Sunday, August 30, 2009

Attitude and Altitude

I could start this blog entry out with that pithy quote about how one's attitude determines their altitude, but the problem is - it comes across like a pithy quote.

I've observed over many years a wide variety of reactions to serious (and sometimes, not as serious) diagnoses. In all that time, it's left me with no doubt whatsoever about the mind-body connection.

One friend of mine diagnosed with breast cancer said that she didn't freak out about it, she just always felt it was like an aberration - a mistake. Not that the diagnosis was a mistake.. but she just sort of processed the cancer diagnosis like it was some kind of boo-boo that she had to take steps to correct.

She followed through with the medical advice she received, and had surgery and chemo. Today, she would probably no more say she was a "cancer survivor" than I would tell you I play for the NBA. The word "survivor" is not really part of her lexicon. If I had to refer to my friend as a "cancer-anything", I would say she is a cancer thriver. At the time, it was an emotional journey for her. But now, she shares that cancer was just another life experience she went through. I think she kicked ass.

Lance Armstrong kicked ass, too, in a very public way. I mean, good grief. Lance dealt with testicular, lung and brain cancer. Lance re-framed his diagnosis and cancer experience in a way that truly empowered him.

"Cancer is my secret weapon, because none of my rivals has been that close to death. It makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage." Lance Armstrong

Here's another young woman, Cami, who got turned upside down for awhile with her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. A well meaning friend spoke to Cami about her outlook, which at the time was rather dour. But Cami was willing to try things another way. And not only did Cami experience a massive improvement in her symptoms, but she's using her experience as the catalyst for a whole gratitude, generosity, pay it forward type MOVEMENT. Check out the video:

I believe that this shift in focus is partly what influenced Cami's physical and spiritual improvements. For one thing, the focus on what Cami was grateful for, literally changed her body chemistry. Instead of manufacturing and circulating catecholamines like adrenaline, she most likely started creating and circulating feel-good chemicals, like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. And with the change in her mental focus, she shifted her vibration from "someone who has MS" to "grateful person" and "excited about life". Eventually the emotional journey propelled her to "author", "philanthropist", and "humanitarian".

I'm joining in for the 29-day commitment at her website, and if the above video appeals to you, I invite you to join me!

Namaste ~

1 comment:

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