Science has proven to us that stress is the root cause of chronic disease. Negative thoughts and emotions produce harmful chemical reactions that promote inflammation throughout our bodies, suppress our immune system, and damage our brains. Negative thoughts can undermine our healing. Many years ago, during my post op recoveries from several cancer surgeries at Sloan Kettering, my doctor and nurses told me all this stuff. They warned me about the above side effects of “stress” and the impact it would have on my body. I wasn’t ready to hear it. Fear gripped my mind but “intuitively” I knew they were right. After all, here I was 33 years young and dealing with cancer of the tongue. Stress had to have had something to do with this diagnosis.
Through a series of what I now know were “synchronistic,” and “Divinely Ordered” events; I simultaneously received ‘out of the blue’ two life changing messages/messenger. On my first day home alone after returning from Sloan Kettering I can vividly recall walking back into my house. I had just waved goodbye to my precious three elementary school age kids as they boarded their bus. I felt petrified, sick to my stomach, my heart was pounding, my hands were shaking and I was sweating. All because of my thoughts!! The silence in my home was deafening and too much for me to bear. So, I walked over to our liquor cabinet (even though I wasn’t a drinker), took the bottle of vodka down, then a glass. I heard that voice again..this time telling me to just have one, just one, it will calm you down. That's what I will do. Yes, I’ll do that … I need something, I can't live like this! As I was about to pour the vodka into the glass the house phone rang. I put the bottle down and answered it. The voice said, “hi, is this Colleen? Yes, I responded wondering who this was.... "Hi Colleen. This is Norman Kanter. I am your parents’ marriage counselor. Your parents thought you might want to talk to someone ~ I heard you are going through a “rough patch.” I am a psychologist in Smithtown. A rough patch? - if he only knew! I have, had cancer and I'm about to have a drink! Immediately I started to sob. Sob into the phone. I couldn’t speak. He softly asked me, “What are you doing right now?” “Right now?” I somehow muttered back. Something inside said, "tell the truth." I looked at the clock as I was trying to speak. It read 845 AM! “Um… I just poured myself a drink but then you called so I put it down to answer the phone. “ "Oh, he said, did you drink it yet?" "No," I responded. I can still recall his demeanor with me, his tone, the cadence of his voice. Dr. Kanter was soft spoken, caring, there was no judgment in his voice – only kindness – and I felt no shame. I was 33 years young, wounded, scared, petrified is more like it – he knew all that already. “Would you consider not having that drink and instead coming over to my office and we could talk, I just had a cancellation?” That same mysterious overbearing voice nudged me forward. I cried, " yes", but....I would have to take a taxi and I have never taken a taxi ...but I'm not allowed to drive... I whined back. I have staples and stitches in my neck and, and.. “That’s ok” Norm responded, I understand, how about I arrange a taxi for you - could you be ready in 30 minutes?" I'm ready now, please dont let me sit in this muck and mire of a mindset..."Ok, then grab your things and take a walk outside and wait there for the taxi - it will arrive shortly." I put the bottle and glass away, grabbed my pocketbook and keys, walked outside and waited for my help. I carried a tremendous amount of tears and fears into that taxi and met my messenger of hope and change, Psychologist Dr. Norman Kanter (now retired). Dr. Kanter was the first person to provide answers and keys as to how do I retrain my brain? How do I let go of all this fear? How do I move forward, live this moment and not in the future or the past? How? How?
The second miracle occurred simultaneously with my meeting with Dr. Kanter. A book that I credit (along with Dr. Kanter's wisdom) for changing the trajectory of my life over three decades ago - and it appeared through Oprah! The book is:
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
Louise’s words that I could change my life “if I was WILLING to change my thinking” floored me yet encouraged me. Are you serious? - I could change my life if I change my thinking? I leaned in and kept reading. This little book was and remains a blueprint for providing the answers to so many questions I have/had. It answers “how do I retrain my brain?” And, it teaches what we know already, that there is so much power in our thoughts and the words we speak.
More on how I have grown, what I have mastered, what I continue to work on, how I work with my mindbodyspirit later.
Sending you peace - may it be with you always, all around you and flow through you. Namaste ~
You Can Heal Your Life