How do you see yourself—today, right now? How would you like to see yourself? What needs to change in your life for that to happen?
Back in Chapter 5, we talked about an art project called The Bridge, in which you draw a picture of what your life is like now on the left side of a sheet of paper, and a picture of what you want your life to look like on the right side. In between the two you draw a bridge. This bridge represents your path from who you are now to who you want to be in the months and years to come. Naturally, you must cross that bridge to reach your better, brighter future.
Yoga Exercise For Joint Pain Photo Gallery
Do you feel stuck at the beginning of your bridge? If so, what changes do you need to make to reach the other side?
Are You Aligned With Your Vision?
If you analyze your mental image of your best future, you will likely see that it includes many of the core values we’ve discussed: mobility, interaction, independence, validation, and love. Are you currently on a path that will bring these core values back into your life? In other words, are your actions in alignment with your goals? If you find that you’re not moving across that bridge, it’s time to re-think your approach to renewal and recovery.
I’ve seen many people take on the role of “professional patient.” They describe their typical day in terms of going to medical appointments and taking painkillers. Their lives revolve around seeking help, unable to take charge of their own situations, which puts them in a passive, dependent state. But if a pain patient needs to see a doctor every month for the rest of his life, something isn’t working. I tell such patients that one of my goals is to get them to a place where they don’t need me anymore. I want them to shed the “professional patient” persona and devote their time to becoming strong, healthy, independent people.
Other patients struggle with a different predicament. As breadwinners working long hours to support their families, or caregivers raising families or looking after elderly parents, they are too busy to manage their own pain. Overwhelmed by responsibilities, they never seem to find time to take care of themselves, so they remain stuck in their pain. But achieving good health doesn’t just happen. Crossing the bridge takes time, commitment, and perseverance.