Watch the video above before reading further….
“The mind does not act only through conscious choices…many of its effects are achieved directly on the body’s tissues, without any awareness on our part.”
This is a quote from Dr. Bernie Siegel’s book Love, Medicine & Miracles. In reading his book a second time (I first read it while going through therapy for childhood sexual abuse), I find his suggestions, ideas and research have a lot of merit. I believe my own mother developed Alzheimer’s in the same way that his book suggests many people develop cancer.
“One of the most widely accepted explanations of cancer theory states that cancer cells are developing in our bodies all the time but are normally destroyed by white blood cells before they develop into dangerous tumors. Cancer appears when the immune system becomes suppressed and can no longer deal with the routine threat. It follows that whatever upsets the brain’s control of the immune system will foster malignancy.” ~ Bernie Siegel, MD Love, Medicine & Miracles
It is my belief that malignancy does not have to be cancerous. We cause malignancy of mind and wellness when we refuse to forgive and harbor anger or hatred. When we see ourselves as victims of circumstance rather than searching for ways to be victorious over our circumstances, we develop malignancies of character. We don’t empower ourselves, but actually undermine our God-given power.
“The body responds to the mind’s messages…these may be either ‘live’ or ‘die’ messages.” Besides the fight-or flight response, we also have a “die” mechanism that brings us closer to death when we feel our life is not worth living. ~ Bernie Siegel, MD Love, Medicine & Miracles
My mother is 87 years old. She has lived a life of sadness, fear, and heartbreak. That alone does not cause malignancy. It is holding onto the sadness, fear and heartbreak that cause, first our mind to be depressed, then our physical body to take hold of a “die” mentality. I’ve seen it! I’ve lived with my mother, and I witnessed rare times when she escaped her challenges and focused instead on helping someone else with their challenges.
Perhaps the only way my mother had to escape the regrets in her life was to forget. Why wouldn’t anyone with the same experiences want to forget? There have certainly been times in my life when I wished for emotional Alzheimer’s. How wonderful it would have been to forget all the hurt and pain.
I realize all of us live through tough times, but the difference between my mother and me is that I have learned to forgive and let go of the sadness, fear and heartbreak. I don’t want to forget it, because every experience has shaped my character, and I am confident that my influence has been of worth to others.
Not everyone who suffers a tragic loss, stressful change in lifestyle, is abused as a child, or experiences sadness, fear and heartbreak will develop an illness. The deciding factor seems to be how one copes with the problems they are seemingly powerless to escape from.
“Depression is a partial surrender to death, and it seems that cancer is despair experienced at the cellular level.” – Arnold Hutschnecker The Will to Live
I worked for years to overcome the hatred I felt for my abusers; the hatred I had for myself; and the desire to die so I didn’t have to deal with it. It hasn’t been easy, but as I included supportive people in my healing, it allowed me to let go of it and face it, all at the same time. My mother was never able to do that, and therefore her mind did it for her. If you watched the video associated with this post, you know that she no longer remembers me, nor most of her family. It’s sad, very sad. The saddest part of all is that I truly believe she could have prevented it. In other words, our state of mind has an immediate and direct effect on our state of body. If we ignore our despair, the body receives a “die” message. If we deal with our pain and seek help, then the message is “living is difficult but desirable” and the immune system works to keep us alive.
Self-healing comes from the ability to love self. It comes through SELF centered-ness, SELF-ishness, and SELF reliance. SELF is the acronym I use in my book for the characteristics of exceptional leadership.
When these traits are mastered, we have healed our minds, our hearts, and our bodies. We don’t have to worry about emotional malignancies, and we can lead others for good through our influence and intentions.
I’m so grateful I saw my mother when I did. Even though she did not know me (but for a moment) I’m not sad for her. I’m not sad for me. She is happy. My mother is the happiest I have ever seen her. Her memories, experiences, and personality traits may be gone. Yet, so are her regrets, pain, and fear. She needed Alzheimer’s disease.
Have you learned to forgive and let go of the sadness, fear and heartbreak? Instead of trying to forget, just forgive. Every experience you’ve had will shape your character, and your influence for good will be of worth to others.
SELF Centered Leadership: Becoming Influential, Intentional and Exceptional