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By Julia Gumm

One of the first things people ask when learning about the mind-body connection is, what in the world can one do to change their thoughts? Especially subconscious ones?

It’s a good question, and there are a few ways to address that, but one thing you must first get out of the way is whether or not you might actually rather be chronically unwell.


Lately, I’ve been devouring the work of Caroline Myss. Myss is a ?medical intuitive? which means she can sort of glance you over, see where in your body you’re ?leaking energy?, and based on that, predict and diagnose illness. Whoa, trippy stuff, I know. But the lady has a 93% accuracy rate, so I have more faith in her than say, Latoya Jackson and her Psychic Friends Network.

Whether or not Myss can do what she’s famed for doing is up to you to decide. But through her work, she’s discovered something interesting. ?

Myss originally proceeded from the notion that all people want to be well. Who wants to be sick? But a few years into her practice, she came to understand something curious. Some people don’t deeply want to heal. Oh sure, on a superficial level they are seeking relief from pain, but they aren’t ready to be ?well? because being well means a whole different interaction with the world. Well people can take care of themselves. Sick people can be taken care of. Well people are responsible for their actions. Sick people, well, they’re sick. You can’t blame them.

See, Myss believes that energetic weakness or strength is what, generally, is responsible for our health or illness. If someone is ?losing power? to a bad energetic investment, something like brooding on the past, an occupation that drains them, or a manipulative relationship, these energy losses present in the body, and according to Myss, affect their corresponding energy center or ?chakra.

Someone with a difficult childhood might have trouble with their first chakra, for example, the ?root? chakra. The first chakra rules the base of the spine, legs, immune system, bones, rectum and adrenal glands. If we don’t feel grounded, able to support ourselves, able to trust in our ‘tribe? or our family, we can develop issues like low back pain, osteo-arthritis, constipation, hemorrhoids, anxiety and frequent infections.

The good news is, these feelings can be processed, dealt with, accepted for what they are, and let go of. And the people who made your childhood such a hell, they can be forgiven. You can even forgive yourself. Everyone can move on. That’s not saying injustices are just. It’s saying that you’re ready to free up your energy to put towards good things, healthy things, positive things that benefit you.

The bad news is, that’s easier said than done.

In fact, would you believe it, not everyone wants to give up their issues. Not everyone is so willing to forgive those who have hurt them. Not everyone is so anxious to give up their role as a victim in their story, because it gives them a special kind of power. It gives them the power to be the result of causes not their own doing, an unwitting victim of a cruel, cruel fate. If their lives aren’t going particularly well, hey, you can’t judge ?em. You know that rotten childhood they had…

Myss coined the term ?woundology. Woundology refers to the practice of defining oneself by their perceived wounds. ?Hi I’m Julia. My mom died when I was a kid, my family neglected me and frankly, the ripples from those waves inform every single thing I do. Now, I may not say that right off the bat when introducing myself, but sooner or later, it might well be implied. There is something seductive about this. Wearing your wounds like a badge commands respect and sympathy from others. You can manipulate people this way. It’s a get out of jail free card that can be pulled whenever you’re on bad behavior. It’s a way to feel better without having to be better.

?Oh, I’m sorry I screamed at you this morning, but you know it’s my mother’s birthday and she’s dead and she’s been dead for eighteen years, which would make me only ten when she died, and boy howdy, you haven’t known death till you know it from the perspective of a ten year old losing their mother.Talk about abandonment! Was there something else I could do for you? No? Thank you, yes, I’m sorry too. Losing mom was so hard.

See? Bada Bing Bada Boom. I’m a victim and I deserve to be, woe is me. Now that isn’t to say that we can’t feel emotional about events in our lives. My mom really is dead and that really is crappy. But every time I expect to be let off the hook for some kind of behavior, consciously or not- whether to others or to myself- because of my eternal sense of abandonment, I am letting my wounds define me. And it’s easier that way, isn’t it? Being hurt, you know, hurts. But it’s the getting up that’s the real work.

The energetic patterns that result from clinging onto a wound can have physical consequences that are even recognized in allopathic medicine. At one point, I developed terrible intestinal trouble, of which there was no detectable cause. My doctor, who had treated me since I was a baby, told me that I probably had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He conceded that there is no real known cause besides stress, and particularly, he noted, the kind of stress that comes from having an unstable childhood- like mine. His medical advice was to let go of that pain as much as I could.

To some folks, that might be insulting. We want pills, we want a defined prognosis, we want to know that this is not our responsibility. It is true that often, illness has nothing to do with your personal attitudes. Cancer genes like to flip on all willy nilly, nasty viruses love to hang out on door knobs, horrible chemicals are seeping into our waterways and spinal discs can slip, of course.

It’s useful though, to ask yourself, if you are perhaps consciously holding yourself back and hiding behind a personal wound so you can stay there. Staying down is easier than standing up, no matter how miserable you are on the floor. And the kicker is, if we’re too scared to get up, we have to keep inventing new wounds, or dig deeper to understand why our original wounds were even worse than we had thought! I mean, hey, pulling the my childhood sucked? card will work for awhile, but sooner or later, you gotta do one better. Maybe that’s when you stay in old patterns that your childhood imprinted on you. Maybe pick a partner who treats you just as badly as your dad did. Maybe you choose the same friends over and over, you know, the ones who stab you in the back. Maybe you’re doing it to remain a victim. Maybe you’re sabotaging your own strength.

When you are strong, you are fully responsible for yourself and your life. There are no excuses. Are you ready for that?

Evaluate your energetic investments. When you wake up, what do you think of? When you look in the mirror, what do you tell yourself? When you reflect on the past, how long do you stay there? Just like how holding onto junk clutters your house, holding onto mental junk clutters your soul, and thus, your health. If you’re directing your thoughts and feelings into old resentments, self-hatred, a job you despise, a war on your body- you’re bound to turn up energetically short when trying to fully live in the present.

We can’t be witness to spontaneity and vitality when our hearts and minds are mired in some past wound.

We can’t put our true strength into the challenges of today when we’re wrestling with how pained we are over our reflection in the mirror this morning.

We cannot do the right thing for ourselves when we are so comfortable rehashing over and over, all the wrong things others have done to us. When we devote our attention to pain, hurt and that which drags us down- that’s exactly what we get. Pain, hurt and dragged on down.

You may be making an unconscious choice to remain energetically low, or sick. Today, make a conscious choice to show up. To be present to the creation of health in the body and to dismiss your urge to dwell on things that sap you of your strength.

Easier said than done, of course. But if any of this resonates with you, maybe on an itty bitty level you’re more comfortable with staying in old, unhealthy patterns than finding the courage to break free and start anew, then I hope you give this some thought. I know I’m trying to…but see, my mom died and gosh, no one really looked after me after that so I just don’t know how to take care of myself, really.

Just kidding.