The Healing Power of Thoughts

in Mind Body Connection, Positive Psychology

966691203_be106bdbacby Linda Gabriel

A Death Sentence

I want to tell you Sally’s Story from Marci Shimoff’s book Love for No Reason.

Shortly before her 50th birthday, Sally became ill to the point she had to be rushed to the hospital. When she got there doctors discovered she was in liver failure.

Sally was shocked. She didn’t drink and had no history of liver disease and after a day of extensive tests, the doctors ruled out hepatitis and cancer. The final verdict was “liver failure for no medical reason.” Even though they couldn’t find the cause, they were sure about the effect: Without a liver transplant Sally would soon die.

She was immediately placed near the top of the national waiting list for donor livers.

With each passing hour Sally’s chances for survival dwindled. Transfusions kept her barely alive until the third day when a donor liver became available. After the transplant Sally’s surgeon said her liver was the worst he’d ever seen. The cause was still a mystery.

Gratitude and Intention

After her transplant Sally was overcome with feelings of deep gratitude. Rejection had been a theme of her life, but now she felt a sense of wonder. She thought,

“God, if you can get me a liver at the last minute, I’m going to trust you. I don’t know who or what I am. I certainly don’t know how to love myself, or anyone really. So please send me whatever and whomever to teach me what love is. I want to live it, be it, model it.”

When Sally left the hospital, she began to take loving care of herself. She scheduled massages, bought herself flowers. She explored alternative healing modalities like acupuncture and homeopathy.

A Setback

Then, about a year after the transplant, Sally got sick again. Without another liver transplant Sally would die. She was sent home with a pager that would alert her the instant a donor liver became available.

Three weeks passed but no call came. During a visit to the hospital Sally encountered a woman who had just received her third liver transplant. This woman  did nothing but complain – about her husband, her health, about everything. Sally remembered something she had learned from acupuncture. According to Chinese medicine the liver is related to the emotion of anger, both expressed and repressed.

Sally wondered if she might need to do some “inner surgery.” She went home, sat down, and for the first time in her life quieted her mind. Sally asked herself, “What do I believe?” As she wrote down each answer without censorship there were many that shocked her. But one in particular stood out.

“I believe there’s a punishing God and I’m being punished because I’m a terrible person.”

If this was her core belief, it became clear to Sally why her attempts at self-love had been unsuccessful. She didn’t have to look far to find the root of the belief that she deserved to be punished. The answer was simple: as a child simply being Sally meant being punished.  She had grown up in a household with zero tolerance for children expressing anger or tears.

Thoughts as Medicine

Sally began to feel deep compassion for the little girl inside who still felt so unloved and so unworthy. In her imagination Sally hugged the child and told her,

“You didn’t do anything wrong. I forgive you and I love you.”

That inner embrace was a turning point. When Sally’s inner voice scolded her with thoughts of, “You shouldn’t feel that way. Stop crying. Don’t be a baby!” Sally would change her thought and speak to her inner child.

“It’s okay honey. You can have those feelings.”

Sally begin to heal emotionally but surprisingly, her physical health began to improve too. The day Sally had sat down to discover what she really believed, her bilirubin levels had been sky high. Too much billirubin meant her liver wasn’t functioning well. As Sally practiced loving thoughts over the next nine months her billirubin levels fell steadily – all the way back to normal.  Her doctors couldn’t explain it.

They Called It a Miracle

That was eighteen years ago. Sally never had to have the second transplant.

Over the years she has continued to be a loving parent to the little girl inside. Ten years ago Sally met and married a wonderful man who has given her the opportunity to experience unconditional love. She wouldn’t wish her brushes with death on anyone but she’s grateful for them because they taught her something she might never have learned otherwise.

What are your core beliefs?

Do those beliefs help you or hurt you? Is it possible they are affecting your physical health? You don’t have to go through something so dramatic to begin experiencing the healing power of changing your thoughts. You can begin right this moment.

Related Posts:

The Little Voice in Your Head: Friend or Foe?

Where Does Your Past Exist?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Simpson April 13, 2011 at 10:29 AM

This post is a great example of the Kahuna Science behind miracles. It’s great to hear such a story because the ego is so easily committed to hopeless materiality that it is important to have examples to use for psychological references when doubt creeps in and helplessness becomes stronger than faith and gratitude.

It is such a wonder to contemplate what is possible when the ego’s separateness becomes sensitive to the ever present subconscious emotional being that the Kahunas call the “Ku”. As in your story, that reunion softens the heart and awakens one to the higher consciousness and greater possibilities that are our birthright, and that are integral to our full fruition as beings of light.

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Linda Gabriel April 13, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Thanks for mentioning Huna Michael. The ancient Hawaiians understood what so many “modern” humans do not: that it is nearly impossible to create from the Mental level without involving our “Ku” or “Unihipili.” I plan to write more about this in future Thought Medicine posts!

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Nikoya March 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM

This was a very touching story Linda. Very captivating. I love the point about the Chinese medicine and the belief around the liver. I didn’t know they related the liver to anger.

This is my first time visiting your blog- I will be back again.

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Linda Gabriel March 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Thanks for your feedback Nikoya.

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Debbie Hampton March 11, 2011 at 12:15 PM

What an inspirational and teaching story.

I have witnessed in my own healing from a brain injury that emotional healing coincides directly with physical healing. In my case, the two were inextricably intertwined. I would say the physical was definitely driven by the emotional.

To consider just the physical as does Western medicine is entirely inadequate. We have to heal in and with our minds, our hearts, and our bodies.

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Dominic March 11, 2011 at 7:43 AM

Great story! I’m sure this happens all the time, as probably 95% of the time health issues are caused by deep emotional wounds that are not resolved. If the inner world is healthy and happy the outer/material world will follow. The issue is most people are not present or in-tune enough to figure out the root cause, which is in many cases emotional…

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Linda Gabriel March 11, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Yes Dominic, old emotional wounds are often involved in the disease process. While I believe it’s important and helpful for people dealing with a serious illness to attend to healing their emotional distress, it isn’t always a guarantee that physical healing will follow. It’s important that people who are ill don’t fall into the belief that it’s somehow their fault. However the connection between beliefs, emotions and physical well-being is undeniable.

Becoming present is a huge factor. It’s a simple matter of quieting one’s mind as Sally did when she sat down and asked herself, “What do I believe?” I find this question more powerful than asking, “Why did I create this?” or, “Why is this happening to me?”

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Angela Artemis/Powered by Intuition March 11, 2011 at 6:46 AM

Linda,
This was an excellent post. I can relate to this story in a very personal way.

My aunt, whom I loved dearly and was like a mother to me, developed the same disease as the woman in your post and required a liver transplant in 1987. She and I had been on a path of spiritual growth together, so when this occurred she immediately began to investigate the roots of what might have caused her liver disease.

Knowing that the liver was the organ where anger was stored she began to examine her life. Her disease was also traced back to her childhood and with affirmations, visualization, meditation and inner work she began clearing all the stored up anger and resentments she had. She became a new person – and a spiritual mentor to me. I used to joke and tell her that her new birth year was 1987 – the year of her transplant.

Unfortunately, she passed away from another disease unrelated to her transplant 10 years later – but she packed a lot of fearless living into those 10 years. I can attest to the power thoughts have to heal our life and our body.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story of hope with us.

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Linda Gabriel March 11, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Angela – Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story of hope, too.

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