Finding Inspiration in Illness

There were some pretty dark days over the past year and I’m often asked how I kept a positive attitude. Well, if you were with me during those times, you’d know I wasn’t always a ray of sunshine. Fortunately, positivity is built into the core of who I am, so during the bad days, I clung to hope and believing my healing was possible.

In my recent Curetoday.com article, Defeating Cancer Using the Law of Attraction, I shared the activities of my law of attraction practice which helped me gain control of my health emotionally, mentally and spiritually. But, sometimes we need to see and hear real life stories of people who are on the other side of difficult health situations, such as cancer.

Here are some of my favorite videos, books and websites full of inspirational, odd defying journeys.  

The Connection
An insightful documentary explaining the science behind the mind and body connection. The film follows several people who overcome dire circumstances, such as cancer, heart disease and infertility, using integrative medicine.

Amy Purdy TED Talk – Living Beyond Limits
After being given a 2% chance of survival from bacterial meningitis, Amy Purdy recovered at the expense of her legs, spleen, kidneys and some of her hearing. With her Mom shielding her from negativity, a kidney from her Dad and a lot of painful, hard work, she not only overcame her prognosis, but went on to become a Paralympic and World Cup medalist. In this TED Talk, she describes the blessings born from her struggles, using visualization and how life challenges can push us to go further than we or science ever thought was possible.

Crazy Sexy Cancer
Kris Carr is an entertainer turned activist, who revolutionized the living with cancer movement. Through this five year documented journey, she realized cancer wasn’t killing her, but rather pushing her to live. She even goes as far as calling cancer her guru. Her documentary and books are inspiring and share the tips and tricks she’s used over the past decade to defy her prognosis through healthy living.

Stories of Miracles
I love reading and hearing stories about people who did what science told them was impossible. Here are a couple sites I visit when in need of a little hope or proof that miracles are thriving.
The Secret Stories
The Radical Remission Project

Law of Attraction Books
My favorites are The Secret and The Power by Rhonda Byrne. Each book has a chapter on health, stories of improbable survival, suggestions on how to change your mindset and actions to attract the best possible outcome. I’ve downloaded the audio books and listen to these on repeat for a few minutes each day.

And when all else fails to inspire you, I found laughter to be great medicine. Over the summer, I spent hours laying in bed watching Jimmy Fallon, Lip Sync Battles and my favorite Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell films. Not only did they put me in a better mood, but they helped me to escape, if only for a while.

Feel free to comment below with your favorite inspirational stories.

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Defeating Cancer Using the Law of Attraction

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As featured on curetoday.com

In 2007, I was introduced to the law of attraction through the book, “The Secret.” Using the tips and tools the book provided, I became intentional about what I wanted out of life. Through asking the universe and believing I would receive, I attracted many things I had been dreaming of for years. Love, traveling, money — it was all mine and I was loving the life I had created for myself. So, I tossed “The Secret” on my bookshelf and floated on through my perfect life.

Fast forward to September 2014 when my dream life turned into a nightmare after I was diagnosed with cancer. How could I go from having it all to having it all taken away? We all have the illusion of control in our lives, but this was something I was not able to fix and it drove me crazy. If I could be diagnosed with cancer, anyone could. Then I realized that while I don’t have control over my final outcome, I do have control over my thoughts, feelings and actions. So, I dusted off my copy of “The Secret” and renewed my law of attraction practice.

The law of attraction is a philosophy that states that what you focus on comes into your life, whether it is positive or negative. The book’s author, Rhonda Byrne, explains how we must ask for what we want, believe it is possible and be grateful once we receive. Below are some of the ways I use the law of attraction in everyday life to take back the control of my mental, emotional and spiritual health.

I choose my words. I refuse to own disease. It’s not mine. I didn’t ask for it and I don’t want it. Thus, I never refer to it as “my cancer”, but rather, “the cancer.” However, I do refer to, “my healing” and “my recovery” because I want to own those things.

The vision board and visualization. Years before I was diagnosed, I began creating vision boards. This is where photos of my dreams and goals live. It’s a bulletin board placed in front of my desk, where I see it everyday and visualize myself fulfilling each dream and achieving each goal. I don’t worry about how the dream or goal will happen. I focus only on the end result. A couple times a year, I revise what is on the board. At this time, I spend a few minutes on each picture and express gratitude for its realization or future realization. Then I remove, add and rearrange according to what I’d like to focus on in the near future. Every time I edit my vision board, I’m amazed by how much has come to fruition.

Express gratitude. Every day, I mentally list or write down all the things and people for which I am grateful. A day does not pass where I don’t express gratitude for my healing, my perfect health, the perfect health of my organs, my husband, my life, for feeling good, my doctors, my pets, my family, my friends and so on. I also take this time to say thank you in advance and send love, health, healing and positivity to everyone I’ve encountered who is in need. I do this on my daily walk, before I fall asleep, during an MRI and while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. This practice always leaves me feeling happier and in a good state of mind.

Wite-Out is my friend. Last fall, I had to cancel my plans for a girls’ weekend in Paris due to chemotherapy. To excercise my travel insurance, I needed my oncologist to write a letter explaining my medical status. I have since found the letter and used white out to change my situation from, “due to her chemotherapy schedule and adverse effects, it is not advisable for her to travel,” to “due to her perfect health, it is advisable and recommended for her travel.” This letter hangs in front of my desk so I can see it every day. I’m also planning on going through my medical records with my trusty white out pen.

I say “YES!” When I hear a story of someone who has overcome a dire health situation, I say “Yes!” After sitting in the waiting room and listening to a woman call several people to share the news that she is in remission, I said “Yes!” in my head and mentally cheered her on. When I read that Jimmy Carter’s cancer is responding to treatment, I scream “Yes!” In my previous life, I may have been jealous, but I know saying “Yes!” creates good karma and tells the law of attraction that I want this too.

I keep my mouth shut. I do my best to not talk about cancer. I know, it’s easier said than done for all of us who have had our lives impacted by the disease. But I don’t want to waste my days on E arth giving cancer any more time, attention and energy after it has already taken enough. When someone asks for an update, I share the bare minimum and then change the subject to something positive.

I surround myself with Tiggers. We all have Eeyores in our life and I’ve made an effort to kindly and respectfully stop spending time with them. This past summer, I was really sick and wasn’t practicing what I preach. It was hard to be upbeat and positive while vomiting for half the day. It was then that my army of Tiggers swooped in to fill my negativity trench up with positivity. At the time, I found them annoying, but looking back, I would not be alive if it weren’t for all my Tiggers. They really are wonderful things.

Above all, I believe. This is the key and more important part of the process. I believe, with every cell in my body, that whatever I want is possible. If you’re facing an incurable disease, know that every disease has been incurable at some point in history. I intentionally seek out stories of people defying the odds, overcoming prognoses and doing the impossible. I know these people overcame because they believed they could and not the opposite.

I know what some of you are thinking: “Cancer is serious, real, hardcore stuff and no matter how positive someone is, people do die.”

I know this, but I’d like to think a positive person who kept themselves open to miracles lived longer than someone who was negative and closed. I believe there is a mind-body connection and I welcome all forms of healing.

Ultimately, I understand I may not have control over the final outcome of my physical body. However, doing these activities gives me control over disease mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And most importantly, I’d prefer to leave this Earth knowing I exuded love, positivity and possibility — all of which are things needed in today’s world more than ever.

Read my other articles with Cure.