PictureTreya Wilber was my inspirational muse
When I was going through my chemotherapy treatments, I received a sweet but powerful book from one of my best and sweetest girlfriends, Nancy McCallum. It’s entitled Grace and Grit, Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber by Ken Wilber, her husband.  Contained within this book are many of the writings of Treya who became my muse, guiding me with her love, courage, and impeccable self-honesty. Because Treya's tumor was identical to mine, early stage and the most aggressive, and she died  five years after her initial diagnosis, I weighed whether I should be reading her story. More fear I did not need! But Treya validated  and inspired me as she raised my spiritual bar. And because her thoughts, feelings, and spirituality also seemed identical to my own, she became my sister in cancer. 

Treya’s presence lived with me daily, urging me and inviting me into a deeper self-compassion and shift of perspective. My goal wasn't just physical healing but inner change, inner choice, inner shifts in my being. When she began to question the reasons for her breast cancer, just as I had been doing, Ken responded to her,  "I don’t know what caused the cancer, and I don’t think anybody does. The people that go around saying that cancer is caused primarily by repressed emotions or low self-esteem or spiritual anemia don’t know what they’re talking about. There is no credible evidence whatsoever for those notions; they’re basically put forward by people who are trying to sell you something anyway.

Since nobody knows what caused your cancer, I don’t know what you should change in order to help cure it. So why don’t you try this? Why don’t you use cancer as a metaphor and a spur to change all those things in your life that you wanted to change anyway? In other words, repressing certain emotions may or may not have helped cause the cancer, but since you want to stop repressing those emotions anyway, then use the cancer as a reason, as an excuse, to do so.  I know advice is cheap here, but why not take the cancer as an opportunity to change all those things on your list that can be changed?" [Treya had also made a list of “reasons” for her cancer.]

I am not so sure I believed, or still believe, Ken's thoughts on the credibility of the Cancer Personality, but his response to his beloved Treya made sense in so many ways.  I certainly had my "What Caused My Cancer" list, but rather than focusing on them as the reasons for my cancer, I chose to use them as beacon lights to healing.

That being said, there are many who do believe that there is a Cancer Personality.  We will discuss them in upcoming conversations.  A hui ho!...Bye for now!

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

~ AA Serenity Prayer


11/08/2013 10:11am

Very well written!


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