Journal Entry #33
70, 000 thoughts a day.
On average, we entertain 70, 000 thoughts per day. The brain can only hold one thought at a time, so these thoughts must come in quick successions when there are only 86, 400 seconds in a day. Our brains don’t seem to rest, do they?
This is random thought #42, 703 that I find myself pondering today.
On Saturday, I left the house twice. I had a big sleep, but I was out and social and enjoyed myself. I honestly thought that the worst was behind me. Treatment is over, time to get strong, healthy and back to life…I have a plan and I really want to be better! Looking back, I think that Saturday was the calm before the storm.
The last 48 hours have been brutal. I let the pain get ahead of me and although my brain and body battled it out, I just couldn’t catch up…and I crashed. After several bouts of diarrhea and nausea that wouldn’t quit…I was physically weak. Stuck in my bed, in the dark (because any light or sound split my head open) all I had was me…and my thoughts.
All 70, 000 of them.
It only takes one negative thought, to bring in another negative thought which will invite another negative thought…and so on. When I acknowledged the pain I was feeling in my guts, I then realized that my head was slitting open in pain, then I thought about how shaky I was feeling and that I didn’t think I could do one more trip to the bathroom and then I thought about all that I was missing outside in the sunshine … down the rabbit hole I went.
I really was a mess by this point, crying and the whole bit. I didn’t want the kids to see me like that. I couldn’t open my eyes to talk to them and I shushed them to a whisper. Canyon laid with me for a while, just holding my hand. Then he cut up an apple to help me stop shaking and got me a Gatorade with a straw. Still I cried. Defeated in the darkness.
Canyon called Daddy.
Daddy came home.
Which made me cry harder. Because he had important work to do as the Field of Dream Tournament was still wrapping up…and I was preventing him from doing good work for the community. Thankfully, the village stepped up to help him out so that he could come and be with me. He rubbed my back and talked calmly to me, had me sip fluids and breathe deeply. He found the right Cannabis blend and I dropped it under my tongue AND inhaled fully. It took me almost two hours to finish the apple.
Finally sleep took me.
The cramping came back. So did the tears. More Cannabis. The cycle repeated. Again, again and again. Basically, the last 48 hours have sucked.
Thought #56, 871 – I wonder if what I have been going through is similar withdrawl? I am experiencing a ridiculous amount of pain, well, not really pain, but I don’t know what else to call it?…whatever it is I can’t take any more of it. It is like all of my senses are hypersensitive and I am at maximum capacity for input but the twitchy, itchy, bugs crawling under my skin keeps pushing the limits feeling like I am on the verge of exploding. I know the parasites are dead, but you know what I mean? Like spiders crawling up your legs and across your face? And sweat with cramps and a migraine in your whole body…
I think you get the idea, and I don’t need to complain. In this moment, I am not in that state, thankfully. As I reflect, I can clearly see that I not only let the pain get ahead of me but the thoughts too. I am not sure I could have withstood that kind of pain and been thinking about butterflies and roses at the same time. Early on in the process I was telling myself that this is only temporary, that I can do it, that it will pass…but I just wasn’t able to hold on to that frame of mind…
Once Tim was with me, and reminding me that I can do it, reminding me of all the people who are sending love and praying for us, letting me know that I am not alone…the ease and flow and the higher caliber thoughts started to show themselves again. It is a dark place to be when you are alone. Thank goodness I have a person who knows how I tick. I wrapped myself in a beautiful prayer blanket that was gifted to me by one of Tim’s co-workers wives (whom I have never met) from their Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. What a beautiful, meaningful gift that truly felt like love wrapping around me in those very lonely moments.
Thought #37, 403- I learned a few years ago in Hypnosis Training with the legend Mike Mandel, how powerful words are, whether they are words we speak aloud, or words we speak internally to ourselves. Words have a vibrational frequency. For example, when I ask how someone is feeling, and they reply with “fine” or “good” – I don’t believe them. I hear an invitation to listen more deeply, or ask more questions. Fine isn’t a feeling. Good isn’t a feeling. It’s a grey area, a state of indecisiveness or indifference. Just close your eyes and say the word GOOD and listen to how your body feels. Now close your eyes and say the word AWESOME and listen to how your body feels. See? Our words hold a direct key to our feelings.
For those of you reading along, you may have noticed that I haven’t said “I have Leishmaniasis” in any of my posts. Or that I haven’t referred to these bugs as “my bugs” or “my wounds”. I am consciously aware of what I am choosing to attach to. I will never be able to be free of these bugs if I keep claiming them with ownership. I am experiencing Leishmaniasis. This is an experience of bugs living in my flesh. The brain is very literal, it will claim what we tell it to claim. It will find what we tell it is lost. It will identify with what we label ourselves with.
What do you do when you lose your keys? You look for them, until you find them. Do you ever wonder why it is so hard to lose weight? Your brain will instruct you to find that which you have lost. A more powerful language option might be “weight management” or “lifestyle change” the brain knows how to release the weight then knowing that it won’t have to look for it again in the future.
“I have cancer.” No. You are experiencing Cancer. Let go of that. Say “this cancer” or “that cancer” but please never “MY cancer” – never “My diabetes” or “My sciatica”… You cannot be free of it if you are identifying with it, claiming it and calling it your own. Do that with your family, friends, your pets and prized possessions…but not with illness of ANY kind (or an ex-partner for that matter).
Flipping the switch is easy, it is the discipline to keep switching it that can be challenging and exhausting. My hope is that soon, it will just be a default setting…until then, I will continue to retrain the thinking of thoughts in my own brain. Considering that I have on average 70, 000 thoughts a day, and there are only 86, 400 seconds in a day to reframe them, I am gonna cut myself some slack and chalk the last 48 hours up to a rough ride through a lesson that has just shown me EXACTLY how powerful those thoughts can be and how quickly they turn into a feeling that translates to a physical experience.
So, what did I really learn?
Thoughts are powerful, they create our reality and even in the darkest of moments, we always have the choice to choose the good ones. And when it is too dark to do it ourselves, it is then that we must ASK our people for help and lean into the love from our village, lean into our faith. We are not alone. Just as the sun will rise tomorrow, the light will return.
It always does.