What’s helping you rise?

Julie Genser, Planet Thrive founder

I just discovered a wonderful website for a wonderful reading/study group: healthpursuitsgroup.com. They are a unique health book club for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FMS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and related conditions.

In 2008, they were the subject of a short study by the University of Toronto Medical School and the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. They are the only model in the medical literature of a support group for those with FM, CFS, MCS, etc., which helps people improve while other models made people worse.

They have a cool metaphor they use: the hot air balloon. What helps you to rise—what keeps you down? You can find the hot air balloon image on their website.

Hot Air Balloon

Some of the things they say help us to rise cognitively:
biochemical balance; biomechanical balance; experience; positive social contact; goals; planning; practice; opportunity for expression; experienced practitioner; information; reflection; appropriate strategies; helpful routines; mentoring

What keeps us down cognitively?
life events; restrictive beliefs or attitudes; genetic malformations of cognitive equipment; misinformation; biochemical problems; cognitive attacks by others or social systems; accidents; biomechanical problems; misinterpretation of blocking of social, biochemical, or biomechanical signals

It seems to me that a lot of what they say may help us to rise are practical things; tools we can apply to our life in some way, as well as having room for reflection and self-expression. The things that keep us down are more about our own and others’ belief systems. I have certainly found this to be true in my own life.

The more I can separate my emotional fear/panic/anxiety responses and belief systems from the physical, more practical realm, the better I can respond to a new challenge. But first I must be able to express the emotional freely (talking to members of my personal support team, screaming at the top of my lungs, writing in my blog, etc.). Then I am freed up to take very practical steps to resolving the issue—writing down pros and cons, making lists, contacting others to help me get the job done, etc. helps keep me sane and balanced.

Yesterday I read an interesting article on post traumatic stress disorder. It said that when one experiences a traumatic event, only unexpressed energy will remain in the body to cause PTSD; if you are able to release/express all your fears, anger, pain about the situation in the moment or over the next few days/weeks, you should not develop PTSD. So it’s very important to express and emote all your bottled up feelings so they don’t sit with you on a cellular level. And then focus on the practical.

One of the harder things to do is break down our (and others’) belief systems, because they are so ingrained they have become invisible to us. The first step is identifying a belief system. For example, that “disease” and “cures” exist at all. Those are constructs humans have created. What ideas are guiding your thoughts, behavior—your life—that you don’t even realize? That is the first step to breaking them down.

Please share in the comments section below what constructs you have identified in your life, how they have limited you, and how you have been able to overcome them.

Peace out! Julie

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  • Liberty

    October 19, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    hi Julie,

    I just read about that group today too! I found it so inspiring and I really appreciated the hot air balloon metaphor (and I just had a dream of one last night! love synchronicity).

    I really appreciated what you shared about PTSD and UNexpressed energy. That resonated with me deeply as a person with PTSD.

    To share a bit about the things you asked about:

    The most limiting construct in my life was the idea that “No one gets better from MCS”
    That idea is commonly accepted as objective truth in support groups and for a number of years, I believe it actually prevented me from healing despite all of the healing things I was doing (avoidance, supplements etc etc).
    2 years ago I had a big shift and believed it really was possible for some people to heal from MCS (based on my knowing some who have).
    Almost immediately, I began to improve. I feel that my buying into that “no one can get better” paradigm was preventing my body from getting benefit from the good things I was doing.
    When I let go of that belief system, suddenly I was free and my body seemed to leap at the chance to begin healing!

    How did I overcome my belief in that paradigm? Part of it was avoiding groups where it was not accepted that some do heal. Which meant most groups. Part of it was through doing EFT/tapping. A really important part was how I spoke. I began to talk about “when I get better…” instead of “if I ever get better”.
    I believe language is really powerful.
    When explaining my situation to people, I try whenever possible to describe symptoms instead of giving myself a label of MCS. For example I’ll say, “I can have severe reactions to chemicals…” instead of “I have a condition called MCS…”
    I feel that’s really important. My identity was very caught up in MCS. Therefore, on an energetic level, it could be much harder to let go of and heal.
    Another really major thing which I feel is particular to illnesses that aren’t totally accepted yet is that part of me felt that if I got better, then those idiots who said it was all in my head/psychosomatic might somehow feel they were right.
    So I had to do healing and EFT around that.

    Geez! I’m babbling on and on. Your post really inspired me and pulled me in – what a great thing!
    I may end up recycling my reply here as part of a post on my blog. I don’t write much :-)

    Thank you for sharing and I’d love to hear about anything you’ve deconstructed too and how it has helped!

  • earthwalker

    October 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks so much for such a great comment to our blog Liberty! So glad to have you here. ;-)

    I totally agree about staying away from the negative and limiting energy on many of the groups. I used to belong to over 40 yahoogroups but now cut it down to about a quarter of that, and I no longer get the email digests.


When I first got sick with severe MCS, all I could find online was the prognosis that I would get progressively worse until I had to live in a porcelain trailer in the middle of the desert. My situation is certainly close to that now (!) but it is a choice that I embrace in order to live in peace and heal, rather than a lack of choice.

    The constructs I love to look at are around health. A friend once told me that there is no such thing as the immune system, and that other systems of healing did not have a term for that. I loved being pushed to look at those things that we never questioned because they became invisible to us.


I’m too tired right now to think of more. I hope others will join the discussion and give us some more food for thought!


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