(excerpt from an incredible new book "Flying High" by Calvin LeHew & Stowe Dailey Shockey)
I wanted a miracle. Now. Where was it? The truth was becoming painfully clear. I was not getting better. In fact, I was in bed for most of every day. The only times I left the house anymore were Monday mornings to meet with Calvin. My daily two-mile walks, a twenty-year routine, were no more. No more aerobics. No more weight lifting. Now I struggled just to sit in a chair. Lying down wasn't much better. And to top it all off, I had-under much protest-begun taking pain medicine.
Not surprisingly, I was also dealing with depression. I had tried everything, short of surgery, to bring about my healing. Yet here I was, getting worse by the day. Prayer, special diets, vibrational medicine, a plethora of pills, healers, hypnosis, flower essences, chemo, radiation, and positive thinking. Where had all of this gotten me?
I was losing hope. Who was I to think I could co-author a book on positive thinking? I was losing sight of everything, slipping into an abyss of pain. Up until recently, writing this book had been inspirational to me. Now, it was a burden. What was I going to do?
I stared down at Calvin's cassette tape on the coffee table in my sunroom. Winning Choices. It seemed to be mocking me. But since it was easier for me to transcribe a seminar than to write something new, I pushed the old cassette into the player. I needed some words of encouragement.
"I want to talk about conscious awareness," he began. "The definition of awareness is, 'The degree of clarity to which we perceive both consciously and unconsciously all the things that affect our lives.' "I used to ask myself, why aren't more people trying to get ahead and achieve more things? I think the answer is because they aren't consciously aware of the many things that affect their lives, and the many choices they have under their own control. They would rather stay in their familiar comfort zone.
"I've come to believe that it's okay for people to stay in their comfort zone . . . if they want to. Those people are either happy where they are, or they don't know or believe these principles about conscious choices.
"Here's something else that bothered me for a long time: Why didn't God build us with total conscious awareness to begin with? The answer is: We had to have total freedom to discover these things on our own, or we wouldn't be free. It couldn't have happened if we weren't free to fall down and be hurt. To be bored enough to learn new things. Or to take risks by faith and then succeed. What is faith without freedom to choose? The answer is in the Bible. And, by the way, the principles I live by are all in the Bible.
"Making choices is the key after becoming aware. Being aware of our choices. The choices you make-either consciously or unconsciously-are affecting your life. You are responsible for the choices you make. From the clothes you wear, to the dollars in your bank account, to your job, to where you live-these are all the result of choices you've made. You are either happy or sad because you choose to be.
"I chose the name Choices for our restaurant because of this, not because of the variety of foods . . . it was because of the importance of this concept. We have literally hundreds and thousands of choices every day, and most people don't even realize it.
"Most of us are content to stay in our comfort zones . . . we get stuck there. Part of the reason for this has to do with fear. It's scary to get out of your comfort zone. You've probably heard of people who stay in abusive marriages because they're afraid to change their situation-even though they don't like it, it's familiar.
"I understand this. I get comfortable too. But when I become aware of it, I try to pioneer out so I can experience something new.
"So many folks are unconscious of the fact they are stuck in habits, customs, old beliefs . . . How much of what we do is based on these routines? I'm not saying traditions are bad . . . Rituals are great, if we don't forget the meaning behind them. Christmas is great, as long as we don't forget why we celebrate it. But the routine of worrying-that's a destructive habit. Think about people you've known-maybe even yourself-unaware that doubt and worry control your life. Most of the time we're not even aware that we're unaware! We're oblivious to the fact that we have choices. But as your awareness increases, you become conscious that you are choosing where you are going.
"As I increase my awareness I begin to see, 'Gosh, I did allow that to happen to me. I did create that problem.' And I realize I am responsible for my situation . . . responsible for my actions. Responsible for the opportunities I didn't take advantage of. Responsible for the things I did and said.
I stared at the tape player and shifted in my chair.
"There was a time at Carter's Court when I almost lost everything. I got into alcohol-Jack Daniels. I started drinking around 5 o'clock in the evening. And it was all because I had fear. I almost gave up. Over the years I survived several plane crashes; I nearly cut my leg off with a chain saw. And I don't think these were accidents. I believe, on some level, that when we start giving up, we self-destruct. That's what I was doing. In many ways we create our own sickness . . .
"But, thank God, we have choices. And with that knowledge we can create the life we want. As children, our parents and teachers-the adults in our lives-make most decisions for us. We don't have much to say about what happens. When we grow up though, we become responsible for our own lives. Yet many of us still continue to let other people or circumstances make decisions for us, either consciously or unconsciously.
"Hopefully, what you'll get out of this message today is to start consciously choosing your life the way you want it. No doubt, most of us are in a comfort zone, but it's a great day to begin consciously making choices."
I clicked off the tape. I needed that reminder-I'm in control of my own choices. I'd made so many about my health over the last year and a half. Some good. Some not so good. Some were made from a place of love. Some from a place of fear. I could see that the choices made from fear-fear of surgery, for instance-were the reason for the shape I was in now.
Maybe, on some level, I was-like Calvin suggested-"giving up." He talked about "self-destructing." That made sense. But that thing he said about "creating our own sicknesses" had me puzzled.
I could understand how a person might choose to abuse their body by drinking too much alcohol or overeating. That kind of lifestyle could eventually lead to sickness or even death. And a person engaging in risky activities is also upping the ante that they'll be injured or killed. And those high-stress jobs some people have? Yes, they could certainly cause a heart attack.
I've known financially strapped men who made comments about having a heart attack, saying their families would be better off with the money from their life insurance policy. Maybe they were, on some level, either consciously or unconsciously, bringing that fate on themselves.
But did I really choose to have cancer? That was a hard one for me to buy into. Perhaps it was the result of past choices . . . who can say? But one thing was becoming clear: It was entirely up to me to decide how I would choose to-or not to-treat the cancer growing in me.
Naomi Judd - Five time Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter had this to say about Flying High: A True Story of Shared Inspiration. "If you are struggling with adversity of any kind, whether sickness, financial, or just trying to figure out your purpose in this world, there's something precious in this story for you - a powerful dose of inspiration that will encourage you along your own journey... Flying High will put a song in your heart and take you soaring."