You've been given a medical diagnosis. One where the doctor says your condition is terminal. What do you do?
"The first thing you do is go numb," according to one cancer survivor I met over the weekend. Lori was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer in 2008. At first she accepted the medical practitioner's diagnosis of "5 years to live" as though she had an expiry date stamped on the bottom of her foot.
Then one day, after losing her hair to several rounds of chemotherapy, she was soaking in her tub. Above her was the snow-covered skylight. And above the skylight was a branch from the tree in their yard
In a sudden unexpected moment of clarity, that branch represented hope. It struck Lori that though the branch was covered in snow and appeared dead, there was life in there. This was the moment that began Lori's quest for inner healing. But first she had to get real.
Lori recognized that the cancer was not caused but some external force. But rather, she had created, manifested it by the way she was living her life.
Yes, she had it all. The beautiful house. The loving husband. The wonderful children. Adoring pets. A couple of cars. A very successful business. Everything that society tells you makes you successful.
But it was all a facade. Deep down inside she was empty. She was living in a constant state of fear.
And she did get real. Lori is now cancer free. And she's spreading her inspiring message. These were the 5 realizations that got her to the place within herself that allowed that healing miracle to happen:
1. No doctor knows your expiry date. No doctor can tell you when you're going to die. They work with statistics and pharmacies. They don't have all the answers. Be open to other ways. Trust that your body knows how to heal itself. Look for ways to support your body that are in line with the belief that you ARE capable of full healing.
2. Love over fear. Love and fear cannot live inside you at the same time. Lori had to be honest about her fears. And then get help sorting out those fears so that love would replace that fear.
3. Show up for yourself. In order to be there for others, you must put yourself first. Society still has challenges believing this. Women are supposed to be the caregivers and the nurturers. But if they don't caregive and nurture themselves first, there will be nothing left to give to others. Or worse, they won't be here to give anything to anyone.
4. You can't do it alone. We all need others. Lori was surprised that when she showed up for herself, how many others showed up for her. Her husband. Her children. Others in the community. Including the names of doctors and healing practitioners who could really help her.
5. Embrace your vulnerability. If you need to cry, cry. If you're in front of people and you become emotional for whatever reason, then become emotional for whatever reason. No apologies. Just authenticity. Your vulnerability is allowing the releases that are necessary for your body, mind and spirit to heal.
There are lessons for us in other peoples' pain. But only if we choose the lessons for ourselves. And if we do choose those lessons, it is possible to avoid pain in our own lives. Not all pain, of course. Some pain is simply ours to bear and process. Just remember that with that pain can come our calling.
Lori's pain is now helping so many others as she speaks openly about her journey. And in the process, she gets even deeper healing herself. How perfect is that.