February 24, 1997 – Thinking Things Over
I did not feel too well today. I had to go to Dr. Neuwirth’s office today for them to take a urine sample and an hour or so later, to Dr. Slattery’s office to have my teeth cleaned. While neither of them was terribly unpleasant, the combination was exhausting. At the dentist’s office, I experienced teeth cleaning with ultrasound. It seemed to go faster and easier. However, I chose “laughing gas” as an escape, after which I felt a bit nauseous. At home, I took a nap and started to feel better.
Having finished Love, Medicine & Miracles the night before, I started reading Cancer as a Turning Point. It became clear to me that there are several aspects to mind-body healing. First of all, there is the necessity of a positive outlook on life and your illness. Without these, there is no place to begin. One must therefore have something to look forward to and a desire to survive. According to Dr. Siegel, in his chapter on “Becoming Exceptional,” Dr. Al Siebert identifies the following indicators of self-motivated growth (and I quote):
- Aimless playfulness for its own sake, like that of a happy child.
- The ability to become so deeply absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time, external events, and all your worries, often whistling, humming or talking to yourself absentmindedly.
- A child’s innocent curiosity.
- An observant, nonjudgmental style.
- Willingness to look foolish, make mistakes and laugh at yourself.
- Open-minded acceptance of criticism about yourself.
- An active imagination, daydreams, mental play, and conversations with yourself.
Dr. Siegel also identifies Al Siebert’s indications of a person reaching synergistic functioning (and I quote):
- Empathy for other people, including opponents.
- The ability to see patterns and relationships in organizations or equipment.
- Recognition of subliminal perception or intuition as a valid source of information.
- Good timing, especially when speaking or taking an original action.
- The ability to see early clues about future developments and take appropriate action.
- Cooperative nonconformity: refusing to be controlled by improper laws or social standards, yet choosing to abide by them most of the time for the sake of others — unless attempting to change them. In other words, and avoidance of empty gestures.
- Being comfortable in complex, confusing situations that others find bewildering and frightening.
- Keeping a positive outlook and confidence in adversity.
- The ability to absorb new, unexpected, or unpleasant experiences and be changed by them.
- A talent for serendipity: the ability to convert what others consider accidents or misfortunes to something useful.
- The feeling of getting smarter and enjoying life more as you get older.
Although these are laudable goals, it is important for me to keep them in mind, but continue to make progress on my own. I am particularly interested in “keeping a positive outlook and confidence in adversityÃ¢â‚¬Â, as this seems to be the most difficult area for me. “Cooperative nonconformity” also sounds good to me!
In line with these observations, Dr. LeShan talks about his psychotherapeutic methods, which focus the healing energies on directing our lives towards the needs of our individual structure and what provides us with the maximum excitement in life, rather than the traditional questions of, “What are the symptoms? What is the hidden lesion that is causing them? What can we do about the lesion, or failing that, how can we teach the person to compensate for it?”
So really, our job as patients is to find our own true nature and not let anyone cause us to deviate from our path. This means that we have to be blatantly honest with our feelings and forget being nice, at all costs. We have to take our lives in our own hands and find out where our bliss is. We need to follow our bliss all the way to complete health and remission.
This is no small task! It requires strength and courage to confront your deepest regrets and allow them to disappear. We have to get involved so totally in our lives that we forget our illness and allow our immune system to illuminate it on its own.