Article published in Brainz Magazine as an Executive Contributor
I love stories, especially true stories that reflect the emotional and psychological elements of a person's rich, interior life.
This is a story about my mother and I during a difficult time that left a lasting impression on my life. But more than that, it is a life lesson about how we often choose the path of most resistance and reject valuable insights from our childhood, only to realize much later how lucky we were to have been exposed to wisdom at such an early age.
When I was in Los Angeles, I was taking a course in Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT ) course with Marisa Peer, a well-respected and phenomenal force in the field. During this time, I couldn't stop thinking about my mother and even more, kept hearing her voice in my head. I recognized that much of what Marisa was teaching us— for example, that our brain believes the words and pictures we use in our head, or how to use the power of suggestion— was exactly what my mom had taught me when I was growing up.
She always told us to ‘choose our words carefully.’ She herself would use kind and positive words of reinforcement when she was talking to us, to help build our confidence and inner strength. In retrospect, I recognize that she was really paying attention to everything we said. For example, If I declared: ‘I know I won’t be able to do this… she would say, ‘May I suggest instead that you say ‘I know I will find a way to do this?’ She was very aware of the power of words and wanted us to be equipped with the tools to face life’s adversities—to see the possibilities instead of the pitfalls.
At the time, I did not appreciate the value of her words or her approach and, being a typical teen, (i.e. doing the opposite of what my parents told me) I criticized her harshly.
Fast forward 30 years to when my mom broke the news that she was sick. The first thing she told us was how we were expected to talk about the BIG ‘C’, that 6-letter word, often uttered as a whisper, like a secret that, if said aloud, would no doubt make it so. Her first clear directive was that it was not HER cancer, but 'A' cancer. She went on to explain that she REFUSED to take possession of this 'visit' in her body—put simply, it was not 'hers.
I can still hear my naive voice declaring emphatically , “But mom, it is a cancer, face it!!” I told her that she was ‘burying her head in the sand’ and that her philosophy did not make sense. She uttered this forbidden 6-letter word only a few times and even then, only in very necessary circumstances. Years later, after reading Bruce Lipton's masterful work, 'The Biology of Belief,' and seeing how it applied to the fundamentals of my own work as an RTT, I realized that my mother was really quite wise. I guess you could say that I come by my gifts honestly!
My mother has used the power of suggestion and commanding words since my siblings and I were very young. I have many wonderful stories that prove the power of her methodology. She was ahead of her time and in retrospect, I consider it a shame she had to pretend she had heard this or that 'trick' on television or read it in a magazine, so that people around her not to accuse her of being delusional. But I digress...
The radiation therapy began and she maintained her power of belief throughout. "I am going to Club Med," she told us about her 9-week stay at the hospital, adding, "I don’t want anyone to come and see me, I am going to have my treatment in the morning and then I will try everything on the menu!"
Each day, armed with this gentle warrior attitude, she attended ALL the activities proposed by the center where she was staying. She wanted to be incognito and open about herself and her ways without being judged. Waiting for a visitor would mean missing the party!
As part of her healing, she began therapeutic drawing, which she loved because, she said, it stimulated her creativity and concentration. She went to movies she would never have gone to in the past, had meaningful conversations and made connections with new people on a different level. During all this she used mindfulness to channel renewed energy to her body and with the strength it was creating, instructed and commanded her body to heal and regenerate.
She gained great power from this mindfulness. It helped foster enthusiasm about the activities she did at the center and helped her to be open to the possibility of healing. She talked about everything with joy and in doing so, BECAME joyful.
Of course, this did not negate the medical or physical facts of her illness. Yes, her skin was burnt, yes it hurt, and she had many difficult days. But she decided that she would make the best of it. Her attitude and the creative way she chose to live with her illness, helped her create a new reality that changed her experience of radiotherapy and ultimately helped her grow.
Today, we are more in touch with these methods and much has been written about the power of suggestion. Unfortunately, during my mother's time, this type of approach was largely considered as a kind of mysticism and very little credence was given to its effectiveness.
I am telling you this very personal story of my mother, with her blessing, to illustrate how the power of belief can impact your life. In fact, it is a cornerstone of my practice as an RTT and something I work with my clients to achieve. I have seen firsthand how beliefs, whether negative or positive, can alter the course of your path.
Like many people facing illness, my mother had to deal with the anger she felt. She took a workshop on how to channel this anger and express it in a constructive and authentic way. In fact, it inspired her so much that she later gifted me with the course as a way to share the tricks and coping mechanisms she'd learnt. Today, her learning lives on in my own work.
And there is a happy ending to this story that continues to unfold. Following her treatment, she returned home and continued to explore new ways to live and enrich her life; taking piano lessons again and learning to speak Spanish. Today, she is working toward a black belt in Kickboxing, declaring proudly, "They don’t know I am 74, on the mat, we are all the same."
The 'moral' of this story? Don't let even the most challenging events in your life define who you are or how to live, and remember:
Certain experiences may cause a knee-jerk reaction to how you act in the moment, but the meaning you attach to it and how you move forward with that information is up to you. It is ok to sit with pain for a while till it dissolves, as everything eventually does, and occupies a different place in your mind. But you are not required to listen to people who tell you to 'face reality' as I once did with my mother!
Admittedly, this is easier said than done. And it is the main impetus for my chosen path of RTT methodology. It is a life skill with a set of tools that I use to help my clients create their own reality and embrace it with the power of suggestion, commanding words, joy and enthusiasm.
In this way, I am not only helping people cope during pivotal events, but letting my mother know how much I love and honour her by sharing the gift of inner wisdom she handed down to me.