By Tara Coyote
Life with cancer is metaphorically like dancing on a razor’s edge. The reality of one’s life possibly ending before you are ready to leave this precious planet, is a daily reality. From my own personal experience, I find it’s important to actively choose life, yet also be aware of the impermanence of death. I have been journeying with late stage breast cancer for 5.5 years. I was first diagnosed with hormone driven breast cancer in September of 2016. In the fall of 2018, it spread to my lungs, liver, bones and adrenal gland. By the winter of 2019, I was referred to hospice. I miraculously made it through the gauntlet of heavy-duty cancer treatment, paired with the support of natural medicine. To this day, I continue to have stable scans, with the tumors continuing to shrink throughout my body and clean blood tests. I am incredibly grateful to be alive!
One of my coping techniques is to visualize myself continually healing. I never see myself as ‘sick’. In my mind, I am healthy, even though cancer is a daily reality that I am journeying with. Cancer is a part of my story, but it is not my entire story. This is not an easy process, but over time I have trained my mind to adapt to this way of thinking. It requires constant vigilance to keep my mind clear from these disturbing thoughts that can creep in:
"¿Cuánto tiempo tengo que vivir?"
"¿Está creciendo el cáncer?"
"¿Va a volver?"
Caminar por el filo de la navaja de mi mente significa:
Una parte de mí es constantemente consciente de mi propia mortalidad. No sé cuánto tiempo me queda en la tierra y estoy bien con esta realidad. Reconozco y acepto la realidad de la muerte.
Por otro lado, no me dejo llevar por el miedo a vivir una vida más corta de lo que preferiría. Nunca miro las estadísticas arbitrarias de la esperanza de vida con un cáncer en fase 4. Me niego a ponerme en una caja limitada. Soy mucho más que una estadística. Creo en los milagros; por lo tanto, ¡mi cuerpo es un milagro viviente!
Se necesita una enorme agudeza mental para mantener la mente despejada una vez que se escuchan las temidas palabras: "Tienes cáncer".
When I was first diagnosed in my mid-forties, I was shocked with the realization of my own mortality. I had always assumed I would live to a ripe old age. The fateful diagnosis was a gift to make me realize that my time on Earth might be much more limited than I had naively assumed. Living to the age of 50 seemed like a worthy goal. Over time, I learned to identify fear as: F - False E - Evidence A - Appearing R - Real
Additionally, I did some deep introspection with my thoughts doing ‘The Work of Byron Katie’. (Byron Katie created a modality of healing through asking four questions to introspect the validity of a particular thought.) I read books and did meditations by Joe Dispenza, the best-selling author of ‘You are the Placebo’ and teacher, who teaches about the power of the mind. I learned that I could create my reality with every thought that crept through my mind.
I realized that it was my decision to manifest my own personal story. The mind is so much more powerful than we give it credit for. Every moment of your existence is a choice. You can choose to be depressed because you are walking with a serious diagnosis or you can see it as a brilliant blessing to truly wake up to the precious beauty of life! It is you and you alone that decides to thrive with your ‘health opportunity’ or merely survive. It is not always an easy process, but it is tremendously empowering to embody this manner of thinking. It is quite common when receiving a serious cancer diagnosis to become impeccably aware of what food you eat. Those diagnosed with cancer often change their diet rather drastically in an effort to heal. How much effort is put into considering what thoughts are rolling through the subconscious and conscious mind? I believe that what diet you choose to feed your mind is equally as important, or possibly more important, than the diet you consume. The extraordinary life work of Dr. Emoto is documented in the New York Times Bestseller, ‘The Hidden Messages of Water’. In his book, Dr. Emoto demonstrates how water exposed to loving, benevolent, and compassionate human intention results in aesthetically pleasing physical molecular formations in the water. Water exposed to fearful and discordant human intentions results in disconnected, disfigured, and “unpleasant” physical molecular formations. He documented this through Magnetic Resonance Analysis technology and high-speed photographs. If the words and thoughts that come out of us have this effect on water crystals, it’s amazing to think of what kind of effect they have on the people and events that come into our lives.
I am grateful for the cancer diagnosis that woke me up to the reality of how blessed I am to inhabit a human body. Without this brisk brush with death, I would not fully comprehend how magnificent my life is. In conclusion, I would like to remind you how very powerful and strong you are. Walking with cancer is not an easy path, but it certainly is a marvelous growth opportunity. I encourage you to explore the realm of your thoughts and see what infinite possibilities of transformation await you!