One of the concepts that I learned from my life coach school, that I love,  is the concept of a deck of cards. The concept goes like this…when we are born or conceived we are all handed a certain deck of cards.  Some of us have the deck that creates curly or straight hair, or how tall we are, or what illnesses we develop with age. Everyone is a little different.  I got the curly hair, 5-foot tall deck. I also have had genetic testing and know what types of cancer I am prone to get. That is my physical makeup, my genetic expression onto my body.  It is not something that I can change, this is just where my body wants to go. I can wear heels, I can get keratin treatments and straighten my hair, I can take preventative measures to perhaps lower my chances of getting cancer, but my deck of cards, at its base, does not change.   I discussed this concept in a class last night on racism and anti-racism. My friend pointed out that everyone notices her when she is present in mostly white crowds. We discussed that she does, in fact, look different than people with white skin. Her skin is browner. That is her deck of cards.  

What gets so interesting and challenging is what we make that mean and how we think about it.  Our brains are designed to notice differences and we are designed to assign meaning to those differences. The key to being a more evolved human being, however, is not to always listen to our brains or to take each thought that comes into our heads and believe it.  For instance, when I look in the mirror and see my hair, I have a choice to accept the thought “What a frizzy mess” and then think “this is not going to be a good day” or I can laugh at myself and think “I just need to pile on some more conditioner today and my hair has nothing to do with what I accomplish today” 

  This can apply to illnesses too.  If you are prone to migraines, then your deck of cards is simply that your body has a tendency to get migraines.  I hear my clients and patients ask “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” ”What does this illness mean?” These questions are rarely helpful.  Your brain will come up with terrible answers to these questions.  

 My job is to help my clients ask useful questions.  I would argue that a better question to ask is, “If this is my deck of cards, then how can I work with it?  How can I accept this deck? Am I resisting and trying to change this deck? What is the end result that I want?  How do we work towards that desired goal?” Asking the right questions can lead to a completely different way to think about it.  Asking the right questions can totally shift the energy around our approach to our own bodies.  

Several years ago, even before I learned this thought work, I decided to own my curly hair.  I was so done with fighting it, straightening it, zapping it with chemicals. What I realize now is that I changed my thinking about it. My thinking shifted to actually accepting the curl. Once I accepted it I went into action around finding the right cut and the right products and now I rarely think about my hair.   It is funny now too, but the moment I just accepted it, I started getting compliments all the time. This energy of having a sense of humor, owning my deck of cards and working with that, and dare say play with thoughts of liking myself, that energy is contagious, it really is. Try it out. Play with some thoughts about accepting and maybe even loving your deck of cards and see how your day goes.