Thirteen years ago, when I was given a cancer diagnosis, after the initial shock, disbelief and grief, I made a choice; I would navigate through the experience in the best way I could, obviously with the desire to survive, but also with a desire to emerge on the other side knowing the experience wasn’t for nothing. I wanted to put it all to good use at some point in the future.
I didn’t know how that would look at the time, but I did know that it felt really important to me to look at myself from the perspective of mind, body and spirit.
The first thingI looked at was what I was putting into my body – not just what I was eating and drinking, but all the products my body was being exposed to. I’d never had particularly bad habits on that front before, but with my diagnosis came a new level of cleansing and detoxing in order to support myself. So out came any caffeine, alcohol, and meat, and in came a plant-based diet, which so many people have spoken about in relation to reversing disease. The shift helped me feel more vibrant quite quickly.
Secondly, I looked at what was going on with my mind and my emotions. I knew I’d been sitting on some issues that I hadn’t fully resolved, so I took the decision to open Pandora’s Box and clear some of that stuff out. That process left me feeling lighter, carrying less anger and resentment about things in my past, and arriving at a place of greater forgiveness and compassion for others in my life who had treated me in a way I felt I didn’t deserve to be treated.
Next was the spiritual aspect. This was about really cultivating the idea that we are more than our body. It’s something I’d probably always believed on some level, but I really started to honour that thought, and to nurture this idea of a higher self, of a spiritual part of me that’s beyond the body. It gave me immense strength.
One thing which really supported me there was regular meditation, a practice that enables you to connect to a higher wisdom which is present in each and every one of us. When we take enough time to stop and listen, to be silent, we can start to hear the voice of our higher self-coming through. I’ve heard some people call it spirt or soul, others prefer to call it their future self, or their wiser self. The name doesn’t matter – what does matter is cultivating this sense of a higher, wiser aspect of ourselves, that’s far more connected than we realise.
Creating the time to listen to that voice, and doing what I could to support myself in this facet, as well as in my mind and emotions, and in my body, was incredibly powerful.
While, thankfully, most of you will not be going through a battle with cancer, taking stock of yourself in this holistic way can be a powerful tool for anyone to uncover where something is throwing them off balance.
Eating well and looking after your body is great, but are you in relationships that drain you? Or, do you find yourself getting hooked into negative gossipy behaviour, though in your heart that’s not who you are? Perhaps you’re really fearful about things that haven’t even happened? And, though you might not consider yourself religious, are you taking care not to neglect the spiritual side of yourself altogether?
I would invite you all to take an inventory across mind-body-spirit, and see if it can help you discover where you might be losing some energy.