Everything has changed.
Two weeks ago I went into the local palliative care unit for symptom and pain management. This visit had been mutually agreed on the week before when I had seen my palliative care specialist. I was taking a slow release morphine tablet once a day for pain, then giving myself sub-cut morphine for breakthrough pain, but I could not manage to get consistent pain relief. I felt as though the morphine that had given me such relief, was now poisoning my body and not addressing the pain effectively. My specialist had suggested reviewing our options a month or so earlier, but regrettably, I have a very stubborn streak and am very stoic, so I had not taken up her suggestion.
My health was failing. My hair was falling out, I was in a constant state of nausea … opening the fridge door would result in a dash to the toilet..dry retching. I had no energy, I napped for most of the day, not even able to get the energy to read or watch TV. Pain wasn’t too bad, but would fluctuate dramatically. Having a shower then blow drying my hair required a rest in between. This was the physical state I was in when I entered the palliative care unit that monday afternoon.
Mentally and emotionally, I was fine…. if you have read my blogs, you will know that I made peace with death a long time ago. Much as I wanted to stay for my family and friends, and in particular for my first little grandchild who is due to be born in four weeks, I was happy to die. Part of me longed to “go home”. I have an absolute belief in life continuing after death, and that there is nothing to be concerned about at all – with an unconditionally loving Creator after all, how could there possibly be anything to fear? My physical body was becoming difficult to live in… everything was an effort. Having said this, I had no sense that I was going to die.
I am going to share with you now what happened to me that Monday night two weeks ago in the palliative care ward. It is up to you what you make of it. I don’t have a logical explanation for it….I actually ceased needing logical explanations years ago when I realised that Life works completely different to what I had thought (to be honest, I didn’t even think back then..or at least not about Life, I just tried to get through it).
I know this, because everything changed from that moment.
I arrived in my hospital room about 3pm and settled in. The Registrar came and did a brief physical examination, asked some questions, and then said my specialist would be arriving soon to discuss suitable changes to medication. I was just glad to be there. My specialist came – a wonderful compassionate woman who has been an enormous support to me over the years, and always listens to me even when I am stretching her science based beliefs to the limit… and said she felt that I would benefit from small doses of Methadone for pain, Dexamethasone for appetite and Haliperidol for nausea etc. No more morphine. Because I have spent my life being mentally resistant to using synthetic drugs, I have been a rather difficult patient for her; she has had to be patient and wait for me to address my polarised thinking which has occurred slowly over several years, but which brought me finally me to this point where I was feeling so unwell I was willing to accept more intensive pharmaceutical intervention.
I agreed to accept the medications, and she left. My tea was brought, I lifted the cover, began dry retching and ran for the toilet. Another Haliperidol, a 5 minute wait and I could eat tea. Wonderful! I had been living on toast and vegemite for 3 days.
At some point that evening, I have no idea when exactly, I drifted into a meditative state.
And suddenly….I find it difficult for words to describe…. it was like my soul energy grabbed me by the throat and with great exasperation said ” Rebecca!! …we are healing…. get on board”. I was taken aback… fleetingly thinking.. “soul energy is supposed to be gentle, not ferocious”.. (which is incorrect.. it is very powerful)…. and I responded “Oh, ok then”.
And that was it.
Except it wasn’t.
It was the beginning of something life-changing.
You see, from that moment on, I have had no pain, no nausea, I am so full of energy I can barely contain it at times, I am incredibly focused and motivated and creative.. everything is effortless, everything just works out… I am so full of love and joy and peace it overflows..I want to hug strangers in the street (I might get locked up if I did!)…
I believe my body is healing from the cancer.
I don’t know. Time and medical scans will prove if it is. I am not terribly interested anyway. It is or it isn’t healing. Either way, I now live each moment deeply as it comes. Each moment feels like a new drop of dew… quivering with life.. filled with potential and possibilities…full of richness and beauty and love and joy, fresh and beautiful and alive…it does not matter to me how many more of these moments I have or not. THIS moment is so beautiful and perfect, another is not necessary.
I feel truly, stunningly, richly alive. unburdened by past or future.
I just AM.
In this moment.
So what happened? I can’t answer that for sure…the more I know, the more I realise I don’t know. But all I can say is this. Something happened, because everything is different. My physical reality is different. The small dosage of the drugs is not explanation enough… I believe I have been graced with spiritual healing. Fourteen years ago when I first knew I had cancer, I believed that my healing would be from Spirit, not from the physical plane of drugs, hospital treatments or even nutrition…but from Spirit. I just never expected that it would take over fourteen years. I have taken that long…not Spirit.. I have resisted, tried to conform to societal expectations, held back, not trusted… but Spirit has patiently worked with me. To get me to this point.
And now what?
I am living each moment, loving each moment, so full of joy and love…not because of the healing, but in spite of it. Physical healing will be the icing on the cake. I know with great clarity what I am here to do.. the last fourteen years of my life have been spent preparing me for this.
I will now devote my life to spreading a message of love and joy and peace. Of helping people to introduce Spirit, God, the Universe, Gaia, their soul, whatever you wish to call it…..names don’t matter…. into their daily lives so that the beautiful power that comes from living connected to a Being higher than ourselves can be experienced by everyone. It is there for all of us..we just don’t believe in it or trust it…we have been so programmed to only trust in what we can see, touch, taste and hear.. so over domesticated that we are no longer connected to the wisdom of our souls and the Universe.. and we are SUFFERING because of it. In particular, I will help people with terminal illness to find a state of complete and utter acceptance that whatever is happening is perfect. We cannot erase physical pain and suffering, loss and death from our lives, but we can live in such a way that they do not affect us negatively….they are simply an opportunity , as is everything, to open to the beauty of life.
If I can in some tiny way help alleviate suffering through sharing my story, and showing other people who are interested how to live in joy and peace no matter what is happening around them…then my life has been worthwhile.
Now, I have to go, I have a book to write. The deadline is August. I have been trying to write this book for eight frustrating years, beating myself up because it didn’t flow… it was such a struggle. I have no aspiration to be an author, but I have known that I must write a book.
The time is now right.
When it is Divine timing, everything flows…I’m learning that….
It is 1AM.
I am awake for several reasons – one, because I spent most of the day on the couch napping between hurried trips to the toilet due to the fortnightly attacks of diarrhoea my body is now inflicted with. If that is too much information for you, bad luck. I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t had diarrhoea, and sickness is often not pretty. That’s the reality. The other reason I am awake is because spending the day on the couch, and subsequently sleeping on the couch tonight (I haven’t been able to sleep in a bed for several months now), has put too much pressure on my spine and pelvis and the pain is beginning to escalate. Having given myself 10mg of morphine, I am now more comfortable, although it hasn’t totally eradicated the pain. Pain is an unpredictable and volatile companion of mine now. An almost constant companion, although I do have days where I experience no pain. Other days, it is difficult for me to bring it under control. But this is not what I am wanting to write about.
The physical aspect of cancer has never been of great concern to me. This makes me a little odd I think. Pleasantly odd I hope. At least, it is pleasant for me to be this way. When I woke up fourteen years ago and deeply, completely understood that I am (we all are) eternal spirit having an earthly experience, it transformed the way I saw life. My priorities changed, anxiety fell away, and over time I learned to surrender to What Is. The most important focus of my life became letting go of all the aspects of my mind that prevented me from deeply experiencing the joy, love and peace on which I believe this universe is built. I learned to welcome everything as an opportunity to grow. I learned to let go of victim-hood, blame, fear, anger, people-pleasing, un-necessary self sacrificing, martyrdom, resentment, all those things that we accumulate that stops the light from shining through. The things that take away our joy. The things that ruin our life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere close to perfect, whatever that is. I only tell you these things because I wish, oh how I wish that everyone could know just how beautiful life is when you live like this. How effortless it is to be peaceful and joyful and filled with love even when it appears from the outside that life is difficult.
There have been times recently when I have wondered why I am still here. By all accounts, I should have died years ago, and more recently, last June the medical prediction based on my scans was 3-6 months to live. I am still here, because I am still learning, still growing. The love, and joy and peace get deeper and deeper.
My most recent discovery has been gratitude and humility. I realise now, they have never been my forte. I truly didn’t know that they could feel so beautiful. Discovering gratitude and humility has arisen from learning to receive. I have never been good at receiving. I much preferred giving. I always believed, even from a young age, that I was here to help people. Some of this was genuine altruism with a good smattering of wanting to be liked. Giving was also a position of power I think. I hated feeling indebted to someone.
Because of the deterioration in my physical health, and my inability to do things that I once took for granted, I have had to learn to ask for help, and to receive it. I’m not going to lie… it was really hard at first. I am fiercely independent in this way although contrarily, I have a deep longing to be nurtured and cared for, but I subconsciously saw that as weakness.
Like many others, I have written gratitude journals in the past, and they were very helpful at times to remind me of the great things in my life, but to surrender deeply into gratitude is an entirely different experience. Deep, heartfelt gratitude is such a beautiful feeling; It is like melting ever deeper into a love and joy that floods the heart and overflows, seeking expression. And with it comes humility – a profound gentleness and thankfulness at being the receiver of whatever has been bestowed.
I am deeply, deeply grateful for the wonderful people who are in my life, and for the care and love I receive. They are too many to mention individually, but in particular my partner, whose ability to nurture me and unselfishly attend to my comfort continues to amaze and delight me. My two sons, whose unconditional love I cherish and of whom I am proud to be called their mother. My sons partners, who love and care about me – something that gives me joy because I hadn’t expected that they should. My ex-husband, who always has my back, and who holds a special place in my heart. My sister who is my best friend, confidante, and staunchest ally. My mother, with whom our increasing closeness in the last six months has been a great joy to me. My many, wonderful, caring friends who take time out of their busy lives to phone and visit me. And the many people who I am in contact with who aren’t close friends, but whose care is evident, even if it is just a passing acquaintance. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart – you make my life rich and full of love.
Everywhere I go, I experience love and kindness and I believe that this is a reflection back to me of how I view the world. Most of us learn to protect our hearts at a young age, and we continue this throughout our lives. Holding people at arms length, cautiously loving, fearing rejection and hurt. I am learning to love with abandonment, to love everyone and everything. You see, I don’t fear being hurt or rejected anymore, so I don’t feel the need to protect myself. I know that someone else can’t make me feel something – that feeling arises within me, from me. Any negative feeling comes from a fear within myself, and I welcome it to the light so I can see it and let it go.
As human beings, we long for connection. We are hard-wired for connection. Connection is made through the letting go of fear, and opening deeper and deeper into love and joy, gratitude and humility… peace. It is within the capabilities of all of us to do this…if we choose it. It makes life beautiful.
I thoroughly recommend it. The rewards are far greater than I ever anticipated.
Take it from me…. life is too short to waste on negativity and keeping love at arms length.
It seems that as I experience more pain in my physical body, I become more sensitive to the suffering in the world. Watching the news is almost unbearable. It is something I seldom do now. Unfortunately the News Corporations are not awakened enough to understand or care what the impact of their incessant reporting of negativity, rage, blame, shame, violence, death, hurt and pain has on the subconscious minds of the millions of people who watch their programs. To believe that it doesn’t feed a negative worldview is naive in the extreme. If only people were more protective of their mental health. Collectively we could achieve change. Why couldn’t there be a balance of good news stories as well as bad?
As long as the driving force of humanity is money and progress – nothing is going to improve. Albert Einstein said: “No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it”. There needs to be a change of consciousness for humanity and this planet to survive and thrive.
That change is a shift from fear to love.
It begins with you.
It begins with me.
What if, every day, in every situation, we asked ourselves “what would Love do?”
Stop reading for a moment and truly, deeply contemplate this question because it has the power to change your world, and ultimately, our collective world.
In this moment, in this interaction, in this decision, what would Love do? What would Love choose?
If the question is asked with genuine intention, the answer will arise from deep within you. Because no matter how crazy and frantic and violent and ugly and self serving human ego can be, at our very core, our very essence – we are Love. Despite what would appear to be evidence to the contrary, – the state of humanity – I still believe this with my whole heart.
Buried beneath the human mind of thought patterns created by every experience, every moment of our life, we are Love, and we can access this with intention.
When we love, and when we create, we are expressing our divinity. Our Divine heritage. We are always creating. In every single moment, we are creating – as humans it is impossible that we are not. Every thought is a creation. Much of our creating is without conscious awareness – but when intention and attention come together, then our creating becomes conscious – sometimes with incredible results.
In every single moment, we are not Loving.
And herein lies the potential for the destruction of humanity and the planet – creating that is not born out of or balanced by Love.
We can see evidence of this everywhere. And apart from the creation of weapons of mass destruction, it is never more evident than in the business world that humanity has created where profit, bigger, “better”, and faster are the accepted building blocks of creation. No love in sight. Just cold, hard cash the desired result, that depicts success ..or not.
And the result? Greed, corruption, destruction of the planet, competition, self serving, extremes of wealth and poverty, abuse, exploitation, loneliness, depression, STRESS, violence…I could go on. It isn’t all bad though. There have been improvements in healthcare, social welfare, living standards (for some of the worlds population), education, social equity (in some parts of the world and population). These result from creation balanced by Love.
Someone once said that the greatest cult of all is our culture. In the so called “first world” countries, we have accepted the status quo of profit and “progress” as the ultimate aim because we have been indoctrinated in this thinking since birth. It is normal for us, we barely even think about it. But if it leads to the destruction of the planet and ultimately humanity, then it is unquestionably not a good thing… When we stop and think, isn’t this obvious?
The problem is, there is no stop button. A few weeks ago I took our dog for a walk near the river. When I stopped the car, I almost cried, because where a few months ago I had stood in a large paddock and photographed a tree silhouetted against the sunrise, with the kangaroos watching me, and birds calling, now, it was terraced, flattened, and machinery was parked there ready to continue the “development”. It hit me then that as long as we measure success and progress by money, there is no stopping the destruction of the planet. As the saying attributed to the Cree Indians goes “Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money”.
Love has been forgotten in business and politics.
Love is being lost in the communities, in homes, and in hearts.
You see, we have developed this false belief that Love arises spontaneously. Sometimes it does, but often, Love is a choice… and we have forgotten to choose Love. We are too busy to choose Love. Too tired, too wounded, too un-awake, too filled with righteous indignation to choose Love.
What does Love choose?
Love chooses understanding over intolerance. Forgiveness over anger. Peace over conflict. Kindness over unkindness. Compassion over judgment. Love is not weak, needy or dis-empowered. It is strong and powerful and breaks down barriers. It carries within it the redemption of humanity. The saving of this beautiful planet.
This Love of which I write is within us all. A Love that transcends human ego, a Love that is Divine. As we choose Love every day, this love flows from our hearts out into the world. It shows up in deep friendships, random acts of kindness to strangers, family love, romantic love, love for our pets, love for the planet, love of parents for their children, nurses for their patients. This is the Love that says “I love you, but I cannot stay” when the situation is toxic, and means it. This is the Love that gives without expectation of something in return. This is the Love that sees the pain that makes someone abuse, and still loves without surrendering to the abuse. This is the Love that says “I am worthy of respect” and sets boundaries. This is the Love that sees Divinity in everyone and everything. This Love….Loves.
And oh, the rewards of choosing Love! The beautiful, feeling of loving! The human ego cries “love me”, the heart that has tapped into the Divine Love within whispers “I AM Love”, and the energy of that Love radiates out, touching everyone and everything nearby.
Choose Love, each day as though the future of humanity depends upon it.
Because it does.
It has been almost three months since I last wrote a blog post.
A rather intense three months.
SInce the last blog, my father died in another country, I decided to get a casual job (3 months into my “based on your scans, you have 3-6 months to live” prognosis), and I have lived through two months of chronic, at times unmanageable pain.
But life is good.
I have learned to be a consistent “glass half full person”. (Although there have been several times I have curled up on my partners lap weeping with sheer exhaustion from the unrelenting pain. But that only lasts for ten minutes and I dry my eyes and get on with life).
People tell me I am strong or brave or courageous. And other flattering words. It may appear this way to others, but I don’t see it that way.
You see, I have discovered the secret to living a happy life.
Develop beliefs that inspire, sustain and uplift you, and life becomes effortless. You become incredibly resilient.
It is simple, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Our beliefs, as I have mentioned many times before, are buried deeply in our sub-conscious mind, and were generally established in the first seven or so years of our life.
We spend our lives living out our beliefs.
Some beliefs serve us well, others don’t.
Keep the good beliefs, ditch the rest and reprogram your sub conscious mind.
Coming from a deeply religious background, I had many beliefs that kept me afraid of God, death and life. This manifested itself in constant anxiety which I carefully hid from others. I felt that everyone else “had it together” except me. I tried extremely hard to be perfect. I had a belief that unless I was perfect I simply wasn’t good enough and this paralysed me, causing me to play it safe and consequently I never achieved what I knew I was capable of because I was afraid to fail. It was easier to stay small.. if you don’t try, you don’t fail.
The day I realised that all the fear originated from my mind therefore I had the power to change it, was the day a different life began.
I used to be terrified of God. The God I absorbed in my child mind was the God of the Old Testament. A punishing, vengeful, petty, jealous, touchy, demanding God who would torture me for ever if I didn’t do exactly what he wanted.
I never felt good enough. The concept of Grace completely by-passed me because it didn’t fit in with my sub-conscious belief of what God was. This is what our mind does. It hones in on the things that fit with its established beliefs and ignores the rest. I am sure the Christian belief that we are saved through Jesus’s blood was preached in the church I belonged to, but I didn’t hear it.
The reason I am sharing this, is because my beliefs about God were a huge part of my problem with life. It would be very easy to blame the church, however we each live within our own personal reality, while sharing a general physical reality with others. My negative experience was a direct result of the beliefs I had absorbed early on, and my mind then built on those. Another child in the exact same circumstances could have reacted differently. There is no-one to blame. (Besides, blame is dis-empowering, it simply keeps you in victim-hood).
Once I was clear enough in my mind to understand that my mind itself was the problem, I began the process of reprogramming. In the beginning, my mind almost destroyed itself with fear. All the different spiritual beliefs I read about, my mind considered a sacrilege and I acted as though I was going to be burnt at the stake. I was terrified. Fortunately, and this is the part where Grace first became evident; my Soul, that part of each of us that is forever connected to Spirit, made itself known to me in a very conscious way for the first time in my life, and gave me a deep knowing that everything was unfolding exactly as it should. It gave me the courage not to give up. Not to let fear keep me trapped.
Now, I live from a belief and complete trust in a Divine Being and universe that has my back. An unconditionally loving Divine Being and universe. The two aren’t separate. Nothing is separate. This belief allows me to live knowing everything I experience is for my good. That in everything I experience, I will find love, peace and joy because these are the building blocks of the universe. (How could it be any different with an unconditionally loving creator? We aren’t here just to suffer and die). In this state, I can welcome anything. The deeper I live this belief, the more I find it to be true. It is effortless, almost all of the time, for me to be happy. What is happening to my physical body does not detract from that. This is possible because of another deep belief I have – that I am a Spiritual Being having a human experience. This world is not my forever home. Being in spirit, which is my natural state, is.
I think humanity is very confused about the purpose of life, and this confusion has manifested in the dysfunction, anxiety, fear and violence so prevalent in this world.
I do not feel myself as separate from God-Divinity-Life whatever you wish to call Supreme Being. I really don’t think the name matters. (If someone called you by the wrong name would you be deeply offended if they weren’t intending to be deliberately offensive?) The Divine is everything. We are never separate.
I don’t concern myself over the length of my life. I do what I can to stay alive, but ultimately it is out of my hands. The length of my life is Divine business. My business is to live as joyfully and passionately and lovingly as I can in each and every moment. This is my only really meaningful business. It is not to accumulate as many physical assets as I can, and live in stress and anxiety to do so. It is not to make other people happy or please them. It is not to get recognition on facebook, Tik Tok, or even to have a family.
Western culture has got it out of order. We have been conditioned to believe that living joyfully is what we do when/if we have enough energy left after we have finished working our butts off for the material assets we have been conned into believing bring happiness. This is the wrong way around!!.
Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said to “seek the Kingdom of Heaven first, and all these things will be added to you”. The Kingdom of Heaven is joy, love, and peace here and now, not just a far away hoped for heavenly realm. Other spiritual teachers say the same thing.
You see, if you focus on finding love, joy and peace everywhere, in everything, you will find it everywhere and in everything. Including in the job you thought you hated, or the person who challenges you most, or in the illness you thought you were terrified of. This is real, and its yours – you aren’t relying on someone or something to provide it for you. It arises spontaneously from within.
I challenge you, if you aren’t already doing it, to consciously choose to live joyfully and passionately and lovingly as your main business in life.
It will transform your experience beyond imagination.
My sister sent me a link yesterday to a webinar on YouTube with Zach Bush MD called “It’s time to tell a new story about cancer”. It is indeed.
Now, I’m interested in anything that involves Zach Bush. He is an incredibly knowledgeable man who marries Science and Spirituality with great skill. Like another of my favourites – Albert Einstein. If you haven’t made his acquaintance on YouTube already, can I suggest you have a listen. All of what he says may not be to your liking, but he seems to know what he is talking about, and the wisdom, compassion and fluency with which he delivers his knowledge is compelling.
The webinar is about The Cancer Story Project. This project was launched in July 2020 by a woman called Cheryl Buck who in 2016 “was one of 1.6 million people who heard the words “you have cancer”. For the previous decade she had been researching cancer and other chronic diseases from a nutritional standpoint, focusing on Indigenous cultures and their awareness of the intrinsic healing power of the body and the earth. Her mission through the Cancer Story Project is “to tell a new story about cancer that empowers someone who has it and the people and community around them to embrace the cancer journey in a new way”.
Wonderful news that someone has started a global movement to change the story about cancer. It needs to happen. Enough of these ridiculous and fear-inducing labels of “cancer victim”, “cancer sufferer”, war against cancer, fight, battle, “lost the battle” blah blah blah. A negative language of warfare has been attached to cancer that reinforces the fear and does nothing to inspire hope. The whole cancer system of Oncology needs a complete overhaul including honest and open discussion about how effective at prolonging life the treatments really are. If they aren’t greatly effective, but it is all that is available at the moment, let everyone know so they are free to make their own choices and decisions about how they wish their body to be treated without being pressured (yes, pressured) into using the limited toolbox of treatments that Oncology currently has. There is a very interesting and disturbing article that can be found at https://www.icnr.com/articles/ischemotherapyeffective.html which discusses the use of relative risk rather than absolute risk in reporting the effectiveness of chemotherapy on the commonest types of cancer. In my opinion, it is all about making informed decisions, and that is very difficult to do in the current Oncology “bubble”. One, Oncologists are often not happy when their treatments are questioned, and it seems that they are not always privy to the facts about efficacy themselves if this article is to be believed. (An editorial in the Australian Prescriber dated 1 Feb 2006 regarding the article provides a seemingly balanced review. I leave you to make up your own mind). Two, they only generally believe in the treatments they have been trained to recommend, and three, it is very difficult to think rationally when you are being pressured to take urgent action and you are in a state of shock.
For medical treatment of cancer to change and become more holistic and less purely physically focused – the change is going to have to be requested by the people. If an Oncologist recommends treatment, every patient has the right, and should, request evidence of the efficacy of that treatment for the type of cancer they have. I am a bit cynical about statistics – especially as according to statistics I should have died ten years ago. Medicine is very, very slowly becoming a little more receptive to “complementary” treatments, but most of the money contributed to research is still being poured into looking for a pharmaceutical answer to the disease. This is awfully one-eyed, but understandable. The pharmaceutical companies are the only companies rich enough to do the trials, and they have convinced the majority of the population and definitely the medical profession, that drugs are the only viable option. Unfortunately, many wonderful “alternative” treatments only have “anecdotal” commendations due to the prohibitive cost of double blind trials. And anecdotal doesn’t mean much in the science of medicine.
I have privately been beating the drum for re-framing cancer for a decade now, and for the last 9 months more publicly through this blog. A few people have told me they used to be afraid of cancer, but now aren’t through watching my experience in living with it for many years. I hope that others also through this blog have lost some fear as well. This has been my intention – to share my journey, my learning, to help other people experience cancer not as the worst thing that has happened to them, but rather as an opportunity to stop and take stock of their life and the way they are living then take steps to live in a way that brings maximum joy and peace and love. This is what life is really about. Everything else is a distraction – but “everything else” has taken first place in our culture and we have unconsciously adopted the mindset and lived it out. It has brought us to a place of dis-ease. We are not at ease – proof lies in the constant increase of depression, anxiety, mental illness, addictions and chronic illness in the human race. These are not the fruits of an enlightened culture. They are the fruits of a dysfunctional and dis-connected one.
Perhaps cancer is a gift to humanity. It is a pause, a prompting to go within. To halt the busyness and re-align, however it is very difficult to do this when you are consumed with fear. Cancer is a very powerful word. It has the ability to change your life. Whether for better or worse is your choice. How we experience cancer is always going to be our choice. Whether we experience it isn’t.
Cancer brings with it the opportunity to confront and accept our own mortality instead of ignoring it. Ironically, embracing death teaches us how to really live. How to be more present, more grateful, more joyful. Isn’t that a good thing?. Anyone out there not want to be more present in each moment, more grateful and more joyful? Anyone out there prefer to be more fearful, more agitated, more depressed because they have cancer?
Its your choice.
I don’t think this notion of choice really sinks in for many people, because I see people constantly choosing to continue to suffer unnecessarily. For some reason it seems like a totally impractical and abstract idea that simply choosing to perceive cancer (or anything in life) in a different way can radically improve the quality of your life. Perhaps it is too simple. Or it seems like too much work. We have been trained to expect a magic pill to cure our physical and mental woes so we can just continue on living in the same way that caused us to end up with the woes in the first place. Someone said (it is attributed to Albert Einstein but there is no evidence that he actually said it) “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”. Hmm
I decided thirteen years ago that suffering was no longer an option for me. I’d had enough of fear and anxiety. It didn’t take me long to realise that it was only my mind that caused me to suffer. Life happens. It just is. It is our minds that attach meaning to it. Both collectively and individually. The meaning that we attach to it will either bring us peace or suffering. Its really that simple.
Viewing cancer as a gift-bearer will attach a positivity and purpose to it that will carry you through with much greater ease than viewing cancer as a fearful threat. Cancer can help us to heal relationships, forge deeper connections, build our personal community, make us stronger, more resilient and compassionate… If we embrace the experience and be open. Through cancer we can discover how loved and valued we are by those around us. We can open to healing the trauma and hurts of the past. Become more free.
Cancer can be a liberation.
Or it can be a terrifying diversion away from life as we planned it.
Its our choice.
I will never advise someone not to have chemotherapy. I firmly believe that everyone must choose what feels right for them at the time, however I question the wisdom of poisoning the whole body as a treatment for a disease. It doesn’t make any sense to me. The fact that the body is an incredible organism designed to heal itself and restore balance, is never more in evidence than when it recovers from the effects of chemotherapy. We really need to trust the body’s innate ability to heal and support that fully. Unfortunately, most Oncologists do not yet recommend their patients support their body through nutrition and mind. The advent of Integrative Oncology is a really positive step forward – however it may be a while before it becomes standard practice.
There are exciting new frontiers in mind-body medicine being explored by people like Joe Dispenza, Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Bruce Lipton, Greg Braden, Dr Melissa Rankin, Kelly Turner Ph.d and Dr Zach Bush to name but a few, and to have their learning incorporated into mainstream treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases would, I believe, improve outcomes and reduce suffering dramatically. This is only going to happen in the near future if people are open with their Oncologists and medical staff about the techniques and modalities they are using in addition to those recommended by the Oncologist.
So, let’s create a new story about cancer. One that enables us to live through the experience with equanimity, taking anything that arises in our stride, being peaceful and happy. It is possible. I’m doing it. More and more people are doing it.
It’s part of our evolution.
It’s all good.
I want to share with you a Near Death Experience that my partner Ian had several weeks before he died.
Ian lived with Neuro-Endocrine Pancreatic cancer with Metastases to the liver for over 9 years. When he was diagnosed, he was told there were no effective treatments available for him, and to come back for palliative chemotherapy when the pain got too bad. He wasn’t a man to take this diagnosis lying down. He was stubborn and determined. The fact that he lived for over nine years was regarded as nothing short of miraculous by medical staff.
Three weeks before he died, Ian began vomiting blood. The possibility of this happening had been lurking on the periphery of our life for over two years. We had been told then that he had developed what was essentially varicose veins of the esophagus due to the portal vein carrying blood from his liver being slowly blocked by a tumour. His body, in its immense wisdom and capacity to reinstate balance reacted by diverting blood through other veins in his body which weren’t designed for such a large flow, and due to the extra pressure, caused varicose veins to form on his esophagus. We had been told that one day they may burst and Ian would bleed out and die. This was something that took me quite a while to come to terms with. I had a phobia myself about vomiting in public, and knowing that my partner may at anytime begin to suddenly vomit blood and bleed out, challenged one of my greatest fears. I eventually managed to find peace when I truly understood that life unfolds perfectly. Everything happens at the right place at the right time for our higher good.
This particular day, Ian had awoken in the morning, and rushed to the toilet to vomit – a large blood clot. One of the varicose veins had begun bleeding during the night. He came back to bed and went back to sleep. He had the most amazing capacity to put things out of his mind. Initially I was infuriated by it. He would go back to sleep while I lay awake worrying. Eventually I learned to let it go, accept whatever was happening, and go back to sleep myself. He awoke an hour later and vomited again – this time the blood was fresh. I managed to talk him into going to the local emergency department. He hated hospital, and was always very reluctant to go.
They checked him over and decided he needed to be sent by Flying Doctor to a Perth hospital – 170kms away. They gave him medication to help control the bleeding. I called my sons to come from work to see their step-father before he left as we knew it might be the last time we saw him. We said good-bye and he was taken away to the ambulance for transporting to the airport. It was arranged that I would go home, pack a bag for him and myself then travel by car to Perth and meet him at the hospital.
I was driving alone to Perth when I suddenly realised that I was completely calm and peaceful. The only thoughts going through my mind were that life was unfolding perfectly. Everything was happening in exactly the right way at exactly the right time, and all I needed was to be open, and trust that everything was perfect. It felt wonderful to be in this state where I felt no stress, no fear, and it enabled me to be completely present. I had spent the first 45 years of my life in varying degrees of anxiety, and I knew that if I had been forced to go through this even a few years earlier, I would have been experiencing a great deal of stress and pain. Now, I just felt peaceful. Peace is very under-rated in our culture for some reason. Not many people find much value in seeking to have a peaceful mind, however once you have experienced it, you never want to live any other way.
On arriving at the hospital, I was pleased to hear that Ian had survived the trip. He was soon reviewed by doctors and it was decided he would be operated on to try and stop the bleeding. I can’t remember why, but the operation didn’t happen for several days. The hospital room had a large window with a window seat, and this was where I slept for 5 nights. It was a new hospital, but for some reason, it had been built with no facilities for the families of country patients to stay. Ian tended to become very agitated if I wasn’t close, so it was better for everyone if I stayed in the room.
The operation was not a success. Within 12 hours, Ian began passing blood. A lot of blood. It was decided to give him a blood transfusion, he had the first bag, the bleeding continued. He had the second bag, the bleeding continued. They put the third (and unbeknown to us, the last) bag up. Ian was very cold by this time. Lying under a pile of blankets. I was reading to him from A Course in Miracles, and I remember the room as warm and dim, and very very peaceful. I looked over at him at one point and he had a big smile on his face. He opened his eyes and looked at me, and said “don’t mind me, I am in a place of unconditional love”. This from a man, who had great difficulty in accepting he was loved. He told me later that he left his body and was looking at it lying on the bed from behind.
It was around this time (he told me all this later), that he saw angels around him, and he said to them “Go to Bunnings (a large hardware store), and get some epoxy resin, and I will trowel it onto these veins to stop the bleeding. He was a carpenter by trade and felt that he was more skilled than the angels at working with epoxy. He visualised himself doing this.
The bleeding stopped.
The Doctors were astounded, they couldn’t understand what had happened, and decided to send him back to Bunbury via ambulance with a paramedic as soon as possible. I followed the ambulance in my car. Ian was taken straight to the Palliative Care Unit, and they told me afterwards that from the clinical reports from the doctors in Perth, they were expecting him to be unconscious and near death. Instead, he was talking and joking with the staff. He told his Palliative Specialist that he was going to stay a little while to recoup, but he would be going home. He did. He came home for a week, and the day before he returned to hospital, he insisted on climbing the ladder to help the boys clean the gutters of leaves. The next day he vomited blood again, and returned to hospital.
I stayed with him in the hospital, and helped him to shower in the morning, He was quite weak. About 2pm, he asked me to help him to sit on the side of the bed, then he stood and put his arms around me, resting his head on my shoulder. His whole body trembled with the effort. I didn’t realise that this was his goodbye. I helped him back into bed. He turned his face away from me, and I knew in that moment, that he was going to leave his body soon. He had made the decision. He had never wanted to be in a state where he needed physical care. He was fiercely independent, and I believe he decided it was time to go. I went and said to the nurses, ‘he is going to die soon’. They felt it was unlikely, but came and felt his pulse,and agreed that he had in fact taken a turn towards death. He was barely conscious from then on, and died peacefully at 7.30pm that evening.
We had a deep soul connection, him and I, and when he died, I still felt the connection. I have never felt separated from him. Death has no meaning to the soul. Love transcends death. The bonds are never broken. You move on, but they are never broken. Grief can stop us from feeling the connection. Our beliefs can stop us from feeling the connection. The connection is still there.
We are in eternity now. Life continues. Death is just a return to our natural state of being – in spirit. The body has gone, but the essence, energy and consciousness of the soul continues forever. A week after Ian died, I was walking on the farm, and it suddenly felt as though time stopped still. It was completely silent. And in that moment I understood that Ian was ageless, and so was I. I knew us as eternal beings, and I realised that even if I lived another 40 years on earth without him, it was just a blink of an eye in eternity. There was nothing to mourn. Yes, I missed him, but we had been soul companions forever. We would be together again. Everything was exactly how it should be. Life was unfolding perfectly. I was full of joy and peace.
Our beliefs about death and what happens afterwards will either cause us to suffer or rejoice. It is a choice. I believe that embracing death – both Ian’s and my own, has taught me how to live. It has taught me that only love matters. It has taught me not to take life so seriously. Not to get sucked into the stress and rush and anxiety that pervades the planet. It has taught me to live today, I may not have tomorrow. It has taught me to love life more, appreciate what I have, love nature. Embracing death has taught me not to be attached. To love, but hold loosely. Embracing death sets us free.
Let’s stop trying to ignore death. Let’s stop hiding it away. Let’s stop the solemnity and glumness of the funerals. Let’s celebrate life while we live, and then, when we die, may others celebrate our life and be glad they knew us.
Joy and Love and Peace are everywhere – just a change of thinking away. Seek them everywhere and you will find them…..
Ian Haslam 17/05/65 – 17/03/15
Through expectation, we set ourselves up for disappointment and anger…… and then blame someone else.
Last week I asked my partner to take me into the Bunnings store so I could buy bags of potting mix and manure for my garden. At that time, I was still unable to push a trolley without feeling an unpleasant heavy feeling in my chest, so I needed help. He kindly agreed, so off we went. We got ourselves a trolley, and were heading towards the soil section when he said, “I just need to ask about something”, and off he went. I was left standing there with the trolley thinking he is just going to ask one of the attendants about a product and then come back to help me, but he disappeared.
I wait for a few minutes, then start to wonder if perhaps he had felt unwell and needed to rush to the toilet. I think “well, he could have told me”. After a few more minutes, I decide to push the trolley to the soil section and load the bags myself. I admit it, I am not great at waiting. I don’t like queues. The trolley is quite heavy now and I feel the uncomfortable feeling in my chest – I am not sure if it is my heart or my lungs which are complaining about the strain. Hopefully it is my lungs, if it is my heart, maybe I will collapse in the aisle in Bunnings and create a disturbance – I would rather not.
Now I am starting to feel annoyed. I have been abandoned, my partner was supposed to be helping me. In righteous indignation, I gamely push the heavy trolley towards the checkout. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my partner approaching with a roll of something in his hand. Good for him, he obviously found what he wanted. He hasn’t been caught short and made a dash for the toilet, and here I am, risking a heart attack (really?), pushing my own trolley. See how my mind took its own riotous course.
I am not happy.
He says “you could have waited for me, I was only 5 minutes”. That isn’t the point, thank you very much. I huff and puff my way through the checkout, in martyred silence towards him. He is starting to get annoyed himself. He says “Well, I put myself out to bring you into town, and this is the thanks I get”. Probably a valid point, however I am not ready to concede. Also, I am now not feeling that well. Perhaps the trolley pushing wasn’t as good an idea as waiting for him was.
When we get home, I sit down to recover and take a good look at myself. Why did I get annoyed? I can acknowledge now that I was unreasonable, but why?
I realised that I had created an unconscious expectation of going to Bunnings and getting the potting mix that didn’t involve my partner going off and doing his own thing – especially without telling me what he was doing (yes, guys, communication really does make a difference). The whole situation could probably have been avoided by him telling me he was just going to dash off and get something if I could just wait 5 minutes rather than put the potting mix on then having to push a heavy trolley through the store. A perfectly reasonable thought process you would think. But I Had Expectations. (Of communication too, clearly). I was standing in an area surrounded by plants – which I love. He could be forgiven for thinking I would be perfectly happy just loitering looking at the plants until he came back. Any other day I would have been, But Today I Had Expectations. And somehow, even though I wasn’t even aware of that myself – he should have known. Hmmm.
Absolutely, but in my defense, I had no idea that I even had an expectation . It was entirely unconscious. When things didn’t go as I thought they should – I became annoyed. And the scary thing is – in that moment I felt completely justified. Full of righteous indignation – I mean, he was the one that was in the wrong, leaving me like that – if I had decided to risk my health rather than wait 5 more minutes for him, then that was his fault too. I was busy heaping coals of condemnation on his unsuspecting head.
We both had phones – I could have called him. But no.
In hindsight, I was embarrassed with myself. How ridiculous I had been.
My mind had fooled me.
Our mind frequently fools us into interpreting and believing things that simply aren’t true. When we are acting and reacting unconsciously (without focused thinking), our minds are entirely subjective and biased. But the mind is also capable of objectivity when deliberate thought is imposed and an attempt at objectivity is made.
I apologised to him, and acknowledged that I had been unreasonable. End of story. It could have continued on though if I hadn’t been able to look at my own actions honestly and take responsibility for them. He was more justified in this instance to be annoyed than me, and we both could have ended up ignoring each other, and the rest of the day would have turned sour.
Relationships are full of expectations and subsequent disappointments. And usually we blame the other person for the way we feel. You made me annoyed because you….
Stop right there.
No-one makes us feel anything.
What we feel comes from within ourselves – our own interpretation of the event…. Always.
And our own interpretation of the event is always coloured by our expectations, our beliefs, and our egocentricity. Add to that a desire for control, and we have a recipe for potential disaster in relationships -with anyone. This becomes particularly apparent when our children become teenagers. We are no longer able to control them easily, we have huge expectations about how they should behave and think, and because they are trying to establish their own identity and control over their own lives, they are most likely to challenge our authority and hold a mirror up to our own behaviour. Often our response is anger – a defensive response that is excellent for shutting down the immediate rebellion, but ultimately risks closing down effective communication until the teenager becomes an adult or a parent themselves. Not desirable if we want to be there to help guide them through the teenage years and balance the influence of their peers..
The ability to look honestly at ourselves releases us from hell. It really does. When we can take responsibility for our own feelings and subsequent actions, we stop blaming others. We begin to have closer, kinder, more loving relationships with other people. We are calmer and kinder. We stop having expectations of other people then losing it when they don’t live up to it. Life is less stressful. We begin to communicate our wants and needs more clearly without using emotional manipulation to get what we want. We create good boundaries. We can hold our dignity and express our view without becoming emotionally involved or needing the other person to come over to our way of thinking. We become more tolerant.
Life becomes so much more peaceful and happy because we aren’t wasting energy on getting angry when people don’t behave how we think they should. People behave how THEY think they should. People only change when they see the need to. We only change when we see the need to. Let’s just look at ourselves and take responsibility for our own behaviour. When we are perfect, then we can have expectations of others. (When we are perfect we will CHOOSE not to have expectations of others).
It requires courage to look at ourselves honestly. It takes humility to apologise. When we have been involved in a situation where the other person has behaved badly (in our estimation), we can still apologise for our own behaviour if it has been less than admirable. We humans have a strange view of apologies. We feel that somehow it might diminish us and make us smaller than the other. And yet, the opposite is true. It makes us stronger and wiser. It also allows us to let go of the situation instead of holding on to it. We accumulate so many little resentments and disappointments over the years that clog up our energy. Individually, they may be small, but collectively they are big. They drain us of vitality,
Let’s let go of expectation and live life joyfully and peacefully with our fellow, imperfect human beings..
Drop expectations – it leaves you space to simply enjoy each moment.
This seems to be a topic most people don’t want to think about..
I love talking about death and the afterlife. I find it the most inspiring and uplifting topic, but there are not many people who are open to discussing it. There are several reasons for this I think. One, it is confronting; until we are forced to acknowledge our own mortality, often through a serious illness, most of us try not to remember that we are going to die. Two, there are so many differing opinions as to what happens after we die, that it can be overwhelming. There are those who believe death is the end – oblivion afterwards, those who believe you sleep until the judgment day, those who believe in reincarnation…. I have spent the last 13 years reading about the afterlife, and I am sharing here what I have come to believe. Take it or leave it… but at least read this with an open mind….
I remember going to the funeral of a family friend, an older man who had died in his sleep (way to go!). It was stormy that night and I recall trying to shut images of him lying in a coffin in the cold ground from my mind. It didn’t bear thinking of. I was probably about 14 at the time.
The church I belonged to was very hazy about what happened after you died. I got the impression you “slept” until a judgment day which occurred sometime during eternity. They were very clear however about what happened after the judgment day. If you were counted worthy, you went to heaven with Jesus. If not, you went to hell with Satan and were tortured for eternity. I don’t think anyone was ever quite sure they had done enough to be worthy.
Thirteen years ago in the midst of the collapse of my life after leaving the church, I decided I wanted to “make friends” with death. I was afraid of death. Also, at that point, I was afraid of life. Making friends with death may actually have seemed the easier option to begin with. In fact it was – making friends, real friends with life took me much longer. I hadn’t really had much to do with people dying – three of my grandparents had died by the time I was in my mid-teens, but I had not been present when they died, so I was quite removed from the reality of it. I was also rather uncomfortable with sick people, but I decided to get a job in the local hospital.
I thought the job was as a Patient Care Assistant. Turned out it was as a cleaner. Now, I hate cleaning toilets – the universe has a sense of humour – and I ended up cleaning 15 toilets a day. The first day I was rostered to clean the rooms up in the Palliative Care Unit (I really didn’t want to work in there – it scared me), I walked into a room where an emaciated little man was lying on the bed presumably asleep. But his eyes were half open. I was really freaked out. I thought he had died. Then he opened his eyes fully and looked at me. I felt an enormous surge of love flow through me, and in that moment, I decided I was going to train to work as a Patient Care Assistant in Palliative Care. I did, and I loved it. It was such a privilege to share the dying journey with people and help in a little way to make them more comfortable.
Five years later, the emaciated man in the bed was my partner, and I held him as the life-force left his body. His face relaxed and all the lines of pain that scored his face dissipated as he quietly left. I couple of faltering breaths and he was gone. It was beautiful. Before we were together, the soul connection was so strong, we “felt” the connection as a tangible thing. When we were together, his illness, two ego’s, and the busyness of life tended to make the soul connection less real, but before I had even left the hospital after he died, I remember feeling it so strongly again and saying to myself “Aah he’s back”. You see, he was a gentle soul, but a sensitive man who had become hard to protect himself – they were two very different identities.
The first patient in palliative care whose body I helped a nurse to wash was an elderly gentleman I had grown fond of. He had died during the night and I was on shift the following morning. I was filled with trepidation at the thought of washing his body and preparing it for the morgue as I had never seen a dead body before, and I was worried I might faint or freak out. As I walked into his room, I had the sense of a soul liberated from a cumbersome human body that had been bedridden. It felt joyful. The body was so still – the life-force had left, and it was so apparent it was simply a vessel, a vehicle to carry life for a while, and then when the time is right, discarded. It was beautiful to respectfully wash and honour the body that had carried a precious soul on its journey through life.
For thirteen years now, I have read copiously and widely on the many ideas about what happens after we die. I have read accounts of people who had near death experiences, or out of body death experiences, I have read the Tibetan book of Living and Dying, books by mediums who can communicate with the dead, psychiatrists who practice past life regressions and hypnosis to access the super conscious mind, I have read what Yogananda has to say on the subject, and various other enlightened people. I have read the Bible.
I have come to the following conclusion. I will not know for sure what is true about the afterlife until I die myself, and therefore the most sensible thing to do is to choose a belief that uplifts, comforts and inspires me and takes away any fear of death. Which is what I have done. Having said that, I want to say I haven”t just blindly grabbed a belief and decided that will do. I like science, and I like experience. Some of the most compelling stories of the afterlife for me were from those who were trained in the medical sciences, and who came to their own beliefs about the afterlife reluctantly initially because it went against everything they had been trained to believe. Dr Eban Alexander, Dr Brian Weiss and Michael Newton PhD are among these. I will list their books among others, at the end of the blog. Although many of the accounts given by people who had near death experiences are remarkably similar, they are also individual – just like life – we experience life and death uniquely while sharing common events.
From all my reading and research, and my own experience of my partner communicating with me after he died, I have developed some very strong beliefs that seem to me to be perfectly feasible. These beliefs allow me to face my own imminent death with complete peace – even, to be truthful, a sense of joy at returning home. I have owned a copy of Michael Newtons book Destiny of Souls for about 8 years, and it resonates so deeply with me, it seems as though my soul lights up and says Yes!!, that’s home, let’s go!!. I have found the pull so strong that I have to ration reading the book.
All my beliefs are based on the assumption of our Creator being unconditional love. If you believe that, and logically follow that thought through… you cannot believe in everlasting hell. An unconditionally loving God and hell are not compatible. Unless of course you choose to believe in a Creator that is only unconditionally loving to a few who live how He(She), wants them to… which still means conditions to the love, so it isn’t unconditional.
This is only a portion of what I believe, I could probably write a book on it, but hopefully you can get a sense of it. I have held most of what I read against what Yogananda has written about the afterlife in his books to see if it holds up. Yogananda was an enlightened being with a lot of spiritual credibility, so therefore is a good yardstick. We should all learn to trust our intuition about what we read…. we have the ability to know truth from nonsense, so if it resonates and feels right, take it on board. If it doesn’t let it go. Know also that the truth you know today, may not be your truth tomorrow as you learn and go deeper into connecting with your spirit.
A note: I had heard of reincarnation – in jokes, but the first book I read on the subject, I felt an immediate recognition of the truth of it. it made sense to me, and provided the only rational explanation for the apparent inequity of opportunity that had quietly bothered me for many years. I would think how unfair it was that some people had the hardest of lives and awful mind conditioning from a very young age, while others were brought up in loving, spiritually open families. It didn’t seem equal. Reincarnation provided the answer for me, and everything I have experienced since has only served to reinforce the truth of this belief. For many of us in the Western World, especially those brought up in Christian homes, it is a huge stretch to consider reincarnation as truth, even though most eastern religions regard it as established fact. There are many Christian scholars who acknowledge that references to reincarnation were taken out of the New Testament of the Bible in AD 325 by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. In 553 AD, the Second Council of Constantinople confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy. They felt it would weaken the power of the church by giving people too much time to seek salvation. There are many, many meticulous studies on reincarnation by intelligent scientific people – we aren’t talking flaky New Agers who believe in unicorns. The evidence is very compelling, but don’t believe me – look for yourself. Personally, I don’t think it is intelligent to reject or malign a belief without first looking at the information available about it. Only then are we in the position to have an informed opinion about it.
In conclusion, none of us know the full truth about death (or even life). There are some very enlightened souls who have shared what they know, and many people who through personal experience have come to some strong beliefs, who also have shared what they believe. The beautiful thing about most people who experience a Near Death Experience is that all without exception, lose their fear of death. And their attitude to life changes. We are lucky to live in a world where we have access to so much information including sacred scriptures from all around the world and accounts of people’s personal experiences.
I believe that making friends with death shows us how to live more freely. Contrary to popular belief that it is a subject that is depressing and best avoided, I believe it has taught me to embrace and love life more, because I have learned to hold life lightly and lovingly. It is very difficult to get overwhelmed by experiences in life when you know you are an eternal spirit that lives forever – perspective changes so completely, even death of the physical body is regarded lovingly.
Why suffer unnecessarily? We are all going to die, it is unavoidable. It is really quite odd when you think about it, that the one experience we are all going to go through, is the one that most people are completely devoid of knowledge about.
Some wonderful reading material if you are interested:
Have fun!! (seriously, you will enjoy reading any of these books.)
I am not very interested in cancer.
I guess you could think it is easy for me to say that when I experience very little discomfort or unwellness in my body from the cancer. Am I just fortunate, or is it because I don’t invest cancer with any great significance? I am constantly told by health professionals I come into contact with that my appearance and wellness does not match my clinical notes. Is it luck, or can my mind and spirit really affect my body so much that it can also carry the cancer lightly?
I don’t know the answer. No-one knows for sure, but I can tell you this with complete confidence – cancer is nothing to my soul/spirit/higher self except an opportunity to learn and grow. Once I was able to bring my mind into alignment with that attitude, I believe my body followed suit.
I think we approach life backwards, and make things so much harder for ourselves than they need to be. We create unnecessary suffering because we start with the physical first and often go no further. This is perfectly understandable given we live in a physical world that seems like the only reality. Mind and spirit seem like abstraction and ethereal. But because of this, we leave the real power of creation and life untouched. It is like filling a bath a thimbleful of water at a time when we have a bucket (the mind) and taps attached to the water mains (the spirit) at our disposal.
The thimble requires a lot of effort to fill the bath, but it gets there in the end after a lot of extra effort. The bucket is more effective, but when you turn the taps on and the water just flows …… that is effortless. And this I believe is what it is like when you bring your mind, body and spirit into alignment – life just flows…. effortlessly.
What’s not to love about that?
This physical world is a delight. It is a playground for children and adults alike. We forget this. We come here and inhabit a body that enables us to play. We can touch, taste, smell, hear and see the world around us. We can create things and make things. There is so much to play with, so much potential to create, so much beauty. So much joy and love just waiting to be unearthed.
We have complete freedom of choice
But when we get here, we forget what we are.
And we forget to keep playing as we physically grow.
Instead, we believe we are a body, then a mind and lastly, if we ever get that far, a spirit.
It is in the wrong order.
Can you see why this is a problem?
Because the body is of the earth. It is a physical organism that is subject to the laws of nature. It must die. It is subject to illness and pain and annihilation. It is vulnerable.
The mind is a “body” on the mental plane of existence that is attached to the physical body. The physical body is its home. Without the physical body, the mind dies also, therefore it is very attached to the physical body remaining alive. This also makes it vulnerable…. and afraid. For itself and the body.
So here we have two aspects of our-self that are vulnerable, and one of them is also afraid. And because the mind is attached to the body, we feel the fear in the body as physical sensations, and that makes the fear seem real. Because of its deep existential fears, the mind is very alert to anything that threatens both its’ and the body’s survival. The un-managed mind is based in fear at a very deep level and is constantly on the lookout for attack..
Fear is not conducive to play.
We can look at young children who feel loved and safe in their environment before the collective human fear becomes programmed into their sub-conscious mind.
They are trusting, spontaneous, open, inquisitive, creative and exploring.
Most of us lose these attributes as we grow from young children into adults. Or at least they become much more subdued and subterranean. We absorb the collective human fear of not being enough, of being unworthy, unloveable and vulnerable, and quickly learn to shut our natural openness down in an attempt to keep ourselves safe.
We learn to play it safe.
We loose our sense of awe and wonder trying to be cool and sophisticated and create a persona (a mask) we present to the world in an attempt to appear strong. We forget that the physical world is a playground (sometimes we are even taught it is a battleground), because we are only operating on the level of body and mind, and from those levels, the world and our physical life look like something to be taken very seriously indeed. Particularly if you believe you are your mind and body and that these are finite and the only ones you get. To add insult to injury, most of us live in a culture where the physical rewards of life are much more highly regarded than the mental or spiritual. This is very obviously the case, when we see the majority of the population are willing to endure physical and mental discomfort and even suffering in the pursuit of material gain. Often thinking they have no choice.
There is the other aspect of our-self that is often overlooked.
Our spirit /soul/ higher self.
This aspect, if acknowledged at all, has often been subverted (its power and authority undermined) by religious dogma within the very institutions intended to support it. Religion has managed to give Spirit a bad name by attaching a multitude of rules and conditions to God’s love. In my experience all this does is limit the individuals capacity to fully live and therefore grow. Spirit is not separate from life. Spirit is life.
David Tacey in his book “The Spirituality Revolution” says “I appear to some people to be optimistic, given my conviction that we exist in a living connection with a spiritual reality, whether or not we notice it”. This is my conviction also. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and as such, are always in a living connection with a spiritual reality. Whether we notice it or not is another matter.
Real power lies in noticing it.
Our spirit is fearless and free. It knows it is unconditionally loved and is always safe. It has no fear of annihilation because it is eternal.
I know myself now as eternal spirit, having a mind and body for the purpose of living life on earth. This means that the order of importance for me is now reversed. Matters of spirit are most important, mind second, body last. This is not to say that I don’t look after my body – I do, because I value its worth as a vehicle for experiencing life on earth, but because I don’t identify with it as “me”, the fear around its survival has gone. I love life, I enjoy life, but I see this physical life as a tiny dot in forever. I have consciously chosen to bring my mind into alignment with my spirit by choosing beliefs that inspire and uplift me. Beliefs that enable the “fruits of the spirit” mentioned in the Christian Bible “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” to arise more and more. The only thing preventing us living out “the fruits of the Spirit” all of the time is our fear, and our focus on our physical reality.
Our spirit is always connected to Spirit/God Creator/Life, whatever your preferred name. Engaging with our spirit is embarking on a path that takes us out of fear and into love, because Spirit is love. It takes us from closed, fearful, anxious and stressed, back into trusting, open, spontaneous, creative, inquisitive and exploring. Life becomes happy and fun. We are no longer concerned by problems which are only temporary, but which when we are operating only out of mind and body, seem so all-consuming and important. We begin to conceive a bigger picture that is not primarily physically based, but spiritually based and impervious to time and destruction. We feel safe. And life begins to seem effortless. Everything seems to be working to benefit us because that is what we believe and that becomes our reality.
I didn’t consciously choose cancer. It appeared to choose me. I don’t believe in random meaningless events, so I believe cancer was always going to be a part of my life. What was my choice however, was how I was going to experience it.
Resist it or embrace it. Fear it or love it.
It was my choice.
I chose to embrace it and learn to love it. I do not regret this, it has been one of my greatest teachers. As my daughter-in-law said to me recently – cancer changed my life for the better. It was my impetus to push through fear and seek peace and joy.
Real, lasting peace and joy.
And the story hasn’t ended yet.
It is all about perspective.
If I prepared a questionnaire, and then asked everyone I met if they would like to be able to face every experience life brought to them with calmness, peace and without their happiness being disturbed, I think the majority of people would say “yes please”. Especially at the moment.
Fear and anxiety is a world pandemic which is causing more suffering than COVID-19. The virus has just heightened it.
It is affecting many more people than just those who contract the virus.
The media is making sure of it. Reporting accidents and disasters with great relish from all around the globe. Diligently feeding us every negative economic and social event or prediction they hear of.
Feeding the fear.
The current state of the world has not been caused by COVID-19. The virus just lifted the lid on what was already there. The current state of the world is the result of the collective minds of humanity. We are reaping the results of a narrow focus of thought that has dominated and directed the thinking of humanity for a very long time. The advent of the industrial age and subsequent technology has allowed this thinking to increase exponentially and our potential for destruction just got greater and greater – very quickly, on a much bigger scale than ever before.
And here we are.
I call it the “Me and Mine” thinking.
The “Me and Mine” thinking sees itself as separate. There is little sense of the inter-connectedness of all things on this planet. This is the thinking that says I will look after Me, and Mine, and to hell with the rest. As long as I am comfortable. As long as I have enough. The problem is though, that this thinking never has enough. Not content with shelter, I need bigger shelter, and more stuff to fill it with. I need more money, because I need more stuff. I need more money because I am fearful, the future is uncertain, and I think money is going to make it more certain. If I am fortunate, or work hard enough, I manage to accumulate more money than I can spend on myself and mine (my family), so then I invest it so I can make more money on it. And I fear all the time that I might lose it. In the meantime, children are dying because of no food. But that doesn’t matter, because I am separate, and I only look after me and mine. Anything that doesn’t directly impact on Me and Mine, can easily be dismissed. Because I am separate, right?
This Me and Mine thinking destroys living forests that help humanity to breathe, and replaces them with dead brick or timber shelters that suck energy, and suppress the creative energy of the earth. (If that brick house wasn’t squatting on that piece of earth and stopping sunlight getting through, that same area if left alone, would produce life in the form of plants, which would support bird and animal life. I know its a bit radical, but I’m just saying…. Look how far away from living in harmony with nature we have come).
The Me and Mine thinking has created chemicals which temporarily fix a problem, make money, and cause long term negative consequences. But that is Ok because it is making Me and Mine more comfortable right now. Even if it is destroying the soil which we rely on for real food. Even if it is slowly poisoning the eco-system and humanity. (we can turn a blind eye to slow destruction or death, it is the potentially quick ones we have a problem with – like COVID-19 – then we panic).
The Me and Mine thinking allows individuals and corporations, especially corporations, to make decisions that are not for the good of the planet, humanity, cultures, and nature, but good for financial profits. Short term gain causing long term pain. But that is Ok, because we all know life is about making money and having more, and it isn’t impacting negatively on me and mine right now.
This “Me and Mine” thinking inspires selfishness, intolerance, power, greed, indifference, destruction of eco-systems, and collapse of communities. The Me and Mine” thinking is actually based in fear. It is driven by fear, and everything it creates is subject to fear. This thinking refuses to see the bigger picture, because “I am separate, and what I do doesn’t really impact on everything or everyone else”.
Well yes it does actually. And we have billions of people on the earth with the same thought system. Collectively, it impacts on everything and everyone.
And here we are.
The year 2020.
The thinking and creating of human minds has brought us here. We have all contributed.
Albert Einstein said
“The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”
We need to change our thinking. Collectively, but it starts with the individual. It starts with you and me.
We must STOP and contemplate the kind of world we want to live in, and then act as though we already live in it. I want to live in a kinder, more supportive community – then I must live NOW as a member of a kinder, more supportive community would live. As another great man said
“Be the change you want to see in the world”
If I want to live in a kinder, more supportive community, then I must be kinder and more supportive – and not just to “mine”. The beauty of this is, that I then begin to attract people with the same “vibration” as me. I attract kinder, more supportive people, and it grows exponentially. You want to live in a more positive world? Then be more positive. Refuse to buy into anything that is contrary to what you desire. We are all enabling and perpetuating the negativity and fear and anxiety by not consciously choosing something different.
We all have a choice.
If you don’t like the status quo, if you don’t like feeling anxious and fearful, then CHANGE IT. Stop accepting this thinking as “the way it is”. Thirteen years ago I decided I’d had enough of fear and anxiety, and I changed my thinking. I have become freer and freer, and my mind is now naturally peaceful and calm 99% of the time. Everyone can achieve that state.
Stop waiting for the Government to legislate happiness, peace and selflessness, or that organisation to do it, or the schools to teach it, or the neighbours to be nicer before you smile at them and are kind. Start with your neighbour… do you even know them? Each of us must start now. Asking ourselves what sort of world we want to live in, and then consciously living it out. The world we live in now is the result of the majority of humanity unconsciously following instead of consciously thinking and consciously choosing.
I spent many years feeling there was nothing I could do, I was just one person, and not a rich one at that. But there are things we can do that have power. We can make conscious decisions that are for the good of the planet as well as ourselves. Buy organic and spray free food as much as possible. Grow our own, even just our salad greens. Support local growers. Start a group on facebook to exchange or give away homegrown fruit and vege. I see lemons falling off trees. Stop wasting and throwing out food. Source ethically produced clothes and other products. Stop using sprays. Lobby the local shires or councils to plant fruit trees in public places. Plant trees. Plant native plants in your garden for the birds and bees. We can encourage and inspire other people to do likewise. Support one child who is hungry. Support a struggling family in your neighbourhood. Say something positive to the checkout operator. Smile at people. Say hello to strangers.
But the greatest change that we can make for the good of humanity and the planet, is to change our mindset. DROP THE FEAR. Fear (and that includes anxiety) closes us down. Choose love instead. Love opens us up. In every instance, choose love. It is a win/win situation. Not only do we feel good, but so does everyone else we interact with. It is the ripple effect. It goes on, and on, and on.
Be an inspiration.
Stop choosing financial gain over humanity.
I am going to end with another quote from Albert Einstein.
“A human Being is a part of the whole called by us – the universe. A part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it’s beauty”