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You Are the Placebo - Making Your Mind Matter by Dr. Joe Dispenza

No one likes to hear, "It's all in your mind." But, what if we have the "biological and neurological machinery" to make ourselves better?

You Are the Placebo, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, isn't about positive thinking or the law of attraction. It's also definitely not about patient blaming.

What it's about is looking at the scientific evidence and exploring the possibility of taking the placebo effect a step further. As Dr. Dispenza asks, What if, instead of believing in a fake pill or treatment to experience a real health benefit, we believed in ourselves?

The book is divided into two parts. Part I (Information) takes you through the science you need to understand the placebo effect and how it works via the mind-body connection to create real, measurable physical changes. I thought I might find this information dense, especially for summer reading. Instead, Dr. Dispenza's gift for explaining complicated concepts made the material interesting and easily understandable.  

I was also fascinated by the numerous case studies evidencing the placebo and nocebo effects (when a fake medication or treatment creates negative effects.) Dr. Dispenza relates numerous stories of serious illness and even death resulting from belief in voodoo curses, hexes and misdiagnosis of fatal diseases. Men in their 70's and 80's, who spent five days pretending they were 22 years younger, put down their canes, danced and played football. They even showed measurable, physical improvements, such better eyesight, hearing, and memory, and increased height and finger lengthening as arthritis diminished. 

In fact, it was Dr. Dispenza's own story that brought him to this work. After an horrific accident in which he was run over by an SUV, Dr. Dispenza was advised to have surgery (resulting in disability and lifelong pain) or risk paralysis. He chose to forgo surgery and instead accomplished full recovery through the power of his mind. 

Part II (Transformation) sets forth the meditation techniques Dr. Dispenza used to heal himself. The first chapter sets forth simple preparation steps and techniques, while the second chapter takes the reader through guided meditations. 

You Are the Placebo is the ultimate guidebook to the human experience and how we choose to perceive it. Reading this book convinced me that I can refocus my thoughts, emotions and beliefs to create a new reality. As Dr. Dispenza says, "the ultimate belief is the belief in yourself and in the field of infinite possibilities ... And when wholeness, self-satisfaction, and self-love truly come from within, because you've ventured beyond what you believed was possible and you overcame your own self-imposed limitations, that's when the uncommon occurs."

Don't miss reading this book. If you're willing to open your mind and do the work, it has the ability to change your life.

Survival > Existence,

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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Monday Morning Motivation -Summer Rerun Series

I've never done this before, but I think it's time. Because it's summer and I have a huge collection of Monday Morning Motivation quotations, I'm going to re-run a few of my favorites from the vault for the next few weeks. Enjoy!

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Act with Love & Be a Part of Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research

One of the best ways I know of to give back is to participate in research studies. The information we share today is of real value to the medical community and, more importantly, to us, our loved ones, and the patients and survivors who follow in our footsteps. 

I know you might not be a breast cancer survivor, but you don't have to be to be part of the HOW (Health of Women) Study, a program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. I've written many times before about Dr. Love's Army of Women and am proud to be part of the groundbreaking research done by this organization.

From the HOW website:

What is the Health of Women (HOW) Study?

The majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known clinical risk factors. This means we don’t know what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it. The HOW Study is a first-of-its-kind international online study for women and men with and without a history of breast cancer.  We will collect information about your health, your job, your diet, and your family history, among other topics that can help us get a better understanding of breast cancer and its potential causes.  Periodically, we will send you questionnaires about anything and everything. All you have to do is fill them out online. It’s that simple. This is a partnership and we need you for the long haul. The more questionnaires you fill out, the more information we will have that can help us have a better understanding of why women get breast cancer.

Who is HOW?

HOW is all about you and what you can do to end breast cancer. HOW is also about the researchers who can use this data to have a better understanding of ways we can prevent breast cancer. HOW is all of us, working together, to bring an end to this disease. The HOW Study is being conducted at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, in collaboration with City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Get Involved

All you have to do to be a part of this amazing research initiative is to register. It's fast and easy and you only participate in a study if you want to.

I just answered a survey for researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. The survey is specifically for women diagnosed with DCIS. I answered the anonymous, eight-question survey in under ten minutes and encourage you to check it out if you've been diagnosed with DCIS. The survey is intended to help researchers fill in the gaps in their understanding as to how to best take care of women with DCIS. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that? 

If you're a breast cancer patient/survivor, make sure to check out the Army of Women, the HOW study and the DCIS survey (if you qualify.) Filling out a survey or answering a questionnaire is a small thing that makes a big difference. And giving back always, always makes you feel good too! 

Now, I'd like to hear from you. Have you participated in medical research studies? What was your experience like and how did it make you feel to contribute and give back?

Survival > Existence,

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Monday Morning Motivation

There are few people living today who are more inspiring than 17-year old Malala Yousafzai. Today is Malala Day and we have the opportunity to stand beside her to demand access to education for all girls and boys.

Together we can do this, because we are stronger than violence, stronger than fear and stronger than oppression.

What are you stronger than?

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Love & Family & Building an Amazing Life from a Place of Gratitude

If you're in the USA, I hope you enjoy the three-day 4th of July weekend. There is a special place in my heart for small town 4th of July parades and fireworks. They bring me back to my youth and are just the sweetest things. 
Which, in addition to the fact that I just celebrated another birthday and watched my niece get married last weekend, could have me feeling pretty old right now. 
And yet, I'm feeling empowered and very much HERE, as in present and alive. Maybe it's the love and family high I'm still riding from the wedding. It was such a joy to celebrate with my HUGE family. (My mom, her nine kids, our eight spouses and 17 grandchildren!)
Sure, time is relentlessly marching on. That young mom in the picture is me with my first baby and niece. Twenty years later, those two beautiful babies are brilliant, accomplished, gorgeous women who continue to fill us with love and pride.
Some part of me wants to rail against aging, but I just can't. Instead, all the love and positive vibes of my niece's wedding have me focused on gratitude. 
I'm grateful to be here to see another niece married, and grateful for my large, close family - any one of whom I could call if I needed anything and know they would come running. 
Which brings me to my brother, the father of the bride. I'm beyond grateful for the moment I shared with him at the reception. After he spoke beautifully of his love and devotion to his daughter, I had to tell him, with tears in my eyes, how I wished I had had a father like him. He hugged me tight and reassured me that I always had a big brother in him. Which made us both laugh, because I'm his "big" sister.
And that's the point, isn't it? I had a lousy father, miscarriages, infertility and breast cancer. I'd be lying if I told you I've never felt deprived, unloved and just plain screwed. But, when I look around and see all the wonders of my life: husband, children, brothers, sisters, mother, nieces, nephews, friends, dancing at weddings, birthday kisses, fireworks, small town parades and the many other joys I'm so grateful for, I tear up a bit and laugh. 
Enjoy and be grateful for the "little things." They are the things that create live out loud joy and get us through the big things (like a lousy father, miscarriages, infertility and breast cancer.)
And, ultimately, they are all that matters.
In deep gratitude and wishing you much joy, 
PS: Someone at the wedding had the brilliant idea of taking a picture of all nine of us - which I don't think has been done since I was 14. My mom and niece joined my five brothers, three sisters and me. It strikes me that we hit quite a few of my simple secrets from You Can Thrive After Treatment and How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment. We practiced gratitude, created a sense of wonder, took every opportunity to laugh, practiced mindfulness, and moved our bodies (there was a lot of dancing!)
Photo by Cris Woodbury (dear friend, sister and mother of the bride!)
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janine's picture

I usually dont comment but this one calls for a AMEN SISTA!!!

Debbie's picture

That's a double AMEN from me too!


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Monday Morning Motivation

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Facing Cancer's picture

Sometimes that is all we can do, and the warmth is a comfort.

Debbie's picture

Absolutely! And perhaps that warmth and comfort will help move us past a hurdle.


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Monday Morning Motivation

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How to Ditch Fear & Get What You Need

“You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.” Mick Jagger

I gave him the full mama bear hug and kissed the side of his head before sending him off with the usual parting words of a mother, “Have fun and be good.”

Only he wasn’t my child.                           

How did I know he needed mothering at that moment? Simple. He asked.

There were at least 30 of us at a neighbor’s house observing the pre-Junior Prom, picture-taking ritual. My son’s friend was there alone, his mother unable to attend. When it came time to leave for the prom, parents sent their children off with huge smiles, kisses and hugs.

As I released my hold on my son and sent him over to his father, his friend looked at me, extended his arms and said, ““My mother isn’t here and I need a hug too.”

As I hugged my son’s friend (for longer than I thought he would let me) it struck me that I had just witnessed this 17-year-old boy put the formula for getting what you need into action:

Awareness + Permission + Action = You Get What You Need

1.       Awareness: You can’t get what you need if you don’t know what you need. Are you as aware of your emotional need for affection, validation, understanding and support (just to name a few) as you are of your physical needs?  If not, is it because you don’t think you’ll get them met anyway? If you want to have any chance of getting your needs met, you have to own them. No one else is going to get real about your needs until you do.  

2.       Permission:  Once you’re aware of your needs, do your best not to judge them. Whatever you need is valid and has merit. Viewing our needs through the prism of judgment causes us to shame ourselves into silence and inaction. Had my son’s friend thought he was being silly or juvenile, he never would have asked me for a hug before he went off to his first prom.  

3.       Action: You know what you need and you know your needs have merit – now take action! Be brave and ask for what you need. You can be subtle or take the direct approach like my son’s friend, but you’re not going to get anything until you come out and ask for it.

Most of us let fear stop us from working the formula to get what we need. We’re afraid we’ll be judged, uncomfortable with vulnerability, or we’ve been rejected too many times before. Plus, fear keeps us playing small, believing we’re incapable of finding creative solutions to getting what we need.

The only way to ditch fear is to acknowledge it and then promptly ignore it. 

When I was in the midst of cancer treatment, I was overwhelmed by daily responsibilities. Afraid to acknowledge I needed help, I soldiered on, until it got to be too much. Finally, I talked with my oncology therapist who suggested, among other things, that I simply ask my husband to help me with the grocery shopping on the weekends, rather than continue to do it myself during the week.

When I heard her suggestion, it was like a cloud lifted. Why did I think I had to do it all myself? And, why had I forgotten that we used to do the grocery shopping together every weekend before we had children, simply because we wanted to spend the entire weekend together?

Of course, my husband readily agreed to shop with me on the weekends and we’ve been doing it together ever since. I often joke with him that our big date of the week is going to Whole Foods on Saturday mornings.

Finding the courage to ask for what I needed reminded me that most people, and certainly my husband, respond generously. And here’s the kicker – at the moment the openness it takes to ask for what you need comes together with that generosity, a beautiful bubble of abundance and gratitude is created.

Do you struggle with getting what you need? Have you had the honor of showing up for someone who needed something from you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

I'm going to practice what I preach and ask you to join the conversation in the comments below. I answer every comment and would also love to see you share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Thank you!

Survival > Existence,

Image courtesy of Jeremy Brooks

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