Posts filed under ‘Spirituality’
A wise and beautiful Evolutionary Astrologer, Kristin Fontana, once told me, “You must share your stories.” I didn’t think that was such a good idea, and to be honest, the idea of it scares the bejesus out of me even now. Mainly because I have always chosen to write about the good in the world, about the everyday heroes who fight the good fight, who help us find love over fear and who remind us that we are all in this thing called life together. So, what if my life’s stories aren’t that? Well, I guess we are about to find out.
In late January, 2016, I received a clean bill of health from my new Internist and six weeks later on March 4th, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Imagine my surprise! “Biologically you have the best kind of breast cancer you could have.” Basically I was looking at a lumpectomy, some radiation, and Tomoxifin for five years — one and done — easy — everyone made it seem like “cancer lite.” It definitely sucked, but the process was certainly doable and at 48 was told I’d live a long and properous life.
Over the next six weeks, things kept changing however, and by April, post mastectomy, my diagnosis was upgraded sadly to advanced Stage IV breast cancer. My tumor, who I lovingly referred to as Trudy, had jumped the fence and had taken up residence in my sternum. They told me my disease was treatable and manageable, but not curable.
Did you know that human cells are meant to survive 20-30 years, some even less? We are living longer than we ever have before and so our cells need to regenerate. But with each regeneration there is a chance for mutation. These mutated cells are cancer cells. Thus, we all have cancer cells in us, it’s just a matter of what triggers them. Some will be triggered by environmental issues, others genetics, some mental or emotional stresses. There’s also food, medication, you name it — so many potential triggers. So what was mine?
Growing up I was raised with the notion that disease is simply DIS-EASE in the body, physical manifestations of the fear in your mind and the places in your life that need to be healed. For example: if I had hip issues it was because I was fearful of moving forward, shoulder issues were being fearful of taking on too much responsibility, and cancer, well I was taught that cancer was the complete denial of self.
Holy shit! Could I be completely denying who I am? I didn’t understand. I had worked so hard to embrace myself in all my glory and in all my messy parts, to finally welcome the empath, the intuitive, the healer, and to embrace my spirituality. But was it all too late? This cancer had been growing in my body for eight to ten years before being detected. Statistically speaking, 34% of metastasized breast cancer patients live three years. “What happened to the other 66%,” I asked. And that’s when it hit me…this was some
serious shit. But three years? Oh hell no! Frankly, I’m on the 30-year plan and I’m having t-shirts made that read “I am not a statistic.”
So how am I doing with this, really? Well, first, I made my peace with it by embracing the belief that we are all terminal, none of us knows when our time will be up, and that really, I’m no different from anybody else. Second, I cry. I cry at the thought of not hugging my husband good morning or kissing my daughters good night, and I cry for the legion of beautiful souls I love and would leave behind on earth. I let the intense emotions move through me now rather than bottling them up inside. And lastly, I made a decision. I have decided that I am not dying of cancer…I am thriving with cancer! I am not choosing to “do battle,” I am choosing to transform this cancer. I’m transforming it with good modern medicine, healthy plant-based nutrition, and healing energy work. In fact, it has been noted that I seem more alive now than I ever have before.
In truth, Louise Hay, who wrote the book on healing the body with positive affirmation, says that breast cancer has to do with putting other’s needs before your own, being overly motherly and nurturing, or lacking in self care. This, this I can resonate with. Classic female! Giving to others before giving to yourself, and with breast cancer being detected in epidemic proportions, what does this potentially say about our society? It says that we have to find some balance. We need to be able to be mothers, wives, employees and girlfriends, but not give away the farm. We need to be able to give the special people in our lives the space to be themselves. We need to be able to work and play AND take care of our bodies — creating a beautiful relationship between mind, body and spirit.
And there you have it — a story from my life. Perhaps cancer was always meant to be and perhaps this was the story that I was always meant to share. A story to inspire those who are scared and those who cry to find the love over the fear, a story to remind us to celebrate all that is good in our lives even in the face of death, and a story to remind us that we are never alone in this thing called life.
We’ve all heard the term “fully-functioning person” but what does it actually mean?
Humanist psychologist, Carl Rogers believed that we are all born with an “Actualizing Tendency.” This actualizing tendency is our innate tendency, our core desire, to fulfill all of our needs both physically and mentally, to express our true selves, and most importantly to become all that we are capable of becoming! He said that our personalities were simply an expression of this actualizing tendency.
He went on to say that we are all striving to fully release our actualizing tendency and in order for that to occur, we must experience three things.
The first — “unconditional positive regard.” Unconditional positive regard is a lot like unconditional love, for it is where we are loved by another with no strings or conditions attached, and no matter what we do we still feel respected, comforted and loved. Unconditional positive regard has the ability to change people’s lives and it’s never too late to feel its positive effects.
The second — empathy. Rogers said that people become
more fulfilled by interacting with people who are empathic towards them. People who are sensitive listeners and understanding of another’s true feelings are said to be empathic.
The third — genuineness. Being genuine means being open with your feelings and dropping all pretenses and facades. Rogers felt that we can help others simply by being present for them as the authentic individuals we are.
If our actualizing tendency is fully released, a person is said to be a “fully-functioning person.” A person who is fully functioning is a person who is living in accordance with his or her actualizing tendency — being true to one’s self versus being true to other people’s values or conditions of worth, having their needs met all the way around, and achieving their full potential.
I really resonate with Carl Roger’s work, even though it was ground-breaking over five decades ago. He believed that people are like sunflower seeds…once planted in rich soil and given enough sunshine and water, they will grow into strong and beautiful flowers — that given the right environment all human beings will flourish. (Did you see Trading Spaces with Eddie Murphy?)
Moreover, Rogers believed as I do, that we are all born with natural capacities for growth and fulfillment. I love that he said we were all endowed with an innate sense — basically our gut instinct, our intuition — that allows us to genuinely evaluate what is good or bad for us. I feel we need to remind ourselves that it’s wise to listen to our own internal guidance system. Who better to help navigate our life? Lastly, he validates the theory for me that we are connected when he says we really do need to be loved, liked or accepted by those around us.
So question. Do you help people become fully functioning? Are you an understanding listener? Are you free from pretense and facades with people? What if we gave each other the gifts of positive regard, empathy and genuineness? What if we honestly believed that people could do great things? What do you think would happen? I say let’s try it and find out. Let’s create a rich environment and watch human beings flourish!
Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential.
From the dynamic team that brought you Miss Representation, the film about the media selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders, are bringing you a new film — The Mask You Live In, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.
Did you know research shows compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives? They consistently hear de-sensitizing messages like “Be a man!” “Man-up!” and “Boys don’t cry.” Sadly many are buying into a culture that doesn’t value caring, relationships or empathy…qualities our society has “feminized.” But these are not feminine qualities, they’re human ones.
Whether you’re a teacher bringing the films to your classroom, a young person challenging sexist media, or a small business owner changing your company culture, check out the new and engaging resources available at TheRepresentationProject.org.
Wise are those who examine
the content of what’s passing through their awareness
to discover those subtle,
of which we would otherwise be unaware.
Today is the day when we pause to give a heartfelt thank you and prayer to the very special women in our lives who gave us the gift of life. Archangel Michael says, “Mothers are truly God’s co-creators and are to be revered.” So thank you moms all over the world for giving of yourselves, for your sacrifice, your guidance, your admiration, and your unconditional love. Your children are forever grateful. May you feel honored by your accomplishments that walk the earth and enjoy being celebrated on this glorious Mother’s Day. Amen.