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Feeding the wolf vs. lancing the boil

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, May 19, 2012.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to share with you one of my absolute favorite stories about PPD/TMS that came up today in our PPD/TMS drop in chat. It's an old Cherokee legend about a man and his grandson.
    While the story is ostensibly about about morality, I think that it applies to so many other areas of our life, in particular to our PPD.

    For example, if we become preoccupied with our symptoms and whether they are getting better or worse, then we are feeding that wolf and it will grow.

    Likewise, if we are afraid of our PPD and we let that fear rule us, then we feed the fear and the fear only gets stronger.

    This idea seems similar to the learned nerve pathways. The more we reinforce those nerve pathways, the stronger the nerve pathways become and the harder it is to unlearn them.

    Of course, on a public forum like this, there is an additional concern that we can trigger others as well by ruminating over our symptoms and fear. People with PPD tend to be very suggestible, so that when we hear about a symptom, we tend to get it. Likewise, if we hear each other's fear, we tend to remember our own.

    On the other hand, sometimes sharing a common experience is exactly what everyone needs and we grow stronger by realizing that we are not alone. It's all about finding the right balance.

    Of course, sometimes we have something deep inside that needs to be expressed, and expressing it is like lancing a boil, relieving an internal pressure. Only we are able to tell whether we are lancing a boil or feeding a wolf. However, as one wise man once said, "If one thing isn't working, try another." In other words, if you starving the wolf isn't working, try lancing the boil. If lancing the boil is getting you nowhere, try not feeding the wolf.

    By listening to our intuition and figuring out which approach to take, experimenting with different techniques until we learn what is best for us in any given situation, we become like scientists, figuring out what works best for us and building of a bedrock of accepting the diagnosis, thinking psychologically, and resuming activity.

    In this sense, healing our PPD is pretty simple. We just learn about ourselves educate ourselves as needed, and keep studying what we need. We can help each other by sharing tips with each other and asking for feedback when we need it. But fundamentally we must do the work of learning about the diagnosis and figuring out what needs to be expressed and when it is time to starve the wolf of inner tension.

    Anyway, I hope you find the story helpful. I'd be interested to hear about what others have learned about themselves. When is it best to lance the boil? When is it time to starve the wolf?
    Kelley, Simplicity, Lavender and 4 others like this.
  2. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Thank you Forest for a wonderful depiction of the polarities within ourselves in such a wonderful Cherokee narrative. I heard this Cherokee story before but the way you reflected on it was very helpful and contextualised it to the TMS story.

    When I discovered the Lord of the Rings narrative, my favourite character became Gollum. I found that he depicts the constant battle within to liberate and/or to imprison the developing 'self'. The unhealthy Gollum certainly embodies the black wolf, and yet, there is this beautiful creature in Gollum that emerges at some point and that is the opposite of the dark Gollum. Fear and anger, betrayal, deception and neglect fuel the dark side of Gollum. This is true for many of us.

    I am on the fifth day of the program and have read 6 of Monte Hueftle's posting. They are oh so wonderful! It is so exciting to be working on a journey of personal development which intrinsically calls for the acknowledgement of the self's deepest intent and also solicits the taking of responsibility for the steps we must take.

    I feel that I am growing so fast, it is as if all of a sudden after having had months and months of reading (and pain), my journey has sped up to a psychological velocity unknown before. I am going at the speed of light, I can feel the G force and last night at 02:00 am it caught with me. I will post a harrowing, yet wonderful experience I had last night. It may help others.

    Forest thank you for keeping this forum so vibrant! It is an intrinsic part of the journey of personal and spiritual growth to keep connected with others undergoing similar experiences. I am so thankful and praise everyone of you for being so positive, so encouraging. I am privileged to be walking with masters and students of spiritual alchemy.

    Have a most refreshing, blessed and healing weekend!
    Forest and Enrique like this.
  3. veronica73

    veronica73 Well known member

    I was worried about that initially, but I haven't picked up other people's symptoms, maybe because I know it's all just TMS anyway. I do notice how much people (not here, just in general) talk about TMS-type illnesses. Usually it doesn't get to me; sometimes I just have to walk away from it and think of Louise Hay's affirmation, "that may be true for them but not me."

    Quasar, glad to hear you are doing so well!
    Enrique likes this.
  4. chumba

    chumba Peer Supporter

    Thanks for that great post.

    I made a decision recently to use Google and forums carefully, in my experience they can be a wonderful support but they can also feed the evil wolf. In particular I no longer Google symptoms. I do find this forum to be very positive and it is supporting my journey.
    Solange likes this.
  5. quasar731

    quasar731 Well known member

    Thank you Veronica. I hope you are doing well too. I find this forum very positive, even when others post painful experiences. I depart from the point of view that they do not belong to me. Each one of us own our own story. So long as we share it in a balanced way and show the tools that we pick up along the way to do it every time more successfully. I see the postings as tool boxes, full of different tools to be used by different people building toward a common goal, freeing of the self and personal development. Our experiences can help others to navigate their own experiences with much ease. I already found out that such is the case as the people in this forum share their experiences and the strategies they used to overcome issues. There is so much hope and so much to learn and so much to achieve.
    Have a healing and blessed week!
  6. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Bingo! This is the key to me. We all got here for different reasons and we're all going to recover in different ways. Our experiences and life situations are all different - no two of us have had the same road to follow. So it makes sense that it's up to each of us to find our own way to healing. Of course there is a lot of help here as well as wise words. But this simple statement, to me, says it all.

  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is a brilliant move and crucial to recovery! Googling symptoms can be incredibly toxic as it gets us thinking physically rather than psychologically. It also gets us focused on our body which is exactly the goal of the entire distraction pain strategy.

    When we Google symptoms, we start getting afraid and become primed to become more afraid in the future. We are at the mercy of the pain strategy, which has us completely distracted from what we need to be focusing on and, instead, caught up in our worry.

    I always anyone who has health concerns to see a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions that could possibly harm them. After you have confirmed that you are safe to try the PPD/TMS approach (I believe that this is called a form of "conservative treatment" in medical lingo, but confirm with your doctor), I say leave the doctoring to the doctors and start ignoring the symptoms. Think emotionally, not physically!

    HilaryN and I actually had a very interesting discussion of this in the early days of the wiki. We had a section of the wiki called "Specific Symptoms & Diagnoses," and, if I remember correctly, we were discussing having other information besides success stories in this section of the wiki. If I remember correctly, HilaryN didn't like that idea because, in the end, it's all just TMS/PPD or it's equivalents. Thinking about different symptoms as different only sets us back because it gets us thinking physically when, in actuality, it is just a distraction pain syndrome. It's all the same thing!

    I think that there is tremendous wisdom in that point. Of course, in a web site this large, decisions must weigh a multitude of different factors. At first I had felt that because newcomers are so used to thinking about their symptoms and diagnoses that we should have special pages focused on symptoms and diagnoses, so that they could learn that those symptoms and diagnoses are really just TMS. Later on, they would realize that it's best not to think about symptoms as different entities and rather to just think of them all as TMS/PPD.

    In the end, we ended up deciding to go with Hilary's idea because it just made a better title. People simply want to be able to find success stories simply. As I said, many different factors must be incorporated for any decision on a website of this size!

    Anyway, here's the section of the wiki if people want to explore it: Success Stories by Symptoms & Diagnoses

    Hilary's success story is great as well. It can be found here: http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/1-my-new-video-peer-blog.99/#post-607

    I'll also let Hilary know about this thread. She's got a terrific understanding of TMS and can correct me if I misremembered anything. (Not that at this point it really matters:).)
  8. HilaryN

    HilaryN New Member

    Yes, I remember that. I think it's a great idea having the success stories by symptom so people can identify with them, but as you said above, no point getting too focussed on the symptoms.
  9. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    I too think it's a good idea to have success stories that relate to what we have when we get here. I went in search of SI joint issues, but only found a few when I first joined the wiki. Have to say that Panda's story was the most inspirational to me. But then again she had what I did so it resonated.

    This is the "hook" I believe. We find someone who has worked through this and succeeded. They have the same thing we do (or worse), so we want to try and emulate their success. I think the wiki and its success stories are fine the way it's set up. One can already locate the stories that they find the most helpful.

    At this point, I am energized and encouraged by all the NEW members and the progress they're making.

    quasar731 likes this.
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I really believe this to be true, and it makes a lot of sense in my own recovery. There are a lot of ways to stop paying attention to the pain and stop feeding the "evil" wolf. In my case it came down to accepting the diagnosis in the sense that I accepted the fact that I didn't have a structural problem and did not have to fear about seriously hurting myself. Part of this really is to simply stop caring about our pain levels, which it sounds like you are beginning to do. To some extent it may be helpful to not think about what level of TMS acceptance you have or where you are at. Simply believe you have TMS and try not to focus on all of the other stuff.

    Part of this comes down to understanding where our focus is and where our energy is going to. Monte Hueftle has a terrific exercise in his article the Energy Circuit. In it he writes:

    Try this exercise. It is an awesome way to become acutely aware of where you are wasting energy or having it depleted from you. This also means becoming aware ofhow you are creating inner tension which is manifesting into chronic soreness, spasms, pain and other tms symptoms. Begin to interpret any physical symptom as a signal that you are losing energy.
    Draw a Stick Man. This stick-man is You. Draw a line out from the body (This is a thought energy circuit) Label this circuit "Work". How much of your energy do you spend on your work life? Maybe you say 40%. Of this 40% how much is productive energy and how much is (worry, controlling, being self-conscious, striving). For an example, you decide 20% is productive work focus and 20% is wastedin the chronic thought patterns. Note the 20% that is being wasted.​
    Now be even more specific. Draw a line out from the body to a specific person that holds a lot of your attention. Is the energy focused on this person positive/uplifting or is it depleting you (you are holding onto anger or trying to control or please this person)? Again note the % of energy being depleted from you.​

    Draw another energy circuit and label this one - Pain Disorder. How much of your day is spent focusing on the pain, what is wrong, how will I fix it, who will fix it, am I getting better, when will I get better, what if I don't get better. The % you put here is 100% wasted energy. In these physical pain disorders this means you are being distracted and the pain disorder has you. You are stuck and in the pain cycle and it will not let you go.​

    Continue this exercise. Go through yourpersonal relationships, work life, financial life, past life (areas where you are holding onto anger or resentment or guilt), future life (areas where you are holding onto "when I get the perfect job, enough money, the right significant other). Note has much wasted, tension generating thought energy you are spending in each of these areas. This is really powerful emotional/mental awareness that you can soon use to help you reverse this pain disorder.​

    I really love this exercise because it can help us identify where our thought processes are. Simply understanding this can help us get better, because it helps us understand where our energy and thoughts are at.
    quasar731 likes this.
  11. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this thread, Thanks Guys
  12. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Scientist and New York Times bestselling author, Rick Hansen, comes down on the side of "Feeding the wolf" in the following video, drawing from his extensive knowledge of neuroscience. For the first half of the talk, he teaches us the cutting edge neuroscience that backs up the story of the two wolves. He starts by telling the story of traumatic experiences in his childhood that left a "hole in his heart." Later on, he describes the neuroscience that can be used to fill this hole.

    Starting at about 12:38, he actually tells the story of the two wolves! He then talks about how it is important for all of us to "feed the wolf of love." The title of the talk is "Take in the Good:"

  13. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find a blog post that builds on the video in my last post. I think the way that it connects ancient wisdom to cutting edge science is brilliant.

    People often talk about the power of affirmations and the benefits of positive thinking, and I believe that they can do a lot of good.

    Neuroscience explains why. It's called neuroplasticity.

    The Wolf You Feed
    A Cherokee Legend

    Although attributed to the Cherokee people, Joseph Campbell pointed out that mythology transcends geography or nationalities. There are many forms of this legend around the world. If anyone isn’t familiar, let’s recap.

    It begins where an old man is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight goes on within each of us. It is a fight between two wolves. One is evil.” He then goes on to list the aspects of being and behavior his culture saw as negative. “The other is good.” And this time he listed the attributes his culture exalted. His grandson thought about this, and asked, “which wolf will win?” The grandfather simply replies, “the one you feed.”

    This story has lost much of its novelty, doesn’t get paid much serious attention anymore, and that’s unfortunate, because whether we pay it heed or not, the dynamic is still in motion, licking its chops. Perhaps it’s time to take a new look at an old idea, and see what our current world has to offer toward increasing this concept’s relevance. What if the Wolves were Neural Pathways in your brain?

    Neural Wiring and Plasticity

    Recently, neuroscience has made enormous leaps that throw many of our previous notions out. Where we used to think the brain was physically static, we’ve learned that it’s incredibly plastic, and we can build neurons and new pathways.

    In fact, the brain works remarkably like most muscles in the body. When you regularly need to lift something, your body sends nutrients into the area to build that muscle. With each repetition of that task, your body becomes more and more adept and able to perform. If on the other hand, you don’t use a part of your body on a regular basis, your brain’s smart resource allocation system doesn’t waste nutrients, and that part atrophies.

    This is exactly what happens in your brain when it comes to neural pathways. Habits are merely well worn neural paths. When we repeatedly send neurotransmitters down the same pathway, those neurons anticipate the communication, which becomes faster. Since most of the chatter going on isn’t conscious, we’re doing all kinds of wiring that may not be in our own best interest. By increasing our mindfulness and approaching all this wiring from a more intentional position, we can have a vast impact on our own thinking, thus our lives.

    Choosing Who to Feed

    Bringing neural plasticity into the Legend, you can see that they were onto something, even if they didn’t realize it was neuroscience. Simplifying things to the dualistic good and evil helps, but we know that life is more complicated than that. If we develop criteria that’s more about serving the greater good, self included, we can remove all the peripheral noise around shame, blame, righteousness, and so forth. Those stir up silt from the bottom of the stream, obscuring a clear vision.

    Instead, we can focus on building the strongest, healthiest, and most useful brains possible. As an example, let’s talk about the two wolves called Optimism and Negativity. The battle between these two wolves ranges from our conscious to our subconscious mind. As always, when we’re about to embark on a new exercise regime, we begin with extra Mindfulness. We need to pay extra attention, so we can be on top of what‘s going on, and make sure that we’re doing what we mean to be doing.

    Some of us naturally lean toward the Optimistic wolf, and some of us toward the Negative one. Regardless of our “starting fitness,” we can always improve by doing our exercises regularly, mindfully, and without cheating (talking about them, without doing them.)

    First, we need to focus on the Optimistic wolf. Get to know him or her; what does he or she mean to you, and how does that connection feel in your body. Get to know that feeling. If you’re not familiar with how Optimism feels, you can’t know when you’re in that state. What’s your posture like? Feel that and “memorize” the feeling. What’s your language like when you’re Optimistic? How do you say things? What’s your response to a challenge when you’re Optimistic? Make note of this. You’re getting to know the wolf you want to feed. Now, focus on the Negative wolf. Do all the same exercises we just did with Optimism. Feel your posture. Hear your tone of voice. Know this wolf too. Now you’re ready for the “bench-press.”

    Every time you hear or feel any Negative wolf cues, catch yourself and stop. Focus on the Optimistic wolf cues, and consciously shift your attention there. Focus hard on the Optimistic wolf, and follow the feelings, thoughts, actions, and language that fit him or her. Your mind may wander, sliding into negativity. Catch it, stop, and re-aim your focus. Each time you take it from one to the other, you’re doing another “rep” with the barbell of your brain. The neural pathways to the Optimistic wolf get fed; enriched with neurotransmitters and nutrients. It gets easier and easier, until it becomes a habit.

    Remember, this example is only one of hundreds of shifts that you can create in your brain. As you determine what serves you and others, and what doesn’t, you can devise this same shifting practice. The wolf you feed is the one that thrives.
    BloodMoon, Misha, Ryan and 2 others like this.
  14. Seraphina

    Seraphina Peer Supporter

    Hi Shanshu,
    I read your success story post and then came here. It's pretty encouraging to read your story that you recovered with outcome independence. It seems you had big anxiety with the joint sound. I do too!!! My wrist makes popping sounds--when the clicking/popping happens, there is no actual pain. But there is soreness/tingling when I'm not using my wrists. I'm 90% sure the leftover pain is TMS, but the popping sound when I twist the wrist is very annoying and feels quite physical. As I was concerned with the sound, I felt more pain on the wrist. and then reading your story relieved some.

    I saw many people here commented they are benign, and I was dealing with the sound quite well supported by those comments. However, I sometimes can't help myself annoyed and preoccupied with the joint sound. How did you achieve the outcome independence on those joint sounds?
    Any words will be really helpful. Thank you!
  15. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    My joint popping was very concerning,. each morning Id wake and do several twists of my entire spine and neck. Its sounded like a crisp* bag being crumpled and people are very shocked when they hear it.
    It fed the belief that ''my back is f$%ked!'' and was the only way i could relieve the uncomfortable tension.
    Now my belief is that the tension in the muscles is pulling at the spinal structures very slightly and this is remedied by the cracking.

    *Over in Ireland and the UK, a crisp is the term used for chips. We also call French fries, Chips!
  16. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

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