8 Kislev 5772
One of the readers of EMPOWER Yourself commented that she’s grateful for the book because “It lets me be me. It offers ideas I can use or not use at my own discretion. I don’t have to start reciting some mantra you came up with or act in ways I’m not comfortable with. I don't have to be a cancer 'Warrior.' And the book is helping me. It has a lot to offer.”
I appreciate that nobody normal needs to be demeaned in order to get well. That “You Must FIGHT to beat your disease!” mindset in other books about coping with illness is echoed on websites about healing, too. It’s not realistic and it's not fair. It is inappropriate to pressure someone to do things your way when they are weak, in need of compassion and deserving of respect.
NOBODY is licensed by The One Above to tell the whole wide world what they “should” do to be healthier. There is no One Size Fits All healing or coping prescription. We are individuals.
Here’s an excerpt from EMPOWER Yourself to demonstrate just how strongly I believe in respecting the person before you, and not in the the alleged healer's ego-tripping:
“I wrote this book after having been on both sides of the hospital bill. Throughout my professional and personal experiences, I've clung to a sense of humor with the tenacity to grab life by the collar and yell, "I want more!" That attitude developed over my lifetime, and ultimately saved my life.
“About two years after my life-saving surgery and subsequent recovery, I began a new career as a Self-Help Coach. My clients tell me that their trust in my empathy, my insight, and in my efforts to help them to change their counterproductive beliefs and behaviors, let alone their delight in successfully replacing negative thought and behavior with positive thought and behavior are the outgrowth of my life-affirming choices.
“I welcome readers to benefit from my true-life experience at managing with a medical crisis. The opening segment of this workbook is Permission to Weep over your diagnosis. You might feel shock, betrayal, confusion, despair, and more because of the medical crisis before you. Those are normal reactions to the shock of a sudden, unexpected medical crisis or one that you tried to prevent. Read on to absorb the entire Permit. - Yocheved
Human beings mint coins and they're all alike. But when the Creator mints people, each of us is unique even though we come from the same mold. Our different personalities, skills and longings necessitate different paths to achieving a state of calm after we've been startled or terrified. There are no "One size fits all" methods of calming down or gaining perspective. Yet we need to reach the state of composed thought and behavior in order to live as productively and happily as possible under challenging circumstances. Sound reasoning enables us to choose the coping mechanisms that work for us.
Challenging? Oh yes. But the alternative to coping is worse.
After I revealed my diagnosis to friends and family, we cried together. Then we progressed to choosing coping skills and keeping me strong so I could have a chance to continue living. My choice to focus on sound psychological principles complemented my Orthodox Jewish religious convictions. Many of those sound psychological principles, as well as classical Jewish philosophy and laws are presented in this text. A blend of both appears in the next paragraph.
One of the worst reactions people had to my news was saying with a sense of fatalism and religious superiority over me, "You shouldn't cry. GOD only gives people the challenges they can face." I disagree. Many a good person has experienced a psychological or medical problem, and suffered terribly or not survived it. Some medical and emotional challenges destroy no matter how valiantly we fight to survive them. Other crises can be survived. It isn't fair to lump them all in one "You can do it!" category. It blames the patient, who is suffering already. No one on this planet is authorized to pass judgment on another person's trials and tribulations. That's GOD's job.
Are you afraid that religious people or even not so religious people will blame you for your very legitimate tears and fears, because GOD knows what He's doing? Are they doing it already? These types of pithy remarks get high scores for being truthful and meaningful. But they get big fat ZEROES for actually helping someone to conquer their misery. It's as useless as telling someone dripping blood or holding onto broken limbs in an emergency room that "I FEEL YOUR PAIN." It's no help at all.
A medical diagnosis that presents a crisis is something to legitimately cry about. It is a lack of stability and a lack of reliable givens that we need so much. One of the Gates of Prayer that remains open despite the lack of a Beit HaMikdash (ancient Jewish Temple) is the Gate of Tears. Crying is a form of prayer. It says, "I'm scared, I'm sad, I'm angry, I don't know what to do about my problem. I need your help HaShem (GOD)," and more.
We learn from the Talmud in Bava Metzia 59a "Even though the Gates of Prayer are closed (after the destruction of the grand Jewish Temple called Bait HaMikdash), the Gates of Tears are never closed."
GOD keeps the Gate of Tears open so we will cry to Him. Crying is part of our relationship with Him.
Consider the reason that you're crying. Do you feel shocked, lost, confused or angry with someone, as I did? Anger can express itself as outrage, frustration, jealousy, resentment, fury, and hatred. It can masquerade as judgment, criticism, and even (surprise!) boredom. Like all emotions, it is a complex, ever-shifting state involving thoughts, feelings, and bodily changes. So, not only do you have a medical diagnosis of concern, you also might be developing the stress of tummy upsets, unpredictable menstrual cycles, weight problems, and other complications. It's a roller coaster with thrills, spills, and corkscrew turns, none of it predictable or controllable.
A friend shared a relevant poem with me. I do not know the identity of the original author. I recommend that you share this deep message with loved ones so that they can learn how better to express their love from it:
Don't tell me that you understand,
Don't tell me that you know,
Don't tell me that I will survive, How I will surely grow.
Don't tell me this is just a test,
That I am truly blessed,
That I am chosen for this task,
Apart from all the rest.
Don't come at me with answers,
That can only come from me,
Don't tell me how my grief will pass,
That I will soon be free.
Don't stand in pious judgment,
Of the bounds I must untie,
Don't tell me how to suffer,
And don't tell me how to cry.
My life is filled with selfishness,
My pain is all I see,
But I need you, I need your love,
Accept me in my ups and downs,
I need someone to share,
Just hold my hand and let me cry,
And say, "My friend, I care".
All of us are holding your hand, and say... (your name)... "We care"
A medical crisis - you'd cry too, if it happened to you. Use your tissues and handkerchiefs with my blessings borne of experience. GOD gives you Permission to Weep. And you can say that to any critics after explaining that "It's MY Crisis! And I'll Cry if I Need To."
Did someone order YOU to be a Cancer WARRIOR? Show them this blogpost. Then click on the words EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge to buy the E-book or print edition today. Have a brighter holiday season with my blessings.
Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity.
Face Your Future with Optimism.