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When I was in my early forties, my big toe on my right foot started aching. It hurt like hell when I walked and drove me insane at night when I was trying to get to sleep. A year later, the big toe on my left foot started acting up, too, making me completely miserable.
The pain went on for a year or so, so I decided to go to my doctor. He told me I had a bunion and referred me to a foot surgeon. Of course, the foot surgeon laughed at the diagnosis of my family doc, noting that bunions are rare as snails in the desert in men. He took x-rays of both feet and quickly diagnosed the problem: I had a major bone spur on my big toe in my right foot that needed to come out. However, there was no sign of a bone spur in my big toe on my left foot.
“Really,” I said, “nothing?” He laughed politely. “Not a thing wrong with your left foot. Sympathy pains, perhaps.”
I left the office after scheduling the surgery, and lo and behold, the pain in my big toe on the left side was gone, never again to emerge. After the surgery on my right foot, I was delightfully pain free!
To this day, I can’t get over how real the pain in my left foot was, and how suddenly it vanished with a simple proclamation!
What it taught me – once again -- was how powerfully deceptive our minds can be. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll note that this was the theme of my last two blogs, too. Shockingly, our minds can play nasty tricks on us. Not only can our thoughts can be dead wrong, our minds can create pain when there is no reason for it. In short, your mind can be a pain in your neck or your butt or, as in my case, my toe!
Here’s what’s so important to ponder: If your mind can create pain that doesn’t exist, how else is it deceiving you?
Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.