Patricia Dilts was the mother of Robert B. Dilts and author of My Pathway to Wholeness (1992), an accounting of her dramatic recovery from metastatic breast cancer using NLP methods. In 1982, she was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer and informed that it had spread throughout her body. She was not expected to live very long. Through her own courage, openness to self exploration and love for life and for her family, she took charge of her own health and made a dramatic recovery. She lived another 13 and a half years, completely symptom free for a vast majority of the time. Her recovery and her commitment to life has been an inspiration for people all over the world who seek to find their own pathway to wholeness.
The following is an excerpt from My Pathway to Wholeness:
I've been asked what I did when it seemed it would be easier to just give up. There were times when I felt that I was not doing as well as I should be doing. At these moments, I would try to find something, be it ever so small, that I had wanted to do but hadn't. It is like the old adage of "dangling a carrot" in front of the donkey to coax him to move ahead and pull the cart. I think that in episodes of physical weakness, people with serious illnesses can find the effort to get well overwhelming. If just one little thing can be completed, it is encouraging.
Trying to find something amusing in every event is also an effective way of keeping a positive attitude and transforming (negative ideas or) 'thought viruses'. My family and I have discovered that even the most unpleasant times in our lives have had some laughable interludes. Learning to laugh at ourselves is so important. Taking myself too seriously was not helpful. If I can laugh at fears, at myself and with others, life takes on a new and pleasant perspective. My tolerance and patience with others improves if I can find something amusing in the frustrations that we all encounter daily.
I am not afraid to dream wonderful dreams. Amazing to me, some have actually come true. I have taken solo voice classes and truly enjoy performing. I have been on several T.V. commercials, something I never expected to be doing, I have lived exciting years that were predicted never to happen.
Spending time out-of-doors has always been therapeutic for me as I know it has for others. Following my parents' love for and preservation of nature, I have felt a bonding with the earth and its fruits. There is always a feeling of harmony and joy for me in being close to creation in my garden and beneath my trees. We have so many lessons to learn from the life cycles and purposes of nature. My garden represents my life. And the blossoms I gather for my bouquet are my experiences. Daily I find new flowers to add to my bouquet.
Curiosity is another important part of my reason for living. I love learning new things and am fascinated by both new and old discoveries. There is so much knowledge I have still to investigate and understand that I would need many more years to even tap the surface. I have studied languages at our local Junior College as well as traveled to several European countries. New cultures have opened to me resulting in entirely different fields of interest.
A physician friend of mine told me that he thought that sometimes people had to be seriously ill to learn to take care of themselves and ultimately live a better life. In my opinion he has been very observant. So many survivors of life-threatening illnesses tell of a new appreciation of each day of life and even a new love for their fellow creatures. I believe a certain wisdom comes with each day I choose to live. I use the word "choose" because I feel "choosing" has something to do with life extension. I like to make each day something worth living for. Sometimes just viewing the sky and trees is enough. Other times, helping someone else is the key. Being "needed" surfaces on occasion. A smile to and from a stranger can be important.
Not everyone has had the support and opportunities that I have enjoyed. But, things can be done on a small scale, one step at a time, until, looking back, many steps and improvements can be recognized. Each step makes living that much more precious, and each accomplishment more a privilege. Life becomes more meaningful while we become a dynamic part of it. We gather our treasures along the road of experience. Problem experiences can become valued lessons, our own rare gems.
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