How’s 2012 treating you? I hear many are experiencing the healing of old wounds, greater clarity and even celebration. However, such shifts are often taking place in the presence of chaos and even death as old patterns die away and make way for new and exciting ways of relating with ourselves and the world.

This was certainly the theme of my first six months of 2012, when I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. It was the best gift and wake-up call I could have received from my soul. Nothing else could have caught my attention so successfully and stopped me in my tracks so effectively. Due to my teachings of over 20 years, it never occurred to me to ‘battle with’ or ‘be a victim of’ the disease.’ My soul had created it for a purpose and it was up to me to take the most from the experience. Even though the healing continues today, I cannot believe how much I, and my relationships, have changed for the better, due to the cancer.

The irony is that, two weeks prior to the appearance of the breast lump, I had sent the manuscript for my latest book on women to the publisher. The main reason for writing the book was because I was fed up with hearing people say; ‘fancy her getting cancer, she’s so nice.’ I’ve always wanted to shout; ‘that’s the problem, she’s too nice!’ I here I was, ‘Miss Nice’ having to walk my talk. I had learned at a very early age how to read other people’s energy so I could work out what I needed to do in their presence in order to be liked. My mother always chided me for forming opinions about other people too quickly and told me to give them a second chance. So I did, I gave them a third, fourth and fifth chance. I was so good at denying my initial instincts that I became a pleaser, proud that other people found me easy to have around. The cancer helped me to see, I had disappeared. Outside my work, most of my decisions were based on the needs of other people, with my own needs often seeming irrelevant, even to me. That has changed. Now, I say ‘No’ without worrying about the effect of my decisions on others or trying to keep options open by saying; ‘maybe another time.’

I also came to see how easily the individual can become lost in the presence of illness, especially when diagnosed with cancer. One of the questions I ask clients is; ‘what was going on when you became ill?’ 80% of the time, I would hear; ‘I know why I have cancer/heart disease/ etc..’ Yet it was my experience that almost before I had finished naming the disease, I was being given advice as to what I should do to rid myself of this perceived invader. There was an obvious lack of interest in my life or my beliefs especially those which suggested that my soul had created the cancer in the first place. ‘Change your diet, go on a fast, meditate, take vitamins and exercise more.’ Almost nobody, including many people who call themselves holistic practitioners, asked me questions about my life. I saw how easy it was to grasp at straws in the presence of a life-threatening disease and the stigmatization of illness. ‘If only you had eaten differently, not smoked or had babies, you would be well.’ There were certainly things I wanted to change in my life but they were not based on guilt and fear but came through the loving voice of my soul, encouraging me to return home to my heart and then take care of myself at the deepest level.

I am eternally grateful for my breast cancer and the insights it gave me about the whole process of healing at an intimate level. I realize that 20 years after writing Frontiers of Health; the opportunity of illness, the majority of health care is still stuck at the level of fixing the problem, often merely at the physical level, without ever considering the soul as the creator of the experience. Let’s hope this unhealthy separation will be revealed for what it is; a way of keeping us out of touch with our true wholeness and power.

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