October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and although a regular self-administered physical breast exam is hugely important, as well as annual check-ups with your doc, we believe there needs to be more emphasis placed on our inner worlds too.
So here is an internal examination for the higher mind, from the wisdom of Deb Shapiro and her incredibly important book: “Your Body Speaks Your Mind”
With breast cancer now affecting one in four women it is vital that we understand it more deeply. There is no doubt that the rise in environmental changes is a contributing factor, as more hormones and chemicals are penetrating our water and food, but invariably there are also psycho/emotional issues involved. This is verified by research showing that women who participate in group therapy and have a chance to hear their inner anger and fear are less likely to have a recurrence of breast cancer than those who do not. Many studies have shown that women with breast cancer have a developed tendency toward repressed anger often masked by extra niceness and self-sacrifice, while feeling unsupported, inhibited in their sexuality, and unresolved in their conflicts.
Breast cancer is known as the “feminine wound,” indicating its relevance to your feelings of being a woman. Emotional conflicts will be related to conflict between a worker and a lover and a mother, confusion and uncertainty over your femininity, conflicting sexual preferences, a rejection of your breasts or longing for them to be different than they are, rejection or abuse from a lover, rejection or dismissal from a child who you have nurtured at the breast, shame at not being able to breastfeed, a feeling of being a failure as a mother or as a woman, a lack of nourishment and support for yourself, or a deep rage at being unappreciated or uncared for.
Bodymind Dialogue Exercise:
As breasts are so integral to feelings of unworthiness and attractiveness, it is important to explore these issues openly and honestly.
- Do you enjoy your breasts or do they repulse you?
- Are you ashamed of them?
- Has your femininity ever been abused or rejected?
- Do you ever feel like you have failed as a woman or a mother?
- Are you being nourished and cared for?
- Were your breasts ever a topic of conversation or a point of ridicule as you grew up?
- Can you hold them and love them, or do you try to avoid touching them?
- Do they make you feel sexually exposed or insecure?
While some of these questions may be triggering, they can also help us identify where we may need to do some inner work, something we should be exploring even more regularly than we would visit the gynae.