“Perception is 99 percent of reality.” This expression is never far from my mind as I go about living my own busy life.
Each of us can make everything that comes our way somewhat easier (or more difficult) to deal with. There are always going to be challenges and stressful situations—that’s just part of life. What is also part of life is that every day we get to make choices as to how we let life’s inevitable ups and downs affect us.
One’s outlook is particularly evident in a clinical setting, most especially when patients are facing a progressive chronic illness.
Lynn seems to always have a smile on her face. She has a zest for life that is contagious to everyone she comes into contact with. Lynn radiates a light and a vibrant, alive EnerQi as she enters a room. “EnerQi” is a term I coined meaning the vibration we carry based on our lifestyle choices.
Lynn has been living with the diagnosis of bone cancer for the past ten years. When she became my patient a few years ago, she detailed her condition during her initial intake. Then, she asked me quite pointedly not to ever discuss her illness again using the word “cancer.”
Lynn has made the conscious choice to focus on living out the rest of her life directing her energy to what works within her body and within her life, rather than focusing on what is not working. Each day, she conscientiously chooses to see with the emotional expression of happiness and joy, period.
I feel privileged to be part of an integrated health team that Lynn has chosen to support her care. Each of us utilizes our chosen expertise to go about building up Lynn’s immune system as we counter balance the effects of chemotherapy and cancer.
While I draw from acupuncture, herbs, meditation, lifestyle intervention, homeopathy, diet, and vitamin therapy, other team members provide support with prayer, yoga, Pilates, massage, chiropractic care, and cognitive therapy as needed.
Lynn’s most bothersome side effects include rashes, dry thinning hair, mouth sores, and a recent bone break. She is fortunate to be included in a clinical study using immunotherapy, a form of medicine that protects and builds one’s immune system while working to destroy cancer cells. Her protocol seems to be working, although one never really knows.
As a positive thinker, Lynn is constantly looking for innovative and interesting ways to reframe her reaction and thinking as she faces and deals with information that can be negative or frightening. Lynn is a problem solver who seeks ongoing solutions. If a strategy is not working, she does not give up on the first, second or even the third try.
Lynn’s unwavering faith in a power greater than herself offers her an immeasurable amount of comfort and peace. Through meditation, Lynn has learned to listen to her inner wisdom and to trust her deepest voice.
Lynn not only feels happy, she is happy. She has learned that she alone—no other person, condition or situation—has the power to access and control her emotions. She chooses to pay attention, to experience magical sunrises and stunning sunsets. When she walks by a beautiful flower, she notices it.
Often, Lynn and her husband come in together for their acupuncture treatment. We talk about the love and support their large extended family of children, grandchildren, and friends add to their lives. They make quality time for each other and their family. They are not taking anything for granted. They enjoy every day, one day at a time, while rarely forgetting to say, “please,” “thank you,” and most importantly, “I love you.”
The way Lynn has chosen to walk her path is inspirational. How we respond to the difficult challenges that life inevitably directs our way does make all the difference. Our glass can be half full or half empty—the choice is always ours.