Cancer & Communication: How to talk to the Healthy People


A very common dilemma for those living with or who have lived with cancer is exactly how to talk to the healthy/well people (aka the normies or the muggles) about their cancer experience.

This problem of communicating with a "different" other, is always with us, it may dress in different suits, but the struggle remains quite similar.

How can a wizard communicate with a person who can't do magic? Can a "normie" really understand an alcoholic? How can a female talk to a male? How might a patient allow a caregiver to understand? How can a child tell a parent? How can I make him or her get "it", understand me? How can I communicate my lived experience with this different "other"?

Specific to cancer, how might a Person Living with Cancer (PLC*) guage the level of detail anyone really wants to hear about his or her condition? Should a PLC tell a different story to casual acquaintances and a more textured tale to relatives and close friends?  What is the standard “press release” if you will, that a PLC can communicate to the outside world so that the co-worker, friend, spouse, child (See this book for kids) or associate are informed, yet not alarmed?

And furthermore, to what extent should a PLC speak in positive terms in service of rooting oneself in the present moment and maintaining hope for the future? This issue of being positive is one of the most "loaded" areas for PLC's (I wrote an article about this double edge sword due to the frequency in which it surfaces: See my article,"Cancer and the Secret"). PLC's often get the message that being positive is not only important for staying hopeful, keeping loved ones happy and living in the present moment, but imperative to survival. It's quite a bind for PLC's when they feel down sometimes, frustrated or just plain sad (a normal human feeling).

Along with my friend, fellow PLC* and Buddhist monk Joseph Rossier, I will discuss issues like these, enjoy a sitting meditation & instruction, a vegan lunch & a walking meditation during A Day of Awareness at the at the Dai Dang Meditation Center in Bonsall California, 30 miles north of San Diego (Click here for map) on Saturday June 25th 10am to 1:30pm.

See Dharma Doors for more information on this Day of Awareness and to RSVP as space is limited at the Meditation Center.

If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against. He lives in the "House of the Gathering." Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day ~Carl Jung

*PLC= "Person who is living with or who has lived with cancer". The term PLC is used in lieu of the the label cancer patient