I’m a sucker inspiration, and I think positive affirmations are incredibly powerful. However, in yoga we have the foundational principles of isvara pranydana, which means surrender of control, and santosa, which means contentment. The statements “You can be whoever you want to be” and “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to” sound great on paper, but they aren’t always true. Sometimes the only way to accomplish them is to change your mind.
In my early teens I suffered from epilepsy. By suffered, I don’t mean I was having grand mal seizures left, right, and center—my epilepsy turned out to be relatively controllable—I was suffering from the loss of my sense of invincibility, from fear of losing control, and from adding the label “disordered” to my identity. I didn’t want to take ownership of any of that yuckiness, and that developed into a sense of dissociation with my body. I guess I thought I’d just hold out and stay in denial until I successfully willed myself to grow out of it. I never did grow out of it.
When I was fifteen, as a first step toward self-acceptance, contentment, and surrender of control I printed out the lyrics to this “Change Your Mind” by Sister Hazel and glued them into my agenda book. Somehow I realized that the only way to stop being a slave to my epilepsy was to start to accept it.
I still have epilepsy, and it does affect my life, but I’m no longer constantly suffering from it mentally and emotionally like I used to be.
Have you ever danced in the rain
Or thanked the sun
Just for shining- just for shining
Over the sea?
Oh no- take it all in
The world’s a show
And yeah, you look much better,
Look much better when you glow
If you want to be somebody else,
If you’re tired of fighting battles with yourself
If you want to be somebody else
Change your mind…
what ya say
We both go and seize the day
’cause what’s your hurry
what’s your hurry anyway