My song today is ‘Making Believe’. This song was written by Jimmy Work. Kitty Wells recorded a chart-topping version in 1955. The song is on many lists of all-time greatest country music songs and has been covered by scores of artists over the past fifty years, including Bob Dylan: Johnny Cash: Don Gibson: Connie Francis: Ray Charles: Dolly Parton: Emmylou Harris: Merle Haggard: Ernest Tubb: Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty: and many others. The song is occasionally called "Makin' Believe".
Singer-songwriter Work released the song as a single in February 1955 and it reached Number 5 on ‘Billboards’ country music jukebox charts. A month later, singer Kitty Wells released the song as a single which hit Number 2 on the country charts and remained there for 15 weeks, still a record for a song in the runner-up position on the country Billboard charts.
The song is a melancholy ballad about not getting over a former lover. The singer daydreams that they are still loved by the old flame even while fully knowing ‘you'll never be mine’ again.
If one thinks upon something long enough in an imaginative way, who or what is to stop the person ‘making believe’. The answer is nobody but oneself! When I was 11 years old and incurred a horrific accident that stopped me walking for three years, my life-threatening circumstances brought about life-changing ways for me.
Initially, my damaged spine robbed me of all feeling beneath my waistline and I faced a life ahead of me looking out from the deck of a wheelchair. All I can tell you with certainty is that within the space of six months when western medicine could not offer me what I wanted, my thoughts turned to eastern disciplines from the Chinese and Indian cultures. I became a child student of any discipline which would enable me to walk again. I have remained an apostle of Chinese thought ever since.
Initially, I had to learn as much as I could about the human functions of the mind and body. I knew that my damaged spine was no longer sending electrochemical signals to my brain and that this power cut was preventing me from feeling below my waistline. I became a disciple of relaxation methods and transcendental meditation, along with positive thinking, positive self-talk and the power of one’s imagination process to produce, block or mediate pain. I knew that if my legs were ever to walk my body again, they would first have to feel the pain in them. I also knew that the sensation of pain in my legs would signify that life had returned to them.
What I had learned effectively informed me that signals could once more be transmitted from my brain to my legs ONLY WHEN MY LEGS WAS ABLE TO FEEL PAIN AGAIN. Pain in my legs meant that the life in them had returned. I read as many books as I was able to get about the power of the mind over that of the body. By my twelfth year of life, when other boys were at school kicking a football, rolling marbles, playing conkers and pulling girl’s pig-tails, I was reading how to be fearless in the pursuit of those things in life which set my soul on fire and opened my mind to all possibilities.
For six full months in hospital (I was a hospital inpatient for a total of nine months), I spent every awakened hour developing my ability to imagine pictures in my head of me walking and of my legs physically paining me. I wanted my legs to start paining me more than they had ever pained because pain meant life and I wanted to feel life surge through them once more. For six months, I prayed for pain in my legs to reappear.
I read about the power of positive thinking and learned about the union between thought, feeling, and action. I learned that there is nothing that is good or bad in our lives that thinking it so will not make it so! I learned that any change in one’s circumstances begins with our very next thought. I learned that the three components of all human behaviour comprised of thought, feeling and action, in that sequence. I also learned that some behaviour was voluntary whilst other things we did were automatically reproduced. Before long, I began to appreciate and believe that my mind was in control of my happiness and sense of wellbeing much more than I could ever have previously imagined.
I learned that a person’s truth is what they believe it to be, and my truth lay in a fervent belief in my God, in myself and in my ability to transform threat into opportunity and ‘what could be’ into ‘what is’. I believed that faith in all the important aspects of our belief system to be the deepest and truest form of magic our earthly wands can wave.
Six months after I’d first been received into hospital, for what was described as ‘medical inexplicable reasons’, I started to feel the pain in my legs. The medics could not explain what had happened apart from telling me that the signals between my brain and legs which had stopped after my accident because of my spinal injury, had ‘mysteriously’ started again! I left the hospital three months later, unable to walk but able to feel sensation in my legs beneath me and able to withstand my body weight on my feet with support. By the age of 14 years, I was able to walk again; admittedly in an ungainly hobble at first, but I was walking!
Over the immediate years that followed I continued to practise the very disciplines I had started to learn about in my hospital bed, and during the years of a professional life that followed, I managed to develop other thinking, feeling and doing techniques that enabled people to exert their control over what had previously been involuntary behaviour which was blighting their lives. I founded ‘Anger Management’, a process that mushroomed across the English-speaking world within a matter of two years during the early 1970s, and which has helped millions of people manage their inappropriate levels of aggression ever since and I was one of the first to introduce Relaxation Training into prisons for prisoners serving life.
During my 70th year of life, I was diagnosed with a terminal blood cancer that has a life expectancy of just over three years according to European medical studies. My blood cancer is a type that robs me of any effective immune system that enables me to fend off illness by traditional anti-body means. This essentially means that breathing in the same air, shaking hands or being in the presence of anyone with any infection, bug, virus or even a simple cold could kill me, as their cold becomes my pneumonia and their bug becomes my death warrant. Also, my blood cancer carries my infected blood to all the major organs of my body, and as such, will continue to give me cancers in different body organs as long as I remain alive.
Since 2013, I have had operations for four different body cancers and am presently awaiting another operation to remove cancer from my neck on March 10th. My hospital treatments since 2013 have included two nine-month courses of chemotherapy and twenty sessions of radiotherapy. As important as all my medical treatment, I believe, have been the continuous prayers said and candles lit on my behalf by hundreds of people across the world.
My life to press over the past 77 years has led me to accept that we can all be a masterpiece of ingenuity and faith as well as constantly remaining ‘a work in progress’ that is never complete. I have also learned just how important it is to be forgiving and kind to oneself, because we will never speak more to any other person in our lives as we do to ourselves, (self-talk), and it is from within ourselves that we find the harshest critic of all.
My main message I want to leave you with today is to accept that ‘belief’ is capable of achieving the ‘seemingly impossible’, and that once you can use your positive thought and power of your imagination, you will possess the key to greater happiness and maximum influence over your body actions and sense of overall well-being. So, have faith. Your time as a caterpillar has ended and your butterfly wings are ready to take you to places you never before thought possible!
Love and peace Bill xxx