Time to Plant New Seeds
Changing one's life is no small undertaking. For most of us, there is usually a motivating factor; some event or loss occurs in our life that suddenly and quite permanently shifts our perspective forever. This can be a wake up call though we choose what we do with it; continue on with business as usual (i.e. numb out or ignore it) or we can stop the games and take a long, hard honest look at ourselves and our lives and decide we are willing to change. We are willing to step out of our safe, predictable box.
I knew early on in this journey that my life was calling for exactly this; a bellowing wake up call came knocking at my door and I am still living in to this knowing every day.
More and more research has been done on the effects of stress and suppressed emotions on the immune system. Stress weakens the immune system which plays a key role in removing cancer cells from the body. Suppressed emotions-- any emotion we hold on to from the past, conscious or unconscious-- can, over time lead to unhealthy blockages in the system and eventually manifest physically in the body.
"Resentment is anger that is stuffed down. The main problem with resentment is that it lodges in the body, usually in the same place and in time, it seethes and eats away at the body and often turns into tumors and cancers. Since resentment is buried deeply inside us, we may have to do a lot of work to dissolve it" (Louise Hay)
Everyone who has healed their cancer naturally has had to take a deep breath, roll up their sleeves, grab a big-ass flashlight and shine some serious wattage on the juicy inner world of emotions; facing our unloved selves, unmet needs, unrealized dreams, stuffed down anger and festering resentments. Once I made the decision to get at the root issues of my breast cancer, I knew it was time to face my shit. "Girl, you have got to clean house!"
In many ways I feel like I'm still wearing training wheels on this new adventure. Once I made the decision to heal naturally I knew for me, there were definitely repressed emotions that I had to reckon with. Where the heck to begin? To gain some insight, I started reading back through some of my old journals from the past couple years. For the majority of those who develop cancer, there is usually a significant life event or major stressor that occurred within a year or two prior to diagnosis.
I took a heavy sigh-- the past decade (at least) has been one large stressor! But as I skimmed through the pages over the last several years I noticed a theme in all the entries. There was a palpable tone of discontent; feeling limited by circumstances as a single mom, feeling lost in my life path, deeply hungry for inspiration and direction in my life, feeling 'there is more for me in this life, I just don't know how to tap in to it.' I kept feeling there had to be more than just the constant struggle of survival mode. Behind all that melancholic discontent was something even more subtle that prior to this time,I had never really paid attention to: my internal dialogue; my thoughts.
This dialogue, this inner story is a collection of thoughts and belief patterns that I unconsciously created and reinforced over the span of my life. We all do it, but each of our inner dialogues are different. Before I could begin to heal my emotions, the key would be identifying what fuels them and that cycle begins with thoughts.
I had been cruising along believing every thought that went in to my mind without stopping to reflect on where it came from; now I realize that many of these thoughts or beliefs stem from a wounded self and while we often allow our thoughts to drive the bus and we reside as passengers, healing begins when we take the wheel and start driving the bus. This does not happen over night. This is a practice. So, its time to take the wheel.
I began to identify the 'key players' in my own internal dialogue. In order to stop a pattern we must first identify it. Fear. Resentment. Self-Doubt. Insecurity.
For years my dialogue has gone something like this " I am so tired of struggling. I know there is more for me, this can't be IT….. How am I ever going to ______ (fill in the blank-- travel, find a life partner, buy land, etc…) when I am constantly stuck in this place? I am alone and always seem to be messing things up. I wish my daughter was happier. If I could make more money and provide a better home, she would have more opportunity and be happier. I'm 40! Too old to meet my life partner. I wish I were beautiful like _____(fill in the blank)." The list goes on. I entertained any number of these thoughts, many of them unconsciously and round and round they went.
These thoughts create emotional reactions in my mind and body. How could they not? Imagine if your close friend walked up to you and said "Why are you constantly messing up? How are you ever going to find your life partner when you stay stuck in this place?" You would likely feel pretty bad. This is the same effect we have when we tell ourselves these things.
I recognized all of it as fear.
"Because fear is such a dominant emotion for most cancer patients, many alternative healers recognize it as the first thing that needs to be addressed. Releasing fear and sinking into that inherently available "resource" of internal peace can help bring the body back in to balance whereas holding on to fear can cause the body's systems to shut down there by creating an energetic blockage that can eventually lead to physical disease." (Kelly Turner)
When we think and feel the same things over and over it literally creates neural network pathways in our brain and the more we repeat the thoughts and emotions the stronger these pathways become and in time its our habitual way of approaching life. Our cells are always communicating with each other and they literally live everywhere in our body. In addition these patterns shape the very choices we make in life--who we date, who we hang out with, what job we take, etc…
I recognized these patterns in myself. So, I can choose….its always a choice. Continue to entertain those negative, unruly thoughts that are not a true reflection of me but just echoes from a wounded aspect of self--or change my thoughts. Invite new thoughts, like new friends in to the garden of my mind.
Thankfully, there is another aspect of my being that I recognize lately; a tiny spark of shimmery goodness that I have always felt in the background, peacefully sitting by while all the drama of life unfolded. This facet of me I can only describe as an inner strength, an inner spark or light that when inspired and connected will come out and shine. Whenever I step out of my comfort zone in the name of supporting my true growth, this sweet self shines brightly. Because I am in alignment and connected and it is from this place that true healing can take root.
The moment I decided that I would follow a natural healing protocol, this part of my inner self dialed up the shimmer to full blast and I knew--I felt-- in my heart I was on the right path; I followed my intuition. I was connecting to the deeper, inherent wisdom of this loving Self that I had held in the back ground for far too long; not always on purpose, but because the noise of negativity and life drama blocked my ability to listen to her. But now, It's time to give her a voice and love the heck out of her.
Since that moment I knew I would need to work on releasing suppressed emotions and replace them with new thoughts, new belief patterns. This can't just happen mechanically though, I knew the thoughts needed to repeat until I feel the truth behind them.
Once I opened to this idea opportunities began to cross my path. People have shown up and generously offered to assist through Reiki, a healing ceremony through the church (this was a very powerful experience for me), life coaching, etc.. In many ways my perspective has shifted on its own, as a result of my diagnosis. One of the most powerful experiences for me so far, has been around surrender and prayer. In particular when I am feeling disconnected and lost in the noise of life and emotion, I talk to spirit, God, Universe, Buddha--whatever you want to call it. I find no language or name is needed, its a dialogue that occurs beyond language; when I am in nature I sometimes feel an overwhelming, indescribable love and warmth that seems to melt away all fear and doubt. In that moment I am inspired, thankful and safe.
I have begun to realize that its up to me to create the time and space for this kind of connection; it fosters a deep relationship with life that I feel is one of the blessings of being on this earth.
A vital component to this inner work is a daily practice of working with my thoughts; my inner dialogue which includes releasing the negative ones while learning to cultivate an inner silence as well. Our society does not make this readily available and I recognize this work is not about convenience. Healing is not meant to be convenient, but it also doesn't have to be a serious, grueling endeavor. I still have my training wheels but I'm ok with that; each day I have a choice as I get stronger in my practice; It's akin to growing a garden. We plant the seeds. But we don't go digging around in the dirt the next day saying "Are they growing yet? I don't see anything, its not working!" We plant the seeds and water them, give them sunlight and trust that in time they will sprout and grow. And so it is.