4 days to 50.
I started following Lissa before the book was published. She has done a lot of work around finding scientific evidence that the body can heal itself, and conversely, how negative beliefs can harm the body. As a 5-year breast cancer survivor I have had a lot of time to think about my personal responsibility in my illness and the various factors in my life that may have contributed to it.
There is vast amounts of research detailing how dangerous stress is, but I know for myself that I thought I was invincible, impervious to the dangers from stress. 13 years ago I remember talking to a friend of mine in the fashion business about my stress level and how I was struggling trying to find a way to manage it. He seriously told me to go to the doctor and get a prescription for Valium.
Come on, Laura, everybody does this. It’s part of being a grown-up in today’s world.
Wow. I didn’t go to the doctor. I just spent hours at the gym every night burning off my stress with cardio. The fact that I cried every day in the car on the way to the gym seemed like the price I had to pay to work in my dream field.
In the end I became so overwhelmed that I quit my job with no real plan as to what to do next. I knew in my soul that the stress from that job was killing me. The plan I told people was that I was going to Colorado to live with my sister and write a book. I did this the week after 9/11. The fear in this country was understandably running rampant. After being accosted by person after person yelling at me that I’d never find a job again because the country was so unstable I succumbed to fear and found another job less than six months later. I didn’t get to the book.
I ended up back in the fashion industry in the company I’m with now in LA.
Right up until the day of my diagnosis I’d go the gym every night to do sometimes back-to-back cardio classes. I’d come home and transition from a couple glasses of wine to sleeping pills to get me through the night.
My cancer diagnosis was a wake-up call for me. I knew in that moment that something in my life wasn’t working. The answer couldn’t be Valium, the answer had to be something else. I’ve spent years on a path to find my way back to myself. As I’ve said before, spiritual awakening is unfortunately not a destination; it’s a journey that I will be traveling on for the rest of my life.
I can say that the way I handle my stress today as opposed to the way I handled my stress for most of my life are totally different. I’ve learned to use many tools to let the stress go and relax. I currently do a personal practice of Kundalini Yoga and Mediation every single day. I’ve learned how to leave work at the office. I take vacations. I seek out genuine connections with other human beings.
I’m not saying that the stress I was under caused my illness or that I’m impervious to getting sick again. Every time I have to go in for a scan I feel the old fear and trepidation come up again. But I do feel empowered knowing that I am doing whatever I can to heal myself and keep myself healthy.
I AM excited that Lissa and her book are re-opening a conversation about the health of the body and it’s relationship to the mind.
I AM grateful and thankful that more and more people will be genuinely interested in answers that don’t involve the use of pharmaceutical drugs.