A few weeks ago, I wrote a “Mystery Man” column. Today, try to guess our “Mystery Woman” (MW) who lives near Wisconsin Dells and is someone who has an amazing health story.
On August 12, 1998, our MW at age 45 was at the sink doing dishes when her husband asked her a question. She realized she couldn’t make words leave her mouth. She collapsed, hitting the stove hard enough to chip a tooth.
Hospital doctors told her she’d suffered a stroke and lost a third of her brain. The stroke was caused by a rare brain disease and there was no cure or treatment. Unable to communicate or function, she was advised to go home and get her things in order. Medical people expected her to die in a nursing home, but they didn’t realize the strength of her faith and resilience.
Today this vibrant 68-year-old woman’s energy level is higher than it ever was before the stroke, and she’s devoting herself to helping others. She wrote a book about her journey titled Faith, Love, and Hypnosis. Here are some highlights.
To help herself heal, MW created a council of people, both living and dead, to advise her. She felt the support and the energy of their love. She also adjusted her attitude. During rough times, such as when her right hand spontaneously smashed into her head, she chose not to be embarrassed but to reflect on someone from her council. In this case she thought of holocaust survivor, Dr. Viktor Frankl, who said, "Everything can be taken from you except your attitude” and she chose to laugh at her uncontrollable arm she had nicknamed her “claw.”
MW began the hard work of relearning everything from addition tables to speech to regaining her mobility. She took comfort in knowing that for every 24 hours she remained alive, her chances of reclaiming her life improved. She began to feel grateful for all that she had including love and support. She acknowledged that her brain, eyes, and ears weren’t fully functioning, but felt grateful that the rest of her organs were doing well. As someone who had practiced yoga for twenty years, she also had retained her balance.
The philosophy of yoga, which includes moving the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of who we are into alignment, would also help her healing. She set intentions for herself that detailed what she wanted. “Our brain thinks in pictures,” she explained. We can draw a picture of something like our vessels becoming wider, stronger and more flexible. We need to practice this visualization until we can see the life that we want in vivid details. See it and then be grateful it will be on its way in some form.
After six months of practicing every day and help from a speech therapist, MW’s speech had improved significantly. It took about five years of concentrated focus and nurturing, both by herself and others, for her to reclaim her life. She began seeing a few clients and earned a stress management coach certificate.
MW’s book shares tips such as a technique to help during times of stress called Freeze Frame that are simple enough for us to use. Here are the five steps.
1. Recognize the stressful feeling.
2. Shift your upsetting emotion to your heart area. You can do this by putting your hand on your heart and breathing in as if you were breathing through your heart.
3. Think about a fun time that you have had in the past.
4. Try to relive it using all of your senses.
5. When you are in a relaxed state, ask yourself, “What would be a better response to this situation? Listen for your intuition.
MW is also a skilled hypnotist and has helped people stop smoking, lose weight, and learn to focus. I found it interesting that she once worked with a rodeo team. She spoke to the bull riders and rodeo clowns about focused concentration and self-hypnosis. She taught them laser focus and how to feel the emotions of passion and determination. Total focus allows the cowboy to become one with the animal so he can feel its next move and be prepared.
MW’s book also talks about the power of imagination and tells the story of a young airman who was hit from behind by a car while on his motorcycle. He ended up in a body cast and was in severe pain. He would imagine that his spine was healing and that his daughter was placing snowballs on it to melt the pain away. He visualized himself running and being healthier than ever. He imagined that the doctors were amazed that he had healed much faster than expected. He became strong and did amaze the doctors by running again.
Our MW has taught yoga classes in the Oxford area for many years through her business called SkyBlue Dreams Wellness. She believes we can do anything we set our minds to do, but not all at once. Step by step. She loves to share the following poem by an unknown poet.
When you come to the edge of all the light you’ve known,
and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen, there will
Be something solid to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.
Our MW, an author, coach, hypnotherapist, and yoga instructor who lives in Oxford is Jane Govoni.