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Article: My ME/CFS Story: from the Amygdala Retraining On by Cort Johnson

Discussion in 'Phoenix Rising Articles' started by Phoenix Rising Team, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. Phoenix Rising Team

    Phoenix Rising Team Senior Member

  2. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

    Love the piece!
  3. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks! :cool:
  4. George

    George waitin' fer rabbits

    South Texas
    It sounds a lot like Vipassana or Mindfulness training. Thanks for sharing Cort.
  5. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Thanks George, I agree. Honestly I'm using everything I can get my hands on from Landmark Technologies to Eckhardt Tolle to Pema Chodron to Abraham-Hicks (who are channeling some great stuff). Now I'm looking into the Buddha's Brain Book - and will probably blog on that book.

    My form of ME/CFS is the wired but tired subset. I think these kind of works can help with that altho it takes persistence and time -quite a bit of time actually :rolleyes: but still, -what else is one to do - in abscence of help elsewhere.

    I would have loved it if my system had been able to handle those increased energy levels but for some reason it couldn't - so here I am. It's good practice for life anyway. :cool:
  6. Xandoff

    Xandoff Michael

    Northern Vermont

    Thank you, now I understand Amygdala Retraining and it makes sense. I am a dowser and dowser "dowse" for many more things than just water. Dowsers use positive intent to accomplish a lot. They "clear" themselves of non beneficial though forms and energies before dousing so as to be more accuate.

    Using a simple pendulum they are able to access a higher souce of knowlede ablout many things in their environment. The greater the need (such as finding water) the greater success.

    I used to use dowsing to find out which vitamins where for my highest good and how much to take. It's a simmple process to learn. Now that my mind is somewahat clearer and am hoping to get back to my personal esoteric dowsing for my health.

    I used to efectively remove non benificial thoughts forms from the room I was dowsing in. Thought forms are like living entities. Beneficial thought forms created the Empire State Building, The Lourve and any and all other of mans greatest achiements.

    Non beneficial thoughts forms act on a celluar level and can create illness or spur it on. Incense, candles, prayer and meditation on positive thought forms can clear rooms of non-beneficial energies and create new positive intent that can change the polarity of that same room to be a sacered healing space.

    Your article has encouraged me to pick my pendulumn back up and to start working with what I put down when I became ill. Dowsing provides you with clear access to your unconcious and knowing mind. The filter of our brain keeps us in the dark when it is tied to old programs that are no longer of any value to our situation. The pendulumn gives the mechanical side of our brain something "busy" to do while our intuiive side goes out and gets the information we need without bias and filters. A useful tool for surving CFS.

    Thank you again for you article, it woke up many beneficial thought forms for me.
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Dowsing sounds very interesting - but I imagine that to get into the 'dowsing space' you have to clear your mind - and get to a space of nothingness, so to speak, the mind uncluttered with discussion - where the dowsing can manifest itself. I would call this getting to the Tao!

    That is basically what I am trying to do and which, I guess, most spiritual practices do. They may use different implements (incense, prayer, meditation, dance) but the intent is to get to a place of clarity and peace.

    Of course all of us do this at times; any time you're in the zone and doing something you're good at - at work, at play, etc.... you're in that space. But how to do this or access this place when you're ill and and your mind is screaming at you how bad everything is...THAT is the real test....;)

    I like the idea of thought-forms. When I took EST I remember them saying that some thoughts have weight! They burden us - other thoughts lighten us up - as in they are 'enlightening'.
  8. Recovery Soon

    Recovery Soon Senior Member


    Great article.

    I have been practicing Vipassana Meditation for 11 1/2 years- 45 mins, every morning. I was practicing for 7 years pre- CFS and the rest with CFS. It definitely helps.

    I also go on weeklong silent retreats a couple times a year, (will be doing one i February), and this year will be doing an MBSR teacher training program.

    I have not found anything better for CFS. Unfortunately, like you, I have discovered that no amount of meditation can "cure" CFS (lest someone misinterpret the meaning of your blog). But mindfulness- and the daily accumulation of happiness, is the best lifestyle adjustment possible.

    I agree that this is a lifelong path. If they find a cure tomorrow for CFS (fingers crossed) I will continue meditating through my good health.

    The thing I have noticed most after so many years of practice is just how challenging living with Chronic Illness is. I mean we all know that. But sitting for hours- in total stillness- and watching the subtlest of internal reactions bubble up- gives you an appreciation for just how many irritations CFS sends your way. At the most subtle and subconscious levels we are under constant assault from our bodies and psyches.

    I am certain that when this thing gets cured, we will emerge as healthy individuals who are so mentally tough- nothing will bother us.

    Examining yourself so intimately gives you a real appreciation for just what you are facing, and it makes you have great respect for yourself.

    Congrats on all of these insights.

    Also- if you want a great book on the subject of facing illness with mindfulness try "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

    That's who I'll be doing my MBSR teaching training with in June. He's the best in the world.
  9. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    How many irritations CFS sends your way...this is what really got me with CFS. I was not under undue stress when I got ill - I was actually doing very well. I was enjoying the forest immensely..I felt I had found my niche.....I was exercising regularly and feeling great - and then everything just imploded and rather quickly as well. I can chart it over one quarter - I was getting superb evaluations on my papers during the first 2/3rds of the quarter and by the end I was just holding on...I could barely walk down the street without pain.

    After that it just seemed CFS sent irritations my way constantly...little eruptions..big eruptions....the peace was gone.....Even if I can't regain the other stuff - the physical grace and well being - and all the cognitive functioning - I do think I can regain some of the peace... I don't think it's necessary that that is gone. It's a real test for least some grace and peace came naturally then - now it's a function of generating it or clearing a place for it to arrive.....

    Maybe we were the people who needed or wanted, for some reason - a real test this time around..

    I have thought this for years..........:cool:
  10. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    What really caught my eye about Full Catastrosphe Living and MBSR is that it grew out of his work with the most difficult problem of all - severe pain....His mindfulness techniques were developed for people for whom pain drugs were not working - a horrifying thought really. The fact that they do help these people is a testament to just how powerful these techniques can be if practiced regularly.

    For myself I find that pain is much more of a factor when my system seems to be going a million miles a minute than it is when my system calms down. Pain may not be caused by worry but worry really does equate to more pain. That is my experience.

    I hope you have a good experience with this seminal figure and I hope we hear about it :cool:
  11. Marg

    Marg Senior Member

    Wetumpka Alabama
    Thanks Cort, I can see myself in everything you have said about wired and tired and responding to small stress to situations that would not bother anyone else, even the door bell can set me off. I have not been as good about Amygdala Training as I was and had to let it go for a while. I got to the point that I did not want to do it. I have been working on deep breathng though. I will pick it up again. Where did you find EST Training? Is that the one that does tapping?

    I know if I could calm down my system I would feel a lot better. Do EMF's bother you? If I get a phone call after 8:00 I do not sleep, even if it is on speaker. Sometmes I have to leave the computer. It seems to be if I am in a detox mode they bother me more, did you ever find that to be true?

    I have decided to give up grains for a while and see what I get. I had stopped sugar quite a while ago. I never did go overboard with it though. Do you eat organic? Hard to do here but I think a new store will be coming soon.

    I do wash everything in a food grade peroxide diluted to 3%.

    I am seeing more and more GMO crops around here, even cotton so we will be wearing the poison too. Pesticides in the seeds and Roundup to kill the weeds. This is criminal! The Monsanto plant that was here left, the people there have cancer...well those that are left. Fiunny no one every hears about that!


    I cannot handle coffee either, never could
  12. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    After doing other things I am impressed with the Amygdala Retraining techniques -not so much the main process which honestly I think could be improved on because I think it focuses on thoughts about the body or CFS - which do not appear to be my main problem. It was too time consuming as well but the AR is a great stepping off place and I encourage you to look at other techniques.

    EST is now the Landmark Forum. Lets just say that many people from all walks of life and different experiences have benefited from it and I would encourage anyone, sick or healthy, to check it out if they are inclined in that area (and if you do tell me how it goes).

    I know some people have alot of problem with EMF and computers. I used to struggle with the fumes coming off from computers; in fact I still do to some extent - I went through two laptops before I found one I could handle. My system is still very sensitive but I have improved alot over the years. Why I'm not clear. I stopped eating fish - I know I have mercury problems and I do believe that everything that calms down my system does calm down my sensitivities. I don't try and not have sensitivities or think them out of existence - that has never worked - I do think that slowing my system down to the extent I have has strengthened it and it is not as reactive as it was to chemicals etc.
  13. RivkaRivka

    RivkaRivka Senior Member

    good to read yr experiences and learn more about you (even tho mind-body stuff is not for me).

    i, too, have bad MCS. and they repaved my road this summer, too, sending me away from my house for 2 months, also! a small thing to others, a huge life changer for us.
  14. wildbug


    Landmark Forum

    Hey Cort,
    This is Julie (from Planet Thrive). I did a whole bunch of Landmark Forum workshops in NYC back before I had MCS, and was "just" recovering from severe mercury and arsenic poisoning. This is going back about 8 or 9 years. I loved it at the time, and it was life-changing and very helpful for me. But I just wanted to mention, that I went in thinking I was pretty emotionally open and self-reflective, but felt as though I was going to have a heart attack from the strain of repression/resistance I went through during the process. That was in the Forum. In another workshop, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. I think I had the toughest time out of everyone in the whole class. Did you feel the process strained your health at all? I just wanted to warn people that it can be very emotionally/physically taxing. But also amazingly rewarding. I could never go again now due to my MCS.

    From a human interest point of view, I found the workshops fascinating, especially the Forum. Every Forum leader is different, but I loved the style of mine. I saw people look 20 years younger overnight from dropping emotional weights in that workshop, it was truly miraculous.
  15. Julia Rachel

    Julia Rachel

    Hi Cort:
    For all of us that have made the self enlightenment journey, many of these systems give us tools which are utilized in some form or another. I was around Warner when he started EST back in the late 70's and Landmark in my opinion is a great improvement and offshoot. I've delved into all of the topics you mentioned....I LIKED ABRAHAM hICKS AT THE BEGINNING AND FOUND it one of the best tools for ridding negative thoughts and words out of my mind within 30 seconds or less. There is some great stuff there. A great book if you have not seen it yet is "excuse me, your life is waiting for you." Much of the material in this book pre-dates the abraham-Hicks messages. of the greatest gems I've found was written in 1907, published around 1912. It is a $10 book, but brutal to get through! It comes with a set of 6 audio tapes for $30 which is totally digestible. When Bill Gates was getting his MBA at Harvard, he picked up this book, read it, dropped out of school and started Microsoft. When first published, Charles Darwin, Emmett Fox and all of the worldly people of the time were reading it. Since then, I do believe it has been read by most world leaders, corporate heads, major political players,etc....the information in the book and tapes is invaluable to humanity and our state of mind, health,joy,etc.....The name of The Book is The Master kEY System by Charles Hannel. I agree with you that putting all of these mind power tools into play can and does assist in ones balance as a healthy and as an ill person. All positive tools are beneficial when used with good intent. Your behaviors you described in the article remind me very much of central system overload which can be caused by viruses in some subsets of CFIDS. My latest Blog being published this week discusses progress of those types of symptoms in my son after 24 months of treatment. I look forward to hearing more of your inner journey as well as your treatment progression. Blessings, Julia Rachel.
  16. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

    Thanks for sharing Cort in this complex condition. Though usually agin a "mental" approach in case the Psychos here keep up their historic hold on ME, after 11 years can agree and well understand/experienced all you say. All part of trying to restore health and functions. Hope you yours has returned whilst we await the "eureka" moment in exciting research findings now.
  17. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    Thanks Cort, your story has been really thought provoking for me. I had a large amount of anxiety when i relapsed over a year ago now and found that like you i was always the wired but tired type. You explianed this so well, because for me this is always a difficult thing to explain, most people seem to think it means just being anxious - but its clearly not. I also have MCS which i have had to varying degrees all my life, worse now though in this relapse.

    I started meditiating about a year ago and it has really been the most empowering thing i could have done for myself. I am much calmer now and have an increased quality of life. I am still sick though and unable to work etc, but i can now go to school events with my kids etc without getting really ill as i seem to tolerate the everyday stresses a bit better.
    Yesterday i attended a Zen Buddhist Sangha, set up by some local people in our very rural community and i had such a lovely time. It was the first non family "social" occassion i have been to since my relapse and it was just so wonderful to feel so calm and happy and accepted amongst strangers. I realised i could start to build a life WITH M.E. I dont have to keep waiting to get better to start my life again. With mindfullness i can see that this is my life and it has a lot of good in it.
  18. pictureofhealth

    pictureofhealth XMRV - L'Agent du Jour

    All so true Cort - thank you.

    I chose my forum name 'PictureofHealth' to make sure I was focused on what I wanted and it would make me think of health. Now you have reminded me that it is the inner heart feeling too, that could benefit from a positive focus every minute of the day. Perhaps I will rename myself 'Pleasure'! - that brings a warm inner glow and light, and would certainly bring a smile to the heart of anyone I met - 'Hi, what's your name?' = instant warmth. (After all, some people are called 'Joy').

    I had been practising Transcendental meditation for a decade by the time I got ill, and considered myself pretty adept at it. Although I found a profound peace from doing it morning and night, I was not able to carry the benefits into my day to day working life. And once I got ill, although I was already v practised at it, I was unable to physically sustain sitting and the meditation. I tried to do it lying down but what my body needed overwhelmingly was profound sleep bordering on coma.

    The same with Tai Chi - I had already been enjoying this for years, but became physically unable to stand upright and do the gentle movements once I got ill. To me this has always been about hyperstimulation of the nervous system and immune system. I too did the Lightning Process, Amygdala retraining (bought Ashok's home DVD set) as the hyperstimulation and perhaps hyper adrenaline model made so much sense to me - but in the end, although I had great benefits, it did not touch my physical condition and was not remotely curative.
    I have also previously tried a number of other healing modalities including Theta healing, Perrin technique (lymphatic clearing), osteopathy, herbs, etc etc etc etc etc.

    My current approach is Ho'oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian healing system: "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, Thank you." Didn't someone always tell us that these were magic words???!!!! (Joe Vitale and Dr Hew Len wrote a book "Zero Limits" about this practice). I love this approach and it has brought a profound sense of feeling connected to parts of me I thought I could not communicate with. In fact, I love it!

    It reminds me of the Japanese scientist (?Dr Emoto), who bottled water in a number of different containers and labelled them with different words such as 'Love', 'Joy', 'Thank you' and negative words too. The water which had been bombarded with damaging emotions and thoughts looked polluted and dead, whereas, astonishingly, the other water, in the 'I Love You', Joy, 'Thankyou' and other positively labelled containers produced the most beautiful crystals - all of which he photographed and can be seen on his website.

    Bearing this in mind, I will continue with Ho'oponopono. I feel good on mental and emotional levels, yet my body has remained, so far, 'unrepentant'!!!! Perhaps the body is the densest level of existence and the hardest to reach - but I hope its possible eventually. "I love you" sounds like a great vibrational medicine for me and is perhaps, ironically, the one I have always resisted.

    So yes, thank you Cort - I can relate to all your wise, wise words and observations.
  19. JulieR


    Just wanted to express appreciation for your thoughtful article, and for the remarkable work you do in this forum. I know that, as for all of us, your life isn't what you had imagined -- but boy, you're doing something else that's pretty amazing, in creating this for all of us despite the obstacles. Thank you.
  20. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I have actually never done the Forum - I did the EST training about 30 years ago. It was a life-changing event for me but not ultimately healing although I fervently wished it would be and worked hard for it to be. At the time I did the EST there was no CFS - no disorder at all to point to. I had been through extensive examinations at Kaiser and had seen a couple of doctors and of course had gone through the psychologist bit and nothing had made the slightest difference. I was desperately trying to claw my way back.

    EST was intense; this was the two full weekend 15 hour a day training back then which started out with the trainer telling everyone (shouting, really) that they were assholes because they didn't their ass from a hole in the ground :eek::eek:...that was to startle people - and it pretty quickly moved from there into easier territories... Still at the end of the weekend I told the trainer I thought it was too much and I should go. I still remember the way he looked at me and just said "Stay"......

    By the end of the two weekends altho I swear I understood very little of what was going on - I told my group that I was going to do this stuff to the hilt and I did. I assisted and participated heavily for almost 10 years and then stepped away. At times my body actually felt wonderful and I did amazing things now that I think about it - but it never got me to health or even close...I tried again and again to exercise to no avail.....My body was physically too disturbed...I feel I could have gone so far with that program if I had been well - it's such a dynamic place.

    EST was easily the most intense thing I had ever encountered but ultimately it ended up being a very comfortable place for me. I was quite young (20) at the time, even though I was sick I was pretty resilient in some ways... A few of the staffers took a kind of hard edged approach - which actually was Werner's way - but most were fantastic.

    I recently read a great book by John Falk called "Welcome to All That" who kind of experienced a similar, if much more truncated time at EST. When John was a well adjusted, basically happy teenager one day he woke up 'depressed'. Something outside of his personality - something in his brain - changed - and from that day he was depressed. it was like a switch was turned (or off) in his brain. Later he would be diagnosed with 'unipolar' depression'. None of the therapies or drugs he tried worked - then he took the EST training and somehow it worked...but six months later it had all gone down the tubes. Still I thought it demonstrated how powerful the Training could be.

    Years later he would try one new drug -Zooloft - and his life came back. He can recount exactly the time he knew he was back - it was on a bridge, as I recall, he looked around and his life was back - just like that!

    I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I think this stuff can compensate for whatever has happened to some extent in some people. The healthier you are the better it works and I'm sure it depends on the type of illness you have as well.

    The kicker with John's story is that after being well for many years after a food poisoning incident he came down with CFS!

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