My doctor told me he could predict which of his patients would have a better chance of surviving based on his first meeting them. He said his prediction was solely based on the attitude of his patient. Those who wanted want to live, often lived. And those who thought they were going to die had trouble living. If that was at all true, I wanted my attitude to be toward living.
When I was stuck in the healing process, he would tell me, “Just go live your life.” I spent a great deal of time wondering what that meant and what my life should be. A cancer diagnosis was traumatic and as a result, I grieved for the loss of my previous “normal” cancer-free life. It was necessary to create a “new normal” life. Even after the body healed physically, emotional healing was physically draining too. For me it was obvious when my doctor said I was physically well enough to return to work, even though I did not “feel” well. My body was trying to heal while grieving. Once I recognized it, I was able to make changes to feel better.
Before cancer I did not pay equal attention to my mind, body and spirit. To help my healing, I tried lots of healing therapies. At first, it did not matter whether they contributed to better health, or were merely a distraction from the illness. My goal was simple, to try to smile, and hopefully, laugh everyday. Then I wanted more fun on a regular basis, followed by wanting to live a more meaningful life. What started as a difficult journey became an enjoyable adventure.
To learn more about holistic therapies view sites like this:
Healing Through The Arts tips
Try new activities for the Mind, Body, and Spirit. As I participated in workshops, classes, lectures, coaching, and traveling to new places, I found that much of my healing happened when the arts were involved. I began to think of more creative solutions, both at work and outside of work (Mind). As I had more fun and met new people, I became more active, and included regular exercise as a habit (Body). And as I paid more attention to living in harmony both with my own being and the outside influences, I realized the power my outlook had on my attitude and immune system. (Spirit)
Stress relief strategies are key for healing. A tense body, not only feels more pain, but heals more slowly, than a relaxed one. Because some of my medical tests were uncomfortable, a yoga and breathing coach taught me to how to breathe through pain. I now use this technique when I am stressed. It was also useful while waiting in doctor’s offices for appointments. Breathing calms and helps redirect my thinking.
Use visualizations for pain relief or meditation. Common themes include, favorite places with sounds and scents, favorite colors, or designs like mandalas or kaleidoscopes. One person told me that during her recovery she visualized Pac-man type creatures eating all her cancer cells. This person had breast cancer in her 30’s and she is alive and well today 35 years later.
I met a parent whose child could no longer run as a result of an injury. She told me her child got great enjoyment from meditation and visualizations where she could be free from her physical restrictions and where she could run. During the long recovery from multiple surgeries, the child also enjoyed a variety of creative art activities when being sedentary was necessary. She developed interests in areas where she could continue to be creative like fashion design.
Mandalas are used in some cultures for meditation and healing. Coloring the detailed designs helps to focus as well as quiet inner thoughts. When our turbulent thoughts are calmed we are able to redirect our thinking to relax or even think of solutions to problems.
When traveling with a large family, it is helpful to have an independent activity for the down time. On our last vacation, I brought the book World Mandalas by Madonna Gauding, and each family member enjoyed choosing and coloring a mandala in the book.
I participated in a workshop by Stephanie Smith, a mandala artist, where I learned techniques to teach anyone how to draw mandalas. I began to create 3D mandalas from found objects like the ones photographed for this website. This type of art, became an interesting fascination for the entire family since the 3D Mandalas, in all stages of development, monopolized my dining room table for several weeks. Family members could not help but to add pieces or begin to create their own. The hunt for the found objects was also a great adventure. Each finished mandala was photographed, and then dismantled for new creations on another day.
Additional Resources - Mandalas
Bartfeld, Martha Mandala Designs (Dover Publications, 1997)
Bartfeld, Martha and Hutchinson, Alberta Mandala Designs: Infinite Coloring – Print and Color Again and Again CD-ROM (Dover Publications, 2009)
Dahlke, Rudiger Mandalas of the World: A Meditating & Painting Guide (Sterling Publishing Co., 1992)
Fincher, Susanne F. Coloring Mandalas, vol 1,2, 3 – Circles of the Sacred Feminine (Shambhala, 2006)
Hund, Wolfgang 42 Seasonal Mandalas (Hunter House Publishers, 2001)
Hutchinson, Alberta Mystical Mandala Coloring Book (Dover Publishing, 2007)
Gauding, Madonna World Mandalas: 100 Designs for Colouring and Meditation (Godsfield Press, 2005)
Kids’ First Mandalas (Sterling Publishing Co. Inc, 2005)
CD’s For Guided Imagery
Chopra, Deepak The Soul of Healing Meditations
Lawler, Eileen Time Outside of Time (wwwEileenAtStillpointStudio.com)
Naparstek, Belleruth A Guided Meditation to Support a Healthy Immune System
CD’s For Meditation or Calming the Mind
Barabas, Tom Classical Healing
Barabas, Tom Sedona Suite
Bekker, Hennie Spa
Bradstreet, David Natural Stress Relief
Davison, Peter Music for Yoga
Evenson, Dean Healing Waters
Franke, Christopher The Celestine Prophecy
Gordon, David & Steve Healing Music
Gunn, Nicholas The Music of The Grand Canyon
Halpern, Steven Music for Healing Mind, Body & Spirit
Motzart for Meditation: Quiet Music for Quiet Times
Nagler, Dr. Joseph Music for Unwinding
Sandate, Tony Sunset Meditation
The Relaxation Music Project Radiance
Thompson, Dr. Jeffrey Music for Brainwave Massage
Zen Lounge: Classical Music for Yoga
Additional Resources for Harmony
Caine, Kenneth Winston & Kaufman, Brian Paul Prayer, Faith and Healing: Cure Your Body, Heal Your Mind, and Restore Your Soul (Rodale, 1999)
Fowler, Kimberly The No Om Zone: A No-Chanting, No-Granola, No-Sanskrit Practical Guide to Yoga (Rodale, 2010)
Hanh, Thick Nhat Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being, Including DVD (Parallax Press, 2008)
Iyengar, B.K.S. Light On Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace and Ultimate Freedom (Rodale, 2005)
Rodale, Ardath Everyday Miracles: Meditations on Living an Extraordinary Life (Rodale, 2007)
Rodale, Ardath Gifts of the Spirit: True Stories to Renew Your Soul (Rodale, 1997)
Woodham, Anne & Peters, Dr. David The Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies: The Definitive Guide to More Than 90 Alternative Herapies & The Best Complementary Treatment Options for Over 200 Health Problems (DK Publishing, 1997)
Yee, Rodney with Zolotow, Nina Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga with Rodney Yee (Rodale, 2004)