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.
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.