heal, healing is in our hands, karyn shanks md

The Paradox of Hope and Honesty

Do you ever think about how it’s possible to dare to hope and believe in a better future AND stay honest about your feelings as they are right now (which may be a soup of misery!)?

It’s a paradox!

On the one hand, we want to hold onto faith that our possibilities are endless, and our potential infinite. We want to drive that faith with the kinetic energy of hope. To make things better.

But we don’t want to lose what’s real—who we are and what we feel.

We’re told to “create our own reality” and “imagine what we want to manifest.”

And it’s true—we have the power to change our reality and direct that change to our advantage. That’s the power of neuroplasticity—the biology of potential—to change our brains, change how we think, change us.

When we believe in something better, we do open the doors to greater possibilities and potential.

But we’re not always reminded that our feelings—our true feelings, as they are right now—are important too.

We need both. At the same time. Both faith in a better tomorrow and full present moment awareness of where we’re at (even when it’s dark and hurts).


Because we need hope to energize a better future and the richness of our whole true selves.

Because we need our feelings. We need our suffering. Not to cling to, but to show us where to heal.

Because our feelings are the wisest, truest guidance we’ll ever have.

Hmm. So let’s think about this—how do we blend hope with living (and feeling) honestly?

  • Feel it all. Wholeheartedly allow the pain—let it leverage the joy (we can’t have one without the other).
  • Be a paradox. Let your lives be messy and complicated—perfect is a fiction.
  • Practice hope and faith (I am both present and potential at the same time), without losing your truth or numbing your feelings.
  • Leave room for uncertainty in the outcome. Hope drives positive action but shouldn’t tether us to a certain (and limited) result.

Dang we’re cool, aren’t we?

Paradoxical. Rich. Human. Filled with promise and potential!

Have a Beautiful day!


p.s. I love the power of working with our stories to unlock our true potential. This is one of the core Nine Domains of Healing that we can work with to reclaim our energy and unleash our potential.

As my book enters its final stages of editing (look for a mid-2019 launch), though without a clear title (waiting to feel that blast of resonance that I’ve nailed it!), I’d like to share some of this transformative information with you through my two e-books: Big Energy and Let Go—The Nine Domains of Healing: Step One

Karyn Shanks, MD. Let Go—The Nine Domains of Healing: Step One. 2018.

Karyn Shanks, MD. Big Energy: How We Bravely Reclaim Our Health, Our Potential, Our Lives—It’s All In Our Stories. 2018.

Join me on this magical journey of self-love through self-care!

And from my Archives:

Hope’s Wiser Sister: Faith. 2018.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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