A lot of clients, when they first come to my office, will say, “I’m supposed to do these lifestyle changes to heal MS, but I’m not exactly sure what that means?” They comment that they’ve done changes in their diet, they’ve detoxed, they’ve worked on their gut health, tried to improve their sleep, and they are doing everything possible to continue to exercise. And they tell me that it’s making some difference but they are wondering and concerned if there is more to the lifestyle changes necessary to manage multiple sclerosis.
Lifestyle Changes to Heal MS
I would like to explain in this month’s presentation, that it’s not just about what you are doing, but, most importantly, about how you are doing it – the ‘style’ in lifestyle. I want you to explain this with a story. This is called the story of Awakening the Muse.
The Story of Awakening the Muse
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was very responsible and very dedicated to her work. She always gave it her all. That meant doing 110% everywhere, every day. Quotes that described her way of living would be “Rest is rust.” She was always busy, busy, busy and she was allergic to the word ‘lazy’. Another was “Pull yourself by your own bootstraps”. She was very independent and didn’t like to ask for help because it meant she didn’t know how to do something or wasn’t good enough. If we could describe what she was attracted to in books (though she never had time to read, but they reflected her way of living), they would be books titled “Smarter, Faster, and Better”, “The Art of Working Hard”, and “The Checklist Manifesto“. She loved checking things off her checklist and was always striving to do things even better. Her goal was to be successful and to do things perfectly. She wanted to have a successful looking career, marriage, home. Though she was most focused on career achievement. She was always climbing the ladder at work and expected to get a promotion each year because of her efforts. She wanted to be the perfect picture of success. Because, deep down, her biggest fear was that she was unworthy or not good enough. She was terrified of failure. And these fears motivated her to work even harder, to get even better, and to never ever rest.
Life becomes Unsustainable
And this way of living became very unsustainable for her body. And times of struggle began. And all that the young woman wanted was to return to the lifestyle she had been living. Gut her inner muse wouldn’t permit it. And so for years and years, the young woman and her inner muse fought. Until, one day, she realized that her muse was her soul calling her back.
The Muse – The Inspiration of Artists
Muse comes from Greek mythology. It is the goddess of poetry, art, and song. Artists are very familiar with the concept Muse – it is the source or spirit that inspires them in their art.
And so when the young woman started listening to her muse, things started changing. She put down her struggles and began to follow what the muse was trying to tell her. And her whole life changed with her muse’s guidance.
Lifestyle Changes to Heal MS
Her Muse completed changes how the, not so young anymore, women lived her life. Instead of this insatiable drive for success, she paces her efforts. She gave 80% of her energy and made sure she was never the sacrifice (if you’ve watched our video on neurophysical therapy, you’ll understand the concept of doing no more than 80%). The quotes that she began living by were that “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” And she also adapted the quote, “If I don’t fit in, then I’m actually doing the right thing” instead of trying and trying to fit in and trying to do things that would make everyone happy. And the books that she started reading, and I recommend these books highly to anyone struggling with their MS, were “The Joy of Not Working” and “The Artist’s Way.”
Inner Muse’s Favorite Books
In “The Joy of Not Working” the author explains this misconception in our society. We think we are supposed to work, work, work, work, work, work. Trying to get as much money as possible during our working years until we’re 65. And then we’re supposed to retire and enjoy ourselves. But the problem is when we get there, we don’t know how! We get restless, and bored, and uncomfortable with leisure. So, we start taking volunteer work, and we start making ourselves as busy as we can because that’s all we know how to do. And so in ‘The Joy of Not Working”, talks about learning how to enjoy the time that you are not working. To actually train ourselves to enjoy life. The book invites the reader to take mini-retirements throughout their careers to really understand what it’s like to not work. It doesn’t invite you to quit your job. But it does help you transform your mindset and invites you to learn to enjoy leisure time and to find hobbies and discover things that you love outside of your work.
In “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron gives us the steps to awaken our inner muse and learn to do things simply for the delight they bring.
And so returning to our not so young any more women’s story – the goal she began to live by was that “It is not selfish to love yourself, to take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority, it’s necessary” (quote by Mandy Hale).
Multiple Sclerosis is Your Inner Muse
I don’t know if you have figured this out already, but, your MS with all those body symptoms that are keeping you from doing 110% at work, is actually your muse. And when you awakened and listen to your muse; when you actually stop struggling with what the body is trying to tell you, that’s when you begin to heal.
Lifestyle Changes are not What you are Doing but How
So as you compare these two lifestyles, it’s not just about diet, detox, gut health, exercise, and sleep. Because, if you are still living as this woman was originally when you begin changing your diet, you try to do it perfectly and beat yourself up if you don’t. You don’t detox, you uber detox, giving it your 110%. You don’t improve your exercise, you drive yourself to exercise almost daily, even when so much is a struggle and you are tired.
You can’t improve your body by doing those healthy things in an unhealthy way.
The word pushing is not in the muse’s lifestyle!
What Do You Propose to Do to Really Change the Style in Your Lifestyle?
So when you think about your own lifestyle changes to heal MS, what do you propose? When you think about exercising, check-in, are you doing the exercise as this young adamant go, go, go, way? Or do you do your exercises for the pure pleasure of movement?
Lifestyle Changes – A Story on Exercise
I’ll tell you a second nonfiction story. One of my client’s inner muse (we talked to her inner in hypnosis) asked her to give herself time every day to enjoy a moment to herself. And so every day after she taking her kids to school, she would swing by her local beach and spend 15 minutes taking a nice walk.
The first few days were difficult for her physically though pleasurable mentally. As the weeks passed, it got easier and easier physically as well. She found she could walk farther and farther with no fatigue. And her mind started to get excited. She wondered “perhaps today I can get all the way over there to the stoplight” and then, “perhaps today I can walk one more block…” After three months, she was walking four miles a day briskly. And what happened? The inner muse put her foot down. And suddenly she was back to barely getting a 15-minute walk in with a lot of physical struggle. And when we talked to her body in trance once again, her inner muse and asked the muse why my client had suddenly gotten worse again. And the inner muse responded, “Because she wasn’t doing the exercise for self-enjoyment and self-care, she was doing it to try to get faster and better. It was now a competitive goal to improve herself.”
Lifestyle Changes is about Nurturing
So the lifestyle changes to heal MS is not about perfecting your diet. It’s about nurturing your inner muse. And I think it is one of the most surprising and unique aspects of multiple sclerosis. Those with MS that truly change their lives around, and with it, their symptoms, start making dates with themselves, some daily, some weekly, to really nurture their inner muse. They write science fiction novels, they start bird watching, they write poetry, journal, create beautiful jewelry, go on nature walks, and truly explore what creates joy in their lives outside of job success.
Lifestyle Changes is about Creating Balance
Your inner muse, your MS, is trying to create more balance in your life. And to create balance, we need to find those things that feed our souls. Those pleasures that are not for anyone else, but for ourselves.
I invite you to have a date with this inner muse. Explore the things that you used to do as a kid, those things you really loved that you somehow grew out of, bring them back, and nurture them. And when you do, you will notice a lot of things begin to shift. As counterintuitive as it seems, playing, craft making, and stopping to enjoy a beautiful ray of sun, will give you more energy and mental clarity than pushing yourself to do more exercise.
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