I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night. I was awakened around 2:00 am by extreme discomfort in my neck. I tossed and turned for quite a while, but was unable to get comfortable enough to fall back to sleep.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I had suffered from such neck pain at night, but it was the worst time. Since sleep was not forthcoming, I decided to get up for a while to stretch my neck and calm my mind.
Not Just a Stiff Neck
To call my problem a stiff neck would be an understatement. A little over a year ago, I started to experience aches and stiffness in the front of my neck. The discomfort would come and go, and chiropractic care was not effective in relieving my pain. I mentioned the issue to several doctors and other health professionals, but they were as puzzled about this development as I was. Internet searches haven’t yielded any meaningful answers, either. There are a few serious conditions which include frontal neck pain as a major symptom, but if I had one of those ailments, I’d likely be much worse off than I am by this time.
Insights from Louise Hay
Since the teachings of Louise Hay are an integral part of my healing project, I used my time of sleeplessness to revisit what she has to say about neck pain. Louise states that the neck represents flexibility and the ability to see what’s “back there.” Neck problems signify stubbornness, inflexibility and a refusal to see other sides of a question or situation. A stiff neck is a mark of unbending bullheadedness.
Of course, Louise Hay offers hope and healing by means of new and more productive thought patterns, but I feel the need to explore how her probable causes for neck problems might relate to me and my current situation. As I write this, my neck discomfort persists. It had improved earlier today, so I am wondering if my writing about the pain has served to reactivate it in some way. Perhaps this pain carries a message from the Universe that I really need to receive… Since I don’t know the answers, I am going to entertain the question in the hope of reaching some sort of epiphany that can help me to heal this troubling malady.
Stubborn, Inflexible, and Bullheaded?
In what ways am I being stubborn, inflexible, or bullheaded in my life? I have a tendency to be judgmental and critical toward others, especially those who are living their lives in ways that are far removed from what I consider ideal. I’m not talking about morality issues here, but more in terms of self-awareness and self-actualization. Since I am so committed to knowing myself and growing as a person, I often judge those who do not share my convictions in these areas, especially those who are close to me.
Instead of merely noticing the actions of such people and thinking, “That’s not for me, but it’s their right to live as they choose,” I sometimes pass judgment and look upon them with disapproval. This is true in regards to the person I wrote about two weeks ago in my post titled “Serenity, Courage, Wisdom…” I have trouble accepting this person as she is and sit in judgment of her for her actions and choices. This is one way in which I am stubborn and inflexible.
Unrealistically High Standards
I am also inflexible in terms of my appearance. I hold myself to unrealistically high standards for how I should look, what I should weigh, and how my body should be shaped. I spend a tremendous amount of time and energy not being okay with what is in these areas (a big reason why I started my second blog, “Body Image Rehab”). I am having a difficult time with the physical changes that are part of the aging process and although I have committed not to pursue plastic surgery or other drastic measures, I do experience distress about my wrinkles, extra belly fat, loss of muscle tone, and other signs of growing older.
Rigidity about Work and Career
Finally, I am bullheaded in terms of how I think my career and work life should be. I refuse to work for less than a certain amount of money and am very picky about my work situation and environment. I enjoy working from home with flexible hours and have refused to consider other work arrangements, despite the fact that I’ve been unable to attract enough work to make a decent living under my current situation.
I tell myself that I shouldn’t have to commute to an office, sit in a cubicle, or work for less than a certain hourly wage, and these self-imposed requirements limit my prospects and opportunities. I think it’s perfectly fine to have goals, aspirations, and standards, but when you refuse to bend in any way, that’s the mark of bullheadedness. My rigidity has led me to have fewer opportunities, especially during our current recession.
Increasing Flexibility and Openness
I realize that I need to work on being more flexible in my relationships, attitudes, career, and self-concept. I need to be more open and loving toward others and myself and allow more for differences and failings. I need to stop holding myself and those around me to unreasonably high standards which are virtually impossible to meet. I also need to be open to work opportunities which could provide growth and valuable experience, even if they are not highly lucrative or as flexible as I might ultimately desire. I need to recognize the value in situations beyond the surface.
I have written about my desire to increase closeness to others, meet new people, and continue learning and growing as a person. This blog and the teachings of Louise Hay and other spiritual leaders will definitely help me to improve and heal myself and my life. However, I need to be open to other powerful opportunities for growth in my life, including my relationships with and attitudes toward the people already in my life. If I can become more flexible, tolerant, and accepting, I believe that will also help me to heal.
New Thought Patterns
I close with Louise Hay’s suggested new thought patterns for those with neck problems:
- It is with flexibility and ease that I see all sides of an issue.”
- There are endless ways of doing things and seeing things.”
- It is safe to see other viewpoints.”
- I am peaceful with life. I am safe.”
Louise’s recommendation is to repeat these affirmations many times each day, along with the more general assertion, “I am willing to release the pattern in my consciousness that has created this condition.”
My commitment for the rest of September is to repeat the above affirmations in front of a mirror at least 10 times each day and to work on becoming more open-minded, loving and accepting. It is my hope that, as a result, not only will my neck become more pliable and comfortable, but I will also become happier and experience increased inner peace.