I was talking to a friend last week who's been suffering from complications from cancer treatment. "I know I'm going to die from this," she told me in a chipper tone of voice.
Truth be told, I was a bit taken aback. "Your doctors have been telling you that?" I asked. "Because I know it helps to keep a positive attitude."
"They told me they can buy me a few more years, but I'm realistic. Unless something takes me out first, like a bus, this is how I'm going to go. I'm a realist."
I asked a few more questions and it became clear. She likes what she's been telling herself based on her doctors' information. She's not willing to take in new information. She's got a set of beliefs in place and they are comforting to her. They are providing order in a chaotic world for her, this world that in her mind has now orchestrated her death.
If you're like this and happy to be like this, read no further. This post is not for you. I respect where you're at, life is hard enough, and I don't want to rock your world.
If you'd like to know more about epigenetics and how you might be co-creating your world, read on.
Epigenetics is the study of the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. In one study, researchers found that mice who were repeatedly shocked in the foot while smelling the scent of cherry blossoms passed the fear of the scent of cherry blossoms down to their children and grandchildren. It seems reasonable to assume the human mind likely can do more.
Think of all the close-calls your parents had from before you were born that might be impacting you. Then think of your grandparents' close-calls before your parents were born. It might someday be found that humans need to look back many more generations than that. Now think of your own traumatic events through your lifetime. These things are resonating within you, increasing the tension that you live under.
Now add to that the self-talk that you do. Are you positive and supportive of yourself all the time, just as if you are a loving parent or coach? Or do you get frustrated at yourself when you fail at something? Do you call yourself names that you wouldn't allow someone else to? Any negativity is increasing the tension that you live with. You might say that you're being realistic, but if you put a child down, you are stopping their motivation to try, which stops their growth. We all have parts of our childhood selves within us throughout our lifetime. Read Getting Unstuck by Dr. Don Kerson if you have any doubts about this fact.
All of your accumulated tension and all of the accumulated intergenerational tension you were born with is locked within you. Your unconscious is communicating with your cells and making changes minute-by-minute to them based on whether you think the world is a safe place or not. If the world is unsafe, you're more likely to be making excessive amounts of adrenaline and cortisol. You're stuck in fight-or-flight, which ultimately becomes an inflammatory process to your body if your body forgets how to reset. Inflammation leads to disease.
Getting back to my friend, it's possible to go into spontaneous remission from cancer. Read Dying to Be Me, by Anita Moorjani if you doubt it. Do you think spontaneous remission is more likely to happen to a person who's decided they're dying or to a person who's decided to be a loving coach to themselves, learn how to reduce fight-or-flight to heal their body and mind, and figure out what self-love truly means and practice it?
It's possible to change. That's what I write about in my book, Your Best Health by Friday. Find the mind/body techniques you feel comfortable with to help change. Maybe it's yoga. Maybe it's meditation. Maybe it's one of the many other ways I delve into in my book. Try different things that put you into a sense of safety and flow until you find a fit, because you are retraining your stress patterns away from fight-or-flight and into wellness. Your unconscious is sending tens of thousands of messages to every last cell in your body every single day. Will you let those messages undermine your life, health and potential, or maximize them?
Look at the picture above--will you let your potential lie fallow or make it fertile?
Whether you work on your own, with me, or one of the many other mind/body coaches out there, know that I believe in you. Know that you can do it.
From my heart to yours--
Photo by Graeme Walker on Unsplash.
Our community of Santa Barbara has been hard hit lately with fire and flood. The 101 freeway was closed at Montecito for almost two weeks after intense rain caused a flood on January 9th. We lost 23 people to the storm--21 dead and 2 children still missing. In the aftermath, there has been a wide range of responses, everything from incredible generosity of spirit to looting. Fortunately, the generosity of spirit is the most abundant. There was a sense of isolation with 101 being closed again so soon after reopening from fire closures. Right after the fires, we have had several small but noticeable earthquakes. People seem to be carrying around a great deal of stress from the disasters and we're being urged to be especially sensitive of others. Almost everyone knows someone, or has friends of friends who have experienced great loss. People are in grief and everyone processes grief differently.
Through it all, I've been grateful for the everyday gifts of waking up, breathing clean air, having a roof over my head, and being able to stay in the moment and not spiral down into worry about the unknown. At times, the fire was advancing towards us at 60,000 acres a day and the weather forecast looked grim, yet I slept better than I typically do. I wasn't always like this. I've had a huge growth curve on that front.
I talk about it in more detail in my recent Thrive Global article, New Year, New You: How I Rewired My Brain for a Better Life and How You Can, Too.
Life has changed in Santa Barbara, and the neighboring towns of Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, Ojai and Ventura. It will take years to get back to normal, if it ever does. Maybe that's part of our communities' growth. Life is uncertain. Any attempts we make to control it are ephemeral and Mother Nature can do what she wants. We're at risk for more floods and mud for the next few years. We're almost always in danger of fire here. Best for me to learn how to ride the wave of whatever's next by staying centered, grounded and grateful. Life can be uncertain anywhere, though. We all benefit if we have tools to stay centered, grounded and grateful.
On a personal note, I'm starting to reach out to libraries and adult ed programs in California to give programs in what I've learned about health. Look for me if you're a local. The step after that will be to branch out to other states. Invite me if you're interested in having me speak near you. I'm always happy to Zoom or Skype if I can't get there in person.