by Susan Vielguth
The belief "I can't" can blind us to options, solutions, alternatives and our inherent freedom. Preventing us from seeing what we do have and working with it from a place of vibrancy, empowerment and abundance.
In the groups each person made a list of what they believe HIV prevents them from doing that felt stressful for them. Below is one of the participant's list.
Because I’m HIV+ I can’t:
- have friends
- enjoy life
- have more children
- go overseas
- carry heavy duties
- donate blood
- change my status
- have unprotected sex
- eat what I want
- see my children graduate
- plan for the future
- stop taking medication
And, do you know what was AMAZING?! At the other side of inquiry every single thought had a line through it. I would ask each person I saw in individual sessions to let me know if there was any thought on the page that had remaining stress associated with it, any that they still believed…there wasn’t.
Through asking the questions of The Work a lot of thoughts were seen through by simply acknowledging that in reality they COULD do those things. Things such as eating those greasy foods, not taking medication, carrying heavy duties, having unprotected sex, etc. At the other side of inquiry they found where it was a choice to change their diet, take their medication, and alter their lifestyle. They discovered they preferred the option of living as healthy as possible.
Then there were the beliefs that with just a little contemplation were debunked with smiles on their faces and countless examples in the turnarounds: “I can have friends” “I can enjoy life” “I can go overseas, plan for the future, work, have children, succeed…” (Many HIV+ women in the class already had HIV- children…even the ones with the belief on their list!)
And then there were what appeared to be unquestionable facts.
“I can’t change my status”
We all know what this thought is like. That thing you just wish was different about your body, your childhood, your life-situation and the hopelessness that ensues with the thought “I can’t change it.”
After answering the 4 Questions we arrived in the turnaround “I can change my status.”
Countless specific examples were found of how each time they questioned a painful belief they had about their status, the stress disappeared, and the virus became less and less monstrous. They found how it wasn’t their status but their thoughts about their status that caused their stress and that the status changed as a result of their beliefs about it changing.
• • •
“I can’t donate blood”
This thought was especially stressful for one woman in particular. She used to go with a group of friends regularly to “help save people” with her blood donations.
After two decisive “yes’s” to the first two questions, she described the effects of believing the thought: how she felt sad, dirty, disappointed, rejected, and excluded. Without the thought, in the same situation of being HIV+, she found how she would be moving on with her life, no longer dwelling, present.
Then in the turnarounds, it got interesting: “I can donate blood”
After some serious introspection she found how she is saving people’s lives now by wearing protection, actively sharing information about HIV, and taking her medication as well as eating right. She was able to do all of this because of the blood pulsating throughout her body. With each smile, kind word, and supportive action she was donating her blood.
We questioned the same thought in the other group as well and even more examples surfaced. Every time they got their blood taken to check their CD4 Count, they were donating their blood in the service of their health, their life. At one point, one man perked up and with a big grin on his face exclaimed, “We can donate our blood for research!”
Yes! Yes you can.