Stop asking friends with cancer, "How Are You?"
When you ask a friend with cancer, "How Are You?", what are you really asking them? Furthermore, do you really want to know what they are going through and how it is making them feel?
Their seemingly never ending to-do list of therapies, supplements, treatments, doctor appointments, medications, drinks, shakes, juicing, meditation, mental anguish, uncertainties, financial stability - or instability - security of their job, lack of support from family, loss of friendships, sleepless nights, worrisome thoughts that swirl constantly through their head, nausea, lack of appetite, funky bowel habits ..... it can be an awkward response. Those are questions for their cancer healing team, not a co-worker, neighbor or friend.
The answers can be so awkward, actually, that most of the time the response you will hear will be a quick: "fine, everything is fine". Nobody wants to lay out their fears, concerns, and questionables on their friends plate.
Instead, change the question to: HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY?
Let your friend who is working to overcome a disease that is plaguing this country respond with feelings that are deep in their heart. Releasing these feelings is therapeutic in and of itself.
By this small, yet powerful question, you will open the gates for discussion that have substance and meaning. Putting a simple twist on an overused question will provide an opportunity to talk about what is really weighing on their shoulders rather than just providing the standard space for them to give the robotic, machine-like response of, "so far so good."
The words: 'You have cancer', are incredibly powerful. Those three words can wreak havoc on your emotions and too often of times they get stuck on auto-play in the mind.
In everything you do: work, eat, exercise, shower, travel, visit, relax - this person is now doing so as someone with cancer. --- that is a heavy weight to carry on the heart.
Being asked, "How Is Your Heart" allows them to express how they are really feeling: joy, gratitude, sadness, aching. Perhaps their heart is craving human touch and connection and they just need a hug. Maybe their heart feels isolated and lonely and they need to find support and just don't know how to express this.
The next time you are presented with the chance to ask someone you know with cancer (how they are doing) ….
Look them in the eye, put your hand on their shoulder and ask: HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY? Touch, connection and community are basic human necessities and you will have fulfilled all of them in this basic act of kindness and thought.
You could be the light of their day and shift their energy in a positive direction for days to come!
While you're at it, actively training yourself to ask this alternative question to an old age way of opening conversation, remind yourself that you are human, too/
You are more than a human doing, you are a human BEING!
Examine your heart, your soul, and your state of being in connection to both.
We are not machines that are meant to stay constantly busy. We are getting lost in the busyness of life: technology and connection to community is being forgotten and thrown aside.
This disconnect and stress load is part of the dis-ease of cancer itself and it is a known contributor to fueling its growth and development.
Part of human life is to LIVE with meaning: we are supposed to have a balanced existence. It's not just about fitting more on the to-do list, our mind-body-spirit-soul is meant to be LIVING life.
"How are you DOING" is the perfect example that we are programmed to be in never-ending (doing) motion, leaving E-motion out of the equation, or tucking it deep down inside. Stop that.
PAUSE, TOUCH, LOCK EYES, and ask your friend with cancer:
HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY?
Embrace this human to human connection and listen to the condition of your own heart in the process. In addition to contributing to a friends healing, it could be just the cancer prevention ingredient that your very own soul is desiring!
The most powerful tool we have to ensure we make better health and wellness choices in the future is KNOWLEDGE.