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Tag Archives: multiple sclerosis

How Gratitude Has Led Me To Give Back To Others

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
~ John Wooden

 

As a sit here reflecting on the book launch of “I Don’t Dwell,” I’m in awe.  When I think of my recovery, a deep sense of gratitude fills my body and tears begin to well up.  I think of Lou Gehrig who had ALS, when he said “I feel like I’m the luckiest man alive”.

practices to settle the mindHow did I survive that car accident at 6 years old?

How did I survive being suicidal with bipolar?

How did I survive with being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

I survived because I had no choice.  I like to think that I was in control of my life, but looking back I can see that I had very little control.  I was placed on this Earth for reasons unknown to me, only known by God.  As Einstein once said “God doesn’t throw dice”.  There are no mistakes and no luck; there is a divine plan unknown to us.

The only thing I know for certain is that I can control how I react and respond to my thoughts. That sounds so simple, but it wasn’t easy. It took time to see that I had thoughts, but they were not my thoughts.  Through my five minute daily practice I was starting to get separation from my thoughts.  It took a lot of vigilance to stick with the practice. My thoughts were in my face, yelling and screaming at me that I wasn’t good enough or wasting my time. These thoughts were impossible to ignore at times, but the more I ignored the mind the quieter the mind became.

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Newly Diagnosed With MS? Here Is Some Advice

When I was diagnosed with my various ailments, I read everything I could about the diseases.   I became a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.

Newly Diagnosed with MSThere was a problem with knowing all this information: my mind had a habit of believing that everything I read would happen to me.

With multiple sclerosis, there’s a lot of discussion around fatigue.   This gave me the belief that I was supposed to be tired all the time.  Then I took medication to combat the fatigue.

With bipolar, I wasn’t supposed to be dependable.   Which added to the stigma of mental health, that I’m not supposed to be dependable and worthy.

Not being worthy created a lot issues with self-esteem, and I felt that I wasn’t good enough.  These ‘not good enough beliefs’ added to the suicidal thoughts.

I would’ve been a lot better off not reading anything about my diseases, and instead simply living life to the best of my ability.   However, this was not my mind’s default behavior.  My mind enjoyed acquiring information.   Then my mind took all this information and played games:  What if this happens? My future life is going to look like this with my diseases, etc.

My mind loved to play the dwelling-in-thought game, which added additional stress.  This additional stress lead to more diseases.

If you are newly diagnosed with MS, my advice would be to stop reading about your ailments, and go live life.

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Multiple Sclerosis Took Away My Coordination. I Could No Longer Juggle, Until I Could.

Multiple Sclerosis A year after my MS attack my coordination remained very poor.   Before then, I was a decent juggler — I could juggle five balls and three clubs. Juggling required the ability to throw a ball or club into a specific spot. Throwing anything with my left arm was a challenge, trying to throw anything to a specific spot was impossible.

During this time I frequently had vertigo when bending over. When I juggled it was natural for me to drop things occasional and vertigo had to be avoided. My body had lost the ability to juggle. The body was badly damaged from the MS, I had to say goodbye to juggling. I sold my good clubs and gave away the other props.

About 10 years have passed since my MS (Multiple Sclerosis).   Juggling was a distant memory that wouldn’t be revisited, the body is too damaged.

This past weekend I attended Radical Adventure Day (RAD2014) in New York City. It was part adventure, scavenger hunt, and networking event. My new friend Michael Roderick that I met in LA at the Instigator Experience was running this event. It sounded like fun and signed right up.

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A World of Fear

world of fearI found myself on a stretcher being pushed into a bright room with a lot of noise and commotion. The next morning I woke up to find tubes connected to me, connected to all sorts of machines keeping me alive. I suffered head trauma, a broken hip and a broken arm.   I was 6 and I’d been hit by a van.

By my twenties, I’d completely lost reality. One day I’m role playing with Brad Pitt for the movie “12 Monkeys.” Another day I’m staring at a bottle of sleeping pills wondering why I should continue to live.

By my thirties I lost the ability to take care of myself. One day I found myself unable to walk.

By my forties I was a walking train wreck.  Suffering was “normal.”   In my twenties I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In my thirties I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was also diagnosed with a few other things along the way to keep life interesting.

I read all I could about my various diseases, usually focusing on all the bad stuff contained within the books. I had discussions with my doctors to confirm what I read was true — they probably said it could happen which I turned into “will happen.”

I was trapped in the world of fear. I was convinced that all the stuff I read would happen to me. I had no realization that I gave up responsibility of my health over to the doctors. It was the doctor’s job to fix me — they were the “knowledgeable” ones. In my world, there was nothing I could do.  I was destined to live a life of suffering since there is no cure for my ailments.

Being disabled, I watched a lot of TV.   I was a couch potato watching up to 10 hours of TV a day on the weekend.   I would go get some exercise at a gym but TV watching was my primary hobby.   I loved ghost hunting shows.   I didn’t know if it was real or not – it was entertaining.   I saw a tweet from a Ghost Hunter for an upcoming hunt in the city at a paranormal location.   I was tired of MS limiting me so I decided to sign up and attend for an hour, going for the whole event wouldn’t have been possible.  For an hour I could push myself through it.

I researched the location and found the most active “hot” spot for paranormal activity.    I will see for myself it is real or fake.   At the event, I joined up with a group going to this location.  I saw something I could not explain – flashlights turning on and off by themselves as requested from the group.

This is real!

I had to learn more about what I saw.  For the first time ever I read book on spirituality.   I stumbled upon a book that mentioned meditation.   One benefit of meditation got my attention — inner peace.  The bipolar mind was not peaceful.   I really wanted inner peace.

I started to meditate,   it was hard.   The mind was non-stop with “you’re wasting your time.”

I pushed onward with a small 5 minute practice daily – doing my best to ignore the negative mind chatter.   As time went on it became a little easier and I was able to slowly increase the amount of time I was able to sit.   The mind was growing quieter.

As the mind grew quieter I was able to examine the thoughts.  I saw all the fake crap and drama that the thoughts produced.  I saw that the mind was not keeping me in this moment.   The thoughts were pulling me into the past or creating a future that doesn’t exist.  While in meditation I was in this moment,   watching these thoughts drift by.   The real work began when I tried to stay in the moment while not in meditation.   I saw the mind had a story for everything it saw.   In time, I mastered staying in this moment.

It was funny — I was able to detect the bullshit from other people – their lies.   However, I failed to see the bullshit coming from my own mind.   I saw that that I was one with my thoughts (no separation) —   I was waste deep in shit but couldn’t see it since I was too close.  Some thoughts are useful but most thoughts are crap.  I am now able to spot the lies from the mind clearly.   Only took 40 odd years to figure it out.

Once I had clarity with my thoughts,   fear dropped away.   Fear keeps us safe when there is a real danger,   however most fear comes from the mind which is creating a false scenario (crap).   Without fear and not believing the nonsense from the mind I no longer suffer.

I began to wonder why my doctors did not talk about holistic approaches to health for myself.  They were more than willing to give me a pill,  but never once mentioned meditation.   I saw from meditation even a bipolar mind can be tamed.   Mediation is considered spirituality and folks shy away from that term.   People are moving away from spirituality and into the scientific community.

This scientific community is more than scientists and doctors.   It is the media, other organizations, and the government that promotes an agenda usually based in fear.   They know that most people live in fear and they capitalize on this fear.    They have the money to saturate the airwaves and internet with their agenda.

When I look at the world today, I see folks that have become too dependent on the “knowledgeable” people (the scientific community) and in the process they have inadvertently given up responsibility for their own health.    I urge people to stop giving all their attention to this community and go find out what is true for them.

Find a holistic approach that allows you to find your own truth – our own unique path to the truth.   No one will have the same exact path, and no one can give it to you — they can only help point the way.   When you are aware of the truth it is easier to see the real needs of the body/mind.   For some that is medications and therapy for me it was meditation and yoga.

Without the bullshit from the mind —   Are your fears real? Have you given up responsibility for your health?   What does the body really need?

Go inside and explore the mind!

 

Radical Transformation: The End of Suffering

sufferingI lived a life of suffering. I had numerous experiences that caused suffering: being hit by a van, being diagnosed with numerous life-threatening diseases, being disabled, among other things. I was a mess!

Suffering comes in all forms: diseases, emotional distress, or current life circumstances

I have learned that life you gives whatever experience you need at this time to get out of the story of me. Each experience that life presents to you is offering you a chance to let go of the story. The universe wants you to discover your true nature. When we awaken to our true nature, you see how the mind is creating a story that this experience shouldn’t be.

When I was nearly killed by a van, the mind began to create a story that this should not have happened to me: “I was a good boy. I didn’t deserve to be hit.” But why not me? I wasn’t special. I wasn’t immune to the various experiences that life has to offer. Life is always giving us what we need for our spiritual growth.

You may dislike the lesson, but it is how it is. If you ignore the lesson, life will keep presenting it in different forms until you learn and grow from it. If this lesson is unpleasant, accept it regardless then look to see what actions can be taken to change it.

If you look at suffering as a teacher you will perceive it differently. I was taught/ attuned to Reiki, a healing technique — it was an effective tool for healing. One day I received an insight that I should not be healing anyone. I was taking away a lesson from this person. If I healed a person but they did not learn a life lesson from their illness or disease then it would come back. Maybe not in the same exact way, but life will always present the same lessons over and over until you learn and grow. We are spiritual beings in a human body, our purpose here is to experience life as a human and to learn something from this experience (karma).

No one person (doctor, healer, guru) or thing (medicine, herbs) can permanently remove your suffering. They can provide a temporary fix, but the lesson you need to learn will remain. Only you can change your suffering permanently — it is your karma. You have immense power to end your suffering, and when you learn the lesson then the suffering will stop. You are you own guru. You have to do the work — no one can do it for you.

You can learn from any experience by being here fully in this moment. The mind will distract you with endless chatter that this shouldn’t be and cause you to run away from the issue. The mind causes resistance to this moment — what we resist persists. Regardless of the situation, face it head on.

Without our thoughts that create a story that this shouldn’t be — suffering stops. Suffering originates from mind. The mind is creating a story. The body may still be impacted, but you have accepted the situation.  Look at the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking — he has ALS. Most folks with ALS die within five years; he’s had it for over 50 years. He has accepted his disease and the universe has rewarded him with a long life span and he has made a dramatic impact on society. If he kept stating, “Poor me,” and dwelt in those thoughts, it is unlikely we would know who he is today.

When you accept the disease rather than deny its existence you are not activating the body’s fight or flight responses which release the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol will make any health issue worse, and it will create additional diseases. Any fear based emotions will activate the body’s flight or fight response — anxiety, worry, and stress.

When I let go of the story my mind created about the diseases: I’m disabled, I have MS, I am bipolar, etc. Something amazing happened and I healed — the diseases went away. It defies logic and the medical community calls it “a spontaneous healing,” as there is no scientific explanation. I simply stopped believing my thoughts that were creating a story that I was sick. I stopped dwelling in thoughts, and developed a new mantra: “I don’t dwell.”

Through practice you learn not to believe the nonsense generated from the mind. Some thoughts are useful, but 90 percent of the thoughts are garbage. Garbage that is keeping us stuck in the past or projects a false future. My mind created a future that had me stuck in a wheelchair, that never came true but those thoughts consumed me. The only thing that is real is in this moment — in that moment I was not in a wheelchair.

You practice being in the present moment by completely accepting the situation, and then you look for actions to change the situation if it is not desirable.

Here are two practices to try:

Meditation: See my article on how I broke free from the bipolar brain.

Mindfulness: See my article if meditation isn’t for you. “Meditate.  No way, I can’t do that!”

Through practicing being in this moment, you learn how to interrupt the thought stream of thoughts. When you interrupt the thoughts your story of suffering drops away.

Your body may remain a broken down vehicle regardless of any actions, but the suffering will stop when completely accept the situation.

I am here to support you,  to help you find your way out of suffering.

I have created a closed Facebook group.  The whole world cannot see what you post, only the members of the community. There are numerous paths to get out of your story, you simply need to find the way for you. When you find the way, you will make a radical transformation and suffering will stop.

“I Don’t Dwell” – The End of Suffering

Look for the join button on the right side and I will approve the request.

Be well!