There is a saying that ‘Change is the only constant’. Yet most of us have great difficulty with change. It requires us to step outside our comfort zone causing feelings of insecurity, fear and uncertainty to arise.
A cancer diagnosis can invoke all of the above feelings and require change in order to heal. This is a challenging and difficult time for many. There are several levels of change that may be required.
Cancer is basically a lifestyle illness that happens when something in our life or environment causes our immune system to shut down. With a compromised immune system, our body allows cancer cells to grow. In a normal healthy body, these cells don’t stand a chance.
With that thought in mind, digging into your current situation requires some honest soul-searching. What could be contributing to the growth of cancer? Be clear – this is NOT A BLAME GAME. This is about figuring out what may have contributed to your immune system being weakened or shut down.
This is why change is required. The digging will unearth areas of your life that may require change. For some, small tweaks will do the job. For others, major adjustments may be required. But usually, some level of change is required in order to rejuvenate the immune system and get it up to full capacity.
What Are Some Of The Changes?
Cancer is complex. There are no set answers and no quick fixes. This is due to the fact that we are all unique, with unique body chemistry, and unique lifestyles. To apply a one-for-all solution would simply not be realistic.
The answer lies in following our individual and unique clues to what may be out of line and causing this dis-ease in our body. Here are some suggestions to start the process.
a. How much and how intense do you exercise? b. Do you bring your A game to your sport or is exercise a form of relaxation and rejuvenation? One causes stress; the other reduces stress and adds the fun factor. c. Is your sport or fitness activity easy on your body or does it add strain? d. Are you getting all three components of fitness in your workout – strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity? All three are important. This may require a variety of fitness activities.2. Diet
a. What do you eat on a daily basis? Keeping a food journal flushes out hidden or unaware foods that may have crept into your routine. b. Do you eat meat and how often? Do you eat fish? c. Are you vegetarian or vegan? d. How much sugar do you consume in a day/week/month? There is lots of hidden sugar in foods we buy in packages and in restaurant food. e. Do you eat out often and are the restaurants of choice in the ‘fast food’ category? f. How often do you cook meals at home from scratch with fresh ingredients? g. Do you eat organic? Or mostly organic? Or no organic?3. Stress Reduction
a. Do you incorporate ‘quiet time’ in your day? This can be a few minutes by yourself in a quiet place, meditation, a walk – any time that you spend by yourself when you can actually hear quiet. b. Do you practice any stress reduction methods? Meditation, yoga, tai chi, journaling, reading, listening to music – just a few to start you thinking.4. Home/Work/Friend Relationships
a. How healthy are your relationships? Do they bring you joy and companionship? Do they create stress and unleash toxic energy? b. Do you enjoy your work? Would there be something else you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to try? Is fear or other restraints holding you back from the life you really want to live? c. Are you happy? By happy, I don’t mean all the time. That would be unrealistic. Are you happy most of the time with your life and how you live it. d. Are you living to your beliefs and values – or someone else’s?5. Spirituality
a. Do you have a faith? Do you attend a church? Are you spiritual versus religious? b. What do you truly and personally believe about life after death? c. Are you afraid of death? d. Have you explored other beliefs around spirituality?
At time of writing this article, the New Year 2015 is a couple of days away. Not being a believer in making resolutions that ultimately will fall by the wayside, I like to take stock of the year past and determine if I am still on my healing path. It doesn’t take long to get drawn offside from this path and it can often creep up silently, a small break in pattern one at a time until the whole pattern is shaken.
I have asked myself the above questions as well. In doing so, there are areas of my life which need readjustment to get back to my healing path. We are all human and it is human to fall ‘off the wagon’ as it were from time to time. However, adjustments do need to be made at some point in time to stay healthy and keep our immune system in top functioning order.
Hence that word CHANGE again. It’s always there. Change takes commitment, moving through fear, and sometimes courage to make the changes that are the most difficult. It takes being honest with ourselves to know what needs to change externally versus what needs to change internally. It is not possible to change someone else. It is only possible to change ourselves and/or our attitude to someone else’s behaviour. There is the rub!
Change takes time
It is said that it takes three weeks to change a habit and only one week to break it. Change requires new habits which may be uncomfortable in the beginning. It can be difficult to stay the course until the habit is firmly established. Persistence is the key and focus on what you really want to achieve.
Change Needs Support
It’s always good to have a ‘support’ buddy. Just as it is more fun to go to the gym or a walk with a buddy, the same concept applies for other areas of your life that need change. Find a person or group that will help you move through change. They will keep you accountable which will help you stay motivated and committed to the changes you know need to make.
Another Way To Create Motivation For Change
Putting together a Vision Board (see Issue #8 “To Goal Set or Not to Goal Set – Try a Vision Board‘) creates a visual reminder of your healing path. Taking pictures from magazines, drawing them yourself, words, inspirations, photos, all create the energy and reinforcement you can post on a door, wall, or wherever you will see it on a daily basis. It is a constant reminder both to your conscious and unconscious mind of what you need in your life to stay on your healing path.
When to Start?
The beginning of the year is always a good starting point but isn’t limited to that place in time. You can start this journey at any point in your life. NOW is the best time. Find some quiet place where you can be uninterrupted and just sit. Be still. Give your inner healer time to surface and share its wisdom. This inner healer may not show up immediately just because you have called on it. It may take practice to learn to sit still and wait. Our busy lifestyles do not allow us to just sit and be quiet. Usually our minds are racing along thinking of all the items on our To Do list. With patience and love, you will get there. The feeling is profound. Once felt, you will want to go back time and again to experience the peace and knowledge that your inner healer can share.
As your NEW NORM evolves from the CHANGES you have the courage to make, life will take on a whole new perspective. You are giving your body a chance to heal itself. Yes, we use outside tools to facilitate this inner healing, but ultimately, if given a chance, our body will heal itself.
May you find your inner healer!
May you have the strength to make the changes!
May you find your new norm!