What can you do when fear sets in and just won’t leave you alone?
D signed on as my coaching client when the conventional treatment for her lung cancer didn’t appear to be making any progress. Just two weeks after we met, a CT scan showed she had a new spot of cancer on her brain.
D called me in the midst of a panic attack: she was hyperventilating and couldn’t calm herself after hearing the news. I didn’t feel I had the luxury of asking her to make an appointment, even the same day. I had to help her right there, on the phone.
I had her take several deep breaths with me, until our breaths were in sync. Then I asked her, “D, what does your fear look like?” She said “dark, really dark.”
I said, “picture in your mind that in all that dark, suddenly you see the tiniest point of light, just the size of a pinhead. Do you see it?” When she said yes, I said “take another deep breath, and notice that the light has expanded just a little bit. It’s the size of a grape now.”
When she told me she could see the grape, I had her look for light the size of a softball, then a basketball. She pictured it getting bigger and bigger until she was surrounded with soft, warm light. She noticed that her breathing was now soft and regular.
D was scheduled for a one-time radiation treatment later that week, and we talked about what was in her power to do to sustain the calm she had just created for herself through her upcoming procedure. She still felt shaky, but said she would try out what we had talked about.
The morning after the procedure, D called me back and said “I just had the best day of my life!” I was surprised, but told her I was thrilled to hear that and asked her to tell me more.
She said, “It was an hour drive to the treatment center, so I invited an old friend I hadn’t seen for years to ride with me. We laughed all the way there.”
“The procedure wasn’t fun – they basically clamped my head to the table – but all the time I kept picturing my Dad in heaven with all the angels. They were smiling at me and pulling for me. I hummed songs to myself that Dad and I used to sing together.”
“My friend drove me home, and we laughed some more, and today I feel great – no side effects or anything.”
I congratulated D on exercising her power to make what could have been a day from hell into a day brimming over with Life. And then she said something I’ll never forget: “You know Dr. Shani, I know in my heart that the real cure for cancer is love.”
None of us can make fear go away completely. But like D you have the power to transform fear, so you can live from a place of hope, joy and love.
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