Wait – You say I chose this life??

So, my therapist tells me I chose my parents. Have you heard of this choosing-your-own-pain thing? Apparently, this belief is part of one reincarnation theory wherein souls have a “Pre-Birth Plan” according to one such theory called Collective Evolution by Nikki Gray . In this “plan”, which came to the author through a vision (Yes, it did!) the soul is given choices of potential lives helped by spirit guides. I wonder at this point, What is the difference between a soul and a spirit?? Age?? Hierarchy? So, the soul needs to choose everything, says Gray; the soul will choose parents, all the experiences, etc., so that he can burn away karma or whatever he needs to do. This could include “healing false beliefs” or “contrast.”

This Spirit Guide will help you find just the perfect amount of “contrast” in your new life!!

I guess if you are a super awesome soul you get to choose to live in a rich country, be a billionaire and have lots of money and go to great schools and be on TV and marry beautiful smart women and be president. If you are a bad soul, you have to choose to live in a shithole country and experience poverty, famine oppression and discrimination. Maybe that is a different story… Look, I don’t want to get into politics here, but I guess if people can’t look at the human experience without categorizing it in some way, without attaching some sort of worth to a person, it becomes political, yes?

all the freaking nodding…

Back to my story! So my therapist keeps mentioning how “interesting” it is that I have chosen such a difficult life, to be ill, blah, blah, blah. For example: “It is interesting that you chose a difficult family life, and to start out your life in such a difficult place.” She mentions later something about “choosing our parents.” I go on nodding as I do in these sessions, the literal pain in the neck leading me to pop vicodin on the ride home (shit, in a year, my neck will look like a linebacker’s from all the freaking nodding). I nod harder as I tune her out.

What? No. Stop it. All it takes is one image of someone giving me some new-agey victim-blaming and I’m done. I can name that tune in one note. The advice from books about why I am sick and from well-meaning friends and strangers alike clatter about in my head. For years I tried everything and listened to anyone. I was sure that I would be the one that could power through anything because I always had. These “alternative” books, shows and gurus throw the patient squarely under the bus and do nothing but make money for themselves. Oprah, The Secret, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle , Dr. Oz, Dr Phil, whoever…All of this random abundance generating talk is not helping anyone who is ill.


“You have a problem with management or authority.”

One day, I had a friend (well-meaning, obviously) pull out a Hay House book and look up my issue. I tell you, it was like one long chart. This was a paperback spread sheet with every medical issue, real and imagined with a corresponding mental or emotional issue (also real or, more likely, imagined). My friend flipped through and said quite seriously, “You have a problem with management or authority.” I giggled, because she had a very dry sense of humor and I was sure she was having a joke with me. Nope! This book of charts was telling me that my autoimmune disease was due to a problem with authority. (Well, now, I guess that is why the spirit guide in charge fucked with me, yeah?).

You will learn to love authority or MORE CONTRAST!!

I have been on wellness retreats that were supposed to center on meditation and positive thinking only to have “healers” (other attendees) tell me that my tattoo was interfering with my energy flow and there was no way to unblock it without some weird esoteric and expensive… and I stopped listening. I have listened to these abundance-generating gurus and I have heard them tell stories about quantum physics (what?) and laws of attraction and riches and how to clear your mind of negativity. When the speakers teach of learning to meditate and clearing your mind of negativity, this is good. When they then go and make the next step about turning your mind to obsessing about what you want or need, this is destructive. What if that is impossible?


If a patient can’t get better, if that person cannot “bring the abundance of wellness to her life” because she has an incurable genetic disease, quit trying to sell it, please. No one who lives in horrible pain every day wants to hear that they chose this life. It is NOT. MY. FAULT. Of course it’s not. No, it is not comforting to hear that we are “doing so well with what we have” or “have come so far.” Or “Brave.” It is shit. We can choose to behave in a positive way. We can choose to do the best that we can as humans, wives, husbands, parents, neighbors, friends… We can be compliant patients. We can do everything “right,” but we patients never choose to be ill or in pain or to miss out on so much life.

Why would anyone choose to spend their childhood in an abusive family, or in a life of poverty? Why would anyone choose a life with chronic pain and illness? They did not. That is a cop-out by people trying to explain away uncomfortable truths of life when they do not know how to help the overwhelming numbers of fellow humans who are suffering for no apparent reason. Maybe we can all start by listening and believing what sufferers say about their life story.