Be gentle with yourself
I heard the words, but I didn't listen to them. I didn't know how to be gentle with myself. I didn't know how important it was to really live these four little words, "Be gentle with yourself".
The diagnosis of cancer is opening my eyes to so many things. Staring my own mortality in the face is making me take stock of my life. I'm seeing things so differently now. I never would have done this without cancer. I would have continued stumbling through life, dealing with things like I always have, filled with anger at the unfairness of it all. I have always stressed out over the smallest things, and the bigger the event, the bigger the stress reaction. Now I have to step back, re-evaluate and think about what I'm doing to my body internally when I react to external forces.
I'm reading a couple really good books, one is about dealing with cancer (or any serious illness, but the focus is on cancer), and the other one is preventing cancer. Preventing a recurrence of cancer is the same as preventing cancer.
Love, Medicine & Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel, M.D. is an amazing book. Dr. Siegel is a traditional medical doctor and writes about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully and die in peace. I love this book! The other book that I highly recommend for everyone, even if you don't have cancer (and especially if you don't want to get cancer) is The Definitive Guide to Cancer by Lise N. Alschuler, ND, FABNO, and Karolyn A. Gazella. This book takes a holistic approach to cancer prevention (and recognizes the benefits of traditional medicine). It focuses on nutrition, diet and stress reduction. It's also an excellent book. I love how they talk about the 80/20 rule. Eat clean 80 percent of the time, and it's okay if you bend the rules other 20 percent. In other words, a cookie now and then won't kill me.
Here's an excerpt from The Definitive Guide to Cancer, page 40-41. This is from chapter three, Prevention is Paramount:
"But for those of us trying to prevent cancer recurrence, enhancing our overall health will help add quantity and quality to the years we have left. The first step in making changes and setting goals is to access where you are right now. So to that end, and without judgement, take some time to evaluate your life. On a piece of paper, write down your answers to these questions:
1. How many hours a week do you spend working?
2. How many hours a week do you spend playing?
3. How many hours a week do you spend doing some type of spiritual practice (praying, mediating, volunteering, connecting with nature)?
Next, make a list of activities, things, and people that make you feel happy, at peace, and fulfilled. How many hours a week do you spend with those people or doing those things? At the end of your life, no matter when that occurs, what will you cherish more: money or moments, power or peace; chaos or caring? A life well lives is a life well loved, and that begins with self-love. Don't let everyday obstacles get in the way of such devoted self-love."
Now if that doesn't make you want to buy this book, I don't know what will. It's filled with this type of thinking, as well as a lengthy discussion on nutrition and diet.
If nothing else, cancer is life changing. Even if I only have a few years left, I intend to make those the best years possible. Whether it's five or twenty-five, I intend to have a life well lived.