Throughout my childhood and teenage years my greatest pleasure and satisfaction always came when I expressed myself through physical activity and athletics. I was passionately involved in horseback riding and delighted in my abilities at skiing, dancing and sports. Then, at age eighteen, my world seemed to come to an end. I suffered a severe and painful back injury. The doctors told me the condition was irreversible and that it would probably continue to get worse. Their prognosis: atrophied muscles, fused discs, arthritis, constant pain and limited physical activity, Furthermore, they warned that, if I ever became pregnant, I’d probably have to spend months in bed.
I attended high school graduation an a stretcher and, when I entered college in the fall, I wore a full body, brace and took my exams literally lying on the floor. Four years later, I was still in chronic pain, taking medication and crying myself to sleep every night. There seemed to be no escape. I was miserable.
Then my mother recommended an Introductory Weekend at The Option Institute. During this program we were guided, in the most gentle and non-judgmental way, to understand the impact of our beliefs on our feelings as well as our physical health. I realized that I had some basic beliefs which were really worth questioning, beliefs I had carried around with me since my first back pain. The first belief was that I must always lie down whenever my back cramped up. The second was that I believed that I was going to be in pain at all times for the rest of my life. And the last was that I had to be sad when I felt pain, because otherwise, it might mean that I didn’t care about myself.
With the help of The Institute’s program, I was able to change these beliefs to form a new sense of trust in my body. The Program helped me to listen to my body’s cues and respond without fear. As I did, I began to stretch and exercise – and laugh. I found within a new determination to learn about what I could do to help myself. I was no longer condemned by someone else’s prognosis. As I continue to use the methods I learned at the Institute, I have replaced my constant sadness with an awakening sense of hope and joy.
For the last four years, I have been pain-free. Once again I am an active person and have resumed horseback riding, as well as skiing and other sports. And just last year I gave birth to a healthy, nine pound daughter. During my pregnancy I continued to attend aerobic classes right up to my due date. I never had a single backache. For someone who was told she would spend the entire time in pain and in bed, this is certainly a miracle.
And I not only have a healthy body and a healthy baby, but I am happier and more content than I have ever been in my life. All of these amazing changes have occurred as a direct result of my work with The Option Institute. I am so very thankful!
Laurie P., Therapist/Mother, Massachusetts