The fourth guest of Podcast MD by Ketto was Smriti Shivdasani. Smriti lost her mother to cancer and 8 years later, she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having lost both her parents to cancer, Smriti began questioning everything in her life. In Jan 2019 she was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer. She had already been through 2 bouts of cancer in 2012 and Jan 2018 affecting different parts of her body. But she put up a fight again and survived cancer the third time. She believes it was because of her Buddhist practices that imparted her with the strength to sustain the will to live. She believes that it is important to let go of all the negativity and judgments to heal the body from diseases. She says she blended a bit of Hooponopono, a Hawaiian healing technique with Jin Shin Jyutsu, the Japanese art of balancing the meridian along with Donna Eden’s methods of balancing energies to set her body on the path to recovery. Here is an edited excerpt from our conversation with Smriti:
Tell us about your struggle against cancer
In Jan 2019 I was in a situation where I basically had 4th stage cancer. I had already been through 2 bouts of cancer (2012 and Jan 2018) affecting different parts of my body. Being diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer was a devastating experience. However, I managed not to succumb to despair. My 15 years of Buddhist practice and 5 years of training as a professional in the field of life transformation held me up. Over the course of the next 8 months, I chose to honor myself, my body, my life through the choices I made in my words, thoughts and deeds and eventually the effects started accumulating. My recent tests revealed that the tumors had shrunk and not active anymore. I have realized that illness is a wake-up call that we must pay heed to.
How do you think you were able to cope up with cancer?
I think cancer is a call to love. Having lost both my parents to cancer and then being diagnosed with cancer myself, I was in a state of despair. I asked myself ‘how much more do I have to put up?’. How I was able to cope up with cancer at such a fast pace is because I was not dealing with it alone. My friends rallied around me and were a constant source of support. I also believe that attitude makes a lot of difference in recovering quickly. I don’t think my body wanted to live with me. I was so obsessed with my work that my body was overworked. And that was a big call, the realization that I needed to rest and take care of myself. I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself because I didn’t have a sense of love for myself and that was a wake-up call.
How are you currently living with the realizations from your cancer experience?
Having explored multiple careers after my post-graduation degree in Businesses Management, my life took another direction when I saw Cancer at close quarters, losing my parents to it and going through it personally. My never-give-up attitude led me to explore the field of alternative healing. Little did I know that I was stepping into what I was truly born to do: facilitating change by empowering people. I now invest my time in facilitating Access Consciousness workshops, conducting coaching and mentoring programs, and working with people on a one-on-one basis.
What were the symptoms you felt before the onset of cancer?
I never thought that the constant headaches, the frequent colds and back pain were a way of my body trying to give me information. I believe our body has a tendency to lock up everything that is projected on us by the people around us. It keeps a score of the trauma and all the experiences we face. It’s a concept in Buddhism too wherein we are a product of our thoughts, deeds and words. In my case, every bitterness, ache and hurt was manifesting itself as a disease.
How do you think one should cope-up with all the stressors of modern life?
Let go. Let go of everything that makes you unhappy, bitter, and resentful. Let go of your negative point of views, habits, and judgments. These destroy your body. Look at life from a different perspective. Life is beautiful if we allow it to be. And laugh as laughter heals.