Learning How to Let Go of Your Life

This title might sound suicidal, but this is not my intention. When you look at your life as the consciousness that keeps you alive and allows you to be more active, letting go of your life is freeing your consciousness. You are freeing it from your thoughts and conditioning. This allows you to be conscious of powerful inner resources and develop a deep spiritual connection. This goes against the way most people live their life.

We have been conditioned to be very conscious of the way we think. Our conditioning is so strong that our consciousness is trapped in our thinking mind. Basically, this is another way of defining attachments. When your consciousness is connected to a thought, you are unable to connect to your deeper inner wisdom. On almost every spiritual path, you are encouraged to let go of your attachments, which allows consciousness to enter a spiritual realm.

I want to propose to you that this can naturally happen in every breath. When we learn how to breathe beyond our thinking mind, our in-breath is a way of letting go of the thoughts that define our life. This in-breath can create a habit that frees us from our thinking mind every time we breathe. Then, on our out-breath, our consciousness returns to our thinking mind with a clear perspective.

To the ego that naturally fears death and is what we identify with, this traps us in our thinking mind. For most people, their thinking mind serves them and makes them more efficient in this world. But, when a person aspires to an important goal, that beyond-thought reality is the home of powerful inner resources that they need. For instance, if you struggle with a health crisis, breathing into this depth is how you can become an active participant as a partner with your doctor. Not only do you activate your healing powers, you remove anxious thinking that limits your ability to heal.

If you want to express love to someone who is important to you, the ability to breathe beyond thoughts allows your heart’s expression to be pure. We limit our love by the way we think and were conditioned. If you had the power to transport consciousness to the silence beyond your thoughts, your love would be free from any limitations. Of course, this happens by a habit which can happen to most people naturally. But, for those whose love is limited by their thoughts and conditioning, they may need to put conscious effort into making this happen.

Another aspect of our life that this breath can serve is our work. When we hold onto our thoughts, we block creativity and our openness to new ideas. Creativity is an important part of work and can subconsciously be limited by the habits we create. Developing the habit of conscious breathing, where we let go of our thinking mind, has the ability to makes us more conscious on our job.

Focusing on breathing may sound insignificant, but it can add quality to every aspect of your life if done consciously.  I suggest that you take time and develop the habit of letting go of your thoughts. This can happen by practicing breathing into silence every night before you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. This will allow you an instant escape from anxious thinking and, possibly, develop this habit in every breath.

In a health crisis, you need to learn how to let go, so that powerful inner resources can assist you. In my book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, you learn to apply this in a health crisis. In my book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, you apply this same perspective to your final days, as you approach death.


© 2015 Marc Lerner

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How to Reduce Hospital Re-admissions Through Patient Participation

We have been brought up in a society that teaches us to rely on doctors, because they know the scientific approach to health. Doctors have gone to school for a long, intense education, but patients have not been taught how to be active and conscious patients.   I want to propose that the high recidivism rate of hospital admissions has a lot to do with not empowering patient participation.

When you look at the new health care law, it requires hospitals to reduce their readmissions of discharged patients. According to an article in the October, 2011, American Medical News, “Hospitals make almost no headway in cutting readmissions.” Researchers affiliated with Dartmouth Institute’s Atlas of Health Care examined the records of all 10.7 million Medicare patient hospital discharges from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2009 and found little progress. They concluded, “Irrespective of the cause, unnecessary hospital readmissions lead to more tests and treatments, more time away from home and family, and higher health care costs.”

Along with its report, Dartmouth released a tip sheet for patients when leaving the hospital. The guide advises patients to ask for post-discharge planning help while still in the hospital and write a plan that captures elements such as expected discharge date, scheduled follow-up appointments, medication list, needed medical equipment and how to respond to anticipated symptoms.

Too often, when we look at empowering patient participation, we look at what the patient has to do to stay out of the hospital. I believe we need to focus on how a patient actively participates. We can do this by teaching practical life skills, like developing a positive self-image, self-trust and a way of consciously connecting to inner resources.

When a person has a positive self-image, they feel more worthy of healing. A person with a negative self-image too often has sub-conscious sabotaging programs that limit the healing process. Every time we think, our thoughts are directed to our self-image. If we have a positive self-image, we get positive responses. A negative self-image too often gives limiting responses.

In the Journal of the American Medical Association, it stated that the attitude a patient walks into the doctor’s office with determines receptivity of the doctor’s treatment. A positive self-image has the ability to better receive the doctor’s treatments.

Another important life skill that needs to be developed to reduce recidivism is self-trust. If a patient trusts themself, they will be more able to tap inner resources to be an active partner with their doctor.  Without self-trust, a patient will naturally look outside to solve their problems. In the case of poor health, the hospital would be a normal place to go.

When a patient trusts themself, their experience sends them a clear and powerful message. When they share that with the doctor, that partnership becomes more effective.  This eliminates one-way communication from doctor to patient. The optimal communication between doctor and patient is where the patient can accurately articulate their problem and the doctor responds with his medical knowledge. In a conscious partnership, if the patient does not agree or has questions, they are more likely to confidently speak up.

A third important life skill is conscious breathing. We become more aware of what our breath breathes into; it is like our breath gives life to what we breathe into. If we breathe into anxious thoughts, we will give life to a limiting part of us. If we could breathe into the silence beyond our thoughts, we could give life to what I call ‘The Wisdom of the Body.’ This is where inner resources are found to make the patient’s role more powerful. When the patient’s inner resources partner with the doctor’s treatments, there are better healing results.

My book, “A Healthy Way to Be Sick,” helps you to be aware and conscious during a hospital stay. In the book, you develop several life skills that help you tap inner resources to become an active patient, instead of a victim.

© 2015 Marc Lerner

Hospital Navigation as an Active Patient

The hospital is a place where a lot of frustration and anxiety meet professional care. It is a place where an incredible amount of information is passed. I want to focus on the patient’s role in dealing with the hospital situation. I suggest that the patient strive to be in a super-conscious state of mind. It is difficult for a patient to agree or disagree with a diagnosis, but the patient can be extremely alert when a doctor says what they are going to do.

One time, I was in a pre-surgery room getting prepped for trigeminal nerve (brain) surgery. I was in intense pain. The doctor was reviewing the surgical procedures before I was anesthetized. When he said the surgery would be on the nerve leading to the right side of my jaw, I immediately was alarmed. This was because the pain and nerve went to the left side of my jaw.  After the doctor checked, he said the right side was what was written on the report. He apologized and operated on the correct side. It showed how important patient participation is.

I feel the best way for a patient to deal with the complex environment of a hospital is to be totally alert. I did not have to go to medical school to know the difference between right and left.

This was a dramatic example, but this consciousness is needed on the mundane level of everything you do when you are a patient in the hospital. You should always ask what medication is being given or what procedure you are scheduled for or what meal has been delivered to you. I do not suggest that you be an antagonistic patient, but all these issues are dealt with by being more conscious.

Another conscious thing you can do is to have someone you trust be with you as your advocate. Sometimes, when I was sick in the hospital, I would go in and out of being awake and aware. At those times, it was helpful to have a second set of eyes and ears. Whether you have an advocate or not, being more conscious is not only to catch mistakes, but it is a way to make the treatments and medication more effective.

This is not something you should wait to develop while you are in the hospital. This is how you should enter the hospital, so it becomes a natural part of your life. You do not TRY to be conscious. You only TRY to do something when you feel you cannot do it.  Illness is a great motivator. It can force you to become more conscious, so you do everything you can to deal with it. This is one of the benefits of being sick.

In my book “A Healthy Way to Be Sick,” you will develop the life skills that make you a conscious patient. Illness can be a spiritual experience when you are conscious. Being in that state of mind helps the healing process. The conscious perspective is essential in healing. You can develop the conscious perspective in my book “The Positive Self, Change your Self Image and Change Your Life”. My books are available on Amazon/Kindle

A Poetic View of Hospice

poetic hospice

In March, 2014, I had my 33rd anniversary of my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). In my 33rd year, after dealing with partial blindness, brain surgery, coping with a wheelchair and excruciating pain, I entered Hospice. My entry was not because I was expected to die soon; it was just that I was on a downhill progression with my illness and I needed to manage my pain.
It was a shock to me to be put into Hospice and I knew I had to deal with it myself. My wife, Amy, and my mom were incredible supports, but they were not always available. I used poetry as a way of coping. When issues came up, writing poetry allowed me to view that same situation from a poetic perspective.
In 2013, I wrote The End: A Creative Approach to Death. I felt creativity was important, because it allowed me to use my whole brain, instead of just linear thinking. I would encourage everybody to approach any major struggle using their whole brain, especially at the end of their life. It does not really matter what your creativity is, but it has to be an expression that goes beyond worry, fear or negativity.
I am not a professional poet, but I wrote these poems to help me process the dramatic journey I was on. This is the way I coped with a situation that even the experts do not have a cure for. The spiritual perspective for me was the deepest way to capture my situation not as a victim, but making the best out of a devastating situation. For those who related to my poetry, it triggered beautiful communications.

Everyone has the opportunity to utilize their right brain, if they express their heart to those they love. Only utilizing the left brain is a way to trigger frustration and a disconnect with those you love or those who love you. It is not time to focus on intellectually figuring out your situation; that needed to have been done before your final days. Completing unfinished business in your relationships is the best thing you can leave those who love you.
The following poems are an expression of the 3 months of my time in Hospice; July, 2014 to October, 2014. I am now in palliative care. My decline is not as dramatic and pain is relatively under control.