“Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.”
Michael J Fox, Author
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future.
When faced with challenges of illnesses, loss, grief and trauma, we often grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually – and sometimes, we even heal physically! All of us are born as wise beings who forget our wisdom during the journey of life so that we learn lessons needed to rediscover who we are; that is, that we are loving, wise beings and that we are here for Love – Unconditional Love of Self and Unconditional Love of others.
Looking for our life’s purpose is rather interesting. Have you noticed that you can be feeling peaceful and fine and the moment you focus on your thought that you have not found or are seeking your life’s purpose, you begin to feel a sense of being out of balance, as though you are missing something? But, you were feeling whole and balanced until your mind had you paying attention to the thought that something was missing! Dying or grieving and dealing with an illness like cancer forces you to recognize what truly makes you happy – and balanced – as well as what your life purpose may be.
Being at peace comes with you becoming aware of the need to accept and unconditionally love whatever the situation, moment or circumstances may be. When my patients begin to be conscious of what they are holding onto (often something from the past) which causes them pain, suffering and discomfort, they know they have a choice and that whatever they choose to focus their energy on will determine, for them, whether they get to feel good or not good – which leads to their possibly restoring balance and well-being to their lives.
In the May issue of Reader’s Digest, Michael J. Fox, during an interview, shares lessons learned from his illness, Parkinson’s Disease. His words reinforce the power of your choice: “When things do go bad, don’t run, don’t hide. It will take time, but you’ll find that even the gravest problems are finite, and your choices are infinite.”
In the same article, Michael J. Fox provides the following excerpt from his new book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, which validates how crucial it is to accept whatever the loss is. He states: “I was really trying to hide from myself. But with no escape from the disease, its symptoms, and its challenges, I was forced, after exercising in vain all other options, to resort to acceptance, which simply means acknowledging the reality of a situation. As my acceptance grew, I came to understand that loss is not a vacuum. If I didn’t impulsively try to fill the space it creates, it gradually began to fill itself, or at least present choices.”
Healing, then, often does not begin until you face the threat of significant loss or illness. Why is it that we do not stop ourselves in our tracks when we are out of balance until we come face to face with something that feels catastrophic? Again, the wisdom of the Buddhists needs to be considered: Live your life as though you were dying. When you remember this advice, you live very differently, very intentionally and very meaningfully – and you choose wisely.
For example, when the doctor tells you that you may be dealing with an illness such as cancer, you may find yourself experiencing either fear of the unknown – including thoughts of possibly dying – or you find yourself suddenly reflecting on all the desires , hopes and dreams you have been planning for – and wishing you had done something more about them. No two people respond in the exact same way. Some may wish to get right down to the business of receiving treatment. Others choose to quickly assess what they have or have not accomplished regarding their lifetime goals. Others quickly and insightfully recognize that the issues to which they were attached, dealing with anger and resentments, need to be immediately released – if there is to be peace of mind, body and spirit. To live like you are dying, choose what feels right at the level of your heart, but, if possible, choose what fills you with joy, passion, enthusiasm, and, of course, Love.
What I know for sure is that when you recognize that you are an energetic being and you choose to focus on anything that represents loving energy, especially Love of yourself, as well as Love of others, you experience inner peace and contentment- even during the most challenging of times. The reason for this is that Love is the highest of energies and has the capacity to enhance your physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual states. Therefore, when you need to confront fearful thoughts related to the possible loss of someone or something, choose to fill with thoughts of Love. In the words of a renowned physician and author, Jerald Jampolsky, “Love is letting go of fear.”
Susan Barbara Apollon
©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon