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Everything in this article has had the goal of leading you to this place--where you refuse to go back to business as usual. The physical therapists corroborate his point, though one of them has her doubts. The occupational therapist is of an entirely different point of view: she believes the patient is overdoing it, trying too hard and thereby placing her arms under too much strain. An argument ensues among the fifteen professionals present, with nine in favor of the first point of view and the remainder in favor of the other. When heated discussions did arise on the unit, however, they frequently escalated, revealing the core structural tensions and personal antagonisms, in large part because the chief of the unit was indecisive and not well respected. Bell has had eight surgical procedures--and these have, if anything, made the pain worse and significantly limited her range of motion and functioning--it might be necessary to consider a new and admittedly experimental surgical procedure that would attack the source of the problem itself: namely, those areas of her brain that are likely to be transmitting and amplifying pain signals. One of the residents waggishly asks if that will remove her anger center, too. The orthopedic surgeon is in strong disagreement with his neurosurgical colleague. This woman, he concludes, has had too much surgery already, and is suffering, in large part, from all the damage done by the surgery. The neurosurgeon shoots back that he only meant that the possibility for stereotactic brain surgery should not be ruled out. The chief anesthesiologist admits that nothing has seemed to work, including the nerve blocks and analgesics. Irina started to buy flowers and even took a flower-arranging course. She started using cooking to explore her feminine side, and had a friend teach her to put on makeup for special events. Her sexual preferences did not change, as they did not come from a place of wounding for her, but she became even more confident and clear about who she was and how she wanted to relate to others in a relationship. She found her relationships went much better now that she had the capacity to be up front and clear with anyone who expressed an interest in her. Charlotte had done a lot of previous mind-body work and noticed that the left side of her body and the right felt very different from one another. In this work, she immediately clued in to the fact that her right side was more feminine and her left side was masculine. Her masculine side revealed that she did not feel comfortable with aggression, anger, or stating what she needed in this world. Charlotte realized that she held a corrupted archetype of male based on what society told her a man should be, and how one should behave. She told this opposing force that she was ready for it to become more pure, or to take on its true form.

It revealed a warrior in gleaming armor. Where you find the courage to stop settling. Where you resolve never to go back to coasting and complacency and therefore miss all the magic. You were meant for more, and now that you are awake to it, lean in. Be fully present, and pay attention to the magic that can spark your wonder. As you pay attention right now, what are you feeling? Be mindful of whatever it is. Is it pain? What story are you giving that suffering? Is that story true? Do you feel worry? The junior behavioral psychologist points out, however, that though the behavioral treatment program has only reduced the daily pain from an 8 to a 6 in the patient's pain diary, it is still early in the course of her treatment and the trend is in a positive direction. He adds that the patient uses her anger to undermine the treatment program. There is a dispute about this, since one of the nurses feels the patient is cooking the articles to make the pain seem less severe on paper, while her pain behavior is very much the same as when she arrived on the ward. Another nurse breaks in, saying: We all know what chronic pain patients are like: they are all angry and self-destructive. What's so special about Mrs. The head nurse says she is special because she is so hostile and negative. Maybe we should discharge her before she causes a major problem on the unit, she suggests. Do you psychiatrists have anything you want to add? We only have a few minutes, because we have three other cases to get to, he cautions.

That's where I came in when I participated in this pain conference one spring afternoon in 1979. She then worked with her feminine side, and societal ideas about how she needed to be gentle and soft came up. She didn't relate to this, as she was in a male-dominated science field in which she needed to act stoic and intellectual and not draw attention to her femininity in order to be accepted. She asked the female aspect of herself what it needed, and it revealed that she could embody both softness and warrior qualities; She agreed to this, and her inner warrior turned into a fierce female warrior. She felt energy flow up through her midline and after the session reported talking to both sides of herself frequently in order to reconcile them. She now feels much more confident, and no longer feels divided between the two forces within her. Healing the Central Myth The central myth is at the core of our being. It is our sense of purpose, gives our lives meaning, and we follow it blindly. The path that we are on, or believe ourselves to be on, creates restrictive beliefs and actions that we can free ourselves from. Is it healthy fear that serves you well and tells you something valuable? Or is the dark side of your imagination at work, leading you to worry for no good reason? If it's helpful (and it probably is), write down how you're feeling--your pain, fears, delights. Assess where they're coming from. Grab a blank sheet of paper or open a journal, and grab a pen and write it down. Develop a regular practice of walking through this process. Imagine you are developing a character for a story. When screenwriters go through this process, even if the details don't make the final script, it's best to write from a deep understanding of the lead character in the story. How has the story you've lived thus far shaped and developed your character?

Start with what you know. I could have told the group that Mrs. Bell satisfied the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder, a treatable psychiatric disorder. But she had met these criteria for three years and had been treated on numerous occasions with appropriate doses of antidepressant medication without significant effect on her depression or pain. I could have told them that I had also interviewed her husband and had found him to be even more profoundly depressed than his wife. He had cried when he spoke of marrying a healthy, outgoing, lively woman who for most of their married life had been consumed by her illness and its treatment. He was at the end of his energy and personal and financial resources. He loved his wife but didn't know what to do. Her pain problem had affected every aspect of their lives and had deeply impaired his work as a minister. He knew it was blasphemous to state, but he felt God had let them down. He was unable to accept the chronicity of the pain, which sapped their vitality day by day, year after year. The Jungian concept of shadow is not neatly defined. It is not what we deem as bad or dark within us; We move through our lives blindly, acting out our wounds, the pain of our ancestors and past lives, and living according to the cultural, archetypal, and mythological structures of our world. Some of you may have utilized this article as a form of self-healing, which is wonderful and completely appropriate. We all have so many wounds, so many beliefs and fears we are operating under, that to have any of that lifted away is to experience a sense of freedom that not many know. But we can allow ourselves to travel farther down that proverbial rabbit hole and discover what holds and confines us and seek freedom from it. The work of seeking the central myth, as with much of the work seeking opposing forces and separate selves, is not intrinsically self-help, although the work will result in a great deal of change, including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. These forms of work are for those truly interested in diving deep and releasing whatever is keeping them caged, that is, whatever lies unknown, cast aside, or simply acted out repeatedly (looped) without awareness. Put more simply, seeking out your central myth is not likely to cure your knee pain.

Typically, the work on the knee, the inner children, and other similar subjects comes first, not because it is simpler or less valid but because it needs to be worked on first. Keep in mind that this is not a onetime step. This is a process that gets revisited regularly. For some, it's monthly. For others it could even be daily. Flipping your wonder switch may come with a major awakening that serves as a defining moment in your life, but we continue to wake up to more and more as we become more fully present and aware. The reality of the wonder switch is that it's a dimmer switch. You can turn it on or off, but it can also fade up and down. It is from this place of being fully awake and aware that you begin to see in ways that you never could before, permitting you to reimagine what you aspire to do and be. Many people attempt to work toward a goal, only to get stuck. It's often because they skipped this first step of awakening. His wife had become so terribly absorbed by the pain that she was unaware of what he was going through and inattentive to their two small children. She was unable to do even the lightest housework. Each day she withdrew to her room for long periods of time, unable to tolerate any noise or the usual commotion of a young family. Bell had lost confidence in the future and in the medical system. He had also began to doubt his own future. I could have told the group about my interview with Mrs. Bell, which was fairly typical of her interactions with the staff. Bell did not want to speak to me. She told me she did not have a psychiatric problem nor any other problem except for her pain.