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Who among us can say that cancer has not touched our lives in some way? Whether through personal experience or that of someone we love, "the C-word" has become much too common in most of our day-to-day lives.
How, then, and why would we possibly want to embrace this or any other equally dreaded disease? Because, simply put, we give power to that which we resist. One of the most powerful gifts of the healing journey can be learning to "embrace it." This in no way suggests passive submission. Quite the contrary! By not resisting the illness and all its ramifications, we are best able to allow the energy to keep moving right on through, thus greatly assisting and accelerating the healing process.
Think for a minute of some of the standard phrases you hear regarding cancer: you're encouraged to fight it, defeat it, and overcome it. All of these phrases imply a "me versus it" approach, born out of an us-and-them mentality, which in itself is a result of a dualistic, egocentric view of the world. When we rise above this limited perception of physical reality, however, we are able to perceive and experience the world from a more interconnected, quantum level of awareness. You might think of "embracing" a healing journey as a more holistic approach to healing, more akin to many of the martial arts concepts of flowing with the energy coming at you, rather than resisting or trying to overpower it.
I do know of what I speak. Along with my own personal cancer-healing journey, the other most significant and profound, growth-filled experience was with my incredible daughter Annamieka, diagnosed at age 19 with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. (We are both doing great!) I've also had the privilege of assisting many clients, friends, and family members with various forms of mind-body-spirit healing for more than twenty-five years.
So, it's from intimate experience that I say this: Every person's healing journey offers a very precious gift. You may be thinking: "This sure doesn't feel like a gift to me!" However, every healing journey is unique to the one who travels it. It's perfectly okay (in fact, pretty understandable) that it may not feel much like a gift at the time. But with your diagnosis comes an unparalleled opportunity for growth, learning and healing--on all levels of your being.
It's also important to note that there can be a profound distinction between healing and curing. "To heal" has been defined as "to set right, to make whole;" "to cure," as "to recover from a disease." While you focus on curing, or recovering from your disease, it's important to remember that the healing, the "making whole" that you experience on emotional, mental and spiritual levels may be at least as valuable as the desired cure.
Sometimes it can be helpful to have the assistance of a skilled counselor, trained in this sort of healing work, to assist in the healing process. For most people, the diagnosis of cancer brings up a very deep level of fear. This fear affects you emotionally, mentally, and physically. It sends your mind racing, playing and replaying fear-based thoughts which, left unchecked, can lead to chronic anxiety, depression, and a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.
This fear can also translate into a host of physical symptoms, including rapid, shallow breathing, increased heart rate, constricted blood vessels, increased blood pressure, tight, tensed muscles, headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal disorders--the list goes on and on.
By combining simple relaxation, guided imagery and affirmation techniques, you can profoundly influence your body's biochemical state, resulting in a general sense of well-being and calm. When you relax deeply and thoroughly you are creating the most optimal physiological conditions to support your healing process. You are also more able to access your connection with the true source of all healing--the intelligent, loving Presence that permeates all creation.
On Cancer: Embracing the Healing Journey, one of the most recent titles in my Relax Into Healing series of CDs and booklets, I incorporate all these elements, offering guidance for every step of the journey--dealing with diagnosis shock, interacting with doctors, embracing all emotions, discerning your own inner guidance, enhancing healing and adjusting to "re-entry" once treatment is complete.
For example, to deal with the initial shock of diagnosis, we begin with a simple mindfulness relaxation process, followed by a gentle breathing technique, combined with soothing affirmations to create a state of calm. In this more receptive, more emotionally centered state, you are better able to receive and respond rather than react, and you can begin to move beyond the initial state of shock and fear and think clearly about what decisions need to be made, and what opportunities this experience may hold for growth and healing on all levels of your being.
Among the many decisions you're faced with is your decision regarding treatment(s). Sometimes the treatment decisions are clear-cut. But if, for example, you've always been more geared toward whole foods and herbal remedies to maintain your health, and suddenly you're being told your best chance for survival lies in an arduous course of chemotherapy, you're going to have some deep soul-searching to do…and quickly. On the other hand, if you've always followed a more traditional Western medical path, putting full trust in your doctor with no questions asked, you may find weighing the options of any type of adjunctive approach (like nutritional supplements or acupuncture) to be confusing and overwhelming.
Another track on the CD is designed to assist you in the process of discerning what's right for you, and to help you align yourself fully with whatever decisions you make. In so doing, you become your own strongest ally, and are able to most fully support your own healing process. Whatever course of treatments you choose to follow, perhaps as important as the treatment itself is your ability to fully believe in its effectiveness. This necessitates listening to and sorting out all the conflicting voices (from outside and inside), finding clarity, and committing yourself wholeheartedly to the treatment course you've chosen.
By embracing your healing journey, other qualities you might develop or strengthen might include: patience, surrender (in trust, not defeat!), acceptance, humility, forgiveness, compassion, gratitude, balance, assertiveness, self-discipline, worthiness, and self-love. When asked about my own cancer experience my usual reply is, "I would not ever like to repeat that chapter, but it was one of the richest experiences of my life for which I am deeply, deeply grateful."
No matter what your situation, if you choose the vibration of love over fear, you will find yourself becoming large enough to embrace it all.
For more information about the Relax Into Healing series of CDs and booklets by Nancy Hopps, visit www.RelaxIntoHealing.com
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