If you open your eyes when you’re face down, you see a perspective
on the world that teaches you about yourself in world.
What did you learn from your fall.?
Let me set the scene for you. The year is 2016. I’m 54 years of age. Two years earlier, my marriage of 30yrs has come to an end. I’ve now just returned from an amazing month-long trek through exotic India. I have a simple hysterectomy in April, then in may, the day after Mothers Day, I am diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Prognosis, 2 to 3 years, maybe 4 with chemo.
Do I feel blessed? Absolutely! The cancer, and my marriage breakdown, have both catapulted me towards becoming a more authentic version of myself!
An unexpected diagnosis brings home the truth that we simply can’t know what lay ahead, so why do we spend so much time focusing our attention on a future in which we have no control? I am now simply at the next phase of my life. Albeit the greatest challenge I’ve faced, cancer has created so many blessings. Although, perhaps if I didn’t already have such strong spiritual convictions, I may have missed recognising these beautiful blessed gifts.
For those of you beginning your search for spiritual meaning after a cancer diagnosis, it’s natural to start questioning everything about your life, and what lays beyond. What was the purpose of my life? Where am I going after I die? Is there a God? Why me? Feeling so healthy before being diagnosed with cancer, I’ll admit being initially stumped by the prognosis. To be honest, I was a little angry at first, and drafted a lengthy letter to God asking her to ‘please explain”. That moment of self-pity lasted all of 20 minutes, then I was back to calm resolve. Why me? Well, frankly, why not me?
It’s now one year since that prognosis, and even after 6months of chemotherapy, I still feel as physically and emotionally healthy and happy with my life as I did prior to the diagnosis. Probably better. If I could bottle the ingredient for you I would! ♥ I simply can’t feel attached to anything negative about the cancer.
When first diagnosed, many thought my positive attitude was a product of being denial. They questioned am I ‘fighting’ this? The answer… Well… no…. and yes. Let me explain it this way……. There’s a quote I love by Mother Teresa –
“I prefer to walk for peace rather than march against war.”
Can you see that both these sentiments are seeking the same result? Yet there’s a significant but subtle difference in the energy behind these two sentiments. In a nutshell, that’s how I feel about working through my cancer healing journey. To fight against my cancer simply sounds like a struggle. I’m in no doubt that it was my internal struggling during my marriage that lead to my cancer in the first place. Why would I want to struggle further? So, I’m walking peacefully and calmly towards doing what is necessary to heal, whatever that might be. So far, so good.
Healing the Past
I don’t believe it’s an accident that during the 18 months after separating from my husband, I felt driven to fully trust in a higher power. Driven to let go of the illusion of control. I’d learnt to be comfortable in a space of simply being, and learning to love myself again. With certainty, I can say this process is partly what bought me to feeling at peace with my diagnosis, and ready for the work required to move through the healing process.
With the help of my ex-husband, during chemotherapy I did a great deal of emotional healing of the past. Healing on that level was incredibly cathartic, and I’m forever grateful to him. Of course, I don’t blame him at all, but I was happy to take advantage of his guilt for my own purposes. At least for a time.
The result is, I’m no longer attached to the pain of the past, and it has bought me to this space of love and forgiveness.
An Opportunity to Be a Truer Version of Me
If anything, my death sentence highlighted how much of my life I wasted on silly insecurities. How much time I wasted not living my dreams. And not sharing my gifts with the world because I feared what I had to offer wasn’t significant. On a deeper level, I feared success – not failure! I feared the judgements of others. There’s a determination now to be everything I am meant to be. Truly everything. “No” is not an option!.
I’ve begun advertising myself for public speaking engagements. Speaking to others about self-love, fearlessness, values. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and now I have real purpose. To hell with anyone who tries to stand in my way! Hang on a minute! …… The only person ever standing in my way was ME ! Cancer has been a blessing. An awakening which has opened me up to stepping into my true self.
Funny enough I thought many friends would ‘drop off’ once I had cancer. Yet I have found that I have been the one who is more selective about who I surround myself with. I have willingly and lovingly let go of friendships which emulated the co-dependence of my marriage. Sometimes, I simply let go of these friends because they are not resonating with me on a soul level. At the same time, I’m more respectful and non-judgemental towards others. I’m honoring their journey as much as I’m honoring my own. We all have a story to tell.
Actually, while I was close to my family before, I’ve now formed more meaningful relationships with them. How joyously rewarding that my heart opened even further! It saddens me to see how many families continue to be estranged after cancer, or tragedy of any kind, enters the equation. Surely that’s a time to mend the past. Especially for those who will be left. Quite honestly, during my counselling days I was witness to the pain of unfinished business. Honestly, I can tell you that unless you have very strong beliefs in the afterlife, it’s much harder to heal emotional wounds after a soul has passed.
Most assuredly, my peaceful approach to life and death now is a product of the spiritual work I have already done around death and dying. First through my Buddhist beliefs. Second through the workshops I facilitated on Coming to Terms With Death & Dying (and practicing what I teach in those workshops). And third, my spiritual beliefs about life after death, and the love that I know is waiting for me there on the other side. On some deeper level the soul yearns to return home to the source.
In relation to my Death & Dying workshops, I often wondered if I would truly feel at peace when my time came. Afterall, it’s easy to preach something when you have no real experience with it. Well, I can safely run my courses now knowing that I have credibility! Blessings abound!
My Buddhist Perspective
Buddhists believe that its important for us to be at peace emotionally, spiritually, and physically, at the point of death. On that basis, my Death & Dying workshops have centered around the practice of love, forgiveness, and gratitude as a preparation for the inevitability of our demise! Thus, I attempt to live a life centered around love and forgiveness.
On a daily basis I’m filled with a sense of gratitude! Mind you, I’m human, so I err sometimes, and it can get ugly. For now at least, I feel that when my come comes, well, I’m ready. I feel at peace in my heart, and grateful for all that life has sent my way.
Buddhists also say that we spend so much time trying to fight off death that we actually miss living in the present. The fact is, death is a part of life. It’s inevitable. When you fully acknowledge and accept the fact that death is a part of life, its amazing how completely content you feel. It becomes easier to move into a state of presence.
(If you’re hungry for a deeply powerful Buddhist perspective on dying and death, I highly recommend The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche. )
My Spiritual Perspective
I remember the movie Angels staring Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage. Meg, a surgeon, commented “You know, we fight to save lives, but sometimes I wonder who we’re fighting with“. Bingo. Spiritually speaking, I believe our time of death is predetermined before birth. No matter what you do, when its your time – it’s your time. That doesn’t mean you should be reckless with your life. While you might not have control over when you’re going to die, you do have control over the quality of life you experience while you’re here. Don’t waste it. Continue to eat healthy food, exercise, and live with love, gratitude and forgiveness. Every day.
No matter what your spiritual belief, it’s important to believe in it fully. Truly fully. There’s a great deal of peace and comfort that comes at the end of life if you firmly believe that your “God” is waiting for you. Working as psychic and medium, I fully believe in the afterlife. I believe that I’ll be watching over my loved ones from the other side. In fact, I’ll likely have more to do with them!
Asking The Big Question… Why Am I Here Anyway?
The goal in all our lives is to be happy. To be our most authentic self. Learning to Love. Practicing forgiveness, saying sorry. Daily Gratitude. Serving humanity and the planet with the most genuine of intentions. That might seem like a big task. It actually starts with learning to love yourself and learning to experience joy, by doing what makes you happy. Doing that from a space of true loving intention, by default you naturally begin to radiate that love outwards to all those that cross your path. You quite naturally have a drive to serve humanity. It’s really not that complicated. However, it is by no means an easy task!
You can rest assured that no matter what the future holds, I’m moving forward. Always forward. Between you and me, I’m not planning on saying my goodbyes just yet!
I now feel as though my future of inspiring and assisting women on a deeper level is about to take shape and I’m finally on the way to fulfilling my souls purpose. What a wonderfully loving and empowering journey this is!
A Final Word on Support Networks During Cancer and Chemotherapy
An important factor in the journey through cancer and chemo is your support network. In fact, this is applicable in any situation. The most amazing support group made up of family, friends, neighbours, and community surrounds me always. To be honest, being a fairly solitary and private person, I was at times overwhelmed by all the attention being focused on me. Having always been so self-sufficient, it’s been an interesting exercise in surrendering control and allowing others to care for me. It’s humbling let me tell you! Another blessing….
People from all manner of spiritual/religious faiths send me love, healing, and daily prayers. The intention behind all of it is LOVE. A most powerful healing energy if ever there was one.
Sadly, not everyone has a support team around them. If that’s you, I would suggest you avail yourself of local cancer networks, or start a group of your own in your local area. There’s no reason to take this journey on your own. Reach out. In fact, you can reach out to me. I’m here for you.
Why not check out some of my Articles. I’d love to hear your story as well so leave a comment.
7 Steps to Dealing With Hidden Anger
Are You In Love With The Wrong Person?
Do You Have a Cancer Personality?
Chemotherapy Diet – Managing Side Effects
Stage 4 Bowel Cancer – Diagnosis and Treatment
Indian Ayurveda Detox Following Chemotherapy
Finding Life Purpose After Cancer Diagnosis