self-care, heal

There’s Only One Reason We Don’t Heal

Dear One,

I’ve come to realize there’s only one reason we don’t heal.

Or succeed.

Or get ourselves unstuck from our problems and predicaments.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

That’s right—it’s in our stories.

Our stories about what’s possible and not possible.

That’s it. Nothing else.

You know these stories, right?

They go like this:

I can’t. I don’t have time. I’m stuck in my diagnosis—I AM my diagnosis. I AM diabetic. I AM depressed. I AM anxious. I AM chronic fatigue and pain. This is who I am. I’m just like my mother and my grandmother and my great-grandmother. It’s in my family. It’s in my genes. It’s my legacy. I’m a sitting a duck to this virus. I’m stuck and need to be fixed by the experts.

Where do these disempowering stories come from?

One: Powerful cultural narratives, seen and unseen, conscious and unconscious, that keep us sick and stuck.

Two: Our own innate fearful impulses to keep things the same—to resist change and uncertainty—that compete with our commitment to grow and heal.

What’s our recourse?

  • First, we look at these narratives in the clear light of day. We call them out for what they are.
  • We scrutinize them for their value to us at this time.
  • We honor them for how they may have served us (or our ancestors) in the past, perhaps keeping us alive.
  • Then, we reimagine our stories. We create new ones that support, empower, and ennoble us, that get our culture out of our way.

Finally, we live our new story—our healing story. These are the stories that serve as the foundation for all the glory that is possible in our lives.



p.s. When the infamous Iowa derecho 2020 hit a couple weeks ago, my genius web designer and right hand, Robin, lost her house to the massive granddaddy walnut tree, blown over by 100+ mph winds, that crashed into her roof as she listened from the stairs. The sight of that enormous century-old tree leaning into what was once the top of Robin’s home was shocking and heart-breaking. I’m happy to report she’s doing very well! She successfully rescued her computers, relocated to temporary quarters, and is back to work. Whew!

Our Unbroken workshop preparations were on pause, but we’re back at it. In this workshop we’ll be exploring, deconstructing, and reimagining the stories that keep us sick, suffering, and stuck. Stay tuned for launch details coming soon!


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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