How to Cope with Cancer? Be a "pain in the ass"

Jack Kornfield, in his book A Path with Heart, says we can either see the world asa place where we are eaten and we eat others or as a world where we are feeding one another.

In order to feed one another, we have to at least partially share who we are and what we think.

Many researchers have noted that cancer patients, who advocate for themselves, express what they like, what they dislike, ask questions, and were actually sometimes called “a pain in the ass” by doctors/nurses survived more than those who didn't.

When going through an illness or difficult time, we often feel especially vulnerable. Sometimes this translates to shut down mode and we sort of switch off our brains. Other times it just activates our usual communication pattern. Our style of communicating with oncology staff is usually consistent with our general style of communication, even in the most intimate relationships that we have. So ask yourself, do you tend to share who you are and what you think openly, ask uncomfortable questions, or do you tend to hold most things inside?

If your answer is the latter, it's important to learn how to be more of a "pain in the ass"

First of all compassionately ask your self what is difficult about speaking up: Why is it so difficult to allow others to see who we truly are? Why do we hide it? Are we afraid that we might literally be swallowed whole?

Perhaps we are resistant because we don’t know what that person will bite into. Perhaps we don’t know because we are afraid to taste it ourselves. Intimacy first comes with self. We must become more intimate with ourselves, before we can ever allow another to know us.

How can I get intimate with me?

~One way is through journaling (I am big on writing)

~Another way is through daily meditation

~Another way is through focusing (this is an active meditative technique used to identify “felt senses” in the body- basically emotions and where they are expressed in the body- fascinating!) Check out for quick instruction.

Or get the book:

~Here’s a great exercise from a therapist who specializes in focusing and meditation: While in meditation, become very comfortable and go along with your usual process of meditation – perhaps beginning to relax your toes, then your entire foot, your calves, on up your body to your head…taking time to sense your body, feel any sensation which wants to show itself. As you get into the meditation allow something to come into your mind which you are currently struggling with. Allow it to sit there for a moment. When this comes into your mind, take note what happens to you, does it appear anywhere in your body? Do you feel anything? Allow yourself to notice these feelings. Now allow that thought to drift away. Then bring your mind back to the breath and return to your meditation.

I loved this meditation- I hope you enjoy it too. Make sure you write down any thoughts you had about it. I’d love to hear about them.

Just take a risk, take small, tiny little bites of yourself. They are much easier to digest this way, I can promise you that.

Love and Light,

Dr. Regina