In The DOC Journey, we have observed that the “shortcut” to healing is letting go of anger. You are then able to place your attention on what you want and your brain through the process of neuroplasticity, will respond with structural changes. You brain will develop wherever you place your attention, similar to learning a new language or athletic skill. You cannot move forward unless you can release yourself from the past – especially the distant past of which you have no control over.
If you won’t let go (and you do have a choice), you’ll become ill – and often with a serious illness or disease. That data is clear. Here is a link to a well-known Holmes-Rahe scale that lists and scores known sources of stress. If you score > 300 points, there is an 80% chance that you will experience serious health problems within two years.
We are all “geniuses” at suffering. We have to process it daily and most of us have not been taught the correct skills in processing stress. To become equally skilled at enjoying our lives requires repetition – of specific tools. Consider what this situation is doing to the players in this situation.
We were back East for a week on vacation and enjoying a beautiful spot on the Atlantic Ocean and on a large bay. It could not have been more idyllic. We were being shown around the area by our hosts and as we drove towards the end of the road, we came upon some smaller houses that looked like an inviting community. Then we came upon these signs.
We looked to the right and there was a nice looking fence that was about 100 feet long. But it was just a single partition with the only function being to block the neighbors view. This is all we know. Regardless of the reasons behind the construction of this barrier, from a neuroprogramming and health perspective this situation is a disaster.
Home is the place to relax and enjoy your friends and family – and your neighbors. So, every time you drive up your house, your nervous system and consequently your body’s chemistry is going be fired up. Your physiology is in a sustained flight or fight mode, and this scenario eventually not only destroys your quality of life, but your immune system attacks your own tissues causing many chronic diseases. It one of the reasons that not discussing your pain or medical care with others besides your providers has been such a necessary and powerful part of healing.
I could write a book on this topic of letting go, but I will ask you a question. “Why do want to keep someone in your life who you dislike or even despise?” You have given that person deep control. It is one of the least logical things we do in the human experience – giving up our power to live our own lives.
This is truly mortal combat. They are physiologically destroying each other. Who is going to let go? Or maybe, the actual issue is who is going to become seriously ill first and be forced to focus on more important issues such as staying alive.
Consider an alternative that my friend Bernie Siegal might suggest. Here is the blog he happened to share this week. Bernie Siegel is a surgeon and author of several books, including, Love, Medicine and Miracles. (1) He has also documented the stories of many terminal cancer survivors and still runs a group where they share their stories. Love and connection is the common theme. As destructive as hate is, love is an equally powerful healing force.
“Indeed, this need of individuals to be right is so great that they are willing to sacrifice themselves, their relationships, and even love for it.”
Author of The Miracle of Dialogue
Many people choose to be right rather than happy. They will argue to the bitter end about the “rightness” of their thoughts and actions. They do not care about what they are doing to the people they are arguing with.
Why do they behave this way? Are they perfect? No, few of us could claim to be that. They are simply unwilling to view their fallibility and confess to the weaknesses that come along with being human.
When you are willing to give up being right, you will find peace and happiness. It is when you are ready to learn that you will be right.
If you wish to be happy and free, give up having to be right all the time.
Think what could be possible if one of the neighbors adopted Bernie’s approach. If he senses someone who is upset, regardless of their behavior he says, “I love you.” What would the world be like? What about your own life?
1. Siegel, Bernie. Love, Medicine, and Miracles. Harper and Rowe, New York, NY, 1986.