I wrote a book a long time ago. I called it Your Mind and Body are a Corporation and You Are the CEO. It was a strange title for a strange book. It was published over 20 years ago and it’s out of print now except in electronic format.
I got the idea for the book many years ago when I was still working full time as a trauma counselor. I had a very amazing client. He owned a large firm that did something in the electronics world. The firm had about 20,000 employees and my client took his job as owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the firm very seriously. I felt he was a very intelligent man and I admired how much he cared about his employees and how much he cared about the work that was done at his company. This client came to me for some help on personal issues and on family issues originally.
I have learned something from every client I’ve ever had during the years that I was doing trauma counseling. Every one of them, when they were finally able to confront the traumatic moments in their life, discovered some amazing truths buried in the rubble. I was always surprised at what my clients discovered when they finally came to terms with what had happened to them. The process itself of learning to fully confront life’s most difficult moments requires tremendous courage. My job was to help them find that courage, to reassure them by my caring and compassionate presence, and to guide them into looking at the traumatic things that had happened by helping them feel that they were not alone. People need to know that there’s someone else with them in order to gather the courage to examine life’s most difficult moments.
For a moment to become traumatic, there is always a point in the series of incidents that make up that trauma when the person felt overwhelmed by what was happening. Often this feeling of being overwhelmed causes the person to shut down analytically and to simply react to what is happening without analyzing it. Because of this fact, there are portions of the traumatic incident that seem too painful to examine. When a person is finally able to truly examine the traumatic incident, there are always realizations that occur as the ability to confront the incident increases. Those realizations can be quite enlightening. The person experiencing the traumatic incident makes tremendous gains in their life when they confront those difficult moments, when they examine what was formerly overwhelming, and are analytically able to process the incident. I don’t remember the specifics of the incident or incidents that this gentleman examined while we were working together. Even if I remembered them, I wouldn’t violate his trust by talking about them to others without his permission. But I do remember the realizations he had when he was finally able to view those incidents in their entirety.
This client had a very interesting point of view. Just as he was the CEO of the company he owned, he also viewed himself as the CEO of his body and mind. Conversely, when he had a realization about a personal matter, he always applied it in the workplace as well. He would return a few days after a session we had where he had confronted an incident that he formerly was unable to fully view, and he would tell me how experiencing that incident now had changed him and how it had changed the way he now ran his own life. And then he would tell me how he also applied his newfound knowledge to the company that he ran and how he used the realizations he had had to improve the lives of his employees and to improve the quality of the products that they created during their workday.
As I said, I learned something from every client I ever worked with as a trauma counselor, but I think I learned more from this one man then I did from anyone else I had worked with. I didn’t have a large corporation to run but the realizations he gained caused me to begin to view my own mind and body in a very different manner. I began to realize that my mind and body contained far more wisdom than I alone had. I have always differentiated between myself, the spiritual being who occupies this body, my brain which I might also term my mind, and my body which is the vehicle I use while I inhabit this planet. I think I had never realized before I worked with this gentleman just how much my body and my mind or brain knew that I, the spiritual being running this body, did not know. My body knew how to regulate itself; it knew the correct salt content for the body; it knew the correct temperature for the body; it knew how many nutrients from the food I ate to use and how much to discard; it knew how much electrical flow to use to cause my arms and legs to move in the desired manner. In short, it had tremendous knowledge of which I had little awareness.
I also realized there was great intelligence connected with my own mind and body and that the intelligence was separate from myself. Just as the head of a technically oriented firm, such as the one owned by my client, did not understand how to do the job of every single employee, I did not understand how to do the jobs of all the cells that made up my body and my mind. I began to respect that intelligence rather than take it for granted. I began to appreciate all of the things that my cells were capable of doing as I had never appreciated them before.
Just as the head of a technical firm might need to hire many individuals with highly specialized skills in order to create the products that provided the income for all of the company’s employees, I realized I needed the skills provided by the cells that made up my mind and body if I was going to be able to utilize the body as my communication tool and vehicle for operating in this physical universe.
I also realized that I had not played the role of CEO very well on many occasions. I often overworked my body and mind by keeping it up all hours of the night when I decided I just had to finish reading that book or I had to get something done before morning. I often neglected to provide it with fuel in an efficient manner or force fed it more than it needed. I caused it stress by forcing it to sit in one position for hours on end rather than recognizing that it needed to get up and move. I took credit for all of its accomplishments without acknowledging the tremendous help it gave me. I never thanked it for the many things it did that benefited me greatly. I took it for granted in the worst possible ways. I was, in fact, a terrible CEO to my body and mind.
At first it felt silly, but I began to try to change my attitude toward the cells that make up my mind and body. I began to try to listen to them more closely when they protested some of the things I was doing to them. I began to acknowledge their efforts rather than taking them for granted. I began to treat them as highly valued employees and make certain they had rest breaks, adequate nutrition, and recognition for their efforts.
Prior to this time, I got help for myself when I was traumatized or greatly upset by something, but I realized I never even recognized the traumas or upsets that happened to my body and mind. As I started to recognize the other life forces that occupied my body, the other intelligences that helped govern my body, and the emotions that seemed to emanate from the cells in my body rather than from myself, I began to be a lot more considerate CEO of what I now considered my own corporation. I began to see what I had formerly felt was a single entity, myself, as the unit that it truly was and I began to try to treat all parts of that unit in the very respectful way that I would treat a valued employee.
I also began to communicate much more with the entities that made up my body. As an employee, if I were asked to work overtime, or to make an unusual effort, I always appreciated knowing why. If there was a reason to have to work much harder to produce a certain product, I was clearly much more willing to do so when I was told why it was necessary or wanted. As an employee, like most people, I valued recognition from my leaders or employers. I also valued highly recognition of a job well done, of hard work, and of extra efforts. As an employee, I appreciated some time off after an unusually difficult effort. In my new view as the owner of a corporation made up of my own mind and body, I started to give recognition and acknowledgment and rest when it was called for. I became a much better Chief Executive Officer, one who had great respect for the individual entities that helped me run this corporation and create the products that we supplied to others or ourselves.
My own change in attitude caused a great improvement in the functioning of my mind and body. I still work on this. I did not become a wonderful Chief Executive Officer overnight. I still have a huge amount of room for improvement. But with every bit of improvement that I have succeeded in making, I have been rewarded by improved production from this unit I call my body; by a greater feeling of well-being, and by a great sense of cooperation. When something needs to be urgently done, I take a moment to communicate, often through feelings rather than words, that sense of urgency to my body and mind. I then find that it reacts in a far more helpful manner and succeeds in getting us through the crisis situation.
I have, over the last 25 years, begun to enjoy this sense of unity. Just as I have always enjoyed working with a team in the business world when we are all focused on a common goal, one that we all consider to be important and have agreed to, so I enjoy now working with the team that makes up my mind/body.
I’m very grateful to that client that I had long ago who helped me to view my whole world in a very different manner. I lost touch with him after our trauma counseling sessions were complete. He seemed very happy with the realizations he had had and I felt a great deal of pleasure in knowing that all of his employees were enjoying a better workplace because I had worked with their boss. As often happened when I engaged in trauma counseling work with others, I enjoyed as much benefit as the person I worked with, and I made wonderful changes because of what I learned.