Penal advisory

As I drank my tea I read this on the label of the Yogi Tea: ‘Only your experience belongs to you.’ I disagree and think it should be ‘your experience belongs only to you.’ Often I get advised by people with the best intentions, even though it makes no sense at all.

These advises are about what was helpful with others and is projected on my illness and therefore should also work for me. What worked for someone else can be different from what works for me personally. Recently I heard a story about someone I know that sounded remarkably the same. A couple of which the woman couldn’t get pregnant was given all kind of advises, things that seemed to worked other people. One of those was exercising yoga.
I imagine that a woman who wants a baby discovers her pregnancy after a course of yoga. It seems she would think that she is pregnant thanks to the yoga and not because she has a body that made a pregnancy possible by itself.
The lesson from this is that a body is quite capable of getting things done, because it is built to do so. But that doesn’t mean that what was successful for one random person will be helpful for another. Don’t you think that otherwise there would be yoga centers on every street corner of streets where you can find a baby store or a birth clinic?!
Reading The penal body by Karin Spaink can make you understand that usually there is no connection between something that happened outside the body and the desired result. The human body often recovers by itself, but the mind tries to find a connection, something that explains this. “This tendency is consistent with the general need to think in terms of cause and effect, to explain it, and it also meets the desire to influence the disease process,” says Karin Spaink (p. 122-123). She gives this example of a ‘pigeon in a cage that was given food through a hatch at random moments, [that] expressed the most remarkable behavior after some time. (..) If a bird accidentally turned a pirouette when the food arrived, it wrongly made a connection between its action and the outcome. (..) The animals kept repeating these rituals, even if the food did more often not arrive, then it did right after the birds performed their movements. “(p. 123)

For those who keep suggesting all kinds of advises: don’t. Stop mentioning it. Stop it! Don’t keep repeating what others said before, like you are a bunch of parrots. Why not drink your tea and discuss the importance of the one-liner on the label? Or practice yoga. Don’t worry: you don’t necessarily get pregnant after a course.

Click here for more information about Karin Spaink.

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This post is also available in: Dutch

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One Response to Penal advisory

  1. Lori says:

    I agree with you-especially about advice givers. I can think of so many instances of when I was told what to do because “i had an ear infection too” – of course what sort of infection, what part of the ear etc wasn’t relevant. Or “i have arthritis too” -just do that. Or it can’t hurt there -mine doesn’t. And not just health. What about people who come into your house and before even saying hello say ” you know, I would cut down that bush there – it would give you so much light…blah blah blah.” Of course, too bad if it is my bedroom and I like the privacy and come to think of it, when did she see my bedroom? And of course who needs a private little spot on the front verandah to shield you from those silly neighbours across the road. Oops – I got carried away here. I meant to write about all the health suggestions – I even forgot my pet irritant. ” You could lose weight easily if… Or I stay thin because…. why don’t you”. Actually, I have been an expert all my life on weight loss – unfortunately weight gain too 🙂 Thanks for your artical. I will look for the book.

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