When I first received my cancer diagnosis a dear friend said to me “You know this is stress don’t you?” I had to agree. My heart has been broken, my emotional tank drained, my own share of crap thrown my way, via family dramas, life dramas and she had been there witnessing it all (how awesome are long-term friends). I hadn’t been able to see how deep the wounds had gone until now, having a boob explode with cancer can force one to take stock.
In holistic medicine, we look at the different pathways that dis-ease is fed, be that physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or environmental. True healing occurs when we bring balance to the body as a whole and my body is asking me to take a look.
Life’s ups and downs, the pain, the heartaches, shit so many of us walk through and how we deal with it, impacts our physical health.
The turbulent waters of emotional stress bought about by the actions of others can be hard to overcome and getting stuck in this pain can make you quite ill. Blaming others for where you are in life never allows for moving forward and healing, it’s a place of self-focus and serves no one, especially yourself.
What is helpful, is to look at how YOU respond to the actions of others and how long YOU stay in this place. Forgiving the person(s), as they to are on a journey, no matter how hurtful or dysfunctional they may seem, trust that all is how it is meant to be and not your responsibility to take on.
Our responsibility lies with ourselves. The stories we create in our own heads impact us more than we realise. Stories which are really just that, stories. We certainly can’t control or change another person yet we can control and change how we respond to that person. We are responsible for how we personally impact the world around us.
Are you showing love and grace to others? or are you holding on to unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger? Take a moment to reflect, allowing negative thoughts and emotions to stagnate can lead to self-righteousness and pride. Leaving the impact of unforgiveness to burden your health
I realise now more than ever that I am an empathic person. Like many fellow empaths, we are drawn into work where we hold space for others. We naturally sense others’ pain and we love to help people overcome obstacles, it is what feeds our soul. When we help or support someone we feel honoured and blessed and more often than not it creates an emotionally healthy outcome on both sides, a win-win. Empaths are often found in any of the helping professions. However, there can be a price to pay if we aren’t careful and allow peoples pain to stay with us.
It takes two to tango
The downside is we leave ourselves open to be deeply hurt. There are some broken souls who intentionally (or not) find people like myself and are drawn to them, I have experienced this in my personal life. These are often needy, play the victim, self-focused type people
The natural desire to nurture and to rescue overrides the red flags, as their tales of woe fill the space. A dysfunctional relationship forms, both sides are getting what they want, myself to nurture, and the other to feel nurtured.
Has this happened to you? The friendship turns, the marriage is over, that child runs away, that boss fires you, the person no longer *needs* you. You have served a purpose for them, they have what they wanted from you and now push you aside in self-righteous rage. This can happen if you question them, their motives or behaviours, the pointy finger of accusation is now right back in your face blaming you for all that is wrong in their lives, thus allowing them to continue the role of victim and you are left feeling bewildered and confused. The person you cared for so much now dislikes, even hates you, and won’t even want to discuss why.
Of course, your own behaviour may have played a role, yes you may have been a bit of an arsehole. One hopes that a strong relationship has foundations buried deeply to weather all storms, but sometimes, with some folk, it just doesn’t.
People see the world through their own glasses, coloured by their own experiences, not everyone is able to, or willing to, take off those glasses and see things from another perspective. This can be painful to be on the opposing side, but it is in this moment we can learn about grace and grow.
Emotional Pain as Sickness
Emotional pain can manifest in physical sickness. I’m sure you know of someone or perhaps yourself, who has gone through emotional trauma and has then become quite sick. The divorced father who drops dead of a broken heart as a heart attack, the woman bullied at work who now suffers chronic migraines. The child whose friendship group has fallen apart and now has chronic IBS.
In this world, we are guaranteed heartache, injustice, and pain. How we deal with it, how we move and grow from it will often impact how and where we get sick and how we heal.
For me I suffered chronic hives for 12 months after a friendship broke down, it took me a while to really make the connection. I had guessed it was stress-related but when I was honest with myself I knew it was the heartache and grief of a very confusing and hurtful time.
After 12 months of suffering these itchy spots and as a believer in a loving Creator I became real present to the cause and I prayed.
‘Lord you love this person more than I could ever, please take this burden from me, take this grief, this pain, carry them as you promised, shower your love and blessings all over them ” from the moment I spoke these words, forgiving this person for all the pain, the hives were gone and never returned.
You may not be a believer in this christian sense but perhaps you do believe in a loving force behind all the beauty in this world, behind the rainbows and the waterfalls, behind the flying birds and the furry creators; Perhaps you to can look at a glorious sunset and acknowledge the power and beauty in this. If so offer up your pain, and ask for your burden to be lifted by this peaceful force, give it over as it isn’t for us to carry.
Back to how this all relates to my cancer? Do I believe emotional pain, stress, and wounds are behind these renegade cells being triggered to begin multiplying? Yes, I do, in part, as it is never as easy as one cause, particularly with cancer.
Do I blame anyone or even myself? absolutely not.
I thought I was coping with all the stress being the optimist and all. I mean hadn’t I forgiven? hadn’t I moved on? hadn’t I released this all through talking, prayer, mediation, mindfulness? …. Well I thought I had until diagnosed with cancer. Now I need to go deeper.
There certainly are other angles in the development of dis-ease, including just the seemingly randomness of cancer. While I won’t be blaming myself or anyone else I will be focusing on healing the deep, hidden emotional and mental pain.
Cancer is often described as the catalyst to a journey within, unpacking our inner workings and unhealthy patterns. Living more authentically, living the unique path we were put on, and embracing all the gifts we were given at birth. If you too have been diagnosed I encourage you to use this tap on the shoulder to become a better you.
It is a journey of surrender, repentance, forgiveness, growth and empowerment. One I know may be rough as I poke and prod at old wounds but one that needs to be embarked on for I know it will lead to a fuller, more giving, more loving, more of the uniqueness of being me.
Few resources I am finding helpful. Please leave in the comments any resources you may want to share with others on this journey.
Breathwork – Breathwork enables us to bypass the thinking mind and reconnect with ourselves and into the body, healing and releasing pain and trauma held in the body. I prefer in-person so look for a practitioner in your area.
Sound Baths – Special bowls create frequencies of sound which help to bring you into a very deep state of rest and self-healing. Each bowl is tuned to a different chakra or energy centre. When these bowls resonate with your chakras, they cleanse, they clear, they open you up, and move energy through your body and bringing you into a state of vibrational harmony.
Healing prayer resource – Ellel ministries
Youtube – Guided mediations (I had no idea of how many there are! I’m enjoying ones with healing scriptures but there are so many to choose from, search ‘healing meditation’ and you will see the list)