Lets face it. Cancer is disempowering. It involves a total loss of control. Previously, the cancer patient made decisions every day. These decisions determined how he or she lived their life. Decisions were made consciously and subconsciously, every moment. Every day, the patient was master of his or her destiny. Having control of our lives is the main constituent of what we call freedom. And having that freedom is what allows us to make choices, and lead a fulfilling life. For the cancer patient, the biggest shock is the loss of that freedom. The loss of control. The impact is massive and cannot be underestimated.
The first loss of control comes when the cells become chaotic and disturbed. Cells which have previously contributed to health and vitality now conspire to bring illness and disease. Can you imagine how that feels? To know your body, which has served you well for so long, is now conspiring to kill you? Regardless of whether or not it’s acknowledged, this knowledge has a profound effect on the psyche of the patient.
The second loss of control comes after diagnosis. Suddenly the patient’s life is no longer their own. From leading a normal life, they are suddenly transported into an out-of-control world, full of hospitals, doctors, travel and appointments. Everyday seems to be filled with activities related to the cancer. Normal life stops completely. The doctors take over, offering treatments which seem strange and frightening. Many new cancer patients are too scared to ask questions, and certainly too scared to try expressing opinions or ask about alternatives. They often feel pressured and confused. Life becomes chaotic.
The third loss of control comes personally. Relaxation becomes difficult. The mind of the patient is unable to stop thinking about the cancer. Every new ache and pain is immediately blamed on the cancer. Suddenly, life is changed forever. Every event is interpreted in relation to cancer. There is no life without cancer. The old life is gone. Friends don’t know how to react, and some will avoid the new cancer patient completely, not knowing what to say or do. Family members will offer well meaning advice, but conflicts often emerge as differences in opinion become apparent. The new patient may want to use conventional treatments, against the advice of friends or family. I have seen this many times. Or they may want to try complementary or alternative approaches. Again, this can cause trouble. Lack of support and doubt about choices are weakening and disempowering. Loss of control everywhere. Cancer changes everything.
Time and again, I see those people who begin the process of empowerment are those who make the recovery from cancer. The patient needs to regain some control of their life. They need to start making decisions and they need to stop the chaos engulfing their world. These decisions don’t necessarily need to be major, but they do need to be significant in the eyes of the patient. They need to mean something. They may only be symbolic, but if the patient feels he or she has stopped the ‘crazy train’ and is starting to make choices again, it has a vast and profound effect on their wellbeing. Emotionally and psychologically they will feel boosted and empowered, and the deep resources available to them, such as a strengthened immune system, will kick into action. Empowerment brings belief and belief breeds hope. Hope can be infectious, and it can affect everyone around the patient. This is, in my humble opinion, the first step in successfully beating cancer.
The second step, again in conjunction with the energetic, ‘hands on’ healing process, is to start the patient projecting themselves into the future. This is the next development of the empowerment of the patient. So often, that process stops at the moment of diagnosis. The patient has no hope, so they stop seeing themselves in the future. They no longer plan holidays, they no longer think about Christmas or birthdays. They suddenly live in the moment, from one hospital appointment to the next. There is no hope and there is no future. The future is dead. Everything stops.
I work hard to change that mindset. If the patient no longer sees himself in the future, how on earth does he expect to get there? He must exist in the future, in his own mind. This technique is part of the empowerment process, mentioned above. The patient must take control. He must start to own the future. Make the future his. This may sound strange, but so often I have seen people transformed by this simple approach.
“Mind is nothing but the accumulated past, the memory. Heart is the future; heart is always the hope, hope is always somewhere in the future. Head thinks about the past; heart dreams about the future. The future is yet to come. The future is yet to be. The future has yet a possibility – it will come, it is already coming. Every moment the future is becoming the present, and the present is becoming the past. The future is like a seed”
Osho. Courage. The Joy of Living Dangerously
I force the patient to see the future. I force the patient to project forwards. The future is theirs to be made. Yes, we know the diagnosis, yes we know the prognosis and we know the risks. But these simple techniques make such a difference. If you have ever seen a beaten person, shocked and scared, already dead in all but body, and within weeks or even days they are stronger than they have ever been, and ready to fight for their future, you’ll know, like me, that there is no such thing as false hope. Only hope. If the future is like a seed, then we need to nourish that seed, and allow it to grow. But first we must plant it. Create a future. If the seed dies, and the future dies, the end is inevitable.
Yes, I do give hope. I give hope because there is always hope. I love this process. Its profound in its simplicity. If hope gives belief, and belief gives empowerment, and that empowerment takes someone into the future, where they can beat their illness and confound their doctors, then hope is the secret weapon we all need.
Extract from Rogue Healer – The Autobiography