February 5, 2018
Cod Liver Oil
By Barry Rudesill
To all our Trekkers,
This morning, I want to continue our series for our HEART students and families! But, before we get there, I need to share a story:
When I was young, I had some health issues. To help me, my doctor prescribed something that most of you have probably never heard of: cod liver oil. Now, for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s oil...pressed from the liver (an internal organ that filters gunk out of the blood)...of a cod (fish).
If you’re thinking that sounds vile, you don’t know the half of it! I remember when my mom first gave me a spoonful, I was curious. I tried it...once! Then, in between feeling sick, repulsed, repelled, reviled – and whatever other strong adjective I could put here – I vowed to myself I would never touch it again! I didn’t care about being healthy; I just wanted to never experience that “medicine” again!
Then I ended up in the hospital...and I still wouldn’t take my medicine!
Then my health kept falling apart...and I still wouldn’t take my medicine!
Now some of you are sitting there, reading this, and judging me. “Why not just take the medicine? It can’t be that bad when you compare it to the shots, IV’s, hospital food, etc!” And do you know what? You’re right! The medicine was NOTHING compared to the pain I suffered by not taking it; but it's hard to explain that to someone who is just focused on their current situation and isn't thinking about the future!
Finally, I started to take the cod liver oil. Oh, it wasn’t easy at first. I cried every time mom got the bottle out, because I knew what was coming. But, I took it anyhow! Why? Because I was tired of going to the hospital, I was tired of being sick, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get well.
Eventually, after a few weeks of taking cod liver oil, I noticed something strange: although it was still unpleasant, it wasn’t repulsive. After a few more weeks, I didn’t even think about the taste at all, it just was something I automatically did.
And I did feel better taking the medication, and I did get sick less, and I didn’t go to the hospital as often. (Hey! It wasn’t going to cure everything, right?)
So, what does this story have to do with The Trek?
Because last week, our HEART group began to work with one of the most fundamental class in our entire program: Self-Talk.
For those of you not familiar with the class, we always tell people that if you do NOTHING else in the entire Trek, do this one! Why? Because, if you invest the time – about five minutes a day for 30 days – you will see real, permanent life-change. Literally, if you follow the steps outlined in “Self-Talk”, you can rewire your brain! (The science behind this is cool!)
Sadly, as we tell most classes, “Self-Talk” is the one class that most people end up skipping…
Participants tell us that it’s “uncomfortable” or they felt “fake” when doing it. We’ve heard of people who started doing it and then realized that they had "other things to do". We’ve had people confess that they do anything other than self-talk, because it just feels “wrong”. We’ve also had people start to cry when they tried it.
But changing our self-talk is critical to our health! This class can change our lives for the better; but, like cod liver oil, many of us aren’t willing to take our “medicine” so that we can become healthy. We fight it until life becomes so tough, so overwhelming, that we finally are in enough pain to want to try something - anything - that could help. Unfortunately, some people we know make unhealthy choices which lead them into more pain.
Today, when I sit down with my students, I’m going to ask the same question I ask of every group I work with: “How many of you are working on your self-talk?” Typically, if we get about 1/3 of the people to say they’re doing it, we are impressed. How much better would it be to have every student in the room say they are working on it, instead?
Real, lasting, positive life-change is in your hands; but, as always, it’s your choice. How are your choices working out for you?
By the way, if you have been through The Trek, we have the same question for you: “How many of you are working on your self-talk?” If you have every negative thought changed into a positive one, congratulations! If you’re like the rest of us, however, you may want to go back and look at what it is you’re saying to yourself.
It’s never too late to start a new round of “medicine”.
We hope you enjoy your journey!
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