"Our soul must perform two duties. The one is that we must reverently wonder and be surprised. The other is that we must gently let go and let be." Julian of Norwich

...Cancer teaches both!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Cancer brings its fair share of stress and anxiety into our lives. With a diagnosis we are launched into a maelstrom of appointments, scans, and tests. Waiting for the results of these tests can bring its own particular dread. In addition to an underlying fear of death or dying, there may be fear of recurrences or worry about treatment regimes and their side-effects. Each new pain experienced in the body can be imagined as a new cancer. Financial stress often accompanies cancer as healthcare costs rise and as income decreases or disappears. Cancer may force us into making significant decisions about our work, living arrangements, and lifestyles with each of these decisions embodying its own particular dimension of grief and loss. The list goes on...

The cumulative effect of this “cancer stress” and "anxiety" has the potential to further diminish our health and well-being beyond the physical effects of cancer itself. Since stress has been found to be a significant factor in decreasing our immune function it is vital to our health that we find effective ways of coping with it. Finding peace in the midst of the stress of cancer can be one of the survivor’s greatest challenges.

There is a particular kind of peace that naturally accompanies the sense of "contentment" that comes when things are going well in our lives. It is a very different and more elusive type of peace that comes in the midst of hardships. This is how I have come to understand "serenity", an inner quality of peace in the midst of chaos and stress. "Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm."

“Inner peace: (or peace of mind) A colloquialism that refers to a state of being mentally or spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress… Peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress. In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as prayer, meditation, T'ai Chi Ch'uan or yoga, for example. Many spiritual practices refer to this peace as an experience of knowing oneself.” Wikipedia

Keeping ourselves strong and healthy in the face of cancer involves taking a proactive role in our own healing. It involves becoming informed about our illness and engaged in the healing process. It also involves, inasmuch as these things are possible, accepting the things we can’t change, letting go of fear and worry, and consenting to be at peace with the unresolved issues, tensions and dilemmas in our lives. Often easier said, than done!

Peace be with you...   Rob; in Vancouver

“Each one has to find his peace from within.
And peace, to be real, must be unaffected
by outside circumstances.”
Mahatma Gandhi

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...And Also With You.

I like the distinction that you made. You must acknowledge the stress in your life, and be informed enough to deal with it, to have serenity; rather than ignore it and have the bliss that comes along with ignorance.

Great words of wisdom.

It is easy to forget about your spiritual health in the busy world today. We must be mindful and calm. This helps us to stay present to recognize what we need in this moment.

Love Robyn