What is Discovering Hope?

Discovering Hope is a journey of personal advocacy, a quest to reclaim our life by making the most of every moment.

What is Personal Advocacy?

Personal advocacy is hard, often it’s heart breaking, and it can feel like a nightmare. When outsiders look in all they see is the disease, they miss the horror on the peripheral. These visitors know we are in pain, but the totality of our circumstance is beyond them. They might not grasp the financial woes, the loss of identity, the struggle with fear and sadness. Maybe they don’t know what it’s like to fight for the right doctor, battle insurance companies or cope with the after effects of treatment. It doesn’t mean they can’t understand. If these visitors are your friends help them help you. Give them an idea what its like to live life for a day in your shoes. Share your feelings and thoughts, face those inner demons and reconnect with the people you love and love you.

Unfortunately, the troubles do not end where our friendships begin. The greatest adversaries I’ve faced in this journey has been close friends. Ino abused and took advantage of me during chemotherapy and Pea Weasel robbed my house, vandalized my home and threatened to kill me. Both were people who used my situation to their advantage for their personal gain. We must keep at least one tired, sleepy eye open. There are enemies everywhere, even within, but there are even more monsters outside.

If you are sick you will attract the desperate. You are a meal ticket just waiting to be cashed in. MLM, life coaches, gurus and alternative medicine advocates are naturally attracted to us. Some of them do believe their pre-scientific methods can help, while others see the venom in the snake oil they are selling. Ignorance is a disease and these people facilitate its spread. The best way to stop its infection is to vaccinate people with knowledge.

This website is geared toward personal advocacy, hope and critical thinking. I believe these tools help us live a higher quality of life whether we’re hurt, healthy or sick.

Cancer coach

Cancer Coach: Treating Cancer with Nutrition, Reiki and Meditation?

Cancer coach  Kathy Bero claims that she was able to cure her cancer using  anti-angiogenic foods, reiki and meditation.

There is real science that is going to be there” This woman says, as she makes it clear there is no science-based evidence supporting her claim that diet alone can cure cancer. She is giving advice to people based on her anecdotal evidence, which is the lowest form of evidence. This is extremely dangerous. These kinds of activities put the lives of sick people at risk, leading them down ineffective treatment options and horrific agony. Unfortunately when the blind lead the blind, people get hurt. This is a perfect example of this. The advice given to these people  might lead them to refuse science-based treatment options to pursue the untested anecdotal testimony of one person.  A testimony that ignored all the prior treatment she received.

Kathy Bero underwent extensive chemotherapy and paid the price in pain for its healing properties. Once the pain became too much she stopped taking it.  I can empathize, when I was going through chemotherapy it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life. I would rather die than do it again, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.  When it comes to our life it is up to us to determine how much we are willing to pay.  When it comes to cancer we aren’t paying in money, we are paying in pain, how much pain are we willing to pay to live.

In her situation there are two likely explanations for her current health. We could say it was the reiki, meditation and nutrition, or it was the invasive and scientifically tested chemotherapy medicine.

I have never read or heard of any scientific studies with controls that support reiki, meditation or nutrition as a means of curing cancer. On the other hand, I have read the science-based evidence supporting the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

If we apply Occam’s Razor to this situation, which is a problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions. Chemotherapy and its effects can be measured. Its benefits can be compared against placebo and it has been proven under rigorous testing to have a benefit to people with cancer. On the other hand, practices like reiki have never been proven to have any effectiveness greater than placebo when controls are applied. Nutrition may improve wellness, but it does not have the ability to eliminate tumors and no amount of meditation will cure your cancer.

To believe nutrition, meditation and reiki cured this woman’s cancer requires a lot of assumptions. Simply put we must ignore the fact there is no evidence these practices have the ability to destroy cancer cells, especially metastatic cancer. She admits in her own interview that she believes her beliefs will be validated by science.

So which treatment option was responsible? The answer is simple, her chemotherapy. Had she not of underwent the terrible journey of chemotherapy, she wouldn’t be alive today. She can pretend her recipes and pseudo-medicine diet cured her cancer, but at the end of the day there is no science-based evidence to support her claims.


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Orthomolecular What?

 

 

 

NET Cancer

Caught in a Net? Research your way out!

When it comes to our health and especially neuroendocrine cancer, the best thing we can do is research. Our health care providers may be educated and valuable, but they are not always educated in the ways we value. The NET community has amassed a collection of valuable resources. These hardworking souls have built a framework for the rest of us to survive. In this article I will be sharing many of the resources available to us. Its easy to get lost when we are in the thick of the storm, but we must be vigilant, work hard and press our force of will to become the eye within the whirlwind.

If you have NET cancer you know how hard this journey can be.   Ignorance is shoveled into our ears time and again. To make the most of our moments we must muster the energy to purge our lives of this BS.  We must overcome the misinformation of unqualified doctors, charlatans and alternative medicine gurus.

What is the value of research? How does it help me?

The more we know, the better off we are. Throughout our lives we’ve been told ignorance is bliss, but you and I know this to be false. Imagine how many lives could be saved if others with this terrible disease knew more about their cancer at the start of this journey? If I had even a fraction of my knowledge when first diagnosed I would have walked a completely different path. I would have understood why a NET specialist was essential, I would’ve been more powerful and demanded excellence from my health care providers. Clearly, I cannot travel back in time to change the events in my life, and even if I could, I wouldn’t. It sounds utterly insane, but getting cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me. Since I was a youngster I have been searching for a purpose, and now I have one. My purpose is to help you avoid the pitfalls in this terrible journey, by casting a light on the many holes to reduce the horrors you must face. If I get to help just one person, then my pain had a purpose, and that gives me peace.

So what role does research have in all of this?

Research has been the eternal flame in my terrible journey. Knowledge is the true guiding light in life. If we want to make the most of our moments, we must have the tools to make it terrific. It can be daunting, learning more about our agony can be incapacitating, but if we don’t face the facts we will never have the life we want to live.

Are you going to teach me how to research?

No, that is beyond the scope of this article. I will leave that to people more qualified than I. However, I will guide you in the direction of collecting the science-based data you deserve. First, we are going to navigate some interesting waters. Once you get passed the perils of pseudoscience and propaganda we can begin delving deeper.

What do I mean by pseudoscience and propaganda? The alternative medicine movement is mostly based on superstition and prescientific ideas. If we want quantifiable and healthy results from the treatment options we select, we must choose the ones proven to be repeatable with the scrutiny of double-blind testing.  We must learn how the scientific method functions and apply it to how we interact with our doctors and those who are seeking to make money from our misfortune.

I want you to live the highest quality of life you can, the best way to do that is through the continual pursuit of science-based knowledge.

Cure for Cancer?

Why isn’t there a cure for cancer? I bet Big Pharma has the cure, but they don’t want to share it with us cause there is no money in it!

If a pharmaceutical company was able to develop a single cure for cancer they would be so rich, they would become a world power. The idea of a company having the cure for cancer and not releasing it is ludicrous. Lets start with the most basic point: Cancer is complicated, we need to stop talking about cancer like there could be a single cure for it.  There is no one cure for cancer, because there is more than one cancer.

Now lets address this big pharma term. Some time ago I ran across a special little MEME that read:

a patient cured is a customer lost – Big Pharma

Critical thought teaches us to acknowledge our bias, to set it aside, to be fair and treat others for their qualities, rather than the actions of people unrelated to them. It is unfair to apply blanket opinions on groups of people. When these blanket opinions are applied they create a stereotype which sets an atmosphere of unfairness.

Each pharmaceutical company is an organization comprised of dozens, hundreds, even thousands of employees. There are dozens of pharmaceutical companies, how fair is it to say these people are concerned only with making money? Not all people are the same, and not all companies are the same.

Instead of making blanket statements about groups of people we don’t know,  we need to research each company and judge them individually. Just like people, the ideology of one pharmaceutical company will change, one to the next.

Curing a disease is a lot more complicated than simply waving money at it. However, without money research doesn’t happen. People need money to live, and if they aren’t being paid to do the research, the research isn’t being done. Cancer treatment often hurts a lot, some treatment options can have terrible side effects on the body, so we need to test it over long periods of time to make sure it doesn’t horrifically hurt or kill people before the cancer does. I know it can be frustrating waiting for a cure, we feel hopeless, but if we invite every miracle cure into our lives, we won’t have a life to live.

There are potential cures ready to be shared, why wont they share them with the public? People are dying, some chance is better than no chance right?

No,  if every supposed discovery is made available to the public, there wouldn’t be significant advancements in medicine.  Lots of resources would be wasted implementing worthless and dangerous measures.  Just because an idea is proven to work once in vitro, doesn’t mean in is going to work in real life.  The idea needs to tested time and again to make sure it is safe and helps treat the disease or its symptoms.

But some life is better than no life, a terminally ill person is going to die anyways, why deny them an opportunity to live?

To put it simply, quality of life is more important than quantity. What if this untested cancer treatment has the side effect of permanent blindness, deafness, paralysis and chronic pain? Would the trade off  be worth  living the rest of your life in a horrific prison that is your body?

I don’t think so. Scientific discoveries must be proven to work. This is for our protection. It is not so they can squeeze more money out of the public. Testing their drugs takes even more money, and these pharmaceutical companies have already spent a fortune developing the drug in the first place. They have to pay another fortune to prove it is a benefit to their target population.

Well this drug had an informative video showing it can blow up cancer cells with bubbles. It said it could save lives, we need to be saving lives!

Absolutely, but we can’t save lives by getting people to drink mystery cool aid. Recently I had a  conversation with someone  about this situation. They read an article about how a treatment could kill cancer in vitro by blowing it up with bubbles. Immediately my mind when to work to see what they were talking about. I found this article at first and read it. I wasn’t satisfied though, I wanted to see if this was real and if so where the research was now.  In July of 2017 it was retracted.  Imagine if we spent the resources to implement this discovery, only to find out the result could not be replicated? Imagine if your mother, father, son or daughter sought out this treatment and died because it had no effect on their cancer? Willful ignorance and desperation kills people. Testing the efficacy of a drug is how we ensure the best medicine is made available to the public.

Net Resources

 


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Caught in a Net 5

 

Intent Passion Lust Love Ulterior Motive

Intent, Passion, Lust, Love and an Ulterior Motive

You say you want to network? I say I want to make friends. When I introduce myself to other humans my goal is to give something good. The world can be dark and dreary, I want to help people slice through the cumulonimbus clouds to see the radiant rays of the sun. All it takes is a few wonderful words and we can inspire some incredible heart feels. How do we make bonding a beautiful experience? Relationships are born and explored with intent.

Our goals are saturated with intent

Everything we say and do is saturated with intent. If you want to be an effective communicator you must get to know who you are. Why are you here? What do you want and who are you? Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly. Every time you meet someone new they will be asking them too.

Intent is the infrastructure of networking. If the focus is on friendship the bonding will begin, however, if it is superficial it will stagnate.

What is the best way to break the ice?

If you want loving and long lasting relationships, give good for goodness sake, and give it liberally. When we live to give greatness, introducing yourself becomes the best ice breaker.

Finding, Building & Maintaining relationships with Intent

An important lesson I have learned is how to live with an awareness of my intent. When I’m feeling or thinking about doing something I contemplate why I want to do it. Why do I want to help this person, why am I attracted to this lady, how do I feel about this or that? The why behind an idea is often more important than the verb of doing it. The genuine intent of goodwill is a peaceful experience. With it we can be satisfied with the outcome of all our social engagements because we have erased our expectations. We are ready to exist in the moment and enjoy it while it’s here.

Relationships are easier because I’ve completed myself. I’m not searching for someone else to draw the rest of my circle, because I’m already a whole person. When friends and loved ones die it’s easier to cope because I consciously make the most of our moments. I cherish their life as we live it together and remember the terrific times we experienced as we shared the road.

My awareness is one of my greatest tools. By knowing my intent is good and honest I can make the best decisions in the now and avoid the pitfall of regret. I have the Hope others live with the intent of mutually beneficial relationships, while having the wisdom to know they might not. At the end of the day whether they do or don’t share the same awareness I do, I am always willing to forgive a hurting soul.

Passion, lust, love and an ulterior motive

Sometimes when speaking to others I hear a lot about passion, lust, love and ulterior motives. I know what it’s like to live in fear of what others might do. It’s a painful lens that blinds us from experiencing the world in all its wonder. On the flip side of that coin it can feel horrible when we can’t share our feels. The scrutiny of others often damns the flow of our feelings with a large levy. This barrier can be torturous to the soul as our inside zones burn brilliantly and our feel-good fuel source rapidly diminishes.

It took me some time, but when the moment arrived I learned it is alright to live with passion, to lust for another, to love, even if they don’t love me, and to possess the desire to be desired.

Passion

The world is a magnificent place and our heart is a fiery furnace. When we discover that thing, that purpose, that person who captures our attention the universe imbues us with powerful passion. There is nothing that can stop the fanning of our furious flame, extinguish our eternal heart or take us apart.

Our passion is more than a singular purpose, it is a dedication to something we love. It is a complete commitment and we wear it like a glove. Passion is supposed to be healthy, good and great, its meant to be even, clear and purposeful.

Sometimes it isn’t. Perhaps most times it lacks direction and it steers off the map to a place that is not healthy, good or great and is uneven, murky and misguided. It is in these times we must look deeper to discover our true intent.

A person’s passion can be beautiful, but only when that passion wants to share.  Every book of love is a compilation of letters, a shared story and a narrative coauthored by those involved.

Lust

With an empty stomach we hunger to satiate our appetite. The need to eat, the exquisite energy of anticipation and the desire for delicious delights can feel magnificent. Our longing moments of lust are no different and are equally healthy when fed with a well-balanced, nutritious diet.  Its healthy to have a sexual appetite for another, it would be hard for people to fall in love if life existed without lust.

Lust like passion has unhealthy and dangerously winding roads. Sometimes taking people to places they shouldn’t go. Lust has an ebb and flow and cannot be the basis for how we should expect things to always go. It is the cream on a cake, something sugary to taste, but to live with lust without love is a slippery slope into loneliness.

Love

A warm blanket that warms us from surface to center. A compass that guides us when we are lost. The crutch we lean on when we are weak. Love is the greatest and most wonderful place to live.

Whether we accept it or not we all want to love and be loved. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a person who wants to live in the same zip code of love we do. When this happens it’s important to look at the roots of why we want to be with them. If we love this person solely for our own benefit, perhaps we don’t love them at all and maybe we aren’t mature enough to be in their zip code of love. When we love someone, we should want to see them happy, even if their happiness doesn’t include us.

Ulterior Motive

What exactly is ulterior motive and what does it mean? Why am I so concerned about what others want to do with me?

An ulterior motive is when we believe someone has a hidden reason for what they are doing. Focusing inwardly and feeling for that gut vibe is valuable in determining whether a person is safe. It is also important to evaluate your bias and forgive the wrongs of the person before they have committed them.  Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is akin to forgiving them for something you can’t prove is true. Bias is a valuable tool, we use it to decide what we are going to eat and which alley ways we are willing to walk down. We all have it, however if we want to live a life with good intent we must critically analyze our bias to determine whether it is fair and just.

So, when someone is attracted to us, does mean their only intent is to have sex? By and large I would say no. Relationships are so complicated and involved it would be a challenge to boil it down to a singular intent. Sure, most likely they would enjoy having sex with us, but that is just one component of the many beneficial aspects of companionship. I am not a psychologist or an expert in the field of human pair bonding, but I would make an educated guess by saying they want to live an adventurous life with a companion they are attracted to.

For the most part I believe our focus on the ulterior motives of others are fruitless endeavors. These thoughts lead us down a spiraling staircase into an abyss of loneliness. Simply put we create fantastical stories about others, casting them in a negative light.  Instead of drawing unfair conclusions from nothing, we should be celebrating the bountiful beauty of life by exploring our humanity with others.


Shawn White Blog

Discovering Hope

Relationships – Boundaries 

NCAN

 

shyness social anxiety know

Caught in a NET? Shyness, Social Anxiety and finding the right doctor

Finding a new doctor is like dating. We get to know who they are, what they believe and how they approach life. We want to make sure we are compatible and can spend a large chunk of our lives together. This doesn’t mean we are crossing professional boundaries, quite the opposite, this approach enables us to look deeper into who they are as a practitioner by learning about their professional accomplishments. While in their office we must believe they are listening to us, that we are safe under their care and they know enough to help. We need to make sure they are the best person for the job. Just like dating, we want to pair with this person for a long time, perhaps even the rest of our life, so it is important to make sure this doctor is the right choice.

How do I know if I have the right doctor for me? You must get to know yourself and discover what is important to you. You must set and enforce personal boundaries and become an unstoppable force.

I think I can take some time to get to know myself, but I’m not good with personal boundaries and I don’t think I could ever be an unstoppable force. How can I do this? Where do I even start? You start right now and every moment thereafter. Force of will is a tempered tool folded and pounded to perfection. Every day we have opportunities to become the better version of ourselves, seize those moments and move forward.

There was a time in my life when I was shy, I had a hard time talking or standing up to others. If I had to walk my NET cancer journey when I was shy, this would have been impossible. But don’t fret, just because you are shy now, doesn’t mean you will always be.

Shyness and Social Anxiety

Shyness, it sucks.  That’s how I would describe it in three words. People are often surprised when I tell them I used to be very shy.  Sometimes they ask how I overcame it.  Well here is the first step of my fancy story.

In my mid-twenties, just after my mother had passed I was at a local dinner sitting with a couple friends waiting for our food.  A few booths over was a group of young ladies, one in particular caught my eye, I was entranced by her beauty and I wanted to meet her.  Unfortunately, I was frozen in fear and glued to my seat.  “What is going on?” I thought to myself. I couldn’t muster a reason why I felt this, why I was so afraid? If she was so intimidating why would I be attracted to her?

After several moments of being teased by my friends for not approaching her, I rose from my seat and walked to her table.  My hands were shaking, and my heart was pounding in my chest.  When I opened my mouth to speak, all my charm fled, and I found myself completely unable to articulate my words.  I stood there at the end of the table for several moments, I could feel their judgement piercing my soul.  In a burst of what little confidence I had, I tried to introduce myself to her, a moment passed, and they were all quiet so I walked back to my seat.

I could hear them talking about me, describing how my hands were shaking, and how weird I seemed. As I sat there eating my meal, I reflected over the moment, and I came to the conclusion that I must have appeared completely insane.

At first, I saw this as a failure, but then I realized it was a success.   I was unable to bridge my introduction into a conversation, but I was able to overcome the fear of talking to her.  I set out to do something, and I did it.  It was from this I was able to build my confidence.  I spent some time thinking about how I could eliminate my social anxiety, and over several years of pushing myself I was able to become the social butterfly I am today.

Overcoming anything requires force of will, but we are simply unable to eliminate our hardships in one fell swoop.  We must dedicate ourselves to a purpose and stick to it.  My social anxiety didn’t disappear in this moment. I had to work on it daily.  One of the first methods I used to fight my shyness was to smile and say hello to every person I saw.  When they didn’t smile back or say hello, I copped by saying to myself they were the ones missing out.

If you are a person like myself who loves people and wants to have as many great friendships as you can, then challenge yourself, talk to others. Eventually you will realize there is nothing to fear.  Most likely the person you want to talk to was wants to speak to you as well.

How does this help me with talking to my doctor and learning if they are right for me? In the beginning it may be difficult to directly talk to your doctor, but each time you stand your ground the better your footing becomes. Talking to a stranger can be daunting and by all accounts your doctor is a stranger. To complicate matters more we tend to deify their standing leading to a vast power differential. If you start making small changes in your life, these baby steps will improve your force of will and the effectiveness of your medical care. Be strong, know you’re amazing and make the most of your moments.


Discovering Hope

Shawn White Blog

Caught in a Net? 4

NCAN

Caught in a NET? You have 26 seconds to talk to your doctor

What do you mean by 26 seconds? I thought the appointment was fifteen minutes! Think back to the time you’ve spent in a doctor’s office. Once they walk you through the door to the sterile quiet office the nurse asks you the standard questions and tip taps her fingers against the key board. Then after some time the doctor enters, a few pleasantries are shared and then they ask you “So whats going on?”

This is your time to explain you condition. Since you have a maximum of 26 seconds you must have your ducks in order. If you don’t you might be leaving with regretful feelings, so make your seconds count. As human creatures our attention span is only so long, to make the most of these moments, be prepared and stick to facts.

To make these seconds more valuable make sure you write the doctor an email explaining your situation. If you would like more information on what to include in this email, click here.  You should also write up a worksheet to guide you in the meeting. On this sheet have a bullet list of the important questions you want to ask. You will also want to bring a copy of this email in case your doctor has not read it yet.

How do I prepare for these 26 seconds?

Go over your medical history and records to find the information you believe is most important and write them down.

Document the signs and symptoms you’ve experienced, if you have enough time before your doctor’s appointment create a log of these conditions to determine patterns. Try to figure out if any of your lifestyle choices are contributing to your health issues.

Create a worksheet with bullet points detailing the most important aspects of your condition.

Rehearse with friends and family to see if your message is coming across correctly. Get out your smart phone and record yourself talking to see if you can see how to improve your communication skills.


Discovering Hope

Caught in a Net?  5

Caught in a Net? 3 

NCAN

medical history records

Caught in a NET? Help your doctor help you!

We could have the best doctor, the perfect notes and the most amazing pitch in the world, but if our team doesn’t have our medical records, they won’t have the tools to help us. Doctors have a wealth of knowledge, but without our records they can’t help us how we need to be helped.

What does my doctor need from me?

A clearly presented history– Our doctor must be able to easily read our medical history. Your medical records may be collected from the hospitals and offices you’ve visited. This step may take some time, because you will include all the most important data in this booklet. Once completed send it to your doctor via email and bring a hard copy of it to your next appointment.

  • When writing this booklet detail your medical history in chronological order
  • What are some of the signs and symptoms of your disease? How long are they present (duration)? What degree of discomfort do they cause? How frequent do they manifest?
  • What factors cause these signs and symptoms to trigger, amplify, reduce. Have you discovered anything that suppresses these experiences and if so what are they?

A detailed pathology report– When sending your medical history to your doctor they will also need your pathology reports. Be sure to send all of the following:

  •                What was the location of the primary metastasis?
  •                How differentiated are the tumor/s?
  •                What is the grade of the tumor/s?
  •                Be sure to send the % of Ki-67 & Mitotic rate.

Make the most of these moments– While organizing this information take some time to read it. If you see something you don’t understand write it down and look it up. The best way we can learn about our disease is to discover how it personally affects us.


Discovering Hope

Caught in a Net 2

Caught In a Net 4

NCAN

Caught in a NET? How do I find a doctor?

There are no skeleton keys in cancer. Our journey isn’t a console game, we can’t enter a cheat code to speed through a stage and beat a boss. Instead we need a variety of keys to meet our needs. We must build and lead an all-star multidisciplinary team. How do I build this team? Identifying what we need is a big step, now it’s time to find the right people to fill those roles. Here are some useful techniques to ensure you land in the right place after your multidisciplinary leap.

If you have Neuroendocrine cancer, you must have a NET specialist.

If you don’t have one, I strongly suggest you contact your local NCAN chapter for support or visit the NCAN website for assistance. After you’ve contacted NCAN and have a few doctors in mind, how do you determine if they are right for you?

Selecting a doctor can be a troubling experience, where do we even start?

Our road is dark, so here are some tools to light your path, the last thing you want is to be blind, being led by the blind.

How do I choose my doctor?

People are unique and amazing, we all have special skills setting us apart from everyone else. Doctors are people and its important to remember that. They have personalities and approaches to life that may be different than yours. To know whether a doctor is right for you, you must know what you need and who you are.

Step 1

Know your own personality: Take some time to get to know yourself. What is important to you, how do you communicate, how do you like to be spoken to? Are you shy, is it easy to share, how easily are you intimidated? Look at the company you keep, what kind of people do you surround yourself with and what are their personality types?

Know what you want: What are your expectations? Are you looking for someone to run the show for you or share in the decision making? How much information are you looking for, do you want the minimum to get by or an in-depth understanding of your disease?

 

Step 2

Not all doctors are the same. It is important to have a doctor compatible with your personality, religious beliefs and ethics. Our health care providers are people, remember that, to receive quality care we need to feel like our needs are being met. If your doctor doesn’t understand your values, they will never understand what you need.

You should also be concerned with their background. What have they accomplished? What is their level of knowledge, what kind of training and experience have they had? Look online to see what they have written, get to know who they are through their literature.

Talk to people who have seen them a few times. Join your local NCAN support chapter and ask its members about the doctors they use. First hand information is a great place to start, but it should not be the deciding factor on which doctor you choose. Reputation doesn’t mean skill. Anecdotal evidence will lead you back down a dark path, it’s a pitfall of the blind leading the blind.

 

Step 3

Now we have made it this far its time to merge the results of step 1 and 2. When you see your doctor open your mind and listen, have your thoughts organized and make short concise statements. The goal is to optimize the communication between you and your doctor. Consider recording what you have to say and listening to it before your appointment.

You are not obligated to stay with this doctor. If you feel uncomfortable or leave not understanding something, it is ok to find someone else. If you choose them to be your doctor you should never feel obligated to be loyal or faithful to them. If you are ever unsatisfied with your doctor, get a second, third or forth opinion.

Once you have found the doctor you trust, stick with them and continually work to make the most of your conversations.


Caught in a Net? 1

Caught in a Net? 3

Discovering Hope

NCAN

net specialist

Caught in NET Cancer? Cut yourself out with a NET specialist

With each test of pain, I’ve discovered new ways to explain all the gifts I’ve gained. I hope my hardships will help you have the highest quality of life you can live. The cancer journey is terrible, everyone wearing this badge of bad knows this, but in our journey, we are literally held down by a NET. Often our net is invisible making it impossible to see how we are anchored to the ground. To fight our cancer, we must have the right people on our side, who can see the invisible net and can sever its strings. I have learned we must surround ourselves with experts who can spot and treat our specific condition. We might not be able to escape our confinement, but we can learn to love the life we live and make the most of our moments. With the right people on our team we can treasure our time. What kind of expert do we need for our NET journey? We need a team of passionate, dedicated and science-based experts. Consider having the following doctors on your all star team.

  • Oncologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Cardiologist
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP)

If you have NET cancer, you must have an Neuroendocrine specialist on your team. I can not stress this enough. The sooner you find one, the healthier life your will live. Of course, that raises a few questions. How do I find one? How do I know they are a NET specialist? How will I determine if they are right for me?

The Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Network is the best resource available to us. They know what its like to wear the badge of bad and be tied down under this nasty net of cancer. This amazing organization will help you find a local support community, guide you through the education process and aid you in finding a NET specialist.



Caught in Net Cancer 2

Shawn White Blog

Discovering Hope

Discovering Forgiveness

Discovering Forgiveness

Forgiveness soothes the angry bees in our belly and it makes it easier to be. To let go and forgive we must tend to the issues fueling our pain. Sometimes solving this problem can be as complicated as a Cenobite’s puzzle box. In many ways our life is a series of games. Hopefully they become easier along the way as we learn from each.

A big part of forgiveness is accepting everyone makes mistakes. Once we realize and accept this it should become easier to forgive, but it typically isn’t. We are so quick to damn others we fail to see how horrible we are making the world and how vile we are acting. Before getting angry about what someone else did, pause and take a breath then try to empathize with them. Empathy is a key component to solving the Forgiveness puzzle.

If we want forgiveness we must be willing to forgive. The world can be a terrible place, why make it any worse? The more we demand others to suffer, the more we are camouflaging vengeance as justice.

One reason Forgiveness is challenging is because we hurt. Most have not figured out how to give purpose to the pain and so we live a life of suffering. The more we hurt the more suffering we can dispense.

A lot of people refuse to forgive because they confuse it with forgetting. It is important to remember forgiveness is not forgetfulness. When we forgive it is a personal journey of letting go. As we release all those bad feels our suffering begins to diminish and the pleasant glow of peace manifests on the horizon.  By forgiving others we protect ourselves and slow our downward spiral into bitterness.

Mistakes and Fairness

Mistakes and Fairness

Should the sum of our existence be calculated by a small window of time or a few mistakes? Do you believe every good deed ought to be dismissed because of a few decisions?

We all make mistakes and decisions that lead to disaster. No one was given an instruction manual or granted a good guide. Each and everyone of us are bumbling through life for the first time.

If we want fairness we must be fair to others. We achieve this by forming a relationship with Forgiveness, Wisdom and Hope. Forgiveness helps us ease the ferocity of vengeance; Wisdom, especially empathy mutes the sharp edge of judgement; and Hope reminds us we can learn from our mistakes.

Pain can blind us

The world is an insane place and there seems to be no end in sight. It spins us round and round, twisting our gut till we are about to throw up. With the challenge of life, you’d think we’d be more understanding, but people hurt so much they are blinded by their pain.

We get kicked over and over even after being knocked to our knees. When the assault stops we are granted a reprieve, but we must raise our fists for the next beating. With so much strife it becomes hard to fight. Its difficult to give a pass when we feel like shattered glass.

I know how much it hurts to feel broken, but we cannot close our eyes. If we do, we lose more than magnificent beauty and infinite wonder. We lose our empathy and ability to see. We must hold onto our wisdom and continue to use empathy. The more empathetic and understanding we are, the more forgiving the world will be.

Forgiveness is not Forgetfulness

Forgiveness is a spiritual experience and a relationship with our inside zones. It’s a philosophy of responsibly letting go. A decision to walk away from suffering to come closer to peace. It’s a path of personal protection and a barrier against bitterness.

Its important to know Forgiveness is not forgetfulness. If someone violates, hurts or wrongs us, we should protect ourselves. Do what needs to be done, but don’t desire their destruction. Stop the cycle of bad by treating them better than they treated us. Let our abusers see how they hurt us and give them a chance grow from it.

Vengeance is easy, but imagine what kind of life we would be living if someone enacted vengeance on us for every wrong or crime we committed?

My message here is to be fair to others. Do to them as we want done to us. Be understanding while protecting ourselves. If we must protect ourselves, our goal should be to end the threat and receive fair compensation.

I know what it feels like to feel pain, it can be terrible, but making someone else hurt isn’t going to take away ours. When we strip vengeance from justice we can give Forgiveness and live with peace.

We can learn from our mistakes

At the end of the day I believe everyone can learn from their mistakes. Every day I take a misstep, sometimes I stumble, and if I fall I hope someone is rooting for me to get back up. We all make mistakes and decisions that lead to disaster, everyone has hurt someone else, and no one is perfect. Have faith that others can become the better version of themselves.

 

Hold onto the light
discomfort

Permission to Feel

Our lives are saturated with so many sensations; being in and out of love, feeling unstoppable and stuck, fearless and fearful. Sometimes we are in the throes of pleasure or pain, lost or losing ourselves in the moment.

When dreary discomfort overcomes us, we can look lovingly at life. Open our beaten and blackened eyes to see the light, a sight that lightens our load and lifts us to a state of delight.

However sometimes our eyes are not easily opened. The world will punch and kick and beat us to a pulp. It will pound us when we fall and it will stomp us on the ground. Our eyes are hard to open when bruised and swollen. They are hard to open when dreary discomfort overcomes us, in these moments its hard to look lovingly at life.

It’s ok, its alright to lay with your eyes closed. Your eyes don’t always need to see this grand light. You don’t need to be positive and joyous every moment of every day. The brilliance of the sun comes and goes, when the dark of night finds us it’s time to slow, to sleep and rest.

To be positive when it’s time to embrace the negative, is like suffering a migraine in the midst of bright light.

Do what is right for you right now. Tend to the darkness when it is time. Love the feels even as they hurt. Embrace the experience of the experience.

Give yourself permission to feel,
what you feel.

manuscript

The Manuscript of your Life

Your story is awesome, overwhelming and beyond imagination. Your life is a book, but it’s probably not a best seller. It’s a rough manuscript stained with coffee rings and nicotine. It’s not the clean, crisp, perfectly penned pages found in a book store. Instead it is aged, torn and sloppily written.

A best seller is a natural page turner, exciting in all the right ways and follows a fantastic formula. Our daily lives are unremarkable, our scenes make little sense and the narrative is shit. Nothing seems to happen for any particular reason, the rise of action rarely leads to anything great. It’s like an under dog story without overcoming the odds, or a redemption story without redemption.

When we read back over our life book it seems like none of the characters make any sense, the bad guys always win and the plot seems to be completely absent.

Throughout our lives we grab at our hair and pull it out screaming “Why the fuck is this happening to me? When will any of it ever stop?”

It is easy to get caught up in our lives. Often we mistake ourselves as the main character of the story, so why wouldn’t we? If we arent the main character, then who is?

Chill, drink a cup of coffee and burn your candle at both ends. Miss a night’s rest and immerse yourself in this crap life of yours. Take some time and figure out what the fuck is happening and try to do something about it. If you need to complain or cry or beat yourself up then do it. Wallow in your misery, let it infect every spirit fiber of your being.

Take some time and get to know your pain, make it your friend. While you’re at it think about your mortality and look back on your life. How remarkable has it been? How much good have you done for others? What is your legacy?

At the end of your life story will it have been written with the blood and tears of others? Will it be a terrible tale of envy and anger? Will it’s pages be aged, wrinkled and bound into a bloated book?

Or will you have lived a good life, a loving Life? An existence committed to the enrichment of others? A life with purpose. A purpose that was right for you, one of empathy, compassion and critical thought. A story you wrote, a narrative you drove forward with your own blood, sweat and tears?

Did you learn along the way that you are not the main character? That others have feelings, make mistakes and are bumbling through this complicated existence just like you?

Take a breath. Take a big ol breath. If you are reading this you aren’t dead. You are alive. Even if you are laying on your death bed waiting for the ticks of time to slip away there is still hope. With hope there is goodness, you have time to do good, be good and help others feel good. You have time to leave your anger at the door, to invite love in your life and embrace the fate you make.

The pain you feel might pass, it may never pass. It might ride you like a jockey till the end of the race. But that’s alight, I believe you will find a way. You will climb the tallest mind mountain and experience an epiphany that will forever transform your life.

A life that is awesome, overwhelming and beyond imagination. One without clean, crisp and perfectly penned pages. It will be a rough manuscript stained with coffee rings and nicotine, it will be aged, torn and sloppily written. It will be the best tale, the greatest story, it will be the book of your life.

 

Empathy an Intro

I think its easy to attack without considering the consequences of our actions. It is easy to say something is bad simply because it fails to meet our paradigm of thought. Critical thought is hard, to stay on course with its edicts we must follow its teachings and consider others. It teaches us to explore our thoughts and feelings. To develop an understanding of our ideology and find ways to bridge our world with others. It teaches us to consider the thoughts and feelings of others. To imagine what it is like to be them, so we can treat them fairly based on their circumstance.

What good does any of this do if we don’t know how to apply these teachings to our daily lives? An expert isn’t born, to be proficient in a skill we must practice. Practice is more than memorization, it is exploration and experimentation as well. We can sit behind old books all day learning what the dead say about body language and tonality, but this equates to nothing if we are unwilling to explore our skills.

What is empathy? “the ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.” [1]

How do we use the skill of empathy? How can I imagine what it would be like if the situation could never conceivably happen to me? Empathy requires imagination, you must have the ability to see something that doesn’t exist. If imagining something like this is outside of your capacity I suggest exploring a few new hobbies. Consider going to your local hobby store to join a role-playing group, get involved in a game where you can play a character and experience an imaginary world. Perhaps find a local writing group and explore fictional writing or experiment with art. If your mind is no longer in touch with your heart it will be very difficult imagining what it would be like to be in another person’s situation.

Mind Tools presents a good primer to practice empathy.

Empathy at Work [2]

  1. Put aside your viewpoint, and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  2. Validate the other person’s perspective.
  3. Examine your attitude.
  4. Listen
  5. Ask what the other person would do.  

I would suggest giving their interpretation of empathy a good read, you can find this article at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/EmpathyatWork.htm.

 

To empathize with someone, we need to imagine we are them. What would it be like to be them in this situation. If you were them, how would you feel? If you were them, how would you want to be treated?


[1] “Empathy” Dictionary. Cambrdge Dictionary. Web. 12 December 2017. < https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/empathy>

[2] “Empathy at Work” Mind Tools. Web. 12 December 2017. < https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/EmpathyatWork.htm.

Nioxin vs Monat vs Rogaine

Nioxon vs Monat vs Rogaine

While perusing the land of Facebook I was drawn to an image (shown below) illustrating the advantages of one product over two others. With my interest piqued I spent the better part of an evening researching it’s claims. I believe we all fall victim to the whirlwind of information flashed before our eyes. There is so much knowledge at our fingers tips it can be challenging to decipher fact from fiction.

Errors and Clarifications

The first error the author made was when they classified Nioxin, a company as a product. I am assuming the author intended to compare Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men and Rogaine to the Monat product: Intense Repair Treatment.

The second error was when it compared the three products unfairly. No attempt was made to compare each item in a like manner, essentially the author was comparing apples to oranges.

The next error was that the active and inactive ingredients were inaccurately listed. If you consult the following data you will see that Acetamide MEA, Cocamide MEA, PEG-150 distearate, Tocopherol, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Diazolidinyl, Sodium Laureth sulfate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben PEG-150 distearate and Propylparaben are not on the ingredient list for Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment.
The active ingredient of Nioxin’s Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men is 5% Minoxidil. The inactive ingredients are Alcohol, Propylene Glycol and Purified Water. [3]

The active ingredient of Rogaine is Minoxidil 5%. The inactive ingredients of Rogaine are butane, butylated hydroxytoluene, cetyl alcohol, citric acid, glycerin, isobutane, lactic acid, polysorbate 60, propane, purified water, SD alcohol 40-B, stearyl alcohol.

The product I assume the author wishes to compare from Monat is their Intense Repair Treatment, which claims to be a patented biometric peptide formula, that has “higher proven results than other leading hair loss brands” and its “clinical results prove significant results in just 90 days” [1]

The Intense Repair Treatment does not use the terms active and inactive ingredients, instead the terms ‘key ingredient’ and ‘ingredients’ are used. The key ingredient is Capixyl [1]. However on the main Monat website this ingredient is not mentioned. On the main Monat website it states that the product’s ingredients are water, butylene glycol, acetyl tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, dextran, xanthan gum, pvp, cocamidopropyl-pg-dimonium, chloride, benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid, fragrance.

According to another source the ingredient list of Capixyl is: Butylene Glycol, water, Dextran, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Trifolium Pratense Flower Extract which matches up with most of the ingredients within the Intense Repair Treatment. [2]

How are the terms key, active and inactive ingredients defined?
According to the World Health Organization the term active ingredient is defined as:

“active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) Any substance or combination of substances used in a finished pharmaceutical product (FPP), intended to furnish pharmacological activity or to otherwise have direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to have direct effect in restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions in human beings.”

An inactive ingredient or vehicle is an inactive substance mixed with an active ingredient to give bulk to a medicine. [4]

I have found no pharmaceutical definitions for key ingredients.

What do these three products do?

Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for men and Rogaine have identical active ingredients.
Active Ingredient: Minoxidil 5%.

“Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men and women with a certain type of baldness. The exact way that this medicine works is not known. If hair growth is going to occur with the use of minoxidil, it usually occurs after the medicine has been used for several months and lasts only as long as the medicine continues to be used. Hair loss will begin again within a few months after minoxidil treatment is stopped. In the U.S., this medicine is available without a prescription.” [5]

Monat Intense Repair Treatment
Key Ingredient: Capixyl (not listed as an active ingredient, see above)

There is no information on Pubmed about Capixyl. [6]

There appears to be no evidence-based data to suggest Capixyl or the Monat Intense Repair Treatment has any affect on the regrowth of hair.

Conclussion

According to my research Minoxidil is the only drug proven to regrow hair. Monat’s claim that Capixyl (or Monat’s Intense Repair Treatment) can regrow hair is anecdotal at best.

[1] “Intense Repair Treatment” Monat Intense Repair Treatment. Hair Canada. Web. 8 December 2017. <
[2] “Capixyl TM” Propspector. UL. Web. 8 December 2017 < https://www.ulprospector.com/en/na/PersonalCare/Detail/4501/191081/Capixyl>
[3] ”Nioxin Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men” JC Penney. Web. 8 December 2017. < http://haircanada.net/index.php/monat-products/intense-repair-treatment-monat/>
[4] “Defintion of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient” WHO. World Health Organization, July 2011. Web. 8 December 2017. <https://www.jcpenney.com/p/nioxin-hair-regrowth-treatment-for-men-30-day-supply-2-oz/pp5005120081?pTmplType=regular&rrec=true&rrplacementtype=product1_rr> http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/quality_assurance/DefinitionAPI-QAS11-426Rev1-08082011.pdf>.
[5] “Minoxidil (on the skin)” Minoxidil. NCBI. 1 November 2017. Web. 8 December 2017. < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0011238/?report=details>
[6] “No result found for Capixl” < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/search/?term=Capixyl>

Good News… is Great News!

 

Good News… is Great News!

The world is a beautiful place, with so much awe and wonder it is simply magical. Life is a blessing, an experience to be treasured and adored, from our moments of pure joy to absolute terror. It is more than just smiles and sunshine, more than frowns and tears. It is all of these and everything in-between.

As we move through life we face one challenge after the next. Sometimes these challenges become incredible hardships, after awhile we forget about the beauty, awe and wonder… and the magic ceases. We begin to feel like our life is a curse. When this negativity saturates our existence, the mention of Hope instills within us: fear, anxiety and guilt.

We need Hope, we need this cute little mouse to remind us that good is great! We can make something good out of something bad, no matter how awful our challenges may be. Hope is our ally, our friend. Let her inspire us to embrace the gooey, golden light of life. 

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Discovering Hope

 

Discovering Personal Advocacy

Discovering Personal Advocacy

Hope is the corner stone of personal advocacy. To find her we must fantasize about the world, embrace the thought of adventure and share our dreams with others. From this spark we will explore our creativity through artistic expression, connecting our soul parts with our body and mind. Creativity gives way to imagination, the ability to see something that does not exist and manifest it within reality. Once we can imagine ourselves as the person we want to be, all we have to do is make it a reality. Hope is the faith we can achieve this reality.

Critical thought entails the usage of empathy, insight and research. We will learn to explore the perceptions and realities of others, avoid pseudoscience and become effective researchers. This is an important component in personal advocacy because it gives us the knowledge to have power over our lives.

Force of will is the quality of pushing forward despite our obstacles and hardships. It is our willpower, forward momentum and determination. It is living with significance, purpose and drive. Force of will sprouts from Hope, it grows with critical thought and blossoms when we give purpose to the pain.

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Discovering Hope

 

Shawn White

 

Who is Shawn White?

Hello, my name is Shawn White. I have cancer. I have been shaped by a series of beautifully horrific experiences. I traded my right lung for wisdom and endured chemotherapy for insight.

When I was in my twenties I watched my mother die of pancreatic cancer. She refused surgery and chemotherapy, living her final days by her terms. Her last wish was for the whole family to go on a cruise, and so we went. It was a hauntingly loving experience, one I will reflect on forever. My mother is my role model for personal advocacy. She had the force of will to face anything, even a terrible inevitable death. Her road was bleak and yet she never lost Hope, she continued to dream and love and embrace the light of light.

I have been given many gifts, cancer has been the greatest. It gave me purpose and direction. It set me on a journey where I fell into many holes and tripped over many rocks. Through my journey, I have learned to navigate the path and now I illuminate the road for others, to help them see their obstacles before they face them.

I have discovered personal advocacy.

Now I am helping others discover it as well.

 

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Discovering Hope

Discovering Hope

Every second is a snapshot of infinite beauty.

Discovering Hope

Hope, the cute, yet terrifying mouse. She has guided us, continues to guide us and will always guide us. Hope is our faith, love and belief we can make the best of any situation. Through Hope we can find our way through any hole, overcome any obstacle and put a smile on anyone’s face.

Would you like to live life to its fullest? To avoid the terrible decisions of others? To enjoy the things you love? And to live by your terms?

Of course you do. We all do.

How do we do this? How do we make this a reality?

We achieve this by becoming our own personal advocate.

If I, Shawn White, knew how to advocate for myself at the start of my journey, I would not have done chemotherapy. Even now, I would rather live with the quality of life I have and die sooner, than endure chemo and live longer. This is my land in the sand, I know the quality of life I want to live and I will fight for it. I want to help you find your line in the sand and assist you in developing the tools to fight for it.

My treatment was not worth the cost I paid in pain, but maybe yours will be. We are different people with different needs. You, I and everyone else are uniquely beautiful creatures and all our approaches will be just as varied. To discover personal advocacy, we need to embrace Hope, learn critical thought and develop our force of will. These are the three main components of personal advocacy, but none are more important than Hope.

 

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Tree of Life

Our palace is built from lumber harvested from the Tree of Life. This tree is enormous, stretching through the earth into the underworlds and high into the sky to the heavens above. As we walk our road of life we spot leaves and sticks and collect them under our arm. When the world grows cold we pile them together to build ourselves a shelter. Over time this refuge becomes bigger and safer, fortifying into a fortress and one day becoming our personal palace. It is a place we all live, a place we all must build on our own, it is a symbol for how we see and think.

On this journey some of us turn toward the tree and tear it down. Others refuse to saw or collect the limbs, instead they seek safe-haven in another person’s palace. The best way to live is to pick up sticks here and there and saw off this or that without leaving the tree cut in half.  With the parts we will have the tools to build our perfect palace.

The tree if life represents the aspects of who we are and when we climb and play on its branches we can learn how to live to be the better version of ourselves.

Playing on the Tree of Life

  1. Digging in the dirt to see the roots that feed us.
  2. Climbing the trunk and feeling its bark
  3. Swinging from the limbs
  4. Exploring the flavor of its fruit.

Our life, like a tree’s root system spreads further and deeper when fed with rich nutrients.  The healthier food something is fed the healthier it becomes. Negative begets negative and positive begets positive.

Indulge the negative and like a disease it will worsen and spread.  Embrace the positive and you’ll expand and attract the same. Feed the soil of life with the energy you desire and you will experience it.  Look inward to find the answers you need. Exploring ideas with others can be great, but no one knows more about you than you do. Come with me and climb this tree to discover how to see the person you want to be.

Digging in the dirt to see the roots that feed us

Be your own life coach and dig into the dirt. It can be messy and muddy but if you look hard enough you will see we have two kinds of roots: Negative and Positive. The negative is comprised of denial, false perception, shame, malfunction, false validation, guilt and regret. The positive is made up of acceptance, wisdom, accountability, rationality, empowerment, forgiveness and harmony.

Climbing the trunk and feeling its bark

Our roots lead into the body of life, which represents the seasons we have endured and years lived. It is our life, our thoughts manifested and actions achieved.

Swinging from the limbs

From the body the Tree reaches out to the Limbs of Negativity and Positivity. The positive is our plans, adventures and dreams; the negative represents our stagnation, isolation and impulse. From the limbs our branches spread and grow to represent the action of these passions and pathos. It is at the end of these branches that we enjoy the fruit of our labor or suffer with its rot.

Exploring the flavor of its fruit

As I reaped the rewards for my hard work I took a bite and discovered a delicious delight. I saw the purpose to the pain, the truth of my terror and the reason for my existence. I am here to help, to show you the clues of what you must do.

To overcome who you are, you might have to split yourself open to observe how you work. Why do you do what you do? Why do you feel how you feel? These are questions anyone can ask, but only you can answer.

I address the dangers of life coaches, gurus and MLMs because they pretend to have answers for questions they cannot know. When it comes to the peace you seek, you already have the answers you need. The journey you walk has been paved by the life you’ve lived.  Look at where you’ve been to figure out where you want to go. The Tree of Life philosophy is about getting to know the true you inside yourself. I don’t have your answers and there is no one you can pay to do your dirty work. Change comes from within, this is the greatest truth I know. I cannot show you your way, but I can show you how I found my path to peace.

Take my hand and follow me as I explore my Tree of Life. I have chosen to open my heart to you, to see how I split myself open to understand how I work. To see how I discovered why I do what I do and feel what I feel. I am going to give your the greatest gifts I can, which are the questions I learned to ask myself to learn what I already knew.

 

Harmony

Harmony – Tree of Life

Harmony

Harmony is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. It’s the act of accepting, succumbing and overcoming the past. Harmony is an experience unlike any other. It’s an abstract sensation, one of calm, of ease, of tranquility. Those who feed the roots harmony aren’t beyond the range of human emotion. Rather they aren’t haunted by it like others may be.

Living without regret is not the same as living with harmony. My proactive prevention of regret has never led to the state of peace I feel today. Instead that philosophy kept my insides from catching fire.

I regret nothing

Everything that happened has been a stepping stone to where I am now. I’ve spoken of the hardships and pain associated with being a stepping stone for someone else. Though it may have hurt, it had to happen. Some were blessings, so amazing it was an honor endure such anguish.

I’ve been in relationships with horrific and delightful partners, good and bad pairings. Though heart break permeates them all, I regret none. Even more so, I love them for what they were.

There is something to be gained from everything. If you can gleam love, a lesson or perhaps some lore it had significance.

I love everyone

It’s true, I do love everyone. It doesn’t matter if you hurt me, we never met or you’re a friend. It was a recent milestone that I discovered this, when your mile stone finds you… you will be awestruck by it.

My milestone was being cool with my brother, and letting go of the past with both he and my father.

Links

Regret – Tree of Life

Rationality

Rationality – Tree of Life

Rationality is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. It’s the act of fueling our thoughts with positive energy. With it we make sound emotional decisions supported by reason.

That which conforms to principles of good reasoning, is sensible, shows good judgement, is consistent, logical, complete, and relevant. Rationality is a summary term like ‘virtue’ or ‘goodness’. It is manifested in an unlimited number of ways and depends on a host of principles. There is some ambiguity in it, depending on whether one considers only the logicalness and effectiveness by which one pursues one’s ends, or whether it includes the assessment of ends themselves. There is also ambiguity in whether one considers selfish ends to be rational, even when they conflict with what is just. Does a rational person have to be just or only skilled in pursuing his or her interests? Is it rational to be irrational in an irrational world? [1]

Throughout the years, I’ve watched the world become something other than what I thought it was. People doing things that don’t make sense. Their motivations are indiscernible. In a story, a character and their motivations must be believable, in life that is not the case. The only commonality I’ve seen is that people who hurt, hurt others. Some people hurt so much they become unbelievable villains. It makes you want to believe their only drive, the motive of their actions is to watch the world burn.

In my journey, I’ve blamed myself here and there. I’ve been convinced I was the villain, the destroyer of this relationship or that one.  That doesn’t make any sense, I am not solely responsible for the destruction of my past relationships. Just like you are not solely responsible for yours., but we are all partially responsible for anything that happens in all of our relationships.

If I were healthy…

When I was going through chemotherapy I was dating this lovely young woman. After we broke up I said that her and I wouldn’t have dated if I were healthy. I don’t know if that is true, because I was fond enough to fall in love with her. Truly in retrospect I think the statement was a coping mechanism.

The way it ended was terrible, perhaps more so than I anticipated. A lot of shitty things happened in the end. It made me feel like I was used. Used for all sorts of things and it made me feel like a tool, a weapon, a place holder and a stepping stone.

That’s life and its ok. I am grateful I had this beautiful young woman in my life when I was lonely and afraid. She was there for me in a way I needed someone to be in my life, she was my knight in shining armor. Spending time with me in that terrible hospital, holding my hand during chemotherapy and standing beside me as my lover. She eased the horror of staring down the barrel of death and I am eternally grateful to her for that.

So, what does all this lead into?

The positive root of rationality is more than accepting your role in relationships, it’s acknowledging and respecting their ebb and flow. We’re not always equally responsible at every moment. A wise man once told me this ebb and flow is akin to a seesaw. Sometimes you’re in the air and sometimes you’re not. There are times when we are more responsible and times when we are less.

[1] Paul, Richard, and A. J. A. Binker. Critical Thinking: What Every Person Needs to Survive in a Rapidly Changing World. Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2012.

Malfunction – Tree of Life

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness – Tree of Life

Forgiveness is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. When we feed these roots,  a weight lifts from our chest and the world becomes easier to breath. Forgiveness soothes the angry bees in our belly, takes away the lightning behind our eyes.

The act of feeding positive energy into this root is more than just saying: “I forgive you.” You have to actually deal with the issues fueling the guilt. Face down the baggage you’ve been carrying and work through the puzzles. Life is filled with all sorts of games, its a matter of solving them and learning something along the way. The guilt we feel has a value, before we can allow forgiveness to take hold we have to understand the significance of the guilt.

Ignoring your responsibility is not the same as forgiveness. Negligence is an inherent flaw of negative energy. To refuse your responsibility is denial, a negative root of the Tree of Life.

There are moments when guilt can be healthy. If we have a relationship with this root, then we wont allow it to grow longer than it needs to be. Hold onto it long enough to keep us healthy and remain accountable for our actions.

Guilt – Tree of Life

 

Empowerment

Empowerment – Tree of Life

Empowerment is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. When our heart weakens and our blood runs thin we turn to others for guidance. We desire words to equalize and harmonize. In these moments there are two choices we can make, personal empowerment or false validation. We can embrace our sound judgement or give our power to others. Empowerment can be described with:”I am who I am, these are my opinions, this is my decision.”

When we walk the road of empowerment we choose to live life with our own thoughts. We push out the influences of others and we have the force of will to be who we are, who we believe ourselves to be, who we want to be.

In my journey of empowerment I’m trying to remove phrases like: “What do you think about that?” …and other questions of validation. I’ve discovered that if someone has an opinion they’ll share it to you. We don’t have to ask, it wouldn’t be a gift if we did.

I choose to be my own person, I choose who I want to be. I have chosen to transform my root of false validation into the root of empowerment.

Links

False Validation – Reflections

 

Accountability

Accountability – Tree of Life

Accountability is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. This root may sometimes invite pressure and stress, but if these levels remain healthy we are embracing positive elements. Often we find acceptance before we become accountable, but this is not always the case. An example of accountability may be described with: “I respect you, I respect myself, I fulfill my obligations.”

Accountability is a root that is built over time.

We can transform a part of our root structure into accountability, but this “instant” transformation isn’t so instantaneous. It takes times and effort, actions that repeat over and over like a snow ball rolling across the ground. If the snow ball stops rolling its stops growing. We have to keep things rolling if we want to grow the roots of acceptance.

This root is built from our social contracts. These agreements are established between at least two people. They are informal (spoken or otherwise) contracts that define a relationship. The more we honor and obey these social contracts the stronger our accountability becomes. Following the social contracts is not enough though. If you feel shame when not honoring the contract then you have wrapped yourself up in arrangements you’re currently not healthy enough to honor. Unless you can quickly develop coping skills these relationships will fail.

Recently I had the opportunity to share and receive wisdom from another soul surfing the seas of sorrow. It was from them I gained an insightful look into shame and how it affects us. I learned that its presence is magnified the smaller our communities become. That our actions reverberate with stronger force because there is no anonymity.

I spent a bit of time contemplating this thought and I discovered there were two roots that exist within these communities. The first was shame, the second was accountability. In the instances that we feel crippled by the opinions of others we are embracing the negative roots of the Tree of Life. This causes us to water our soil with the stress water from our Tolerance Barrel.

When we are motivated to do what we feel is right and good and take care of our fellow man, we embrace the positive. Participating in activities that promote the community and maintain order that falls within the realm of accountability. Acting responsibly is a positive quality.

Links

Shame – Reflections

Wisdom

Wisdom – Tree of Life

Wisdom is one of the seven positive roots of the Tree of Life. It’s the ability to see the world without illusion or delusion. To realistically interpret and understand who you are and your surroundings.  A comprehension that starts from the inside parts of our mind and stretches to the outside zones of our body. It can be described with the sentence: “My body is this, I believe this, I am this person, I decide who I am.”

Wisdom finds us when we embrace who we are. Accept the realities of our existence and transcend them. It tells us that we can become whoever we want to be and we are not defined by the opinions of others.

When we accept the root of wisdom we decide to no longer feed the negative root of false perception. It is the moment when your identity is decided by you and no one else.

Links

False Perception – Reflections