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

This is the second of three lessons in a series on making your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia recovery journey easy enough, so that even normal people—like you and I—can succeed.

The power of communityIn the first part of this series, we explored what it takes for someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia to reach their optimum health and happiness. We faced the hard truth that getting better can take the discipline of a zen-monk, the courage of a lion, and the endurance of a marathon runner—which is often too difficult and causes many of us to fail.

Unless… we know about ways to make our recovery journey easier!

In lesson one, you learned about Baby Steps, the first secret to making your recovery journey easier. In this lesson you’ll learn about secret #2, “Tapping into the power of community.”

Tapping into the power of community

Meet Liz, an ivy-league graduated young professional, who was living the high life in San Francisco, until she came down with a mysterious illness that was later diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Before she got sick, everything came easy to her. She mastered her job as a software engineer effortlessly and enjoyed socializing with her friends in her free time. She enjoyed going with the daily flow of her work and social interactions with her friends.

Then she came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She could no longer go with the normal flow, but instead had to set her own schedule and goals to work on her recovery. Understandably, she was frustrated: “Why do I have to meditate, rest, and spend hours researching how to get better, while everyone else is having drinks, going snowboarding, and eating ice cream?”

The activities healthy people engage in when they need self-care did no longer apply to her. The Yoga classes did not focus enough on breaking her illness-induced negativity, and the fitness classes exceeded her energy envelope.

After she had become my coaching client, she now had someone who held her accountable on a weekly basis, but that was only once a week for one hour. During the other ten hours of self-care that her body needed, she was still left on her own.

I felt for her, because I had also longed for a community of people committed to engaging in daily self-care activities. Sometimes I wished I could live in a monastery or retreat center with lots of like-minded optimum-health-and-happiness pursuing people, a place where I could just go with the flow of the group.

So we started to create our own healing retreat center. Although where we met was “only” an online meeting room (more about that later), it gave us many of the benefits of being at a real healing retreat:

  1. Being able to go with the flow. Have you ever noticed how much easier things get when you have a group to do them with? If others engage in an activity, for example, studying for an exam or practicing Yoga, we are intrinsically motivated to do it as well. This phenomenon in called herd behaviour and is considered one of the most powerful drivers of human behavior.

    People do the most ridiculous things because of the herd instinct. They go with a fashion style 🙂 , for example, or buy stocks at the worst possible time.

    Before Liz participated in our group of self-care enthusiasts, her natural herd instinct produced much frustration for her, because she had to engage in all of her self-healing activities on her own, instead of going out with her group of friends.

    In our newly created healing retreat center, Liz tapped into a new “herd” of people who had the same needs and goals as she had. In her new environment, taking care of herself became the new normal. Everybody was doing it, so she felt good about doing it, too.

  2. Some things just work better with a partner.

    Some things just work better with a partner.

    Partner up with someone. One of the great advantages of being in a group is that you can partner up for certain activities. Do you remember in college how much easier and more fun things were when you were allowed to do them with a partner? Or, take Yoga as an example where some poses are especially designed as partner-exercises.

    The same applies for the self-care activities for people with CFS and Fibromyalgia: Some things just work better together.

    Liz and and I did some beautiful health visualizations together, which were enriched by each other’s presence. Other self-care activities we’ve tried already or might want to try in the future include sound healing and evaluating an experiment.

  3. Develop friendships. Sharing the journey of overcoming suffering and making breakthroughs toward health and happiness has facilitated a deep sense of connection between Liz and I.

    In our guided visualizations, partner meditations, and sound healing sessions together, Liz and I learned about each other’s biggest dreams, values, and minor eccentricities. We cheered each other on and celebrated success together. We saw each other’s courage and creativity. We became friends.

    Note: Doing partner visualizing can take a bit of practice. If you’re interested in being matched up with a partner and learn how to enhance your self-care activities together, let me know via the contact form. I’m happy to give you a group coaching session at a reduced price.

How to tap into the power of community

Here are my three favorite ways of tapping into the power of community.

  1. Join a support or meditation group. I’ve written about it in more detail in my article, the Pros and Cons of Support Groups.
  2. Connect with people on Facebook. Although Toni Bernhard is bed-bound, she is deeply connected with a large community of friends through Facebook and enlightens their lives through her Facebook community. Read why she loves Facebook in her article, In Defense of Facebook.
  3. Join the Online Self Care Hour. The Onine Self Care Hour is the closest thing to a real healing retreat with like-minded people that I’ve discovered so far.

    It’s hard to express how I excited I am about it!Instead of explaining it to you, let me introduce you to the Online Self Care Hour in this video:


    Can’t see the video? Go here: http://www.screencast.com/t/veNrSeEo

Click here if you’d like to sign up for one of the 20 currently available spaces in the Online Self Care Hour.

Here is what Liz, one of the first members of the Online Self Care Hour, had to say about it:

Example:

When I first learned about the Online Self Care Hour I liked the idea, but also had two concerns. First, can I figure out the exact technology for doing it, and, second, do I really want to commit to a whole hour of self-care? Despite my concerns, I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did!

I like the accountability I get through the Online Self Care Hour. I get easily distracted, so with the Online Self-Care Hour I had other people checking in with me, which means that I really have to focus that whole hour.

As the result of engaging in that one hour of self-care every day, I noticed many hours of extra energy. Other things I like about it are connecting with like-minded people, getting ideas for self-care activities, and having a record of the activities I did.

I definitely recommend the Online Self-Care Hour. As we’re doing all these different techniques for taking care of ourselves, it’s easy to let it fall by the wayside. With the Online Self Care Hour you have something that gives you accountability and helps you stick with it every day.

Homework

  1. Take a few minutes to think about
    1. what type of community you could benefit from
    2. what communities could fill that need
    3. what actions you’ll need to take to get your community needs met.
  2. If you’re up for trying the Online Self Care Hour, set give it a try now (while registration is free).

In believe this week’s lesson to be one of the most important I have taught you in this course so far. I hope you will be able to benefit from tapping into the power of community as much as Liz did.

Will you give it a try?

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 #14 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.

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