To get the most out of the program, we suggest that you take your time. Instead of giving yourself a case of mental suffocation, stop along the way and enjoy what you read. Do the exercises; don’t just think about them. Allow the work to come alive for you, to become part of your life, and to open the way for authentic healing. As you embark on the road to recovery, we suggest that you take note of the next six pointers, which will help prepare you for your journey, imaginal or otherwise.
Six Pointers for Getting Started
- Get a notebook (if you haven’t already). Use it to record your dreams and thoughts. This makes it easier to do the work and keep track of your progress. Here, you may write about or draw meaningful or moving experiences you have during any of the exercises or when reading passages in the text.
- Write your intentions. Do this on the first page of your notebook. Answer the question: What do I want to get (learn, know, change, heal, find) through using this program? Be as specific as you can. Know that as you go on with the work, your intentions may change. Intentions provide you with a direction. They are not the same as an agenda or goals. And they are not carved in stone.
- Record any experiences in your daily life that seem related to this work. This might include events you usually call coincidences; changes in your emotional or physical state; or anything you might perceive differently in yourself or in your relationships with people around you.
- Record any night dreams. Write these as soon as possible after you wake up so you don’t forget them, even if they are just fragments that don’t seem important. Dreams are often useful for creating personal imagery for yourself, and they may embody healing messages that our logical, ordinary minds don’t come up with.
- Get some blank tapes. Use these to record any of the imagery exercises. Once you are familiar with the exercise, stop using the tape. When you practice the imagery without hearing an outside voice directing you, you begin to become aware of your inner voice.
- Be consistent, and do some of this work every day. This might involve practicing an imagery exercise, reading part of the text, writing down a dream, listening to some music, or working with any part of the FUN program that you feel drawn to. Remember, the potency of imaginal medicine depends on your using it, just as you would be expected by your doctor to use your inhaler. Thinking about it won’t do the trick, just as thinking about taking your regular medication would be useless.
DECIPHERING ASTHMA SYMPTOMS CAN BE FUN
Tips on Deciphering the Symptom
What loss am I grieving?
What am I feeling sad about? Who or what am I angry with?
Who or what do I need/want to expel?
Who or what is irritating me?
What or who am I reluctant to give up?
What do I feel pressed to cough up, cough over?
What do I need to confess?
What or who is constricting me?
How am I constricting myself?
What in my life is coming apart?
What am I trying to hold/keep together?
What am I not saying that wants or needs to be said?
Who or what is suffocating me?
Who or what am I not letting go of?
What or who makes me feel choked up?
Who or what is holding me back (how am I feeling choked off)? What or who am I choking on?
What do I need to say?
Pause here and reflect on these questions. Once you have worked with this exercise you may discover some powerful truths regarding your asthma symptoms. However, do not dwell on them. Put them aside and give yourself some space. As you go on, you will acquire more tools for working with these. For now this is enough.
TRANSFORMING DISEASE AND DESPAIR INTO HOPE
When we refuse to pay attention to our symptoms, we reduce the disease to a meaningless experience. This leaves us stuck in a labyrinth of isolation and despair. To find hope, we learn to live in the here and now and regard our lives as valuable even if not always pleasant. Focusing on our symptoms — really listening to what they have to say — then Undoing our beliefs about our limitations and committing ourselves to Now Act to resolve our difficulties can restore us. “When our focus is toward a principle of relatedness and oneness, and away from fragmentation and isolation, health ensues.”
Rebbe Nachman, the Hasidic teacher, guide, and spiritual master, shared the kind of insight and wisdom that lead to healing our sense of alienation when he said:
If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix.
If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal.
Never despair! Never! It’s forbidden to give up hope.
In the spirit of this advice, the next imagery exercise will help prepare you for what lies ahead.
In the next three chapters you will find specific suggestions, exercises, and healing stories to help integrate FUN into your own life. Important elements of the fun program involve your willingness to:
- Recognize and separate yourself from the beliefs that have been holding you hostage
- Listen to the message your symptoms convey to your body-mind
- Break free of your enslavement to your Committee — those false selves who try to prevent change, even when it heals
- Ask yourself (and remember to answer), “How am I having FUN in my life?”