The First Secret to
Making Your Recovery Journey
Easier and More Enjoyable

What can you learn from a lion that will help you regain your health and happiness?

How can getting the courage of a lion help you regain your health and happiness?

You know it, and I know it: Life with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia can be extremely difficult.

When I say difficult, I don’t even mean the symptoms, such as brainfog or pain that many of us have to endure. While these symptoms are usually extremely difficult to live with in the beginning phase of the illness, we eventually learn about treatments and psychological techniques to deal with them.

I think what’s most difficult is how much energy, will-power, and discipline we have to muster each day to do all the things we need to do to live well with the condition.

While it’s possible to reduce brain-fog through meditating, it requires that we muster the discipline of a zen-monk.

While it’s possible to transform or at least make peace with painful emotions and sensations in our body through focusing, it requires that we muster the courage of a lion.

While it’s possible to tirelessly experiment to find what helps us be healthier and happier, it requires that we muster the endurance of a marathon runner.

This is what I mean when I say that life with CFS or FM is difficult. It’s that each day, we must wake up and muster the discipline of a zen-monk, the courage of a lion, and the endurance of a marathon runner.

Who on earth can transcend all of those difficulties?

The truth about discipline, courage, and endurance

The truth is that most of us can’t do it. For most of us mustering the required discipline, courage, and endurance is too difficult, so we give up at the cost of overcoming our condition and living a magnificent life.

Speaking for myself, I would go on for months with brain fog, because I did not muster the discipline to meditate each day.

I would tolerate months of unhappiness, because I couldn’t muster the courage to face my unpleasant emotions and transform them.

I would lose months of prospective better health, because I couldn’t muster the endurance to keep experimenting to find the next lifestyle change that could make the difference.

I don’t even blame myself—because it was just too difficult.

The possibility of turning difficult into awesome

This is the great news for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia: Having a difficult life doesn’t mean having a bad life. In fact, having a difficult life often leads us to find a very content life.

Think of the zen-monk. It requires a lot of discipline to meditate and live simply each day, but Buddhist monks are well-known for their happiness.

Or think the lion: although he might have to endure great injuries or defeats as a result of his courageous, lifestyle, doesn’t he seem content, even majestic in his ways?

Then there is the marathon runner. Yes, it’s extremely trying, painful, and hard to run a marathon, but people really get into it and devote their life to it.

These three examples show how a difficult life can be turned into a fantastic life—full of discipline, uncertainty, and discomfort, yet glorious.

How do you transform a difficult into an awesome life?

I don’t have all the answers, but during my six years of working intensely to help myself and others get their life back from CFS and FM, I’ve noticed three secrets that help people overcome their difficulties.

The secret is not that we become super-humans or change our personality—which is obviously impossible.

The secrets are the same ones that the monk, the lion, and marathon runner use. They’re simple yet powerful. Through these methods I’ve learned how to meditate 3-5 times a day, face and transform difficult sensations often as soon as they come up, and tirelessly find ways to further improve my health and happiness.

The three secrets are:

  1. Taking baby-steps
  2. Tapping into the power of community
  3. Learn from an experienced mentor

In this three part series, I’ll highlight how each of these secrets has transformed my life or that of one of my clients. I will show you how we turned our life from difficult to awesome, and how you can do it, too.

Secret #1: Baby Steps

Rather than explaining the baby-step concept to you, let me give you an experience of how you can benefit from it.

First, let’s pick a challenge that is common among people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Something that’s too difficult to do or master if we don’t know about the concept of baby steps.

For me, such challenges have been clearing my brain-fog and releasing uncomfortable sensations or emotions through meditation.

Meditating is difficult for most people, which is one of the reasons for why so few of us actually do it. Having CFS or Fibro makes it even more difficult: The moment we sit down to meditate, we’re actually paying attention to how our body feels and no longer distracting ourselves from the uncomfortable sensations, such as brain-fog, tensions, or muscle pain. Feeling all that discomfort during the first few minutes of meditation is difficult.

Yet, enduring the discomfort of the first few minutes of meditating is usually worth it, because soon into the meditation our discomfort subsides, our mind clears, and our tensions dissipate.

Think of a time when you’re your symptoms just intensified as a result of an activity you were engaging in for a bit too long, for example reading online articles beyond your limits ;).

You knew that you’d benefit from a rest, but how did you actually feel about taking a rest? What thoughts and feelings came up for you the moment you realized that you had to take a thirty minute rest or meditation?

Feel an inner resistance come up? You’ll notice an inner resistance in the form of voices of resistance in your mind, or a tightness in your chest.

In my experience, most people do experience resistance and thoughts such as,

  • “I don’t want to rest! It will be so difficult to face my brainfog, tensions, and pain in my body; I wish I could just avoid it,” or,
  • “I don’t feel calm enough to rest; I think I’ll just no do it.”

Whenever you experience thoughts such as these, here is what’s going on: Your subconscious is trying to make you avoid the discomfort that you’ll certainly experience during the first few minutes of resting. The thoughts are just excuses made up by your subconscious to rationalize your avoiding the discomfort.

Now, if you had the courage of a lion, you might still go ahead and meditate, despite your inner fear of discomfort. In my experience, however, we too often don’t muster that courage, give in to the resistant voices in our mind, and miss the opportunity to clear our mind through meditating in this crucial moment.

So let’s have a look at how we can make facing the discomfort easier—easy enough so that we can succeed even though we’re not a lion.

Step 1 – Make facing discomfort easy

The secret is to begin very small, with a baby step: You only focus on your discomfort for such a short period of time that your subconscious doesn’t even care and thus doesn’t bother you with feelings and thoughts of inner resistance.

Let me give you an experience of how this works and what feels like:

Think again of the situation from the previous exercise where you were just about to rest or meditate for thirty minutes.

If you can remember the inner resistance you felt in that situation, continue with this exercise. If you can’t remember it, come back to this exercise the moment you notice resistance to an uncomfortable activity.

Part of why you felt the resistance was because of the long period of time you knew you’d have to rest, “Thirty minutes! I don’t want to face my discomfort for that long.”

So instead, think of meditating or resting for 10 minutes. Does that feel any easier?

How about five minutes? Really tune into yourself and listen to whether your inner voices of resistance grow louder or weaker.

Now think of meditating on your discomfort for only 1 minute.

Feels pretty easy, huh?

Or how about 3 seconds?

Super easy, right? Since it’s not even real pain we need to endure, but just a bit of discomfort, and it’s only such a short period of time, our mind relaxes about it. We feel light and think, “Yes, I can do that!”

The secret is to just make a commitment to a very short period of rest or meditation!

Now, I’m not asking you to meditate for a shorter period of time in total (more about that in the next step), but I ask you to begin with a very short meditation.

Here’s again why: While it feels hard to meditate for 20 minutes, taking a doing it for only ten seconds feels doable, if not easy. We need to begin easy, or else we won’t get started at all.

Let’s meditate for 10 seconds together, right now:

Take a slow, deep breath in, focusing on the strongest sensation in your body (secret tip: put a big smile on your face, even if it’s a fake smile, while you do it)…

And now, breathe out.

Did you take that deep breath with me? If you haven’t yet, I urge you to really do it and not read the next paragraph until you’ve done it.

You’ve just meditated for ten seconds. It was easy—right? That’s all I’m asking you to do in this step. Easy :).

Step two: – As easy as step one

This step is no harder than the previous step. All I’m asking from you is to do the same thing you just did over again.

Take another slow, deep breath in.

And now, let it go.

Did you do it? Good!

Now do it again.

Excellent! Now, all you have to do is repeat this over and over again, until twenty minutes, or however long you want to meditate, is over.

Have you noticed that this works like a miracle? When you’re committing to taking really short breaks, you trick the part of your brain that freaks out at the prospect of you feeling and meditating on the discomfort in your body.

Is it OK to trick that freaking-out part of yourself? I think so. I liken it to when my love, Erin, tried to get her horse in a trailer to move her to a more beautiful pasture. The horse, Pockets, didn’t know that it was good for her to walk into the trailer: she resisted. So Erin had to trick Pockets to make her go in.

Once Pockets arrived at the new pasture, she was very, very happy (as you can see here).

Likewise, the freak-out part of your brain will be overjoyed once you’ve helped it get out of its own way and rest or meditate for twenty minutes.

The best thing about this technique is that after you’ve repeated your commitment to a mini-meditation a few times, additional mini-meditations become easier. Your subconscious has already calmed down a bit and is therefore less afraid of facing discomfort.

As you notice your body and subconscious calm down, feel free to increase the length of your mini-meditations to thirty seconds, a minute, or even longer. You’re doing it right, as long as facing the discomfort continues to feel easy.

Experience Baby Steps with the help of my guided audio recording

Finally, I’d like to share a couple of guided recordings with you:

Try the baby-step approach to resting or meditating with the help of this Making Pacing Easy audio recording.Try melting away tension or symptoms in your body with the help of the Melt away tension and experience peace guided audio recording.

Taking baby-steps has been the key to my being able to face discomfort every day and thus do each day what it took to reach my optimum health and happiness. Good luck with using it to improve your well-being, too!

What’s next?

In next week’s lesson, you’ll learn how you can get the discipline of a zen-monk the easy way. You’ll learn the secret of how you can make “being disciplined” easy.

With best wishes for your health and happiness,
Johannes' Signature

P.S.

If you’ve got here without being subscribed to the free CFS Recovery Project E-Course, you’re missing out. This is lesson #13 on how to reach your maximum health and happiness potential if you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. If you’re not already a subscriber, click here to learn more about it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Return to top of page

Copyright © 2022 · Johannes Starke·

I take your privacy very seriously. You can read our entire privacy policy here.
By entering, you agree to terms and conditions found here. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Johannes encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Affiliate link disclosure: CfsRecoveryProject.com may have financial relationships with the merchants of the products mentioned on this website and may be compensated if visitors click on any outbound links (so-called “affiliate links”) and generate sales for the said merchant. However, any opinions, analyses, reviews or evaluations provided here are the author’s alone, and we will only recommend a product or service if we would also wholeheartedly recommend it to our friends and family.
Legal disclaimer: The information provided is for entertainment purposes only.