Friday, October 23, 2015

Mind Change Day 23: Still Here

So here are the steps I've worked on in the DOCC/Back in Control Stage 3 for the last 2-3 months, all in the pursuit of recovery from my head injuries:


Step 1—Understand Awareness and Unawareness
All of us perceive ourselves as aware. It is a core identity. Any labels we have on ourselves or others, including “being aware” blocks us from actually being aware. It is first important to understand the various facets of awareness in order to “wake up”.
  • Learn about true awareness
  • Its role in the reprogramming process
  • Become aware of your “unawareness”
Four levels of awareness
  • Environmental
  • Emotional
  • Judgment/ “Stories”
  • Ingrained Behavioral Patterns

Step 2—Environmental Awareness-”Active Meditation”
Most people cannot control their mind with their mind.
  • The more you try to slow down your mind the faster your thoughts will race.
  • You can calm your mind with your body.
  • Using simple methods you can effectively connect your nervous system with the current moment.
  • It is a learned skill.
The term I use is “active meditation”.  It is the tool that will allow you to fully experience your day.
Step 3—Emotional Awareness
What you are not aware of can and will control you.
  • This step in some ways may be the most challenging part of the whole DOCC project. We don’t like negative feelings and we engage in many creative ways not to experience them.
  • Suppression of thoughts, emotions, and imagery consumes a tremendous amout of mental energy.
  • This is one of the parodoxes of the mind. As you become aware of your emotions and allow yourself to experience them they will lose their hold on you.
  • The first step is awareness.
Step 4—Judgment/ “Stories”
The vast majority of our lives are run on stories that we have about ourselves or others. Most of these stories are based on our own perception of reality and not actually grounded on what is actually happening.
Step 5—Ingrained Behavioral Patterns
Your life perspective is programmed into your brain during the first twelve years of your life.
  • EVERY interaction you experience the rest of your life emanates from that foundation.
  • If your parent’s baseline state was that of anxiety or anger then you will not be able to recognize it in yourself or others. It is your norm.
  • You have to be both open and determined to figure this one out.
  • You must also be humble.
  • Also remember that play pathways are permanently etched in pathways. They are not as difficult to rediscover.
“Unlearn Your Pain” by Howard Schubiner
“The Art of Living” by Epictetus (modern translation by Sharon Lebell)
Video: Cinema Paradiso – short version
Support person–this is the level where you will start looking upward and outward
  • Life coach
  • Psychiatrist/ psychologist
  • Religious leader
  • Healer

And here are the criteria to move onto Stage 4:


This stage has no time frame, as you will be referring back to it frequently.

That all sounded pretty much like what I've been doing so I declared myself graduated (as I did to Stage 2 with a dangerous sense of glee) and went to Stage 4. The first exercise is this:

Stage Four: First Step


When you are in chronic pain life becomes very heavy.  You evolve into a lifestyle that is just surviving.  You are just trying to keep your head above water dealing with a significant amount of stress.  Additionally, you are carrying a heavy pain burden.  You may have forgotten what it is like to live your life with deep joy and excitement about the possibilities.  I would suggest an exercise that I have personally found helpful.
  • Find a quiet time and place where you can just think and possibly go into a meditative state.  Think back to a time of your life when you were the happiest.
    • Then visually take yourself back there, trying to remember every possible detail about that era of your life.  Remember:
      • Dreams/ goals
      • Attitudes
      • Friends
      • Activities
      • Feelings and emotions around specific events
      • Spend as much time as you can with this exercise and repeat it a few times
      • Once you have really internalized that joyous period of your life then sit down again and fully experience your present life
        • Compare it visually to the era of your life when you were the happiest
        • Note the gap between then and now
        • Make a commitment to get that vision back
        • Write it down in as much detail about the kind of life you want to regain.
          • Don’t worry about creating a specific plan right now.
When I sat in this exercise I was aware, right away, of how painful, how mournful the experience was. And I was loathe to admit I wasn't ready to move on yet because I want to be a good patient and in control of my health and resolving things because I'm working really hard on this, which all comes down to...

my not accepting that I'm not in control of my recovery.

It may happen. It may not. I can control how much time and effort I put into this program, and into trying to improve my cognitive processing speed,my rate of speech, how much I make sense vs. veer left and right off topic like a bumper car.

But I can't make this happen with sheer will or perfect patienthood ;(.

I'm still firmly in Stage 3, and now I have to watch the video I skipped on perfectionism, because it's a problem.

I actually skipped the movie and videos above, because it's hard to listen to movies or videos. Reading is much easier. But I do believe that my brain  needs multiple inputs, in multiple formats, and after all I live live in three-dimensional technicolor and surround sound so I can handle these assignments. Then connect with my prior, most joyous life.


There's something about Silverlight I need to download but my computer keeps shutting down. Is that a sign? I'll let you know if I get through this...


Love, Lisa

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