A Safe Haven – Omega 2018
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Our next weekend workshop will be held this summer at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. The dates are Friday evening, June 29th until Sunday noon, July 1st. The intent of the program is to create a structured safe environment where you can connect to your capacity to heal through … Read More

Why are New Year’s Resolutions So Hard to Keep?
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  Each new year, many of us spend time figuring out how we’ll make it better and also to really complete some projects that we have been putting off, maybe for decades. Few of us are able to accomplish a fraction of what we envision. Why? It’s because our unconscious … Read More

Happily Ever After
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My wife and I were at a wedding this weekend. The bride was the daughter of some of our closest friends. She and her new husband are a wonderful couple. The excitement and energy around supporting them in their new venture together was electric. Their commitment to each other was … Read More

The Impact of Mirror Neurons on Your Family
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It is becoming increasingly clear that chronic pain has a tremendous impact on your immediate family. One of the more direct ways is through mirror neurons. I frequently tell my patients that when you smile at a baby the reason the baby smiles back is not because the baby is … Read More

The Taste of Freedom – Omega 2017
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Becoming socially isolated often occurs when suffering in pain. Additionally, the area of the brain that lights up is similar to the same circuits that are active in chronic pain. The effects of being isolated will play off of each other and you can spiral downward quickly. Loneliness There is … Read More

Your “Identity” Can Destroy You
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Humans spend a good part of their life energy creating and maintaining something called “self-image.” Thanks to parents, peers, and the socialization process, we are conditioned to identify with an “image” of our “selves.” While this conditioning is well-intentioned, it can wreak havoc in our lives. It is only about … Read More

The Chronic Pain Marriage-Go-Round
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I have long asked the spouses of my chronic pain patients to participate in the DOC project (“Direct your Own Care”—my step-by-step method that allows patients to take control of their treatment plan), along with their partners. One reason is that partners of chronic pain patients also experience suffering—they have … Read More

The Two Faces of Christmas
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Louis Cozolino, in his exhaustive book The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, points out that that human consciousness developed through interacting with other humans. We all know that people seek connection with others and when deprived of it develop significant health problems. We will do almost anything to stay connected. It … Read More

Moving Forward with Your Pain
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“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving forward.” Albert Einstein The goal of the DOC process is not to get rid of your pain. In fact, there is no goal at all. There is no beginning or end to it. The only intention … Read More

Be All that You Can Be – or Just Be
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The incidence of chronic disease is rampant amongst teenagers. A 2014 paper out of Indianapolis demonstrated an 830 percent increase in hospital admissions for pain in adolescents over a seven-year span. In the vast majority of patients a cause of the symptoms could not be found. I gave a talk … Read More

Who Do You Choose to be Today?
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Last Tuesday morning, I woke up feeling low, having just completed eight straight 15-hour workdays. As I lay there exhausted, I reviewed my choices: either (1) stay in bed feeling sorry for myself; or (2) give thanks for the opportunity to help so many patients during the week, pat myself … Read More

The Essence of the DOC Process
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“The essence of the DOC process is simply chilling out and moving on. One cannot happen without the other. This is a corollary of the other basic principle that it is important to move forward with your life with or without your pain. If you are waiting for your pain … Read More

Take Back Your Life
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Stress is not the problem. It is your reaction to it that drains you of your life energy. Actually this statement is not completely correct. It is the stress. However, you also have a choice of whether to remain in the situation that is creating the stress. Let me explain. … Read More

Happy Father’s Day – Not
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I was landing in Salt Lake City to spend Father’s Day weekend with my son and daughter-in-law. While standing at baggage claim I heard a father yelling at his daughter to hold still. I looked down and saw a remarkably cute five-year-old little girl with curly hair being stopped in … Read More

Pain Rules the Roost
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I am noticing a pattern that seems to be quite common. People in pain control others around them – especially their close family members. I have not had the chance to research the literature but it is becoming increasingly clear how devastating chronic pain is not only to the patient … Read More

Happy Holidays – Not
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My first year in training I will never forget my first holiday season as an internal medicine resident in Spokane, WA. I learned that the holidays are a nightmare for the medicine service, especially the GI service. Diabetics don’t take their insulin and their sugars go out of control. Cardiac … Read More

“I’m Paying You to Inflict Pain??”
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  This is Scott, who is a personal trainer that I work out with on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 am. This is his picture at the gym one memorable Halloween. He’s a little unusual in that he laughs at us – the whole time we are working out. He pushes … Read More

Breaking Loose – Not Quite
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Family Patterns Behavioral patterns laid into your nervous system are the essence of your life view. Until you become aware of them and their effect on your day-to-day life you cannot connect with the core of you really are. Being around your family usually will precipitate a massive resurgence of … Read More

Mirror Neurons—Family Healing
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I always ask family members or close friends to fully engage in the DOC project. It is not just for support, which is important. People exert a direct neurological effect on each other’s brains. The brain contains mirror neurons, which are cells that fire in response to the observation of … Read More

Protect Your Family from Your Pain
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Chronic pain is dangerous Chronic pain is dangerous. When you are trapped by anything in life, especially pain, you’ll become angry. When you’re angry, everything is completely about you and your efforts to escape. You can no longer see the needs of those around you, much less respond to them. … Read More

Staying in the Storm
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Almost every patient of mine who is in chronic pain is also experiencing much adversity in the rest of his or her life. Chronic pain rips through every aspect of your life and there is no apparent escape.The stories I hear each day are mind-boggling. They include abuse, murder, family … Read More

Visualization – Holt’s Winning Run
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Stimulating your brain to form new circuits first involves awareness of what already is, separating or creating some space between the stimulus and response and then redirecting your attention. Visualization is an effective method to create new pathways around your embedded pain pathways. Part of the chronic pain experience is … Read More

Pain = Anger = Abuse
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I was raised in a chaotic household. My mother was physically and emotionally abusive. It was confusing for me to feel like I had a mother who would do anything for her family and then, within seconds, watch her unpredictably fly into a rage lasting several days. From a young child’s … Read More

The Eye of the Storm
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Any time your sense of well-being or peace of mind is dependent on external factors, you are at the mercy of those circumstances. For instance, if you feel the need for approval from your boss or peers, then you have given them a lot of power if they withhold their … Read More

Goal Setting
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    As we live our lives, regardless whether we have chronic pain, it’s easy to fall into a “surviving and fixing” mind-set. You reactively deal with an endless number of problems. When was the last time you thought about living your life based on a vision instead of just … Read More