Happy Birthday Louise Hay!

Today, spiritual teacher Louise Hay celebrates her 90th birthday. One of the founders of the self-help movement, Louise has inspired millions of people with her positive philosophy and affirmations. The best-selling author of several books, among them You Can Heal Your Life, she has helped facilitate–and often accelerate–the healing process.

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In June of 2004, I discovered Louise Hay. Here is my story…

I was between appointments and had an entire day to myself. After running several errands, I wandered into the Bookshelf Café. I hadn’t picked up a book since receiving the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Appointments, tests, and trips to the Cancer Centre had taken over my life, leaving little time for anything else. It was time to start reading again.

youcanhealyourlifeA self-help junkie, I decided to check out the latest in that section of the bookstore. As I glanced through shelves of books extolling improved self-esteem and better work performance, a cover with a beautiful rainbow set against a yellow backdrop caught my attention. A picture of a perky, forty-something blonde rested on the bold title: You Can Heal Your Life. Later, I discovered that the perky blonde was sixty years old when the picture was taken.

I was curious about the boldness of the title. How could a woman who was not a doctor make such a claim? I turned the book over and read the short blurb describing her background. Metaphysical lecturer and teacher. Science of Mind minister. Personal growth and self-healing. New Age stuff. As I started to put the book back, I noticed a glowing testimonial from Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine & Miracles.

I then turned to the Foreword written by Dave Braun and was struck by the first sentence: “If I were cast away on a desert island and could have only one book with me there, I might well choose Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life.”

Another bold claim!

breast-cancerIntrigued, I flipped through the pages of the book. Several sentences caught my attention: “Releasing resentment will dissolve even cancer”; “The breasts represent the mothering principle. When there are problems with the breast, it usually means we are ‘over-mothering’ a person, a place, a thing, or an experience.”

Bingo!

I bought the book and spent the rest of the day reading about an amazing woman who had endured a traumatic childhood, poverty, divorce and a diagnosis of cancer in the vaginal area. She was short on clinical details, but it sounded like the cancer was in the advanced stages. I was particularly struck by the following comment: “The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find the cure.” Louise went within and healed herself of cancer without surgery or treatments. That was over thirty years ago.

While some of Louise’s suggestions were definitely out of my comfort zone, I didn’t dismiss them entirely. Instead of surrounding myself with bright lights and ocean scenes, I hung a print of an Italian soccer player in my bedroom. Each morning and evening, I would imagine that handsome young man kicking the tumor out of my breast. It had come from nowhere, and I wanted to send it back to nowhere.

I developed an interest in visualization and started thinking in positive affirmations, using several of Louise’s suggestions:

• I lovingly do everything I can to assist my body in maintaining physical health.
• Today, every cell of my body radiates health.
• I relax and let my body heal itself.

Excited about the book, I shared Louise’s ideas with friends and relatives. I chuckled at their raised eyebrows and forced smiles. To be fair, that would have been my reaction before the diagnosis. But cancer had staked its claim and thrown a monkey wrench into my life. While I listened to my health care team, I also incorporated suggestions from this remarkable woman, who is a living testimonial to what she teaches.

*Originally published in Memoirs 2013.


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#WeCanICan on #WorldCancerDay

sharinghands2Today is World Cancer Day, a global event designed to raise awareness and education about a disease that continues to affect a growing segment of the population. Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide each year, out of which, 4 million die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years).

While it may be too late to organize a major campaign, we can still get involved and support the fight against cancer.


Continue reading on the Sisters of Suspense blog.


That Hippy Bag

breast cancerI hadn’t planned on spending Day 1 of Life after Breast Cancer Diagnosis in a mall, but my friend Karen insisted. “Once those chemo appointments start, you’ll have no time to shop. Get everything now, and you won’t be scrambling later.”

As we walked through the mall, I mentally planned my shopping list: nightgowns, pajamas, a new robe, comfy day clothes. I was surprised when Karen pointed to my black, leather purse. “You’ll need a larger bag for when you start your treatments. Something more durable that’ll hold its shape.”

I started to argue and then stopped. After all, she was the seasoned warrior who had already traveled this path.

Continue reading on Vicki Batman’s blog.


With Hope, the Odds Don’t Matter

Last week, Heather Von St. James asked me to share her story on my blog and help build hope and awareness for her campaign.

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Heather’s story…

At the age of thirty-six, Heather’s life was an idyllic one. Three months earlier, she had given birth to a beautiful daughter, Lily Rose. Heather did not expect to receive a life-altering diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma at a routine checkup.

What is pleural mesothelioma?

It is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelioma, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Mesothelioma is most commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Find out more information here.

Heather’s doctor informed her she had only fifteen months to live.

After the initial shock subsided, Heather and her husband Cameron embarked upon a search to find the best mesothelioma treatment care available. Their search led them to the Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned mesothelioma surgeon at the Boston based Brigham and Women’s hospital. Dr. Sugarbaker recommended a new surgical procedure that had several risks but also carried the promise for the best outcome. With the support of her husband and family, Heather agreed to have the surgery.

Today, Heather is a ten-year mesothelioma cancer survivor with a mission. Determined to provided hope and inspiration to mesothelioma patients, Heather shares her story as keynote speaker at conferences and through social media forums. And she celebrates Lung Leaving Day.

What is Lung Leaving Day?

Heather and her sister decided to commemorate her journey with a special ceremony. Each year, on February 2nd, the two sisters encourage people around the world to write their biggest fears on a plate and smash the plate into a fire. A beautiful and powerful symbol of taking control and overcoming your fears.

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Heather’s trailer


Heather’s journey reminded me of the following poem by Sri Chinmoy…

Hope
Knows no fear.

Hope dares to blossom
Even inside the abysmal abyss.

Hope secretly feeds
And strengthens
Promise.

Where to find Heather…

Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Power of Other People’s Prayers

prayer1When good friend and colleague Ann Melnyk offered to help, she was surprised by my response.

“I’d appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts.”

And she wasn’t alone in that respect. Once they heard about my cancer diagnosis, friends and relatives offered to prepare meals, drive me to appointments, buy groceries and run errands. But I didn’t really need that kind of help. For starters, I could keep very little down and was nauseated by a long list of foods. If I even caught a whiff of tomatoes, garlic, onions or other strong food odors, I would have to run to the nearest bathroom. As for driving me to treatments, I found it easier to book a driver through the Canadian Cancer Society, especially on those cold, blustery days when the roads were treacherous.

But prayers were different.

Continue reading on the Faith and Hope Blog.

Stop Overthinking Everything!

breast cancerI’ll organize my cancer.

That’s the first thought that came to mind when Dr. McGillivray started talking about my treatments. As she spoke, my well-developed left brain itemized all the tasks that had to be completed over the next ten months. And of course, everything had to be done perfectly and by me. That’s how I had survived during the first fifty years of my life. Or more precisely, the first forty-nine years, seven months and seven days.

Continue reading on Sandra Dawes’ blog.

A Theme Song for Cancer

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Searching for a bible reading was the farthest thing from my mind during that first month after receiving the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Between appointments and all sorts of tests—biopsy, bone density, ultrasounds—I had very little time to do much else. Once the chemo treatments started, I was barely able to focus on my dwindling list of daily tasks. Continue reading at Jessica Jefferson’s blog.