Archive for November 2008
We often read or hear in the media where athletes have been diagnosed with cancer. Based on my experience, more than likely those athletes are repressing their feelings, which not only affects their self esteem and their performance level, but also their health. Here’s how it works: When you withhold (or repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see the world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself based on how you view your life’s issues. As a result of the stress, your body begins to give off hormones that impair your immune system. According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory” we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But when we encounter stress in our lives, our immune system becomes impaired the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.
Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self- esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness. When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1980s, I volunteered my services at the RA Bloch Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of co-founder Richard Bloch, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer, that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system. Since research has shown the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, we would have each person in the group tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. Once they began talking about their issues, many for the first time, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system. At that point they were then ready to use a visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” At that time I had a story board that I used in those sessions showing the t-cells coming together, mobilizing, and forming an arrow. The arrow would zoom toward a large glob that represented a cancer cell and the arrow would attack the glob which would then deflate and dissipate.
Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells (see photo insert at left) and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor. Later, patients would listen only to the music track and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically. Also, it’s important to remember that when cancer patients enhance their own self-esteem, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems. One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment recommended by a physician or oncologist.
When I read the story in USA Today about 22-year old Curt Hocker’s five holes in one in one week at the El Paso Golf Club in Kappa, Illinois, I decided to call him and find out what had transpired in his personal life just before his remarkable achievement.
As many of you who read my column know, I’m a strong believer that what goes on off the golf course has a powerful impact on what transpires on the golf course. In other words, if an athlete is having personal issues and is experiencing problems in his or her personal life, until those issues are resolved (or at least begin the process of resolving them) the athlete will generally not perform anywhere near his or her skill level. And such was the case with Curt Hocker. Curt told me that he has great parents and great friends and that he had, indeed, gone through some “hard times.” He said that “things weren’t going right for me but because of a lot of support from a lot of different people, I was able to get a lot of stuff off my mind.” He told me that after getting the “stuff” off his mind he began playing the best golf of his life. The result: eight holes in one this year and two double eagles. Making a hole in one on a Par 4 Hole is a remarkable achievement. Curt made four! Curt is still young but obviously has an excellent future ahead of him as a professional golfer if he practices hard and doesn’t allow his issues to be bottled up as before and keeps his life in harmony. Quantum Physicists would maintain that Curt and the golf ball and cup were connected. I agree. And I believe Curt actually created those holes in one and double eagles. They didn’t just happen because of luck.
POST COMMENT: After posting this article about Curt Hocker, I received a phone call from a reporter from one of the national Golf magazines who informed me that they had tried to set up a meeting with Curt to question him about his holes in one and Curt refused. So it’s possible the entire episode was a hoax.