When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. — The Dalai Lama

I think both Yousef and I have come out stronger from our experience with cancer. I won’t speak for him, although he has said that he’d tell other kids to look for the positive, and not dwell on the negative. For someone who is only 12, that’s quite an insight! And, to me, that’s strength!

As for me, I’ve become more myself – who I was meant to be all along. I speak my mind more. Not in a harsh way, but honestly. I am sure not everyone wants to hear it, but I say it anyway. I let what is true for me be true. I don’t second-guess it or tell myself to be different. I am open. I am curious. I live by questions. There is always another way to look at things – so I ask, “What else is possible?”

I use questions in my coaching too, and I encourage people not to look for answers so much, but to be open. I might ask,

“How do you look for possibilities?” Or,

“What is possible if you relax?”

I wonder, “What if you had a new focus?”

When the world puts up a roadblock, or tells me “No,” I turn immediately to questions that help me look for lessons, or other possibilities. I ask myself, “What if something even better was around the corner, and the “NO” I just heard was only to redirect me, rather than to stop me altogether?”

Right after we found out Yousef had cancer, before we even knew for sure what type it was or what the treatment would be, we had to get on a plane and travel to Germany. Our tickets were given by friends: two in business class, for Yousef and me (he was in a cast that meant his leg struck straight out, and we know coach would never work for him.) The third ticket was for coach, for Samer. I really prayed and hoped and intended that he’d be upgraded so he could sit with us, but it was not to be. I asked myself, “What else is possible?”

It was one of the first times during all of this that things didn’t go as I hoped – and many more followed. When you take this journey, I can guarantee you of that: things won’t go your way. There will be setbacks and trials. You will be sure one minute and disappointed the next. Your heart will sink, over and over.

That’s the time to bring the question. “What else is possible?” Ask it with hopefulness and an open heart. Then watch what changes, what shows up in front of you. Remember, certainty is the death of possibility. Let your heart by open and see what is else can happen.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *