fire together, wire together. Stress and negative emotions make you sick. Joy and happiness heal. These are laws of human biology and yet virtually every recovery story features some version of an ecstatic person saying ‘I didn’t think it could work for me’.
The great innovation of Annie Hopper and Dr. Joe Dispenza is in creating and teaching tools and protocols that provide you with the leverage you need to overcome long-standing severe chronic illness (or cancer). Just knowing that stress sickens and joy heals is by itself of no use to people with years, decades or lifetimes of bad habits. I used affirmations for years to little effect. It takes much greater power to move the mountain that are your habits and the old emotional scars held in your body. And that’s what DNRS and Dispenza meditations give you: power enough to make real change.
All this may seem counter-intuitive to you because (from reading my blog) I sound like a friendly, optimistic and easy-going person. Well yes, but I was also raised with an extraordinarily high value on competency and independence and I became very ambitious. I’m highly analytical too. All of these traits encourage value judgments about everything and everyone.
In the end, thoughts become circumstances and emotions and my thoughts did not create an internal environment of peace and joy. Of course this is common! But for lots of other reasons, I especially needed peace and joy. And, it’s also a fact that illness is common too. And that’s why I’m sharing this.
One more thing about my experience with the Dispenza meditations – in a Youtube video, Dr. Joe describes what happens in the advanced workshops during ‘healings’ and other meditations. He talks a lot about trauma being trapped in the body and what it looks like when it gets released.
I experienced this a couple days ago – I had a vision about a trauma from when I was four or five years old that came near the end of the Blessing of the Energy Centers meditation.
At this stage in the meditation, I am always in that hazy semi-conscious state between sleep and wakefulness. On this day, I saw a vision of a dog rising up above me and then a vision of my self as a toddler rising up after the dog and began to cry and moan uncontrollably as I thought about how sweet, innocent, helpless and terrified I was at the time of this experience.
For more than 10 minutes I cried, shuddered and moaned until I was exhausted. Dr. Joe’s Walking Meditation began to play automatically and helped me calm myself and comfort my five-year-old self. The incident my vision referred to is something I know about from my parents – at that age, we spent a year living in Grenoble, France and on arriving, I was placed in a French preschool where they spoke no English.
At this particular preschool, discipline involved smacking the bare calves of the children with some sort of switch and or placing them in a room with a chained German Shepherd, presumably a guard dog. I didn’t speak French, so I would have had no way of understanding these things nor of communicating anything to the teachers.
Chances are, I was never disciplined. For one thing I’ve never had a fear of dogs or German shepherds, but the circumstances by themselves must’ve been exceedingly frightening. My parents also moved me to a better preschool when they discovered these things.
My hope is that through this release, my body will have freed up resources for repair and healing. That’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway and I do feel lighter.
Now, some favorite Dispenza testimonial videos:
And lastly, an update on mostly unrelated points:
- I’m tapering off hydrocortisone, down from 30mg to 17.5. Initially I was dropping too fast and now I think I’ll cut back another 2.5mg every 90 days.
- My ceruloplasmin dropped so I quit high dose vitamin D and Mito Synergy’s copper and rejoined the Morley Robbins tribe, now at TheRootCauseProtocol.com which is updated and much better organized. Looking forward to next labwork results in a few days after 4 months on the protocol.
- I quit using microcurrent to kill Candida and am using sunshine in very small doses. One minute of intense sun is just manageable.
- I quit Facebook, and all news except from NPR! Feels great.
- I’ll be turning off comments on all posts except for this one and going forward won’t be writing about anything that isn’t uplifting!