In Part 1 of this 4 part blog series, I discussed how there’s no place for blame, shame or guilt in any healing conversation, and nobody should ever feel like it’s their fault if they’re sick. In Part 2, I talked about the importance of healing not only the conscious mind, but the subconscious mind, which operates our programs 95% of the time. In this blog post, I’d like to talk about the roadblock I hit when writing my book Mind Over Medicine – the question of “Why do some people do everything “right” – and yet they get sick or stay sick anyway?”

You might argue, for example, that my friend Kris Carr, who is thriving with Stage 4 cancer and has been for ten years, should be cancer-free. After all, she religiously follows a vegan diet, drinks her green juice and does detox cleanses, tends to the health of her mind, is passionately pursuing a calling, surrounds herself with those who love and nurture her, meditates, and attends to her own self-care. Yet, she still has cancer.

Is she doing something “wrong?” Abso-freakin’-lutely not.  And if you’re like Kris, doing everything you can to optimize the health of your body, but you’re still saddled with an illness, it’s not your fault either.

So Why Do Some People Experience Spontaneous Remissions – And Others Stay Sick?

This is the question that ultimately tripped me up when I was writing Mind Over Medicine. And the scientific data failed me here. I ultimately determined that the answer isn’t so much scientific as spiritual.

I believe our souls come to this earth because we’ve agreed to learn something in this life. And perhaps, for some of us, illness is a vehicle by which our soul gets to grow and learn and wake up. As a doctor, I’ve seen over and over that illness can be a potent opportunity for spiritual awakening – if you’re able to resist the temptation to fall into victimhood.

I’m not suggesting that some punishing God slaps people with illness so they can learn a lesson. But perhaps, on some spiritual plane, we sign up to be sick so we can learn the lessons we’re here to learn. And in order to fully express those lessons, we need the illness.

Not to suggest that she ever “signed up” for Stage 4 cancer, but you might even argue that Kris Carr’s message of hope is even more potent because she still has cancer. While it would be super inspiring if her body demonstrated a radical spontaneous remission, I find it even more inspiring that she’s able to be so present in the moment and that she thrives in the face of stage 4 cancer. What a role model for all of us to find our peace in the present moment rather than future-tripping about what tomorrow might hold!

Illness As A Vehicle For Awakening

If some of us are sick because our souls have something to learn, the key comes in being willing to make peace with the journey. Not to suggest that anyone should ever give up hope or stop trying to heal the body, but perhaps the real healing comes in accepting what is and fighting against it. If illness can be a vehicle for awakening and you’re fighting an illness, are you taking advantage of the lessons inherent in the healing journey?

What is your illness trying to teach you?

What is your soul here to learn?

Are you willing to be a humble student of life? Will you let your body teach you what it’s trying to communicate?

If you’re already doing everything you can to optimize the health of your body and mind, can you make peace with things as they are? Can you trust the divine path you’re traveling?

The Difference Between Healing And Curing

In the last part of this blog series, I’m going to address one key point – the difference between healing and curing (which I previewed here). So if this topic interests you, make sure you’ve subscribed to my blog here so you don’t miss any installations of this series.

What do you think about all this? Please share your stories – your triumphs, your frustrations, your thoughts – in the comments below.

Trusting your journey,

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  1. I so appreciate your insight. I’ve heard my daughter ask these same questions and eliminating blame and shame; moving towards acceptance and compassion for ourselves and faith in, not only our bodies natural ability to heal, but in our journey, is good advice for all of us, caregivers included.

  2. Absolute healing occurs when the spiritual body is open and connected to the Universal Energy Source. As an Activation Healer, I scan and communicate with the body to be informed about what is causing the imbalance and activate the healing to begin, God/Universe can do its part by eliminating any negative organisms, energizing whatever parts of the body is necessary, applying nutrition, etc. but it is the third party involved (the client) that is critical. He/she needs to ALLOW the miraculous healing to occur. The ALLOWING is part of our spiritual journey where we first need to become open to our connection to this Universal Energy (to ALL), then we accept our connection to ALL (this is a big step) and then we ALLOW ALL (and then with this level of belief), ALL is possible and the miracles are limitless. When we ask God/Universe to help us “accept all” and “allow all” – we usually experience many emotions, thoughts, assumptions … and we realize we are afraid of what this “absolute” means … it is BIG. Suggest to your friend Kris Carr to explore saying these two phrases and to see what she experiences … also perhaps suggest to your friend to find an Activation Healer she can work with for absolute healing.

    • Yes, ALLOWING… relaxing, letting be, not gripping tightly the steering wheel of life. All my life I wanted to be IN CONTROL. Until my body said “That’s it, enough of your control-freakishness!” and I had a very rapid onset of Multiple Sclerosis. The very thought of controlling – my very own body! had to be banned from my existence.

      Yet I still do not have a happy-end story to tell you.

      I am STILL trying to grasp onto whatever control straws I have left. Your post reminded me of this. My logical mind knows I have to let go, but my subconscious kicks and screams.

      Will keep on trying. It is so much easier to tense up than it is to relax.

      Thank you all.

      • Hi Lissa,

        When you are in those moments needing to be in control, place your mind’s eye right below your center heart – (slightly above the upside down V of your rib cage), and say AM (out loud or silently). Feel the access to “calm”. In that moment, KNOW, you are connected to God and Universal Source of Love and Light. Many of us are lacking a connection to our “AM” (which isour connection to God (Universal Love and Light) and through this very simple practice, we can reach, build andstrengthen “AM”. “AM” is the key! This practice helps us realize our life’s purpose,eliminate negative self thoughts, see the world and our life as the miracle andgift it is, allowing ourselves to see our life through the eyes of our spirit bodyvs. our ego. Control is always ego driven … you may also wish to say the following affirmation: “I ask God to lower my ego to the lowest possible level (absolutely no reading). I ask my ego to serve my spirit.”

        On a side note: I would be happy to share a “Clearing Mantra” with your friend, Kris Carr, I accessed from the Universe, and use in my practice, that may shift her body’s ability to heal itself. Just let me know and tell me where to email it.

        Be well, Elizabeth

  3. Lissa, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject. It is one I come back to again and again. I was raised in a relatively alternative household where we took arnica not ibuprofen and this gave me the opportunity to be willing to BE with whatever illness I was experiencing. In the past few years, I have definitely come to believe that the key is really about allowing vs. resisting. And the idea that we are each here to experience certain things in this lifetime really helps me with that allowing…especially when it doesn’t make ANY sense to me at the time. I am looking forward to your thoughts on healing vs. curing; I feel this is one of the most important distinctions to make for people who are trying to feel better.

    I am a massage therapist, and I have started to notice a parallel between this healing vs. curing inquiry, and the main types of bodywork that I offer. Massage can feel amazing, and it can definitely help people recover from injury, increase range of motion, relax, etc, but I find that unless I work with the client to heal the underlying issues/trauma in the tissue, we continue to deal with the same ones over and over. With the CranioSacral therapy that I practice, I find that it is possible to actually release and heal old traumas giving them a much more permanent freedom and sense of well being.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing your truth! I cannot wait for you to make the Whole Health Medicine Institute available to us non-physicians!!

  4. Lissa, thank you for opening up this discussion. I just crossed the forty year mark with Type 1 Diabetes. I have, in that forty years done countless things in an effort to heal myself. I have traveled the country following faith healers and I’ve been anointed with enough oil to drown fifty men. I’ve even thrown away my insulin to show God the depth of my faith. Forty years. Just like the children of Israel wandering around in the desert.

    But there is a Promised Land. Somewhere in my journey I grasped the concept that perhaps this was a part of my contract. My way home. Eight years ago I became a beekeeper. Yep, a beekeeper with diabetes. I fell in love. I found the present moment when I was working in my hives. I began to see that my illness was a mirror of my life–that just as my body had difficulty processing sweetness, so did my heart. And every time I checked my blood sugar it reminded me of how I measured the sweetness in my life, always fearful of taking in too much.

    It seems I’m here to learn the power in surrendering to sweetness. Of course I would love to experience spontaneous remission and be free but what I once believed– My body betrayed me I now see as a loyal friend.

    • Beautiful. What a courageous heart! Once we realize that our consciousness is not strictly body, but that the body does reflect what is going on in our life, and the way we are thinking about life; we can make the necessary upgrades, and know that the body MUST follow the improvements we are expressing in our attitudes etc. How we give and accept love is a highly underrated nutrient that is needed for total health. (Lissa, THANK YOU! I deeply appreciate this conversation you are opening up for us to share.)

  5. Lissa, is it possible to share with us what biological proof the Dr.s still have that your friend has stage 4 cancer? And could their need to be right about that diognosis be what’s holding it in place?Or maybe the belief that cancer is a killing illness, rather than a temporary imballance while the body’s intelligence is doing it’s own gene shifting thing or something.

    • The proof they have is scans that continue to show tumors that have previously been biopsied…at least that’s what they’re basing their diagnosis on. Fortunately for Kris, it’s been ten years and the tumors haven’t grown. Phew.

  6. I totally agree with your this! I am a breast cancer survivour. I had a double mastectomy in Aug 2007, followed by 8 rounds of chemo. I made a choice immediately that I was well. My mindset was instrumental in putting my body back at ease. Most importantly, though, I was spiritually awakened, and my life has changed tremendously. I believe it needed to happen to me, in order that I fulfill what I was sent here to accomplish.

  7. I think its important to keep in mind that some illnesses seem inherently more difficult to keep a positive mindset and avoid limiting beliefs about because the brain chemistry imbalances are a critical part of the illness. For example cancer, diabetes, paralysis, blindness, heart disease etc. CAN be accompanied by depression/negative thoughts about the diagnoses or the limitations experienced, but depression is not considered a common symptom of, say cancer. If you’re friend told you they were depressed you wouldn’t think to say to them, “Wow you should get checked for cancer.” On the other hand with diseases like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, and thyroid disorder are highly correlated with depression, and depression and other brain chemical imbalances are a common symptom or disease marker. And you might in fact tell a friend with depression to get their thyroid checked out.

    (some of us would, anyway, others of you might be saying, well that is because those aren’t “real” physical diseases. I personally think the physical and psychological are both biologically driven and influence the energy/emotional body, just as much as the energy/emotional body influences the biological and neither is the root exactly).

    My point is before we judge another or commend another for how positively they are coping with their disease, consider the biological effect the disease may be having on their ability to, well, do everything, and consider commending the ones you judge for what seems on the surface like a weak effort to cope, think positively, express their creativity, practice self care etc. They might be doing more than you imagine.

    The fear of negative thinking and enabling is so strongly embedded in our can-do culture in general and particularly within the alternative subculture that it can cause great destruction to those who need someone to acknowledge their pain and struggle. Sometimes things do suck. Sometimes we might really be the victim of an injustice. Sometimes the world is cruel. Sometimes feelings are natural and justified. Validate. validate. validate.

    I feel that paradoxically people usually move on naturally from wallowing once they know that someone BELIEVES them. When someone approaches with a sugary positive attitude they can get caught up in a cycle of vicious ever increasing polarization, trying to convince the person to take them seriously, “no it really does hurt. see let me demonstrate”, and then that happy person is ever more convinced they are right and the sick person’s problem is they are just dwelling on the situation, or seeking attention and pity, when they are only trying to be understood, and had happy person just said in the first place, “man, that must be really difficult for you. I can’t imagine how you must feel.” rather than “you should really go outside more.” the conversation would already be on to other topics.


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