Posted in Caregiving, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, overcoming adversity

The Unified Person

One of the things I had to break myself from doing when I spoke was splitting parts of myself. I can look back and see how I had confused indecision with no commitment. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about let me give you an example. I would be discussing an issue and would find myself saying, “A part of me….” How is that possible? Did I really think that only the cells in my right pinky believed a particular thing and the rest of body was in revolt? I’ve spoke with many people over the years that try and exile a part of the body that is causing them trouble but that never seemed to work. Unifying the body, mind, and spirit is the only path to health and healing.

If we divide ourselves in physical, emotional, and spiritual beings it’s like having three people fighting for limited resources. When we unify our forces we create an incubator for healing. It’s that incubator that provides a safe place to nurture a strategy for growth, renewal, and peace. It takes some work, but it reaps huge rewards.

Dr. Jeff Miller shared, “Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment. For they are one, and indivisible. Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies.” Having had the privilege of spending thousands of hours with individuals facing chronic and life-threatening illness I understand the importance of a unified front. You can’t play the game we did as kids, if mom says no ask dad, because we diminish the odds for health and healing.

We have to remember that when we’re facing emotionally draining situations our bodies defenses are compromised. The ideal situation is that when one of the three components that makes us whole is feeling compromised the other two can step in and bolster the compromised part of our being. If you’re emotionally drained your faith may take over, sending in reinforcements helping until you’re emotionally restored. (I’m not talking about mental illness, that often requires the help of a mental health or medical professional)

We all have to remember that all three parts of our being won’t be firing on all engines all the time. There is a dance that happens between the three and understanding that our being is always in a fluid state will make the ebb and flow more natural and not so scary!

Experiencing the ebb and flow of the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of your life?  Visit

Want to explore how to create a natural state of balance with body, mind, and spirit?  Visit

Follow me on Twitter: @GregKatz2

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, Life Motivation, living with chronic illness


Ever see the musical Rent? It was Jonathan Larson’s masterpiece that gained massive acclaim after he died. It was a labor of love and devotion. Despite is death Rent became iconic. The music and the message were amazing. The one song that captures audiences was Seasons of Love. The song asks the listener, how do you measure a year. This is a crucial question when we think about how to focus on the quality of life, not necessarily the quantity of life.

It is said, “Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” Give that quote a moment to sink it and then think about how you will assimilate that into your being. Beauty surrounds us and these are the moments that take our breath away. These are the moments that many feel the most alive. It’s an experience of wonder and joy. When we have these experiences it impacts us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The benefits to our health are huge and should be part of our health and healing pilgrimage.

Often we’re so caught up in doing things and that limits our energy to experience things. Our experiences shape our worldview. They settle in our bodies and give us clues about what makes us happy, engaged, and joyful. It’s amazing to think that we can alter our journey by allowing ourselves to experience amazement, beauty, and life!

Will you give yourself the gift of beauty? How do you integrate amazement and beauty into your life? If I were prescribing something that would impact your health I would prescribe a walk in nature, time in a museum, sitting quietly to Beethoven just to name a few. Where do you find beauty? How do you experience beauty? These moments will calm you, easy tension, and provide a sense of peace; can you think of anything more healing?

I urge you to make the time to have experiences that are amazing and beautiful. Give yourself the life affirming experiences that take your breath away!

Looking for a place that provides education, support, and inspiration when facing a chronic or life-threatening illness?  Visit

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Storm Surge

The news is flooded with stories and pictures of the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.  The East Coast has been devastated by a storm that devoured a region.  First responders are still working very hard to rescue people that hadn’t evacuated.  Power is out for over 7 million customers and on top of it, fires broke out burning houses and exploding cars.

It’s one thing to see this force of Mother Nature take hold and be in command of the fate of so many people.  However, if you’ve been diagnosed with a life-threatening or other life-altering illness and have ever had a flare, you know what a storm surge is like from the depths of your soul.

Just like Mother Nature we can’t predict when an internal storm surge will begin its devastation.  For many, it comes on suddenly and impacts body, mind, and spirit.  The effects are devastating and it can take a long time to recover following one of these episodes.

This came on my radar screen this week when one of the individuals I was going to interview for my dissertation called with the news that she’s in the midst of one of these storm surges.  She’s very concerned about the impact this new bout with her illness will take on her life, and to say the least, she’s very discouraged.  There’s never a guarantee that health will be sustained, and when it’s compromised, like when a levee is breached, the fallout is difficult.

It took me a long time to understand my body’s own circadian rhythms.  I’ve come to understand that my body and my illness tend to revolt some time between Halloween and Christmas.  I’m particularly careful during this time period to take extra special care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  If the storm surge hits, I’m prepared for it and take the necessary measures to take back control of my health.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s something I’ve learned to take on to live the best life possible.

Storm surges in nature, and in the body are difficult to predict much less control.  The only defense we have it to nurture ourselves and know that the body-mind connection is powerful.  The body-mind connection is the best defense along with good medical care for riding out the storm!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Are You Waiting for a Special Invitation?

I’m continuously on the hunt for inspiring stories about health, healing, and living large.  I’m currently reading Stephen Cope’s “The Great Work Of You Life: A guide for the journey to your true calling”.  I know my true calling, but there are aspects about recognizing one’s gift and how to use that information in all other areas of your life.

I don’t have any answers (not that I usually do), but I do have some questions that keep haunting me.  I keep a notepad by my chair in the family room so that when I’m watching television I can capture thoughts and quotes.  When I looked at the pad this morning I noticed the question, “Do you have to have a near death experience to begin living large?”

There are plenty of interviews and books written about people who have had near death experiences and the catalyst this experience was for living large.  I guess what I’m wondering is why wait?  Are we continuously putting things off until we’re faced with an ultimatum?  Have we created a culture where we hold back because others can’t handle our bigness?  Wouldn’t it be great if everyone lived large and we were equipped to handle that bigness?

How large are you living?  As I write this I’m asking that very question.  I’m in the midst of writing my doctoral dissertation and it’s on artists with life-threatening and life-altering illnesses.  I’m amazed at how large these individuals are living.  There are no shrinking violets.  They are following their calling.  Their voices are strong in speech and their art.  They are truly leaders in how to live large, and the rewards one gets by living in alignment, body, mind, and spirit.

No one can send you an invitation to your own life so stop checking the mailbox or your email inbox for it.  You get to create your life so how large do you want it to be?  What would it look like if you lived large?  Are you ok with dwarfing those around you?  Believe me, if you begin to live large others will take your lead because they will see the results so don’t hold back!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Speaking the Unspeakable

What do you want to talk about?  Are there things that you would like to discuss with people since you’re diagnosis?  Have you found that when you broach the topic people either make excuses to leave the room or change the topic?   It’s like the episode of “Sex and the City” where Samantha is talking about her illness with Carrie and Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries to change the subject.  Samantha says, “Please let me talk about what I’m afraid of”.  That changed the conversation and probably their relationship forever.

Last week on “The Jeff Probst Show” he had Jennifer Gilbert as a guest.  She had been brutally attacked over twenty years ago.  On the show she discussed not only the horror of the attack but the lingering effects of the attack lasting over twenty years.

As Gilbert shared she never discussed the attack with her family.  She held the enormously disturbing impact to herself, keeping it all in and as result creating new rules about how to live life.

Gilbert went on to get married and have a family.  She gave birth to twin boys and unfortunately one of the boys was diagnosed with alopecia.  Alopecia is obviously quite visible and hard to ignore, and yet the family did a good job of not discussing the obvious.  One day when Gilbert returned home her daughter came to her and said, “Mommy, (one of the kids who came to play) came over and broke the rule?”  Gilbert in all her wisdom asked what rule?  Her daughter said, “The rule that we don’t speak about (her brother’s) baldness”.  It hit Gilbert hard because she realized in that moment that she fostered an environment where they didn’t discuss difficult topics.

It was in that moment that Gilbert decided to change the rules.  She sat down with the kids and they talked about the child’s alopecia.  She said they have become a “bald proud” family.  She changed the rule and the dynamics of the family making it easier to discuss difficult situations.

How will you change the rules?  How will you make it known that you not only want to discuss your diagnosis/health challenge, but you need to discuss this change in your life?  It means taking a stand, bringing the diagnosis center stage, and feeling comfortable with the discomfort.  The reward is a dialogue creating support from friends and family.  It means you open your relationships to more open and honest communication.  It spotlights the love you have for those in your life and their willingness to engage with you on this level is the ultimate showing of love!  You will experience a new sense of freedom and lightness not having to hold all this energy within the confines of your body, mind, and spirit.  The new experience of life will serve you on your journey to health and healing.

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, Spirituality and Health

Space Planning

I watch a lot of HGTV and I’m always amazed at the result the designers achieve.  I have some friends currently building homes and it’s not uncommon to discuss space planning because they are all artists and are designing their ideal studios.  We consider space planning when it comes to our physical homes, our dwellings, but don’t consider space planning in any other realm of our lives.

What if we worked on space planning in our minds?  How would our lives change if we thought about how we use the space in our minds?  What would it take for you to consider space planning for your emotional and spiritual life?

Let’s face it being diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness is a big thing; it takes up a lot of space.  The most obvious place it takes space is in your body.  You and your medical teamwork together striving to reduce the amount of physical space your illness takes in your body.  Along with various treatments and medication, good food and rest are vitally important to reducing the amount of space your illness takes up in your body.

The other aspect to this is the amount of space a diagnosis of an illness takes up in your mind.  It is like “The Blob”, expanding into all the nooks and crannies of your mind zapping your energy that you need for health and healing.  When you ruminate about your illness the amount of space it takes up is enormous.  What can you do to contain the expansion of negative energy?

Support groups are a great way to contain the negative emotional aspects of a health challenge.  It allows you to dump the negative energy and get support when you need it most.  The group atmosphere is affirming and lets you know that you’re not the only person in the world having these experiences.  The problem is that not everyone lives in a geographic location where there is a support group for your particular diagnosis.  The Internet has given us the opportunity to connect with people around the world at any time day or night, creating relationships and partnerships for mutual support.

When it comes to your spiritual life, expansion is the name of the game.  Finding a spiritual director or coach to help you create a space plan in your soul can be a game changer.  Having someone who travels with you on this pilgrimage can provide you with soul reinforcement allowing you to continue this arduous journey.  This partnership is about comfort as well as expanding the positive aspects of belief in an energy force greater than you.

Space planning is not just for your physical environment, but your inner habitat as well.  It can provide you with comfort when you feel as if your diagnosis is taking over your entire life and you feel as if no one understands.  Containment of the emotional and spiritual intrusions can promote health and lead you to getting better or getting well!

Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

What’s Going On In Your Universe?

Since 1969 when we landed a man on the moon, we have been a nation continuously asking questions about the universe.  We want to know if life has ever existed on other planets and what types of life.  We wonder what it would take to set up settlements in these far and distant locations.  Scientists are also wondering about how planets stay in their orbit, and the forces that keep all the planets from crashing into each other.

Gravitational pull is the mediating factor in how planets rotate around the sun.  It’s an amazingly strong force, and keeps order.  Whether you realize it or not, you have gravitational pull.  The energy that emanates from you is what attracts others to you and in times of need this energy is important.  I’m talking about more than just the likeability factor, but a compelling energy that keeps people in your orbit going out of their way to help you on your journey to health and healing.

I follow Robin Roberts from Good Morning America.  She had breast cancer about five years ago and as a result of her treatment, she was one of those who developed other complications.  Her previous treatment resulted in her developing MDS, a bone marrow disorder.  She just recently went through a bone marrow transplant and is on the mend.

She has gravitational pull.  I don’t believe it’s simply because she’s a celebrity.  I believe her personal energy engages the world around her and keeps them connected in physical, emotional, and spiritual orbits.  People are following her on social media, on television, and through interviews.  Her doctors have been on television not only discussing her treatment plan, but explaining the importance of being a bone marrow donor and how this connects us in inexplicable ways.

I believe that if you took a step back and looked at your life, you’d witness your gravitational pull.  I believe this energy far exceeds your family and friends and you may not even be aware of how far reaching it may be.  I attribute this to the way you interacted with people before your diagnosis.  These connections are the foundations for health and healing.  We don’t do it alone, and understanding the force of your gravitational pull may propel you a life full of hope!