A Therapist's Advice


I sat down with my therapist and shared with him that the struggle of cancer is daunting and currently more than I can bear. The chemo, the nausea and the loneliness are all part of a growing pain in a portion of my anatomy that I normally sit on. Tired and frustrated on this journey I asked him "Since you have dealt with cancer patients in the past, do you have any sage advice for me?"

After a long pause, my therapist began to share the following: "To be honest with you, I really don't know if I have any sage advice that will help you. I have worked with cancer patients in the past and some have made great strides on their journey and others have quite frankly fallen by the wayside. Much of where you go from here depends largely on you and your willingness to do one simple thing that people who have had grown on this journey have done. There is a common thread in the journeys of all of my cancer patients and it is their expectations as they face this journey. Some patients with realistic expectations tend to do well and those with unrealistic expectations tend to do poorly. More to the point, I don't know if I have anything to say that will change the reality of what you face but I can suggest that if you change the way that you look at your challenges, maybe you can find the diamond in this rough.

Let me tell you a story about expectations. An archaeologist received a grant to dig for gnat fossil remains in a region of the Black Sea Coast. Long story short, his dig was interrupted by layers of rainbow colored minerals that he kept uncovering which attracted the attention of several engineers who quickly bought the mining rights to the dig site. The archaeologist left his journey bitter and frustrated having located no fossil remains while the engineers left that same site millionaires having uncovered a rare mineral that is essential for microchip production. The exact same journey, two different outcomes. Cancer in a similar way forces you to challenge your fundamental life assumptions and that is something that you can do. Your Creator has given you total control over the spirit within you. He has installed you as the reigning monarch over the kingdom within you and as such your spirit will believe and follow without question whatever you say. If you tell your spirit that you are bitter and angry then your spirit will believe without question that life has been cruel and unfair and will create within you a toxic environment where healing cannot grow. On the other hand if you tell your spirit that that there is a rough road ahead but we are going to face it with the faith that good will come to both you and those around you, then your spirit will accept that without question and will actually set in operation opportunities for growth and spiritual development. Life's blessings often hide in plain sight and it is so often your expectations of life that uncovers them.

The French psychologist Emile Coue came up with a positive statement that you can make to your spirit: Every day in every way I am getting better and better. Repeat that daily as a statement of faith within the context of your spiritual orientation and in time you will see a positive change in how you view your world. You are standing at a fork in the road of your journey. On your left are a set of assumptions that many have; that life owes you the right to be healthy, wealthy and wise and if you choose that path, chances are great that you will make both yourself and those around you totally miserable. If on the other hand you believe that heart warming lessons on mortality, the value of relationships and the significance of everyday things are ahead of you, then every day you face will be adorned with amazing discoveries.

Herein lies cancer's goldmine. Longevity is a myth in that the human condition is remarkably short lived. The years pass by all of us slowly at first and then with increasing speed once we come to realize the worth of each day, month and year. You my friend are experiencing life at the speed of your current reality which means that at any moment soul stirring discoveries await, tucked within every moment of every day. What insights are there for you to uncover? I don't know for that is a wonderful realm of discovery that is yours and yours alone to mine. I appreciate your challenges and I am certainly not here to minimize the gravity of what you face. I do want to encourage you to see that the depth of the gravity of your situation is also the height to which your journey can ascend if you are willing to be open to the many life lessons that are ahead of you on the road that you have been placed. In other words, its time to start digging to find the wisdom of your journey."

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