Fear, Intention and Gratitude: Facing A Cancer Diagnosis by Linda Resca
"I had to become skilled at not only advocating for my right to have competent professionals assisting me..."
Six years ago, on July 18th, I was laying in a bed at OHSU awaiting surgery that I hoped would completely remove the cancer that had been found in my body two and a half weeks earlier. And though it is important to honor that moment in my life, it is all that followed that I am most passionate about sharing; what I've learned, and continue to learn about healing.
I've had many blessings of beauty and goodness in my life; however, having a body that continually offers me opportunities for "work" has often felt like anything but a blessing. I was already working very hard to heal myself of my life's wounds when the "big one" arrived at my door, the one that many of us fear the most-CANCER.
Fear was nothing new for me. I have carried a lot of it with me throughout my life, primarily due to some very difficult experiences in my early years. I thought I'd made a lot of progress on my issues but the day that cancer blew into my world I became aware of how much work I still had ahead of me, particularly regarding fear. I still work with that one.
I have received many gifts from fear. One of them is knowing, in the deepest way of knowing, that fear does not support healing on any level of my being. When I'm in a state of fear it is very difficult to know/hear what my inner wisdom, (call it "God" or whatever term you associate with this wonderful awareness) is saying. It is this place in me that gives the absolute truth, and when I am in alignment with this, everything is perfect, regardless of the circumstances. There is no fear, "what if", not even a hint of doubt. Some of the tools that I've used to assist me in traveling to this place of knowing have been writing, dream work, chanting/toning and a whole lot of observing myself, particularly my fear and what it does to me energetically, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
The first several years after my cancer diagnosis gave me ample opportunity to practice being with fear. My mind created many rambling wanderings and wonderings about whether I would die soon. I also experienced extreme terror when some tangible evidence suggested that the cancer might have returned. At my first checkup after the surgery, an abnormality was found by the doctor and I was referred back to the oncologist. I immediately went into a spiral of fear and panic. I waited (waiting is very hard when you're wondering if you have cancer again!) several agonizing days before I could get an appointment. In the interim I was able to speak with him on the phone. The simple reassurance and kindness that he gave bathed me with an overwhelming sense of relief. This oncologist is a stellar human being! His compassion minimized my fear which, of course, supported my healing.
It is widely documented that when a caring relationship is developed, the body heals. I have experienced this by noting that I feel immensely better after an appointment with a practitioner who makes an effort to connect with me and in whom I sense a true attitude of caring and compassion. When someone relates to me in this way it decreases my fear because I am reminded that, no matter what, all is well.
Finding these emotional qualities in a medical professional is uncommon. I had to become skilled at not only advocating for my right to have competent professionals assisting me, but also advocating for my right to be treated in the way that we would all want to be treated-with kindness, compassion and empathy. Being treated this way is important; especially when coping with a potentially life threatening illness. Cancer has taught me to become an excellent advocate for myself, and it's a gift that I have had the pleasure of passing on by assisting others with this process.
Cancer has taught me other things, too. I have learned that clear intention supports healing on all levels. An undistracted intention to heal is not only important when healing ourselves—it is imperative for those who help others to heal. As Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. says, "the healing begins when you first think of your patient and shake their hand." Your intention creates energy and focused energy can change things.
An intention is made of two parts: a thought and a commitment. Together they have the power to manifest the idea contained within the thought into our "real world." An intention is quite magical when viewed in this way, because it is the human capacity to consciously make manifest the unmanifest. A powerful intention for healing is an indispensable ally if you are plagued with chronic sickness. Unfortunately, the converse is equally true and far more common. A healing professional who does not generate an intention for healing does no favor for the patient he serves. The patient's healing potential is certainly not optimized by a doctor focusing on negative thoughts ("she's got three months to live"). Healing happens by degree in many ways, with physical healing being only the most obvious kind. A powerful intention to heal my own cancer unexpectedly led me to begin healing parts of my self that I'd never considered before. To begin, I had to examine and heal my relationship to fear.
Illness is a very complex phenomenon and, in many cases, can be put into the category that Joan Borysenko calls "the sacred mystery." Sometimes, no matter how much we eat the "right" foods, meditate the "correct" amount of time, practice our spirituality, exercise, and on and on and on, we still get sick, and sometimes very sick. In my experience, there is typically never just one reason why we get sick and conversely, there is usually not just one reason why we get well. The mystery endures. We may never know all the reasons for our sickness or our health, but I am convinced that we can positively affect both by the inner and outer environments that we create in our lives.
Simply put, when we love more and fear less, we align ourselves with the "sacred" aspect of Borysenko's sacred mystery.
The experience of our own suffering can be consciously transformed by this inner environment, whether or not physical healing follows. There are people who heal their lives even as they are dying from cancer. We never know what we will face when we wake up, so why not enjoy the moment? Our present moment is the one thing we can be sure of because, as long as we are alive, we will keep on having moments.
Intention and gratitude have been my guiding lights as I wake up and end each day with the deepest of thanks for ALL that has come to me. My relationship with cancer started as a terrifying moment. It has led me on an incredible journey. I am so excited about stepping into each new moment as I shed more and more of my fears. When I am not in a place of fear, I take good care of myself, and I do this because it feels good to do it, not because I fear I will become sick if I don't do those things.
The currents of grace flow through our lives all of the time, and all we need to do is awaken and notice! Cancer was my wakeup call. Since having cancer, I have been aware of so many moments of grace and several miracles that have come to me. The joy that I feel from these experiences has been immense and there have been days when it felt like the container of my being could barely hold the ecstasy and gratitude I was feeling. As odd as this sounds, to me and probably to the reader, in many ways I will forever be grateful for that moment six years ago when I entered into a different world via a cancer diagnosis. Everything is different now, in the most wonderful of ways.
Linda Resca has worked in the field of education for 24 years. Three years ago she received training in Etheric Healing and in addition to offering these healings, provides, as a Healing Arts Educator, experiential workshops and personal consultations. Recently, Linda enrolled in the Jaffe Institute for Spiritual and Medical Healing. Linda has a deep passion for and interest in spirituality and healing. She invites people who share this interest to contact her at (503) 910-3732 or .
cover art © Leo Wyman