Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wake Up: A Conversation About Thoughts

So many of you have written me about my book that I thought I would go ahead and put one of the most important chapters of it online for you. Here it is.

You have cancer. These have to be three of the most terrifying words in any language. I know that they were for me. I won’t bore you with the details of why I went to the doctor, how I was diagnosed and the several weeks that followed of my sleepless nights, my thoughts of why me and the fear that was deposited into my heart when I was told that if I did not do what the doctors suggested that I do I could be dead in a year (or sooner). I won’t bore you with that because frankly if you have been told you have cancer you don’t need a repeat of what you just went through, are going through or will go through and really you don’t have the time to waste your energy on negatives. What I am going to do is share with you what I did to take myself from a cancerous state to a non-cancerous state in 9 months time. You have chosen to spend your time to find an answer and I will not disappoint you. If you are willing to mentally take my hand and let me lead the way for you I will take you through this dark tunnel that you are in right now and we will both step out into the light of life once more. Take my hand and let us begin on this journey. I have travelled this path and I know how you feel, what you are thinking and just how afraid you are right this minute. Don’t be afraid. Fear is not a part of our journey together. Let’s get started …

First of all, if you were sitting across the table from me right now I would look into your eyes and tell you that you can be healthy again. You can live a life that is even better than the one you were living before you received your diagnosis. As a matter of fact you were responsible for this diagnosis in the first place. Wait a minute, before you throw this book away; let’s chat a bit about why you are where you are.

No matter what diagnosis you have received you caused it by choices you made in your life. One thing I know for sure is this. When I was diagnosed and I went searching the world over to find a cure I spoke to a lot of doctors. I had told myself that if I could find a doctor who could tell me what caused this cancer that I would listen to him/her about how to get rid of it and how to prevent it from happening again. Do you know what I found out? No one that I was talking to knew. Not one of them who were suggesting that I get surgery and use chemo/radiation to combat this disease could tell me what caused it. Oh sure, they said things like heredity, poor health habits (smoking, drinking, etc), too much sun exposure, etc. But not one of them could really tell me what cancer is and why it had picked me out and how I was going to get rid of it and have it never, ever come back. They gave me statistics on survival rates that really weren’t all that promising. Who wants to live in fear that if they do get rid of it this time that it might come back two, ten, twenty years from now? I needed an answer and I needed it quick. Are you where I was?

Now, if you are one of those people who want to blame someone else for your cancer and want someone else to fix it for you then you might as well stop reading. You are not going to like what you are about to read. But if you are willing to take responsibility for getting where you are right now then you will be able to turn things around and choose to never go down this road again.
First things first. Right now say to yourself and write it down in the margins of this book. “At this very moment I realize that I am responsible for bringing this cancer into my body. Because I am responsible for it being here I am also responsible for getting rid of it. I accept full responsibility and am up to this challenge”.

Congratulations! You have just taken the most important step towards healing.

In order to take the second step I will need for you to get out a piece of paper (you can write on the back of this page if you want) and draw a vertical line down the middle of the page that will give you two columns. Now at the top of the left column right down the words ‘why I want to be healed’ and at the top of the right column right the words ‘why I want to have cancer’. I know. This is not going to be easy but stick with me. I did this myself and it helped me immensely
And it will help you.

Let’s begin writing. Write all the reasons you want to be cured --- actually these are reasons to live and happy and healthy life. I wrote things down like growing old with my husband, seeing my son get married and have children, building and living in a cabin on the side of a mountain in Colorado, having my grandchildren visit me during the holidays, making a difference in the world, etc. You get the drift of what to write. Write down whatever comes to your mind on why you want to live. When you have written down everything you can think of – this should be a long list – put down your pen.

Now, let’s talk a bit before we tackle the right side. This isn’t going to be easy but it has to be done. This is where you will have to be honest with yourself. Look, it’s not as if you will have to show this list to anyone else. Be honest. If you can’t be honest you can’t be healed. We all have two people living inside our bodies. We have the person who everyone else sees and then we have the person who is made up of all the things that we don’t like about ourselves. I want to talk to that person. That person is the one who will need to fill out the right side of the page.

Need help. Okay. I will bare my soul to help you. I am an overachiever. I have always been conscious of what other people thought of me. I lived my life to please others and I always needed the approval of others to give me my feeling of self worth. No one made me feel that way. I chose this for myself. Well, because of this choice I made, I developed through the years a deep seeded feeling of resentment. It was so deep that I didn’t even know I had it until I started trying to figure out why I had brought the cancer into my life. Now, with resentment comes this not so little thing called revenge. After all, if you resent something it’s certainly not because you love it. I resented that I worked so damn hard. I resented that I was getting older and didn’t have the things in live that I really wanted (not that I really knew what those were). I resented that I couldn’t say no to people without feeling guilty. I resented a lot of things (most of which didn’t make sense) but this list doesn’t have to make sense. Remember that, write down everything even if it doesn’t make sense. Somewhere in your brain it makes sense that’s why you feel this way.

Now, take a deep breath and get ready for this next shocker. Your revenge that you have planned because of this resentment is that you will somehow not be here to be taken advantage of and the world and all the people in it that make you feel this resentment will miss you and realize how hard you worked and all the sacrifices you made for them. The world will be sad and you will have gotten your revenge but in a way that people will feel sorry for you. You will not have to be strong anymore because you have cancer. You finally have an excuse to say no, you have a reason for the kids to come and visit or you spouse to take time away from work, sports and friends; to come to your aid and hold your hand and tell you how brave you are being. You have all these reasons for people to surround you and not take you for granted any longer. Pretty sick, huh? You don’t do this on purpose, or at least not consciously, but you are doing this.

Write this list down. You can’t go any further on your journey until you get things right with yourself. Shakespeare was a healer when he wrote ‘to thine own self be true’. Be truthful. Be brutally honest. This is going to save you.

Now put your pen down. Look at your list for your reasons for living. By now, if you are like me you have tears in your eyes but you may also have a smile on your face. All these reasons for living are what will keep you going on your journey towards healing. Now read through your list of why you brought on the cancer. Is there anything on that list that is more important than your living list? Is there anything on your ‘cancer’ list that is worth dying for?

At the bottom of the ‘living’ list I want you to write these words: “I am willing to do whatever it takes no matter how hard to make these things come true. I want to live a happy and healthy life.”

On the bottom of the ‘cancer’ list I want you to write: “I will be true to myself. I will say no. I will be the best me I can be and know that it is good enough.”

Now fold this paper in half dividing the two columns and put the list where you can read the ‘life’ column every day. Feel free to add other reasons for living as you continue on your journey. If you do happen to think of another reason you brought on the cancer add that to the ‘cancer’ list. From now on you will be true to yourself, you will no longer resent anyone else, your life or yourself. You will concentrate on your ‘life’ list.

You must hold yourself accountable to the promise that you made to yourself at the bottom of each list. No one else can do this for you.

Ready, to continue on our journey?

By now, you might be saying to yourself, I need to know how to cure this cancer. I don’t need to do any psychological work. Well, the work we just did has laid the groundwork for everything that comes after it. Your success hinges on your ability to stay the course. You are about to learn things about cancer that will blow your mind. Ready?

To be continued

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