Can You Hear Me Now? The Mind-Body Connection

In a recent blog post, I referenced the phenomena of catchy phrase(s); the ones that become staples in pop culture and stick in our minds — sometimes for years. Well, there is a line from a cellular phone commercial that comes to mind. You know the one… Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good.

Can You Hear Me Now? Can Your Body?

So I’d like to provide you with a slightly different perspective on this famous Can you hear me now? line. To do this, I want to share with you another favorite inspirational quote that I found during my mother, Maxine’s, cancer battle. The quote is credited to Rhonda Byrne and goes like this:

Whatever you believe about your body, your cells believe too. They don’t question anything you think, feel, or believe. In fact, they hear every thought, feeling, and belief you have.”

Do you see where I’m going with this? This statement says that your body is always listening for clues from your brain as to how you are thinking, feeling or believing at that particular moment in time.

If your mind is filled with positive inputs or vibes… “This is no big deal”… “I can handle this”…”This is in my wheelhouse”…your body processes these thoughts or cues and reacts accordingly.

The same holds true if your mind is filled negative inputs or vibes….”This is a big problem”… “I don’t know if I can do this”….”I’m a-scared.” Can your body hear you now? You bet it can.

More About the Mind-Body Connection

To reinforce this point, I’d like to share the following additional quotes with you:

  • • Cogito ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” – Rene Descartes

  • • “As you think, so shall you become.” –  Bruce Lee

  • • “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – James Allen

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know by now that I’m a big believer in the power of the mind, and the impact that having a positive outlook on life can have on your health.

The first two quotes say to me that we are — and we become — a mosaic of what we think, feel and believe.  Can your body hear you now, Roger that.

The third quote by James Allen further validates that who we are (and what we will become) is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy of how our minds process thoughts, feelings and beliefs about past, present and anticipated future life experiences.

So Can your body hear you now? That’s a Big 10-4.

“There’s No Crying in Baseball”: Inspirational Quotes

Just about every popular movie has at least one famous line. (Think: You had me at “hello.”) But some movies have one-liners that are far and away above the rest. You know what I mean … it’s a phrase that not only jumps out at us when we first hear it, but becomes a staple in pop culture and sticks in our minds for years to come. There are so many of these types of inspirational quotes from our favorite films, and I know I’ve turned to more than a few in my times of need.

For this blog, I’m going to go back to the inspirational quote delivered by Tom Hanks in the 1992 baseball movie titled A League of Their Own.

“There’s No Crying in Baseball”

In the scene, one of the baseball players (Evelyn) is called out by the team manager (Jimmy), played by Tom Hanks, after she made an error that allowed the other team to tie the score. As Jimmy is expressing his displeasure with Evelyn’s fielding, she begins to tear up and then starts crying. Jimmy notices this and then says… Are you crying, are you crying…there’s no crying…there’s no crying in baseball.

I believe the point team manager Jimmy is trying to make to Evelyn and her teammates is that errors or mistakes, while not desired, are a part of the game of baseball. Nobody is perfect. What is important, however, is not the physical act of making an error but how the error came about and what the player can do to put themselves in a better position to successfully execute the play the next time the situation occurs. In other words, learning from your mistakes.

What We Can Learn From Inspirational Quotes Like These

This same philosophy can also be applied to a challenging time in your life — whether you’re confronting a major health issue, like cancer, or personal or professional challenge.

I like to use quotes by successful people to reinforce points I’m trying to emphasize so here are a few more of my favorite inspirational quotes on this topic:

  • • “It’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it that matters.” – Epictetus
  • • “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi
  • • “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” – Lou Holtz

 

Will each of us experience challenges, obstacles or setbacks from time to time in life? Of course, if you are living life to the fullest. The question becomes, “How will you respond when confronted with a difficult life experience?”

As I see it, we have two choices: you can waste valuable time and energy feeling sorry for yourself (i.e., pout about it), or you can pick yourself up off the floor and direct your efforts toward solving the problem (i.e., kick some a%#!).

Can you guess which one I recommend?

What Is the Definition of Win in a Cancer Battle?

In today’s society, a lot of emphasis is placed on winning and losing. But why? And what is the definition of “win” anyway?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of everyone getting a “feel-good” ribbon for participating in an event. In fact, I’ve found that some of life’s most valuable lessons are acquired through experiencing the competitive thrill of victory or agony of defeat. But when we’re talking about a cancer diagnosis and battle or contest, it’s an entirely different ballgame.

Winning Isn’t Everything? Really?

Seldom does the topic of winning come up, in any aspect of life, without mention of the famous quote: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” That quote is often attributed to the legendary head football coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi. And yet, you may be surprised to learn that in the documentary titled Lombardi, a sportswriter recounts a conversation with Coach Lombardi where the Coach told him, “I wish to hell I’d never said [that].”

Coach Lombardi went on to say, “What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavor in life, and you leave every fiber of what you have on the field, then you’ve won.”

Apparently, Coach Lombardi learned some life lessons after his famous quote. It made him rethink his definition of win.

You vs. Cancer: The Definition of “Win”

The cancer battle discussed throughout Know Your Enemy isn’t “won” in the traditional sense.

I believe, as Coach Lombardi, that to win means having the physical and mental toughness to take on this enemy head-on, with every ounce of your being every day. It requires a total commitment to doing whatever it takes in terms of the team you build and the treatments that you pursue, and leaving nothing on the table. Lastly, it means surrounding yourself with your faith, family, and friends to help you to navigate one of life’s most difficult challenges.

If you were to ask me what is the one thing readers should take away from this book, I would say it is having an understanding that in cancer, as in life, there are many factors beyond our control—stage, type, detection, genetic composition, environment, diet, fate, etc.—all of which will play a role in determining the outcome of the battle.

It’s important to remember to focus your time and energy on the things you can control or change. As the Serenity Prayer says:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

That is the secret to standing tall against the enemy. That is the definition of “win.”

The Real Warriors: Cancer Fighters

In the dedication section of Know Your Enemy, I described the individuals that I believe are the real warriors of our time.

They are not to be confused with so-called warrior athletes, labeled as such from their “freakish” exploits on the field of play. The individuals I am referring to are not playing a kids’ game; they are adults and children, patients and caregivers, and medical professionals engaged in a daily struggle against a formidable opponent—cancer.

In re-reading this description five years later, I don’t think I could say it any better today, so I’ve included an excerpt for this blog…

They are the chemotherapy patients on a cocktail so strong they have little energy to get out of bed in the morning—or the radiation patients that suffer treatment side effects, such as severe joint or nerve pain or burning skin. Then add the responsibilities of raising a family or maintaining a career, and now you’re talking about a Herculean effort just to make it through the day.

They are also the caregivers whose worlds are turned upside down when a loved one is confronted with a cancer diagnosis. They need to be strong in helping to battle this enemy, while coping with their own fear and trauma.

Last, but not least, they are the medical professionals on the front lines caring for, supporting, and consoling patients and family members in their greatest time of need.

— Dedication excerpt, October 2015

Do you have someone in your life that has exhibited extraordinary strength of character in their battle with cancer? If so, have you told this real warrior that he (or she) is your hero? If not, what are you waiting for?

So here is my ode to the real warriors in my life.

To my mother, Maxine R. Antonicelli; my wife, Alyson C. Antonicelli; my little buddy, Derek Johnson #223 (son of Tina and Scott Johnson); personal friend and neighbor Stephen B. Wagoner; and all those who are engaged against the enemy—cancer—this book is dedicated to you, for you are true warriors, gladiators in the arena of life.
Frank Antonicelli