Draw Your Sword to Fight Cancer: Pedram Shojai
Pedram Shojai opens season two of The Stern Method with a deep interview on becoming the person you need to be to embrace life and reverse cancer.
In This Episode:
- Pedram talks about the concept of time as the currency of life. How going through cancer is an opportunity to rearrange your priorities to use currency in a way that truly serves you.
- Managing to accomplish everything that needs to get done when actually dealing with the diagnosis from both a mindset and perception standpoint and a practical implementation standpoint.
- Pedram explained the two choices you have with a cancer diagnosis are to either fear death or embrace life and if you do choose the latter, how to get the most out of it in a way most likely to lead to a successful cancer journey.
- And we even managed to fit in how to not only avoid most things in the world that will bring you harm but even how to change those things.
“Time is the Currency of Life” – Pedram Shojai
Pedram opened the interview with a profound statement that time is the currency of life. We typically think of money as currency, but in a much more real sense time is really what we are trading all day.
We can spend our time making money, but we can also spend it with our family or going for a hike… or hopefully both at the same time.
Time is all we really have.
Pedram noted that in the midst of a cancer diagnosis, how we spend our time comes under a microscope. That diagnosis can rattle us to our core and completely rearrange our priorities. Hopefully for the better.
Now we start to really wonder if using that time in front of a TV is such a good idea.
I used to compulsively check the news before my son was diagnosed. I don’t check the news that much anymore. There are many ways to spend my time that will bring my family much more benefit.
Either Fear Death or Embrace Life
Shojai expanded on this notion by really boiling down the two ways to react to a cancer diagnosis. You either come out of it fearing death, or embracing life.
Here at The Stern Method we’re certainly all about the latter.
When you embrace life, Pedram says you then become something of a “life junkie.” You start finding the places that you can truly heal yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
When you openly and earnestly embark on this path, miracles will come out of that.
You get back to the basics. What air should I be breathing? What water should I be drinking? What food should I be eating?
From there, you really start to dig deep and unravel all the ways that lead you to this place, and start reversing them one by one. Removing all the bad from your life and replacing it with good.
The Old You is Not Allowed to Exist
Now this doesn’t mean you have to get all weird and hippie, but it does mean you have to clear everything off the table and ask what’s really important.
“What is the core thing I must do to not only survive, but thrive?” Pedram Shojai
Pedram made a point of saying that if you’re just trying to beat cancer to be able to go back to what you were doing before the diagnosis, that’s not a winning strategy. At best, you’re just buying time.
How to Find Time to Accomplish Healing
Anyone going through a cancer diagnosis knows, especially one taking an integrative approach, knows there is no end of things to figure out and implement. Balancing information overload, preparing healthy meals, smoothies and juices, going to treatments, one quickly finds themselves wondering how they’re ever going to fit it all in.
Pedram Shojai’s Book, The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People is all about how to create, and perceive, more time in your day. Each day he walks you through a new gong (practice) to help you accomplish this.
When I asked him which gongs what might be worth mentioning for the purposes of someone going through cancer, he had a couple thoughts.
Have you set aside time for the activities you say are important to you? If you think working on your emotional healing is important, have you scheduled time on your calendar every day for meditation, emotional work, etc? How about exercise? How about coffee enemas?
If we don’t proactively set aside time that we then protect for the things that we feel are really important to us, they’ll get lost to endless ways to spend time trying to pick out the best supplements, talking to concerned loved ones, dealing with administrative stuff from hospitals and clinics, etc.
Pedram did have a word of caution on schedules however. While it’s important to set aside time for the activities that are important to you, it’s still all about how you perceive what you’re doing.
If you find yourself start resenting all the “health stuff” that you’ve crammed into the day and you’re merely just showing up and going through the motions because you feel like you have to, you’ve lost a whole ton of benefit.
Need More Time? Take a Walk in the Woods
Aside from the practicality of time management, Shojai also brought up nature. Nature is simple, pure, and can help bring us back to ourselves.
In all the commotion of managing treatments and doctor visits and supplements and fundraising and research and on and on… just getting away from all of it and spending some time in nature to reset is invaluable.
And then of course there are the physical benefits to spending time in nature as well. Pedram noted the bacteria you breathe in while spending time there literally repopulates your gut, which is essential to so many critical anticancer functions in your body. The immune system likely being the most notable.
The Japanese “Forest Bathing” studies showed skyrocketing immune systems, particularly natural killer cell (the ones that kill cancer cells) count and activity simply from time spent in the forest. Consider that a free supplement that’s also fun to do.
How to Go About Changing Yourself
Whatever strategical aspect we may have been discussing, Shojai always brought the conversation back to needing to actually change yourself to make any of the other changes work. Some exercises to go about this he mentioned were:
- Holotropic Breathing developed by Stan Groth
- Primal Scream Therapy developed by Arthur Janov
- Rebirthing Breathwork developed by Leonard Orr
Outside of the strategical aspect however, Pedram noted his Kung Fu training and says it really comes down to drawing your sword and making this your fight.
Once you decide, truly decide, that you are going to become the person you need to be and do everything you need to do to reverse the cancer, the universe will conspire to help you.
You’ll no longer have a victim mentality. If you have a question you’ll Google it and find the answer. You’ll find a way to get the resources you need and those resources will also come to you in unexpected ways.
We know this to be true first-hand.
How This Applies to Childhood Cancer
Parents – don’t let yourself think for a minute that all this self-transformation stuff only applies to adults dealing with their own cancer. You need to transform into the person your kid needs you to be.
Your kid doesn’t need you to feel terrible about how this ever could have happened and be continually sad for them.
Your kid needs you to get stuff done.
Your kid doesn’t need you to have limiting beliefs about what is possible to apply to children. Your kid needs you to figure out how to apply what you learn about to them.
And on the flipside while the temptation is there to run yourself ragged never coming up for air from going through endless studies and consultations, you need to set aside time to work on yourself. You’ll be hundreds of times more effective in everything you’re trying to do for your child.
This goes double for getting out in nature too, by the way.
Even when we were inpatient in the hospital during one of Ryder’s bloodstream infections, we still got out on a trail by the hospital every day, IV pole and all.
Kids are hard-wired to enjoy nature. Let them have as much of it as you can.
What I have written here does not do justice to the words that actually come out of Pedram Shojai’s mouth! Watch the full interview below (or download the audio above) for more elaboration on drawing your sword to fight cancer, and also more topics not covered in this article such as how parents in a certain town noticed their kids were getting higher rates of cancer than others and ended up getting glyphosate kicked out of their public parks!
Dr. Pedram Shojai the founder of Well.org, the editor of BeMore! Magazine, and the creator of The Urban Monk program and website. He is a doctor of oriental medicine, a qigong master, a student of kung fu and tai chi, and a former Taoist monk.
Combining holistic, ancient Eastern practices with practical applications for everyday modern life, he has years of experience helping busy urban people restyle their lives to focus on wellness and happiness.
He is the author of Rise and Shine, The Urban Monk, and The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People. He is the producer and director of the movies Vitality, Origins, and Prosperity. Pedram and his work have been featured on CNN, the Today show, in Women’s Health magazine, The Huffington Post, and more.