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Monday, July 30, 2012

Memory Issues

A normal Neuron "working" in the brain-not sure I have ANY of these...

Masculine version of me at my old job
Between my extreme estrogen-deficiency and gallons of chemo pumped through my body over the years, not to mention 2 "radio-surgeries" on my brain, my memory just isn't what it used to be.  Since I once earned my living as a project manager, my memory was my most valuable tool for my work.  So, after my first go-round with chemo in 1997, I realized that that job was no longer right for me.  This really was a good thing because that job had been a source of a whole LOT of stress for many years.  Over time, I have learned to accept my slightly-faulty memory. I have become accustomed to things like:
  • Walking into a room and not remembering why
  • Not being able to find things that I was SURE I would remember when I put them in their place
  • Not remembering phone numbers - my phones do that for me now
  • Forgetting what show is on TV during a commercial
  • Occasionally wondering where I'm going when driving
  • Not remembering conversations
  • Not remembering where my calendar and my to-do list are
  • Finding the to-do list and not remembering what I was going to write on it
  • Not being able to find a simple word (searching, searching, not finding) and allowing others to help me finish sentences.  One of my yoga students is especially good at that, which often comes in handy during class.  I often find myself saying, while pointing, "that thing". 
  • Retrieving the wrong words - like saying soccer when I meant to say scrabble.  That substitution made sense to me because they both have the letters S and C and both are games, so they must be stored near one another in my brain (?)
  • Not remembering how a movie ends - that way, I can watch it multiple times and enjoy it every time.  The same is true for jokes - I can enjoy them again and again (if someone else tells them).
I have found a solution to the first item listed above.  I make up a song and sing it out loud, for example, "going to get the toilet paper, toilet paper, toilet paper, going to get the toilet paper and put it where it goes."   I keep singing the song until I've accomplished my mission.  It works well for me, when I can remember to make up a song.  I told my 86-year-old mom about this and she says it works well for her, too.

I have a humorous example of a conversation I totally forgot.  Here is a photo from inside of our gazebo - with Lake Huron in the background.  My husband and I were celebrating our gazebo's grand opening in May.  A friend noticed that there's a tiny hole in his sock - and, my socks don't match - oh no!

We had visitors last month - sister, brother & sister-in-law - so, we spent some quality time together in the gazebo.  A bald eagle flew directly over our heads while we were all watching it, which was TOTALLY COOL.  Anyway, I was talking about how I had been shortening the name of our gazebo to things like "gizbo" or "G-bo" when somebody said, "How about G-spot?" and we all laughed heartily.  A week or so later, my brother called me and started the conversation with, "So, how are things in your G-spot?" Having totally forgotten the earlier conversation, I sat in stunned silence, wondering why my brother would say such a thing to me. Then, he reminded me about the earlier conversation, and we laughed. I think we were both blushing. Now, I always call it the g-spot.  Going out there in a few minutes to meditate.  It's a beautiful day here in MI.

Anyone else have memory issues and/or solutions?  Or, an amusing story about memory-malfunctions?

Joy and peace to you,
Maggie McDee


This is part 5 of a series of posts on Beliefs.  It would be helpful to read the first 4 before reading this one.  You can click on the links here...

Beliefs-1           Beliefs-2            Beliefs-3          Beliefs-4

This morning, I was talking with a dear friend and she said that reading my Beliefs posts was making her feel sad. She didn't see the joy in my posts that she often sees in me now.  Remembering the unhealthy beliefs that negatively influenced my thinking, feeling and actions made me feel a bit sad, too.  It almost looks as if my life was totally without joy when I know I had experienced great amounts of joy with my daughter, husband, siblings and close friends in the years before my first cancer diagnosis.  I only just started to look deeply inside during that time of my life.  

I could see that I had some serious healing to do and as I had learned from books and participation in various energy healing classes, I came to believe that JOY is ESSENTIAL to HEALING.  Joy is the energy that powers the immune system and the immune system is the best cancer eradicator there is.  Energetically, both the breast and the immune system are linked to the Heart Center (chakra).  

While reading Lawrence LeShan's book CANCER AS A TURNING POINT, I tried to make a list of all the things that brought me joy and it seemed to be a relatively short list.  It included things like being in nature, and spending time with my husband, daughter and other loved ones.  I wanted some items that were just me, by myself, where the joy came from within - like, what made me feel passionate and excited? What made me want to jump out of bed in the morning to quickly begin the day?  What inspired me to be creative?  What could I do that felt creative?  WHY DID I WANT TO LIVE?  It was disturbing to me that I could not readily answer these questions.  That WAS sad.  I asked myself, "How can I expect to HEAL if I can't muster up some joy and LOTS OF IT?" 

Anita Moorjani wrote on Facebook "Make your life choices out of joy and passion, rather than out of a fear of the consequences! We knew how to live in pure joy when we were born but we spend our lives forgetting. ...There are an alarming number of people living in fear [instead of living in joy]... Learn to get in touch with your heart and do what brings you joy ... and encourage everyone you love to do the same!"  

I totally agree with that.  The same is true about making decisions.  If I make a decision out of fear, chances are pretty good that it will NOT bring me joy, whereas decisions made out of love have great potential to reap joy - and peace of mind. 

So, in addition to working to replace negative beliefs with positive ones (started with first diagnosis in '97), I was on a mission to experience JOY (started with first Stage IV diagnosis in 2001) every day.  I like to have a MISSION, a sense of purpose, a goal to focus on.  It was time to start applying what I'd been learning in classes about energetic healing.  I believe that my dis-ease began in my energy field (mental, emotional and spiritual parts of me) and that my physical body is merely the outward manifestation of what is going on in the other bodies - like a barometer.  And, my body was speaking very loudly to me.  In DYING TO BE ME, Anita Moorjani states, "all disease first begins in the energy field, and then manifests in the body."  I know that this has been true for me.

What I already wrote about my beliefs reflects where I was 15 YEARS AGO.  I am a very different person today and grateful that I have learned so much about healing and have become who I am today - one who is always learning and growing from life experience.  Life experience is our very best teacher and I am a perennial student.

Any thoughts on this?  Anyone else have a similar (or different) experience?  Wishing you Peace & Joy,

Maggie McDee (AKA Magnolia)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Humor Therapy

I recognized the need for humor therapy in my life after my first diagnosis in 1997 and I've been using it ever since.  These are the advantages that I know of:

  • Makes me LAUGH or at least SMILE, releasing endorphins - nature's own feel-good chemicals
  • Makes me FEEL GOOD
  • Induces relaxation
  • Gives me something to think about and/or talk about that makes me laugh again
  • Reduces anxiety and stressed-out feelings
  • Lightens depression/sadness
  • Provides a distraction

Physiological Benefits of Laughter
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Boosts immune system
  • Induces Relaxation Response
  • Exercises abdominal muscles
  • Eases anxiety & depression
  • Eases insomnia & asthma

How do I "practice" humor therapy?

  • TIVO/record sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory (current favorite), Seinfeld, Friends, Conan, Will & Grace, How I Met Your Mother, That Seventies Show, etc. and watch at least one episode before going to bed every night - and occasionally at other times as needed.
  • I watch movies that I know will make me laugh, like Jim Carrey's Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty and Ace Ventura movies; Austin Powers;  world disaster movies
  • I love to play with little kids.  Here is one of my favorite little guys. Their eyes seem to look right through me and their smiles are beautiful simplicity.  Their smiles and laughter and their HUGS are great feel-good therapy for me.

  • Trying not to take myself too seriously, I wear wild-colored socks that don't match, big dangly earrings, funny hats, big flowers and I even wore a skirt to teach yoga one day
  • Playing games with people like Robin who knows exactly what game (her achilles heel) I can kick her butt in

I'm sure there are many other ways to practice humor therapy, but I consider it an essential element of my overall healing program.

Here is a link to a website that has some evidence of the effectiveness of humor therapy on HEALTH, saying laughter is the best medicine.  If you want the science, check it out.  There are also many other good topics on this site.

Any other ideas on humor therapy?  I'd like to hear yours.

Have a JOLLY day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Self-love & Worthiness

I AM TOO WORTHY!!!!  They say that love makes the world go round, that love can heal all wounds, that love is God/God is love, the fabric of the Universe, etc. etc.  I have recently started to believe that Love is EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in the entire Universe.  LOVE IS ALL THERE IS.  LOVE IS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS! Anita Moorjani says, "Each of us, at our core, already IS pure and unconditional love....It has no agenda...no expectations..."

Anita Moorjani, author of DYING TO BE ME, recently posted this on Facebook...."I spent a lifetime trying to live up to other people's unrealistic standards of how I "should" be - and all it did was cause me cancer, because I constantly believed I wasn't good enough! In truth, all we have to do is be OURSELVES!

I have supported this idea of self-love for many years and even talked about it in my classes, but in the back of my mind, saying "I don't have to do that for me- it's not important". After 15 years of working on my own healing while dealing with cancer, I think I'm finally STARTING to understand this concept and how essential to life and healing it is. Self-love is not about being egotistical or selfish - it's about basic survival. It's the foundation upon which love for others and true joy/happiness are built. It's the foundation of LIFE. And, I think it results in elevating us to feeling more worthy. " I am not worthy" has been a toxic core belief for me since I was very young and I am still actively working to change it. I talk to my higher self in meditation, asking it to express itself through my thoughts, words and actions. When this happens, I realize that my higher self (who I really am) is much greater, more 'magnificent', more powerful, more divine than I ever imagined. Even from a logical point of view, how could I NOT love that aspect of myself?? This blogging experience is helping me to discover more deeply who I am. There are many different ways of doing this. Having a Near-Death-Experience is only one of them - no doubt, the quickest one - but still one of many. 

In the book DYING TO BE ME, Anita Moorjani states, "In my culture, I was taught to put others first and myself last or not at all.  I wasn't taught to love myself or to value who and what I am. As a consequence, I had very little to offer others.  Only when we fill our own cup with regard for ourselves, will we have any to give away.  Only when we love ourselves unconditionally, accepting ourselves as the magnificent creatures we are with great respect and compassion, can we ever hope to offer the same to anyone else.  Cherishing the self comes first, and caring for others is the inevitable outcome...Our world suffers from too little self-love and too much judgment, insecurity, fear, and mistrust.  If we all cared about ourselves more, most of these ills would disappear."

I was also taught to put others first and myself last or not at all.  Consequently, my cup was never more than half-full.  I invested a good deal of energy in the direction of judgment, insecurity, fear and mistrust. Reading about this in Anita's book has helped me to more fully understand that self-love is of great importance to healing - and to living a joyful life.

My Esoteric Healing teacher often started our  meditations with the words, "I have emotions, but I AM NOT my emotions. I have thoughts, but I AM NOT my mind. I have a body, but I AM NOT my body." Then, "Who am I?"  I wondered.  I am the Divine spark who EXPRESSES through the vehicles of my body, mind and emotions - the one who inhabits my body and uses my mind and emotions as tools. I have the power to choose my thoughts and emotions - that is the self that we love (the magnificent, divine Self), which leads to a total acceptance of the human being that we are - you know, the one that we tend to judge harshly. 

For me, it's about recognizing who I really am - the magnificent spirit who is all-loving and all-powerful and certainly deserving of respect and love.  Just because I haven't paid much attention to it/her doesn't mean she's not there at the core of who I am. I started by purposefully and intentionally asking that part of me (hmmmm, that MOST IMPORTANT part of me) in meditation to EXPRESS itself through my thoughts, words, emotions and action. Now I'm asking more often and noticing it more often. Now that I'm getting an inkling of the love my inner self has for me, its vehicle, I think that being myself happens more easily. 
Intentional communication with the divine self, with the invitation for it to express itself through me(my personality and ego) is a good way for me to learn more about who I really am and to BE who I really am. I am a work in progress.   We all are.

I am also developing a more loving relationship with my body, since it is the vehicle of expression for my 'magnificent' self and it needs loving and nurturing to thrive.  That's my job, my responsibility - not my doctor's -  and I can do that by "listening to my body" - something I've said to my Yoga students for years...LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  I can choose to eat healthy foods, get lots of fresh air and exercise, rest when tired, and cry when I feel that lump in my throat (processing my emotions instead of stuffing them).

I used to think that being myself meant "acting the way I thought others wanted me to be, then it became acting the way I aspired to be".  Neither of those was actually me. I was blocked off from communications with my real self, so I was not able to BE my self.  I ask it/her to make me aware of its presence and now I'm noticing it by the 'higher vibration/more loving' thoughts that pop into my head. Communication with the inner/real/divine self makes me so much more eager to express that part of me and get to know her better. This is a spiritual act, an intentional blending of spirit with personality. Sanaya Roman has many meditations and books that are extremely helpful to me in this way.  Click here to see the website....

Sanaya Roman...Orin & DaBen

These works are channeled and are the best source I have found for spiritual growth and development. Remember that the Bible was channeled, so channeling is a natural and not-so-uncommon occurrence, but if it's not in your comfort zone, them maybe 
it's not for you.  If you want to check it out, invite in some new ideas and feel better about yourself, try reading LIVING WITH JOY by Sanaya Roman. 

To see it, click here...  Living with Joy Link  If you really like it, order the associated guided-meditation CDs and listen to them.

These meditations and books have helped me to experience significant growth and healing in my spirit-focus. I am the Divine spark who EXPRESSES through the vehicles of my personality (mind, emotions, body)  - the one who inhabits my body and uses my mind and emotions as tools. 

My sister, MJ, and I were sitting together at a Catholic funeral of a relative a couple years ago.  When we were asked to pray, "Oh Lord, I am  not worthy".  We both said, "I am TOO worthy."  I think that demonstrates a change of the belief I AM NOT WORTHY that we are both experiencing.

In my journaling group, I have often given the assignment "Perform one act of loving self-care this week and report back to the group".  There was a wide range of activities that fit into this 'loving self-care' category, from taking a nap to drinking a cup of tea on the porch to making oneself breakfast in bed.  It's taking care of yourself as you would take care of a dearly loved one, with kindness, compassion, gentleness and love.

For more on this topic, click here to view Anita Moorjani on Self-Love in a separate window.

What is an act of loving self-care for you?  When is the last time you did that?  Next time?

Joy and Peace,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking at Myself

I had a lot of laughs the other day, taking photos of myself with my computer's webcam. This is a way to look at myself from another perspective.  For example...

Just waking up in the morning

Close examination with a magnifying glass

Feeling like my head might explode from too much thinking

Feeling a little anxious about new chemo starting today 

Stepping back...perhaps there's a different perspective from here 

I'm a genie, shrinking back into Aladdin's Lamp

OMG!  Did steroids make me look like that?

Hmmmm....I wonder.....

Shall I choose to be filled with fear and anxiety or try some humor therapy?

It's another day and here's another post.  I have written volumes of thoughts and feelings about this journey over the years, some of which I have saved on my computer, but it feels like I need to write some new thoughts, open to new ideas, listen to my inner being (AKA higher Self, Divine spark, the real me, my spirit, my guardian angel, conscience, whatever) and speak from my heart.  Having been a computer programmer and very intellectual/mental person most of my life, speaking from my heart does not come easily.  I feel very vulnerable and exposed here, yet compelled to continue.  I feel an urging from my inner being to do this.

I am coming to a better understanding of who I really am.  One of my teachers says, "I have a body, but I am not my body.  I have emotions, but I am not my emotions.  I have thoughts, but I am not my mind."  Then, who the heck am I?  I am the one who is expressing/living through my body, mind and emotions.  

Communicating with my inner Self is something that I can do either consciously or unconsciously.  If I allow my emotions to take over my thoughts, it feels like there's a fog or cloud between my awareness and my inner self.  On the other hand, if I think and analyze a topic to death, then thoughts overshadow my emotions and I have no idea how I really feel.  

Ideally, communication with my "self" takes place when I can quiet my mind and emotions and focus on connecting with my Divine self, perhaps asking a single question.  And, I set my intention to be open to whatever message(s) my higher self wants me to receive.  Prayer is usually talking, while meditation is listening.  I believe that, when I ask a question, I always get an answer.  It's not like a voice speaks to me in my head, but I will see or hear something on TV, a billboard, a book, a conversation, a song, writing in my journal, or observing a new thought in my mind.  Sometimes, I don't realize it's the answer when I get it, so I need to look for it.  Setting my intention helps a lot with that - I simply say the words, "I set my intention to...." and it helps me live my life less haphazardly and more ON PURPOSE.

My most recent messages have been about love - loving myself (eek, what a strange concept), loving other people, and loving the entire planet and all of its inhabitants.  Iyanla VanZandt, on Oprah's show, said something like "Fill up your own cup first.  Then, when your cup runneth over, you can give that to others. But, be sure your own cup is full first."  My take on that is to fill my cup with Divine healing love and, when it overflows, I have plenty to share with others.  I can tap into the infinite supply of love, ask for it, and I get it!!!!!  How magical and powerful is that? 

I use imagery to make it even more powerful - I imagine that I see a stream or column of light (the energy of love) pouring in through the top of my head and flowing directly into my heart.  I "see" my heart glowing, feel the warmth spreading through my body, filling up my cup.  When I think lovingly of others (often combined with prayer), I "see" the beautiful energy of love flow from my heart to their heart, connecting us 'at the heart level'.  This can also facilitate more loving communications.

It has taken me nearly all of these 15 years to TRULY believe that self-love is essential to healing - ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. I have given this concept 'lip service' in classes and healing sessions, but (subconsciously perhaps) decided that it wasn't really important for me, based on my core beliefs about my own worthiness and love-ability. I feel like I'm just beginning to understand this whole concept of self-love and loving others - and it's wonderful.  Love can heal anything, anything at all!  Love is the fabric of which all of the Universe is made.  It is the most powerful energy in the Universe. We ARE love...feeling it for ourselves and others is all we need to do with it.  More about love later.  

Anyone else talking to yourself? Feeling loving toward youself? What's it like?  Have a wonderful day.  

Monday, July 23, 2012


This is part 4 of a series of posts on Beliefs.  It would be helpful to read the first 3 before reading this one.  You can click on the links here...

Beliefs-1           Beliefs-2            Beliefs-3

FIRST, IDENTIFY AN ERRONEOUS BELIEF.  Again, a belief is simply a thought that has been repeated until it becomes a part of who I am.  It can become unconscious (unknown to my conscious mind), yet it influences my decisions and actions, often resulting in emotional pain-frustration, anger, sadness, etc.  It is when I am FEELING one of these emotions that I can look for the belief that is behind the feeling.

The photo above is me, with steam coming out of my ears...obviously, feeling something that is NOT making me smile.  So, it's easy to notice when I'm feeling any negative emotion(s).  Using my journal, meditation, prayer and/or talking with a friend (or therapist or spiritual director), I stand back and look at myself, asking the question, "What is the belief I have that is fueling this emotion?"  Sometimes, the answer seems obvious: other times, it requires more time and thought.  Remember that long list of negative beliefs from Beliefs-1It has taken me 15 years to find some of these beliefs and I have a feeling there may be more that are still hidden in my unconscious/subconscious mind.  It is no longer necessary for me to understand where or how the belief originated, only that I have the belief, that I've been acting on it and I've been experiencing negative emotion(s) as a result.  Being a solution-oriented person, I want to figure out how to FEEL BETTER.  I have come to believe that healing is all about feeling better. So, what next?  How do I change or eliminate this erroneous belief? 

FIND PROOF THAT THE BELIEF IS WRONG/ERRONEOUS.  My best example of this was the belief about my cancer being a death sentence (see  Beliefs-3 ).  I was able to see that at least two people had proven that belief to be wrong by their "miraculous" healings.  Sometimes, that's all that is needed - proof that someone has shown this belief to be false.  If it's not possible to prove the belief is wrong, then I need to.... 

DECIDE WHAT I WOULD RATHER BELIEVE. This would be composing an affirmation or two that FEELS BETTER than the erroneous belief. Its purpose is to REPLACE the  negative belief with a positive one. Using my previous example, possible affirmations might be:

  • If other people can do it, so can I
  • I AM healing my entire being every moment of every day
  • I AM feeling better every day
  • I AM a living miracle
  • I AM deserving of perfect health in body, mind and spirit
  • I AM perfect health in body, mind and spirit
  • I AM peaceful, I AM joyful, I AM very strong and healthy (I made this into a song that I often sing out loud or just hum)

REPEAT. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT...replacing the negative belief with a more positive, life-enhancing belief.  I AM is the most powerful phrase in the Universe, so any sentence that begins with these words contains some very powerful energy.  Louise Hay and many other authors suggest affirmations for virtually any situation.  I have to "try them on" and determine what FEELS best for me.  Making up songs to fill my thoughts when I'm not concentrating on anything else works very well for me.  Saying/singing/writing affirmations can be thought of as a type of prayer.

YOUR BODY BELIEVES EVERY WORD YOU SAY by Barbara Levine & Bernie Seigel is a great book on this topic.  Click Amazon Link to see it on Amazon.com.  

I digress shortly to tell you the story of a massage client I had once who would come to see me every week and complained of a "pain in her neck".  I tried every known massage technique, but her story was always the same, "It felt better for a couple of days, but the pain came back again."  Since this was in the early days of my massage therapy practice, I was frustrated that none of the techniques I tried with her had a lasting effect.  One day, she finally said to me, "that pain in my neck is gone" and I was very relieved, but couldn't attribute her progress to my techniques, since I hadn't done anything new.  During the massage, she told me that she had just been separated from her husband and we  agreed that she had gotten rid of her "pain in the neck".  Although we joked about it, I'm sure there was some element of truth in that.  I sometimes get a pain in my hip/glute area and always blame it on  my husband, claiming that he is my "pain in the ass" :-)

I know that words carry an energy or vibration that can be very powerful. I have talked about how repetitive negative thoughts (words) can become negative beliefs. Logically then, it makes sense that repeated POSITIVE thoughts become positive beliefs, resulting in more positive thoughts, which result in more positive emotions (remember that thoughts influence emotions); thus, FEELING BETTER - or healing.  

And, who is in control of my thoughts? ME and ONLY ME.  And, who is in control of my emotions?  ME and ONLY ME.  That is a big responsibility when I think about it.  It's much easier to blame someone else for what I think or how I feel.

I'm sure that my beliefs color my perception of events, people, the world and EVERYTHING I perceive.  What proves this to me is that, given identical circumstances, two people can have totally different (even opposite) responses.  If my husband bought me some flowers, I might perceive it as a spontaneous act of love and respond with loving gratitude while someone else might perceive it as an apology and respond with suspicion - same circumstance, very different responses.

ASK FOR HELP.  This is another method I often use to help remove negative beliefs and/or emotions.  I pray for Divine help and offer the willingness to surrender my need to hold onto that belief or emotion that is making me feel bad.  Again, healing is all about feeling better. 

This is the pattern that I have noticed in myself, using the example of the belief that I am responsible for other people's anger...

  • A thought is repeated (my behavior caused someone else to be angry - it's all my fault)
  • Belief is formed (if someone else is angry, I am responsible - I need to fix it - I need to make other people happy to keep them from getting angry)
  • I set my intention to STOP and THINK when someone speaks to me in an angry voice.  
  • I NOTICE when this happens (red flag in my head).
  • I remind myself that I am NOT responsible for other people's anger.
  • I give myself a chance to CHOOSE to respond differently. 
  • I take responsibility for my own feelings because I know they come from inside of me.
I'm not saying that changing a core belief is an easy thing to do, especially if I've been "living by it" for most of my life.  But I know that it IS possible.  And, if a belief is a result of a repetitious thought, then I can CHOOSE to repeat positive, healing thoughts more often.  It takes repeated practice and loving patience with myself.  

I think I've said enough about beliefs for now.  It seemed like an important topic to start with.  I know that I cannot change other people, or even inspire them to do so.  I can only change myself.  I am a work in process - in the process of healing.  Sometimes, I'm a slow learner, but I've been working on it for a few years.

I love Maxine's feelings on this topic...and she's not just funny, she's RIGHT.  Just because I think something doesn't mean that it's true.

Have you made any changes to your beliefs?  If so, how did you do it?  There are probably easier ways than how I have done it.  

Wishing you joy and peace,
Maggie McDee

Sunday, July 22, 2012


"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
~Henry David Thoreau

If you have not yet seen the post "Beliefs-1", click  Beliefs-1   to read that one first.

Our beliefs (repeated thoughts) can become totally unconscious, yet they directly influence or determine our perceptions.  Our perceptions then directly influence our thoughts.  And, ultimately, our thoughts determine how we feel about things.  So, beliefs that exist in the mental dimension of our being have a direct link to - and a profound influence upon - the emotional dimension, which can dramatically affect our physical bodies. A clear of example of this is 'butterflies in your stomach' when you feel nervous - and emotion directly affecting the body.

For example, if I have a core belief that LIFE IS HARD, then I will tend to perceive and interpret the events of my life as proof that LIFE IS HARD, reinforcing the belief and influencing my thinking, feeling and actions.  I may choose not to do things like change my career, avoid negative people, or work on improving a relationship because I think that it will be too hard.  Then, I may choose to feel disappointed, discouraged or depressed as a result of those thoughts. There is comfort in knowing that we choose our thoughts and that we have the power to change them.

Continuing with the example, if that core belief is very different, say something like, “LIFE IS A FUN ADVENTURE”, I will choose to perceive the events of my life very differently - in ways that reinforce that belief and influence my thinking in a different way.  I may then make different choices about changing my career, avoiding those negative people, or working to improve a relationship because I would feel differently about them than someone who believes that LIFE IS HARD.

So, how do we form our beliefs?  Especially the unconscious ones?  
A belief is a thought that is repeated over and over, right?  Many beliefs begin in childhood in the form of statements made by parents, teachers, religious leaders and other authority figures; even siblings or peers. 

Examples of how beliefs can be formed in childhood: hearing a parent repeatedly say (or shout) things like, "What's wrong with you?" or "Your opinion doesn't count" or "What you want is not important" or "I don't care if the other kids laugh at you - you will do what I want you to do" or "I don't have time for..." or "I don't care..." or "That's not good enough" or "All the work must be done before you can play" or "if you want to cry, I'll give you something to cry about", etc.  Statements like these, when combined with anger and/or physical punishment can cause a child to form a few erroneous beliefs about life, love and the person that he/she is.  

Beliefs can also be formed by something very simple, like praying "Oh Lord, I am not worthy" every day.  Or, being told that only people of your religion are right and everyone else is wrong and going to hell for all eternity.  

I grew up in a very strict Catholic household and went to Catholic school for 12 years.  I remember that some of our teachers were extremely cruel and would publicly humiliate children for very minor 'offenses'.  Fortunately, I was a "Miss Goody-Two-Shoes" in school because I lived in fear of punishment (both at home and in school), so I was not usually on the receiving end of that at school.  When the rules were clearly defined, I was good at following them.  So, I put a great deal of effort into trying to get parents and teachers to approve of [love] me, and therefore, not punish me.  That strategy didn't work well, but I was operating from the belief that, if I am perfect, then I might make that authority figure happy and I will be loved.  

I formed my erroneous beliefs about love and God when I was a child, viewing the world from the mind of a child and interpreting life as I did,  holding these beliefs in my unconscious mind and acting upon them.  I was always wearing what I thought was the "appropriate mask" to be perceived as who I thought others wanted me to be.  I got to be so good at it that, as an adult (at the time of my second diagnosis in 2001), I found I had no idea who I was or what I wanted or what I was passionate about.  

I'm sure I was one of those annoying kids who always asks the question, "Why?"  I know my biggest spiritual question that was never answered to my satisfaction was, "If God loves us, why would he send someone to hell for ALL ETERNITY because they made a mistake or two or because they forgot to confess a sin that was making a black mark on their soul?"  I had lots of questions about God that were answered with the response, "some things you just have to take on faith."  My logical brain had a hard time with that concept.  

These beliefs contributed to my constant state of fear - fear of punishment, fear that world would end and my soul wouldn't be 'clean' enough to get into Heaven, fear of expressing emotions (learned to suppress them really well), fear of not pleasing others, fear of God, fear of nuclear war, fear of global disasters, fear of dying, fear of parents and other authority figures, fear of not be approved of, and yes, fear of cancer and death. I was PAINFULLY shy for way too many years of my life.  I did not enjoy social occasions (like parties) unless I already knew everyone who would be there. My world, shrouded in fear, was very small and not fun at all.

Like Anita Moorjani, author of DYING TO BE ME, I believe that FEAR was a major contributor to my cancer.  She says, "...the most frequent question people ask me is why I think I got cancer.  I can sum up the answer in one word: fear.  What was I afraid of?  Just about everything, including failing, being disliked, letting people down, and not being good enough.  I also feared illness, cancer in particular, as well as the treatment for cancer.  I was afraid of living and I was terrified of dying."

The next post will be about methods I used to discover my erroneous core beliefs and how I began to change them to positive ones.  

Click to see the next post on this topic.... Beliefs-3


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Advantages of Chemotherapy

Advantages of Chemo

Taking a little break from the beliefs topic, 
 to lighten it up a bit... Here is a list of all the advantages I can think of that Chemotherapy has to offer.....

  • Saves money on...
    • Canister of shaving cream and a safety razor with faces, arms and legs
    • Food (appetite diminished)
    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Hair spray and other 'products' for hair
    • Hair cuts
    • Hair coloring
    • Razors
    • Shaving cream
    • Water (shower/bath)
    • Electricity (hair-styling tools - dryer, iron, etc.)
    Bathtub that has the shower turned on located in a bathroom
  •  Saves time in...
    • Shower/bath - no shaving or shampooing
    • Styling, curling, spraying, coloring, or worrying about my hair

  • No worries about...
    • view details 
    • Head lice
    • Gaining too much weight, unless taking steroids
    • People being rude - most seem pretty friendly and reluctant to argue with or aggravate me
    • Having a "bad hair" day
    • Hairy legs or armpits
    • Mosquitoes biting anyone else after biting me
  • Oh yah, it also kills cancer cells

I'm sure there are many more advantages of chemo.  What do you think?