Mind Over Medicine Book Review – Reseña del Libro Mind Over Medicine

Mind Over Medicine Book Review

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

For much of my life, I’ve heard that genetics plays a role in having an illness. Another belief of mine was the notion that if you have an illness, you go to a doctor, get medicine, and in some cases, you get a medical procedure like surgery, and the problem was solved.  After all, conventional medicine and our doctors know more than we do about our bodies, and they can “fix” us, right? Not so is what Dr. Lissa Rankin is telling us in her groundbreaking book: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.

We know more about our bodies than we think we do.

In Mind Over Medicine, Dr. Lissa Rankin does an exceptional job at merging scientific evidence of modern day medicine and the power of the mind. In her book, she discusses the stress response as that which physically harms the body and the relaxation response as that which heals the body. An example of stress response would be the way in which actual stress can affect and manifest in our bodies such as a heart attack, migraines, anxiety, insomnia, etc. On the other hand, there is the relaxation response. This is everything that we can do to bring us to a relaxed state of being. For example, connecting with friends, being creative, and meditation are all examples of activities that lead to a relaxation response. As a result, eliciting the relaxation response can lead to the body’s ability to self-repair and to heal itself.

Dr. Rankin shares a personal story of her own healing. In Mind Over Medicine, she states, “By the time I was 33 years old, I was stressed out, burned out, and living in a near constant state of fear, anxiety, and overwhelm.” She goes on to say, “By the time I was in my 20’s, I had been diagnosed with multiple health conditions, including high blood pressure; cardiac arrhythmias; a painful sex disorder called vulvar vestibulitis; severe, debilitating allergies, and precancerous changes in the cervix.”

In short, she was a “hot mess” as she describes herself in the book.

It was in January 2006 when the ‘Perfect Storm’ hit. Dr. Lissa Rankin writes, “I became a new mother, lost my dog, my brother wound up with liver failure as a rare side effect of a common antibiotic, and my father died of a brain tumor- all within two weeks.” Her choice was to face her fears of the unknown and become healthy, or to continue to live the stressful and highly toxic life that was ruining her health. Ultimately, knowing that her life was killing her, she decided to quit her job and to move to the country. Amidst her physical and mental pain, she very valiantly proclaimed,

“When the pain of staying put exceeds the fear of the unknown, you leap.” ~ Dr. Rankin

During her own healing, she embraced her life and discovered her Inner Pilot Light, or soul.  The solution to her becoming healthy and whole again lied in listening to this Inner Pilot Light that we all have within us.  She tapped into her higher self and listened to her intuition as to what she needed to do in order to heal. The result was a balance of her body, mind, and spirit, which she describes as the Whole Health Cairn. This Whole Health Cairn is a visual divided in four parts: love, service, pleasure, and gratitude. There are many factors like relationships, creativity, mental health, and sexuality, among others that are within this cairn that rest on the Inner Pilot Light and contribute to a person’s well being. The Whole Health Cairn can be used as a check list to determine your balance in life. At the end of the book, Dr, Rankin also provides more tools in the awesome chapter called 6 Steps to Healing Yourself. It is a plan on how to make your own diagnosis and your prescription. I am excited about all this, and I intend to use it!

Thank goodness for doctors like Dr. Lissa Rankin!

After reading Mind Over Medicine, I am more than ever convinced that the only cure to illnesses is not just through conventional medicine. Thanks to Dr. Rankin, she adds to the growing literature of the merging of medicine with spirituality. Our bodies are wired to not only cure themselves, but to heal themselves. This book offers exceptional advice on how we can become healthy, vibrant, and happy individuals. It is time for us to take a closer look at our health, to get to the root of the cause, and as Dr. Rankin says, “to make the body ripe with miracles.”

MindOverMedicine

Mind Over Medicine is a must read book! You can purchase it at Hay House and Amazon.

Reseña del Libro Mind Over Medicine

Recibí este libro gratis de la casa editorial Hay House para esta reseña. La opinión en este reseña es imparcial y refleja mi opinión honesta del producto. 

Casi toda mi vida, he oído que la genética juega un papel muy importante en determinar las enfermedades que tenemos. Otra creencia mía era la nocíon que si tenías una enfermedad, ibas con un médico, te recetaba algo, o en unos casos necesitabas un procedimiento médico como una operación y el problemo se solucionaba. ¿Qué no saben más los médicos y la medicina convencional de nuestro cuerpos que nosotros mismos y  nos pueden “componer”? ¿No es así? No es así es lo que nos dice la Dra. Lissa Rankin en su libro: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself (en español sería-  La mente sobre la materia en la medicina: Evidencia científica que se puede sanar.)

Nosotros sabemos más de nuestros cuerpos de lo que pensamos.

Mind Over Medicine es un libro excepcional que junta evidencia científica de la medicina con el poder de la mente. En su libro, ella hable sobre la respuesta al estrés que sería todo aquello que daña el cuerpo físicamente y la respuesta de relajación que sana el cuerpo. Un ejemplo de  la respuesta al estrés sería el modo en que el estrés puede afectarnos y manifestarse en nuestro cuerpos como un ataque de corazón, migrañas, ansiedad e insomnio. Por el otro lado, está la respuesta de relajación. Esto tiene que ver con todo aquello que hacemos para estar en un estado relajado. Por ejemplo, salir con  amigos, ser creativo y meditar son ejemplos de actividades que pueden provocar la respuesta de relajación. Como resultado, el provocar esta respuesta positiva nos lleva a que nuestros cuerpos puedan reparse y sanarse.

La Dra. Lissa Rankin nos cuenta su historia de como ella se sanó.

En Mind Over Medicine, ella dice, “Cuando tenía 33 años, tenía muchísimo estrés, estaba agotada y casi siempre vivía en un estado de miedo, ansiedad y abrumada.” Ella también dice, “Cuando tenía veinti algo, me diagnosticaron con varias enfermedades, incluyendo, presión alta; arritmias cardiacas; una affeción sexual dolorosa llamada vestibulitis vulvar; alergias graves y debilitantes y cambios precancerosos en el cuello uterino.”

En pocas palabras, ella no estaba nada de bien y se describe en el libro como un “desastre.”

En enero de 2006 fue cuando llegó el “Perfect Storm”, o la “Tormenta Perfecta”. La Dra. Lissa Rankin escribe, “Me convertí en mamá por primera vez, perdí mi perro, mi hermano terminó con insuficiencia hepática como un efecto secundario poco común de un antibiótico común y mi padre falleció de un tumor cerebral- todo pasó en dos semanas.” Su decisión era de enfrentar sus temores a lo incierto y empezar a tomar pasos para mejorar su salud, o de continuar de vivir una vida llena de estrés y demasiada tóxica que estaba arruinando su salud. Al final y al saber que su vida la estaba matando, ella decidió dejar su trabajo y mudarse al campo. Entre su dolor físico y mental, ella valientemente proclamó,

“Cuando el dolor de estar en un lugar es más que el miedo de lo desconocido, saltas.” ~ Dra. Rankin

Mientras se sanaba, ella abrazó su vida y descubrió su alma, “Inner Pilot Light,” como ella lo llama,  o Luz Piloto Interno.  La solución de estar saludable y entera estaba en hacerle caso a su  Luz Piloto Interno.  Ella acudió a su ser superior y escuchó su intuición con lo que necesitaba  hacer para sanarse. El resultado fue un balance de su cuerpo, mente y alma, que describe como el Whole Health Cairn, o Mojón de Salud Integral. Este “Whole Health Cairn” es una representación visual dividido en cuatro partes: amor, servicio, placer y gratitud. Hay muchos factores que están dentro del mojón como relaciones, creatividad, salud mental, sexualidad, entre otros que están sobre la Luz Piloto Interno y contribuyen al bienstar de la persona. El Mojón de Salud Integral se puede usar como una lista para determinar como balancear tu vida. Al final del libro, la Dra. Rankin también provee un capítulo increíble, 6 Steps to Healing Yourself, o 6 Pasos Para Sanarte. Es un plan que te enseña como hacerte un diagnosis y escribir tu propia receta.  ¡Estoy emocionada de todo esto y lo usaré!

¡Gracias a médicos como la Dra. Lissa Rankin!

Después de haber leído Mind Over Medicine, estoy más convencida que nunca que la única cura de las enfermedades no es sólo a través de la medicina convencional. Gracias a la Dra. Lissa Rankin, ella ha contribuido al crecimiento de la investigación de la  unión de la medicina con la espiritualidad. Nuestros cuerpos ya están listos no solamente para curarse sino para sanarse. Este libro ofrece consejos excepcionales para tener buen salud, ser vibrantes e individuos felices. Es tiempo de examinar nuestro salud, de llegar a la raíz del problema y como dice la Dra. Rankin, de “hacer nuestros cuerpos maduros con milagros.”

MindOverMedicine

¡Mind Over Medicine es un libro que todos tienen que leer! Se puede comprar en Hay House y en Amazon.

Chapter By Chapter Synopsis of My Memoir

Credit: cafepress.com
Credit: cafepress.com

 

CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER SYNOPSIS

 

LOOKING WITHIN: A MEMOIR

 

One Woman’s Search for Her Truth and the Spiritual Awakening that Resulted

 

Elizabeth Cárdenas

 

 

  Part One: The Meeting

 

 

Chapter 1: Love at First Sound

 

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” ~Jane Austen

 

 This first chapter explains how I met my ex-husband. He was a musician and I was mesmerized when I saw and heard him play for the first time. Having met him would not be a coincidence. I go throughout my “picture perfect” marriage to the problems that arose in the last couple of years. Throughout my marriage, I put him first, and I put myself second. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl, yet I didn’t do it during my marriage. In fact, no passions of mine would come to the surface when I was married. Growing up in a Mexican household, I saw my mother do everything for my father, and I would imitate this when I became a wife. A “good wife” was supposed to clean, cook, serve her husband, do the laundry and iron for him, etc. I did all that and much more. Needless to say, problems arose and I became resentful.

 

 

Part Two: Emotional Healing

 

 

Chapter 2: Detachment

 

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” ~Winston Churchill

 

This chapter discusses my emotional detachment from my ex-husband. Guilt, shame, and depression set in, but thankfully, I met one of my angels on Earth: my counselor Christina. I began counseling on my own. I discuss the stages of grief as my counselor had pointed this out to me: denial, resentment and anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and I apply them to my experience. Although my healing began as emotional healing, something very special was happening. Something unexplainable as I started dream and my dreams in many ways came true and made me even feel peace. Amidst all this pain, I was able to find hope. Nevertheless, the pain outweighed my peace at the time and the result was extreme disillusionment of my marriage. Divorce was inevitable and it was only a matter of time before I filed for it.

 

Chapter 3: Alone Again

 

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This chapter begins with the divorce papers being served to my ex-husband and separated from him, I found myself alone again. All throughout this time, I questioned why this had happened and I questioned my existence. With a plethora of questions and no answers, I even questioned God. “Why would You do this to me?”, I’d ask Him. Briefly, I discuss my religion, Catholicism, and the role it played in my life during this time and I how I also questioned it. Although the pain continued, I had more for better days. Counseling and my divorce support group helped me tremendously, and for the first time, I learned about emotional healing in one of my counseling sessions. That day, I made the conscious decision to heal emotionally and I would keep my promise.  The chapter ends with a return to love as I began to love myself again and slowly began to have glimpses of happy moments. I put my faith and trust in God with all this.

 

Chapter 4: A Well Deserved Break

 

“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” ~Dale Carnegie

 

About 4 months after the separation, I came across Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read it and thought, “I could do something like that.” After working nine years as a first grade teacher, I deserved a break. Nurturance of my spirit was in order and it was during this time that I yearned to learn about music and to play piano. I took a Classical music class and a piano class at East Los Angeles College. Exhausted and burnt out were perfect words to describe this teacher during this time. Initially, fear held me from making my decision to sell my home and go abroad. Once I made my decision, it was a done deal. My ex-husband and I put the house for sale and I went in September 2007 to Granada, Spain for a semester. For the first time in years, I began to put myself first in my life.

 

Chapter 5: More Changes: Going Back to School

 

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

 

My stay abroad would only last four months, but it was enough for me. I missed my family dearly and I wanted to see them. Although I was ecstatic about the changes in my life and my new experiences, I began to feel lost. I was living with my parents again and in many ways I felt like a little girl. My counselor said that moving in with my parents would be a great thing because I would get nurturance from them – something I needed at the time. Confused, I contemplated what I wanted for myself. The answer was to go back to school and to get another master’s degree in linguistics. By no means was it a walk a park in the park, but learning is one of my passions and this return to school was what I needed. My faith and my spirituality were growing. My life and my divorce was making more sense to me and I kept my faith and trust in God.

 

Part Three: Spiritual Healing

 

Chapter 6: Bumps in the Road

 

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.” ~ Gandhi

 

            There were some “problems” that I encountered as I began to awaken spiritually. I began to see the world in a completely different way and many incidents were happening that I could not explain. For example, I would be overcome with feelings of joy and peace: bliss, if you will. Peace took more presence in my life, but it wasn’t consistent. Change was now something that I welcomed more easily and speaking my truth was something I was learning to do. Finally, I was finding my own voice and I simply let it be. However, during this time, I also allowed myself to become stressed with school and, once again, I had to deal with not only depression, but a relapse of my mental illnesses: manic depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Aside from counseling, I began to see a psychiatrist and Seroquel, Lithium, and Zoloft entered my life and put me in numbed state as I began taking these drugs. Questioning Western medicine lead to believe that I could slowly rid myself on this dependence of drugs. Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote, “A bodily disease which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part.” With all this medication, peace took a back seat in my life and I greatly missed it. Although I had no idea of what it was to heal spiritually, I made the conscious choice to heal spiritually anyways. At the end of this chapter, I discuss what I saw as problems as illusions and how they were merely spiritual lessons to be learnt on this path.

 

 

Chapter 7: Kindness and Compassion – A Semester with Adults

 

“Our main goal is to help others. If you cannot help them, then at least resist from hurting them.” ~Dalai Lama

 

After leaving the world of primary education, I taught adults for 7 months. Armed with courage and with some fear, I began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to adults at a non-profit organization in Northern California. This entire experience was very humbling for me as I learnt so much from them. Being the first time I taught adults and ESl, my students held my hand and little by little I learned how to teach them and to teach ESL. Words cannot express the gratitude that they had for receiving the English lessons and for their teacher. During this time, I began to be even kinder and to develop compassion for not only my students, but for myself, as well. This chapter ends with learning the true meaning of being one.

 

Chapter 8: Gratitude and Patience – The High School Year

 

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” ~ St. Francis

 

Following the semester with adults, and armed with courage, I signed up to teach high school. In this chapter, I talk about the gratitude I now have for everything in my life as well as the patience. Also, I discuss the law of attraction and I apply to manifest both my job and my wonderful, new relationship. Throughout this school year, I had numerous questions such as why am I teaching high school? Then, it dawned on me one day. Physically and emotionally, it took a lot out of me. I was worrying yet again. It wasn’t until I learnt to let things go and let things be that I started to be myself again. I surrendered. More changes came as a result including a defining moment: my own epiphany. Around this time I read Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss. In it, he discusses, how we return in physical form to learn a spiritual lesson. In my humble opinion, I believe that in this lifetime I am meant to learn patience. My life events have yielded so many opportunities where I have had to be patient not only with others, but with myself, as well. This patience that I am learning has resulted in more peace for me, and those close to me. Patience also taught me to surrender and to simplify my life. I allowed what the Universe was blessing me with and I let my life events transpire. I let things be. Realizing this brought me great joy and happiness.

 

Chapter 9:  A Happy Heart of My Own

 

 “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” ~ Democritus

 

            This chapter begins with being grateful for learning to be happy regardless of what was happening in my life. Staying in the present moment has brought me peace, and that peace in turn has brought me happiness. Learning to let go of material possessions (as this isn’t true happiness), as well as letting go of fears to follow my heart has also contributed to my happiness. Suppressing my ego was key to go in the direction of true happiness for myself. In his book, The Power of Intention, Dr. Dyer lists the 7 Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold of You and they are the following: 1. Stop being offended, 2. Let go of the need to win, 3. Let go of the need to be right, 4. Let go of the need to be superior, 5. Let go of the need to have more, 6. Let go of identifying on the basis of your achievements, and 7. Let go of your reputation. In this chapter, I list each one and I give specific examples as to how this manifested in my own life. Finally, I discuss the dependence society has on antidepressants to achieve a state of happiness. The end of this chapter concludes with a quote from Ernst Shurtleff Holmes’ book Creative Mind:

As it’s given me to perceive,

I most certainly believe

When a man’s glad plumb through,

God’s pleased with him same’s you.

 

 

Part Four: My Purpose in Life

 

Chapter 10: Coming Into My Own

 

“Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

            This chapter begins with answering my question on the meaning of my life. Why am I here? My answer lied in looking within myself. Because each of us has the divine spark, we are spiritual beings in physical bodies. We are, therefore, immortal and perfect as we are. My soul searching resulted in my finding both my inner and outer purposes. Seeking my truth and my never ending questioning brought me great peace as I made that fateful reconnection with God. Also, I discuss the love I have for others and myself as the greatest gift that I have given to myself and to them. Finding my balance in my life through meditation, nurturance of my spirit, and living in the present moment contributed to my spiritual awakening, as well. The divorce made it all possible and, in retrospect, it really is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The culmination of this spiritual journey resulted in the everyday miracles and a love for life. This chapter ends with my favorite poem: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

 

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth.

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same.

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

On Being Happy…

Happy
Ever since I can remember I have always been curious about many things in life and I am constantly questioning everything. This has included happiness.  In this post, I include what I believe happiness to be and what friends and family have told me what happiness means to them. This is an excerpt from one of my chapters from the memoir: A Happy Heart of my Own.

“In general, I knew certain pleasurable experiences not only made me joyful, but others, as well. I asked friends and family what they considered happiness to be and their answers ranged from playing their favorite sport, to helping others, or simply being in nature. Marcos, a friend of mine, began his response with telling me that happiness to him meant ‘not being stressed.’ And I couldn’t agree with him more. Since when does stress and happiness occur simultaneously? It doesn’t.  One of my family members, Karina, answered by saying, ‘For me it’s when I run and feel the presence of the Lord and I have this immense feeling of gratefulness for everything in my life.’ Another family member of mine, Gloria, very humble began with, ‘I can’t explain true happiness” and added, “all I can say is that I know it when I feel it. Family, friends, humanity, humility, gratefulness, waking to another day, thunder, lighting, the sunshine, a smile, a hug, even nothing can make me feel happiness! But, I can truly say that I experienced true happiness when I learned self-love, when I leaned in to clear my mind and let peace take over. So, happiness to me turns out to be LIFE itself.’

This same harmony, joy, and peace are seen in my friend Carlos’ definition on happiness. He says, ‘For me, happiness is akin to knowing that I am alive. There is something so special going on this planet of ours, something that we’ve yet to discover anywhere else in the universe and most of us (again, particularly in industrialized nations) act as if we couldn’t care less. We have to stop every now and then and take a step back in wonder and amazement. Put things in perspective and take life, with all its glitches, and treat it like what it is: the best, most unique gift in the world.’

What a beautiful combination of different interpretations on happiness. As each expressed what happiness meant to them, I understood and felt it as a rejoicing in all that proved to be of profound delight in their hearts. What was salient in their takes on happiness was a feeling, a connection, and an alignment with spirit: a complete and selfless, unconditional love of life and love for oneself.

After my family and friends expressed what happiness meant to them, I was left with an unwavering desire to define happiness for myself. I questioned whether mere instances in our lives would be the only defining moments that made us achieve this state or could we live happily all the time?

Here is my take on happiness:

“In many ways, the result of this search for my own happiness led me to believe that it is as simple and as sweet as one’s own joie de vivre. I can’t recall the exact date when all this started to happen, but I clearly remember a consistency that came with waking up day after day and being content and filled with gratitude for the light of another day. Not to mention, how truly blessed I was for seeing my life as beautiful and, even more, living it as such. The great and late pianist of the twentieth century, Arthur Rubinstein, once said, ‘I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.’ Pure and simple. I can think of no better way of expressing this sentiment of a constant state of happiness other than to see life as beautiful and to love it. For me, this has translated as living life to the fullest with joy and peace in our hearts because this is what we feel and have within us; it’s who we are. And when we radiate this love, it follows that we not only see our environment and others in a different light, but we also take pleasure and delight through the benefit of receiving love in return. And, for the first time, I wasn’t seeing my life through rose-colored glasses. Happiness wasn’t the result of luck as I had once thought, but it was the result of my unyielding pursuit of it. I had come into harmony on my own accord and I was truly happy.”

What makes you happy? What do you define as happiness?