By Krystal J. Watters
Have you ever had a traumatic experience that scared the daylights out of you, such as an accident or life threatening illness? I have had both. Here I’ll talk about the trauma of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis and the process I went through to find my way. My immediate reaction to this diagnosis was FEAR and then SHAME. It evoked the fear of death, maybe the end of my life was closer than I was prepared for; the fear of experiencing pain and suffering, worse than death; and the fear of being out of control. I had lived my life up to now very fully, actively making choices to steer my life and manifest results, so feeling powerless was not my cup of tea. Shame reared its head with equal power and I wanted to hide and not tell anyone. Unruly, untrue thoughts circled my mind and dominated for a while.
Thoughts such as, “Am I receiving negative karma for poor choices made in the past?” or “I must not really know myself as well as I thought or this wouldn’t have happened,” or “I can’t believe this is happening to me without knowing about it.” After the initial surprise, I moved into panic thoughts, believing that I had to do something quickly to get back to “normal.” This was a very vulnerable time, as I wanted someone or something to fix this situation. Lucky for me, the process slowed its pace, as I was moving the day after receiving the results of the biopsy, and to another city yet. This gave me time to read, think, and process my feelings. I had no idea of all the good things I would learn right around the corner. Cancer catapulted me into a larger arena of understanding myself and life. My world grew bigger to include self-compassion and deeper compassion for others’ suffering. It included living each day while paying attention to what brought me joy, connecting to loved ones, and letting go of people and activities no longer worth my time. My process led me to be my own authority at a deeper level and anchor a deeper connection with Source.
Fortunate for me while still in shock, my husband stepped in and ordered several books. This gave us something to “do” which eased the early stress. We expanded our awareness quickly. I learned so many things, such as the use of statistics can make a treatment look better than it is and that there is a down side to most treatments. I learned that doctors cannot predict which cancers will grow and cause an early death and those that are not threatening. No one likes to talk about these facts, so it is hard to get real information. I also thought it strange that a successful treatment meant one survived five years. My inner voice said, “I’ll live five years with or without treatment.”
After navigating through the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis I learned there are many choices about how to treat this dis-ease, including no treatment. As I moved out of panic and fear I settled into a more comfortable pace – after all even one of the oncologists I had interviewed said I could wait six months before beginning treatment and his recommendation was one of the more aggressive approaches. During the intense process of gathering information, we read different points of view and visited three oncologists and a surgeon, all of whom, by the way, knew nothing about alternative approaches. I learned that there are treatments in other countries that do not match those of the medical community in the US. One of the most interesting approaches is, German New Medicine, developed by oncologist Ryke Geerd Hamer, M.D. One of his ideas is that every disease, not only cancer, follows a two-phase pattern.
The first is the conflict-active phase where there has been a shock such as a tragic death of a loved one or there is a conflict such as, should I leave this job or marriage or shouldn’t I. The second phase is the reparative phase which is the part of the natural healing process of the body to heal itself where tumors develop. He has learned over and over with others, including himself, that when the trauma or conflict is worked through the tumors recede naturally. This doctor made sense to me and it supported my personal ideas about healing. Besides the information gathering process I was going very deeply into my unconscious mind through meditation, paying attention to dreams, and contemplating patterns in my family system. I brought to the surface of my awareness much that could have contributed to the tumor in my breast.
Through my discovery process of many different pathways and alternative treatments I kept relearning that I had choices and did not have to hurry with my decisions, even though there was some added stress from a few family members who wanted me to act now. Here is the short version of the direction of my choices.
After the diagnosis there was pressure from most of the medical community to immediately follow the latest protocol. I kept getting calls from the facility where I had the biopsy wanting to schedule surgery. It added anxiety and stress each time they called and left a message, reactivating doubt, fear, and panic. Again and again I took the time to go within, to let go of the panic and to listen to my inner voice. I kept feeling the same message from deep within that it did not feel right to go the medical route, at least at this time. Memories surfaced of watching my mother get sicker and sicker with the cancer treatment she experienced the last year of her life. She never questioned if this was the best way to spend the end of her life, even after the first round of chemo didn’t work. We pretended she was not at the end of her life and the treatment was working.
Through contemplation and deep introspection, I landed on alternative treatments and thought I had found my savior. I learned that these treatments made me ill after several months and I was losing my energy and vitality similar to what my mother experienced with traditional treatment. Enough. I finally put the brakes on the alternative treatment as well, knowing I needed to learn to trust my inner knowing and relationship to Source to guide me.
Learning that alternative treatment was not the panacea I expected threw me into a second crisis. Fortunately, it moved me back to listening to my body and inner spiritual wisdom. The path I continue to follow to this day is based on living in the Now, making choices as they feel right day by day. I know that living in joy much of the time, being creative, and spending time with upbeat, loving, supportive people heals me, as does being in and appreciating nature and sunlight. I pay attention to inner conflicts and take risks to communicate or make supportive new choices. I live with intention and purpose, invite Divine Grace into my day and notice chance encounters with people and information that are not coincidences, but special messages. I live in a field of trust, drawing to me all that I need for my next step and the next. I connect with the Spiritual Presence within often and allow this direction to guide me. I continue to explore healing methods that grow my boundaries and beliefs at a constant clip.
My story is simply that, my story. I am not recommending that you do as I have done with a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, but rather show you there are many options to consider on your healing journey. I do encourage you spend quality time alone in meditation, prayer, and contemplation to deepen your ability to listen to your inner spiritual guidance when faced with illness or anything difficult on your path. This will help you listen to your body wisdom and make wise choices for yourself. Also, gather information with different points of view as you do the inner-work necessary to heal. Healing is not about not having the dis-ease, it is about growing each day into a fuller expression of self and discovering how to enjoy the rest of your precious life, however long that may be. It is dancing with mindful living in the now, today is all there is.
Many gifts resulted in the search to understand my situation and answer, “Why me?” and what actions to take. One surprise gift received was deeper compassion for myself and others. Before cancer it was more a mental choice to have empathy when another was dealing with pain and suffering, whereas now, I have more resonance with others’ in pain. Another gift received is greater faith in myself, to listen and trust my inner guidance, even when fear and doubt rear its head, which they still do on occasion.
Making choices that are right for me, to this day, requires daily tuning into and listening to my inner self and developing and listening to my intuition. My highest good can only be determined by me I’ve learned and relearned many times. While healing my body from dis-ease, I did forget at times and would move into confusion, fear and doubt, wanting someone else to reassure me and give me the “correct” direction to take. My mind did at times spiral down and make me question, “Am I really on the right track? What if I am wrong? What if I die in the process?” I always came to my senses and remembered to begin again doing the inner work necessary to heal myself further. Back on track, I remembered to focus on today and the quality of my passage, not how long I lived. My inner work took me to the full range of places, from listening to God and releasing my fear of death, remembering emotional hurts from the past that needed forgiveness and integration, to eating the right way for me.
I see each of us on our own personal journey with the opportunity to live our life the way we want and deserve to live. Creating our life happens unconsciously at first, because early conditioning and repeating familial and societal patterns and beliefs affects us all. When you step on the path of awakening to greater awareness, life becomes different. No matter how challenging parts of it have been or are, you begin to make sense of it all. You examine your life, uprooting unhealthy beliefs affecting you, dealing with past hurts to grow and heal emotionally, discovering there are teachers to show you the way. You start living from an internal place of control that empowers you to stay out of range of being manipulated by others or thrown off course by unwanted circumstances.
You take responsibility for digesting the experiences much as you do food for physical survival. If something finds its way onto your path, such as that dreaded disease, cancer, it does not have to be a negative as we are programmed to believe. In fact there is an expanded place where nothing is positive or negative, simply experiences of being human that offer many realizations to be used to understand and grow in awareness. I’ve learned that experiencing health is more than whether or not there is dis-ease in our bodies. It is connecting intimately with loved ones and living creatively. It is about living each day with growing awareness, learning lessons, finding meaning, and living with purpose to do what you came here to do.
May my journey support you to make the right choices for you. I encourage you to listen to your wise inner voice, often. Only you have the power to make the right choices for you, no one else. It has been several years now so I can see the positives easily of having a cancer diagnosis. It opened amazing doors to explore life and consciousness outside my frame of reference. Even though I did not see it at first, it was the perfect path to awaken me further on the journey of accepting myself unconditionally and realizing my spiritual wholeness.
Note: If you have questions for Krystal J. Watters, you may write the editor of this newsletter and Krystal will answer you. Suzanne@InnerworksPublishing.com