Dr. Romance writes:

The revered Sufi poet, Rumi, wrote: “We turn poison into medicine and our sorrows into blessings” I’m thankful for many things. I live a wonderful life, surrounded by loving friends and my beloved husband, Richard; I have the privilege of doing work which I love, and I’m thankful (yes, really) for being diagnosed with diabetes 11 years ago.

Why am I thankful? Because it finally solved a problem I’d been struggling with for seven years: a lot of extra weight, gained as I went into menopause and Richard simultaneously had cancer surgery (He’s been cancer-free since, which is something to be thankful for on a whole other level) and during his recovery I was working two jobs, with a long commute and eating to comfort myself. After that ordeal was over, I began exercising five days a week, and thought I was eating healthy, but couldn’t budge the weight. I was mystified, because I’ve accomplished everything I ever set out to do in life by overcoming obstacles and figuring out problems, but I was stuck on this.  Still I knew from personal experience that standard low-calorie diets didn’t work. I also knew that forcing myself to do things I hated would lead to destructive backlash.

I thought back to what had worked for me to overcome problems in the past, and so around the beginning of 2008, it occurred to me to develop an affirmation:
I, Tina, am now creating a healthy body,
in easy and natural ways.  
Divine Love is healing me now,
And I thank Thee for receiving:
that which I need to know,
that which I need, and
that whom I need to know,
and the courage to act upon it,
and the energy to follow through;
In easy and natural, healthy and balanced ways.
Abundance and joy, peace and love.

I repeated it 10 times during each of my swimming sessions, five days a week, and any other time I thought of it.

Then, I added an extra line to the affirmation, so the first line read “I, Tina, am now creating a healthy body in easy and natural ways. Wellness is mine.”

That’s when the miracle happened; although it didn’t feel like a miracle at first. Even though I haven't lost weight, recent blood tests are very good. I have a doctor I love, and no bad symptoms. I'm still working and writing and Richard and I are traveling, and we I have a very happy life.

Here’s how to turn poison into medicine:
1. After the poison, flush your system: When something devastating happens, or you get bad news, allow yourself to feel bad about it: Give yourself at least a little time to be upset, to wail and moan, and to feel your feelings. But, don’t get stuck here; wallowing in self pity solves nothing. It may take you a while to begin to confide in friends, but do it; caring friends help you gain perspective.

2. Be an apprentice: Wisdom traditionally has been passed down from teacher to student, so be open to learning and taking in new ideas. Converting poison to medicine is an art, and a tricky one. Don’t try to do it without information and help. It may take reading, Googling, and talking to friends and to experts to find the information you need to safely change your toxic situation into growth and healing.

3. Seek encouragement: Look for comforting and encouraging signs. Learn from your own past, and repeat what was healing and hopeful before; whether it’s prayer, information, love from family and friends, or support from a group with similar issues.

 4. Let go, give in: You may need to surrender before you can heal. Often going through a ‘dark night of the soul’ is necessary to let go of preconceived notions (i.e.: that will never happen to me; or I can fix it by myself) and open up to a new dawn of a better attitude, the humility to allow yourself to be helped, and the courage to do what you thought you couldn’t. This is what’s behind the AA first step: “Admitted we were powerless over....” 

5. Don’t give up: It can be really discouraging and mystifying to struggle with an evil you can’t seem to vanquish. You may need to give in many times, but don’t give up. Keep searching for the solution. Believe in “Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.”  Sometimes the process of turning poison into medicine is complex, complicated, time consuming and difficult. But, it is always worth it. Go the next step, the extra mile; and ask the next question, seek the next teacher.

6. Picture your success: What will it look like when you’ve reached your goal or solved your problem? How will you know when you get there? Make a mental picture (or a lot of them) to help you achieve your goal. Picture yourself healthy and happy, whatever that means to you. Don’t worry about setbacks and discouragement. You can feel bad, complain and cry, and still keep trudging toward your goal.

7. Celebrate: As I frequently tell my clients: Celebration + Appreciation = Motivation. Celebrate every small victory, every tiny accomplishment. Give thanks to God or your Higher Power for every helping hand you receive. Be thankful for your healing or solution even before it happens. Appreciate the potential that is you. Consider being grateful to what the problem is teaching you. You are learning, being strengthened in soul if not in body, and growing in wisdom. Celebrate those around you who can help with information, love, caring and energy.

May you have much to be thankful for, and may your life continue to bless you, and carry you through the hard places. ( Adapted from: It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

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For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.