Creating Wellness, Part I: My Own Story - by Christine Upchurch, M.S.
"You're a healer," a voice from within said very clearly. The voice and its message were so out of the ordinary, it stopped me in my tracks. What was this about? I certainly hadn't been thinking about anything that seemed remotely related to this. So whose voice was this, and why was I receiving this message now?
Then I considered the message. At the time, I thought that working as a healer required a person to be saintly. Knowing how far from a saint I was, I decided that this message was merely an egotistical fabrication of my mind, and dismissed its importance.
I heard that message twice during the summer between my junior and senior years of college, where I was a math major. It was during the summer break that I was trying to choose what my next step would be after graduation. I certainly wasn't considering any field far removed from mathematics, especially something as alternative as "healing." Despite the fact that my life had been peppered with paranormal experiences, I was now an adult choosing a sensible professional path.
Several years later, after making my career choice, I was working on my doctorate in statistics in graduate school as well as working as a statistical consultant in the business world. It was then that I found myself facing a significant health crisis: I had the early stages of cancer. When I saw a specialist about my illness, he told me something that I never expected to hear from a medical doctor about cancer. He said that with this form of cancer, not only was early treatment not beneficial, but it might actually shorten my lifespan. Therefore he suggested that we wait and watch, doing biopsies every couple of months. When the cancer got "bad enough" I would begin chemotherapy, and then probably remain on it (in one form or another) for the rest of my life.
Physically, I was feeling pretty well. But emotionally, I felt like I had been flung into the abyss. Cancer? How could a young, physically fit vegetarian get cancer? How could it happen to me? And why weren't there immediate treatment options so that I could fight this? To deal with my many issues arising from this news, I went into therapy. I began to observe my inner workings, and also explore what healing is. By necessity my "research topic" changed from statistics to healing.
I read just about every book I could get my hands on, trying to understand the nature of healing. Books by authors such as Bernie Seigel, the Simontons, Carolyn Myss & Norm Shealy, Shakti Gawain, Joan Borysenko, and Louise Hay became my research "textbooks."
Based on what I was learning, I took every action that felt the least bit right. I began meditating regularly, incorporating visualization; I did yoga; I ate a macrobiotic diet; I tried energy healing; I did affirmations; and, after reading about the potential hazards of electromagnetic fields, I stopped sleeping on a waterbed. Once I learned a little about psychoneuroimmunology (the effect of thoughts and feelings on a person's immune system), I developed a therapy of my own: I would send "love" throughout my body and mind several times a day, in the hopes that it would change my body's chemistry. I also began to understand how my continual negative inner dialogue was undermining my happiness, and perhaps contributing to my disease, and took steps to heal this negativity.
After grieving the loss of my life as I once knew it, I began to make peace with my situation. With this peace came an understanding that this illness was here for a reason, and it was my job to interpret its important message. On some level, I gave in to the wisdom of the divine and accepted this cancer. On another level, I became aware that it was my job to work with the divine to heal this illness. Healing the cancer wasn't about fighting against some intruder in my body, but rather about connecting with my body/mind/spirit and universal intelligence, then taking action based on inner guidance.
Eventually I began to sense that my health was improving. When I went in for my next regularly scheduled biopsy, I expressed this to the doctor. Based on the fact that I had more lesions covering a larger portion of my body, he predicted that the cancer was actually getting worse. However when the biopsy results came back they supported my intuition: the cancer was "less evident" according to the pathology report. Here was medical proof that I was on the right track!
Although I was reasonably happy doing consulting work, doing my statistical research had become a chore. But I had a vested interest in finishing, because I had devoted so much time and energy toward achieving this goal. After completing 22 graduate courses, written and oral exams, and about a third of my research, all that remained to do to obtain my Ph.D. was to complete my research and write up my dissertation summarizing it. Then one day I found myself saying, "I'm going to finish my dissertation if it kills me." At that point I had evolved enough to understand the power that such thoughts were having on my physical well-being. I realized that by continuing on an educational path that was disconnected from my heart, I was killing myself. Despite the fact that I wanted the payoff for all of my hard work - my doctorate - on some level I knew that choosing whether or not to continue was a life or death choice, and I wanted to live. So I honored my inner wisdom and quit this graduate program. I also chose to leave the East Coast and come to the Seattle area, a place I had once visited and felt strangely "at home."
Within three weeks of quitting school and moving cross-country, all of my many lesions disappeared completely. The cancer that had been present for a couple of years was now gone. By making many changes in my life, honoring my true self, and working in conjunction with the divine, I had created wellness! To this day some 15 years later, there are still no signs of this illness. This was my first big lesson demonstrating how, energetically, I can attract either disease or wellness by what I put into my mind, body, and spirit. This was also my first step toward becoming the "healer" that the inner voice had told me about several years earlier.
Next month: Ways to Manifest Wellness
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