What motivates us to do what we do each day? Survival , surely, is our most primal motivator. But in the first world has survival been redefined, to mean....managing our image and our ego. Is survival nowadays evolved to feeding our self-esteem, and to numbing our fears and anxiety?
With stage T3N0 rectal cancer, doctors are quite confident that they can get rid of the cancer with a combination of chemo-radiation and tumor removing surgery. This possibility makes me take a sigh of relief and I can go about my business as usual.
However the tumor is so low in my rectum that the surgery will mean I will be left with a stoma bag for the rest of my life, and therefore my digestive life as I know it would be changed forever. Never mind the fact that I would have a bag hanging out of my belly. What about days at the beach, or yoga without a shirt, or lying in bed with my girlfriend? Functionally people live very full lives with a stoma bag...it's the emotional adjustment that's the kicker. This possibility makes the sigh, a little less relieving.
And then there is reoccurrence which is always possible. In a successful tumor removing surgery, there is always a possibility of reoccurrence.
So my self esteem combined with my fear of reoccurrence has made me re-evaluate my "business as usual". At the first level, any hope of "spontaneous tumor recession" ...aka "a miracle" surely can be manifested with a massive lifestyle change. So a week into knowing I had cancer...everything changed. I now "eat/drink to live" rather then "live to eat/drink". I now look for stillness and steer away from the chaos of daily life. I now wake up at 5/6am each day and welcome the day with the birds. And the list goes on!
The second level is that this new "business as usually" will most likely need to stick and evolve in order to minimize the chance or reoccurrence.
The best news is the third level. The third level is a beautiful discovery in that the quality and clarity of life has increased exponentially because of this new "business as usual" I feel better, smarter, younger, energized!
This third level is what motivates me nowadays, it's like I've discovered a spring of vitality. But the spring is high up on a mountain, and since I don't live there I need to climb that mountain every day....and it's a difficult hike...but it's getting easier...I'm getting fitter.
And each time I'm tempted by a nice hot latte, a big glass of red, a rich piece of bread and butter, a salty potato chip, a piece of chocolate, my cravings or any other destructive behavior need to make it through the possibility of missing out on a better life, and if thats not enough then the grim reaper is lurking and if he's not scary enough then my dreaded ego awaits!