The line and the cover photo are from Terminator 2. It is Sarah Connor's answer to question of determinism versus free will.
The quote is being used in the context of time travel, but I believe it is also one of the core truths of the universe. There is no fate but what we make. We create our own reality and our own future, both collectively and individually.
When Life Gives You Lemons...
Imagine cutting off a slice of lemon on a cutting board. The knife slices easily through the yellow rind. You pick up one the slice of lemon, admire the citrus wagon wheel, and then bite deeply into it.
Did you just feel a reaction to that in your mouth? A tingling or puckering? Many people do. That is a physiological response to a mental thought. Your body is reacting to your mind.
That works with more than just lemons. Our thoughts deeply impact our bodies. You have perhaps heard of studies where people who visualize practicing an athletic activity become much better at it than the people who don't practice or visualize. But it's not just happening when we take time to think about our bodies in that way. It's happening all the time, during all of our waking hours, even with our everyday trivial thoughts.
Our health is a reflection or manifestation of the attitudes we hold about ourselves and our bodies. This includes health issues seemingly caused by external sources such as accidents and diseases.
The Law of Attraction
The greater truth is that we create every moment of our reality, present and future. It is not something we have to learn to do. We are always doing it.
No one can assert anything into our experience without us inviting it in at some level. No one can solve the challenges in our lives for us; they could fix the problems of the moment but the same types of issues would return if we do not address them with an attitude adjustment.
We get what we focus on. If we focus on our lack of money, then the universe will fulfill our wish and bring us a lack of money. If we have a strong belief that we will always have enough money, somehow, then we will.
This is called The Law of Attraction. It is quite the double-edged sword, and it takes some getting used to. Some details:
- We must have both belief and desire. We must desire something to bring it into your experience and we also have to believe that it is possible. Many people desire to have more money but they don't believe it will happen.
- We cannot block bad things from our experience by focusing against them because there is no repulsion, only attraction. We should instead focus on the things we do want and the things we don't want will just not bother us.
- The things we desire and believe are possible will manifest along the path of least resistance. Things could materialize out of thin air if we believed it was possible, but most of us don't believe that so we get what we want from physical interactions that we can accept.
Here's a true story: I'd had a crack in my car's windshield for years. It went about 1/4 the way up. I'd also been reading a lot of metaphysical books about creating my own reality and I felt like I was in a zen enough place to truly try using mind over matter to repair the crack. As I drove to work I focused on the crack, visualized it disappearing, and tried to suspend disbelief that it was possible. I gave it a good effort on my drive but nothing appeared to have happened. But I went in to work for 8 hours and when I came back out... the crack had spread all the way up the windshield! So I called an auto glass company, they replaced the windshield the next day, and my crack was gone. I have no doubt that my visualizing worked and that my crack was removed in the way that was easiest for me to accept.
- Some tricks: don't focus on the bad. Try to find the silver lining in every situation. Don't pretend that something bad is something good, but find the good aspects that are always there somewhere. Believe that things will work out somehow. Believe the Universe is working in your favor, because it is. Believe that you are the captain of your ship and you can weather any storm. Believe that no matter how bleak the situation, there is always hope, because it is your attitudes and expectations that determine what happens next in any situation.
You Can Heal Yourself
I was inspired to write this blog because a number of friends have taken the COVID vaccine and are worried about its long-term effects. Many of them were pressured into taking it. What can be done?
The first step is to decide, right now, that your body is capable of handling anything that life throws at it. You didn't come here to take a hit and go down for the count. You came to sail through this storm and discover your true strength and true power.
There are many excellent books that can help us reframe our beliefs around mind-over-matter and having control of our own destiny.
I highly recommend reading any and all of them. Finally I want to end with some excerpts on one more book that is especially relevant, written by a regular gal who had a profound near-death experience in her cancer-ravaged body and subsequently fully recovered.
Dying to Be Me
No one has ever come as close to dying of cancer before making a full recovery as Anita Moorjani. After finding a lump and receiving the diagnosis of lymphoma, stage 2A, she spent the next four years in a steady decline. She tried everything she could stave off the inevitable, going to spiritual retreats and trying different diets. But it was ultimately no use. She writes:
By now, breathing had become a labored task, and an oxygen tank was my permanent companion. I couldn’t lie down, needing to be propped up at all times to keep from drowning in my own fluids. Every time I tried to lie flat, I started choking and had difficulty breathing, so changing my position in bed became an impossible task. My body broke out in lesions all over. So many toxins had invaded my system that my skin was forced to open and release the poisons within.
My digestive system eventually stopped absorbing nutrients from the food I was eating, so I became malnourished. I had no appetite. I wasn’t absorbing whatever I did manage to choke down, and I watched my muscles disintegrate until I could no longer walk. My mobility then came in the form of a wheelchair. My body started to consume the protein from my own flesh to survive, until I looked like a poster child from a famine-struck nation. I became a skeleton of my old self, and my head felt like a 300-pound barbell that I could barely lift from the pillow.
One morning her husband found her to be unresponsive and took her to the emergency room. Anita recounts that while she was physically unresponsive, she actually had a superhuman awareness of everything that was transpiring.
The moment the oncologist saw me, her face visibly filled with shock. “Your wife’s heart may still be beating,” she told Danny, “but she’s not really in there. It’s too late to save her.”
I knew when people came in to see me, who they were and what they were doing. Although my physical eyes were closed, I seemed to be acutely aware of every minute detail that was taking place around me and beyond. The sharpness of my perception was even more intense than if I’d been awake and using my physical senses. I seemed to just know and understand everything—not only what was going on around me, but also what everyone was feeling, as though I were able to see and feel through each person. I was able to sense their fears, their hopelessness, and their resignation to my situation.
Danny and Mum look so sad and frightened. I wish they could know that I’m no longer in pain—I wish I could tell them. Mum, please don’t cry! I’m fine! I’m right here. I’m with you now!
I was fully aware of what was going on around me. Although everything seemed to be happening at the same time, whatever I focused on would become clear in that moment.
“I can’t find her veins!” I heard one of the nurses saying frantically to the doctor on duty. There was fear in that voice. “They’ve completely retracted. Oh, just look at her limbs! There’s no flesh on them. Her body hasn’t been absorbing nutrition for a while.” I clearly recall that this was a male voice—a male nurse.
He sounds so hopeless, I thought. He’s ready to give up on me, and I don’t blame him.
I felt no emotional attachment to my seemingly lifeless body as it lay there on the hospital bed. It didn’t feel as though it were mine. It looked far too small and insignificant to have housed what I was experiencing. I felt free, liberated, and magnificent. Every pain, ache, sadness, and sorrow was gone! I felt completely unencumbered. I couldn’t recall feeling this way before—not ever.
It was as though I’d been a prisoner in my own body for the past four years as the cancer ravaged my physical form, and at last I was being released. I was tasting freedom for the first time! I began to feel weightless and to become aware that I was able to be anywhere at any time…and this didn’t seem unusual. It felt normal, as though this were the real way to perceive things. I didn’t even think it odd that I was aware of my husband and the doctor speaking to each other outside the ICU, some 40 feet down a hallway.
“There’s nothing we can do for your wife, Mr. Moorjani. Her organs have already shut down. She has tumors the size of lemons throughout her lymphatic system, from the base of her skull to below her abdomen. Her brain is filled with fluid, as are her lungs. Her skin has developed lesions that are weeping with toxins. She won’t even make it through the night,” the man told Danny.
Anita went on to have a powerful near-death experience. The cares and drama of the physical world dropped away and she realized that she was on the verge of returning to a magnificent and fantastic greater reality.
Her late father came to meet her in this in-between place. She felt his great love for her and none of the tension remained that had been between them in life. He had a message for her: she could return to her body and live through her near-death experience or she could continue into death and into the greater reality of love and bliss that lay just beyond. She came to understand that part of her own self-determined life purpose was to have this near-death experience and return with a message of hope and comfort for humanity. She also came to understand that it did not matter which way she chose; that she had complete free will and was under no obligation.
I discovered that since I’d realized who I really was and understood the magnificence of my true self, if I chose to go back to life, my body would heal rapidly—not in months or weeks, but in days! I knew that the doctors wouldn’t be able to find a trace of cancer if I chose to go back into my body! How can that be? I was astounded by this revelation, and wanted to understand why.
It was then that I understood that my body is only a reflection of my internal state. If my inner self were aware of its greatness and connection with All-that-is, my body would soon reflect that and heal rapidly.
To access this state of allowing, the only thing I had to do was be myself! I realized that all those years, all I ever had to do was be myself, without judgment or feeling that I was flawed. At the same time, I understood that at the core, our essence is made of pure love. We are pure love—every single one of us. How can we not be, if we come from the Whole and return to it? I knew that realizing this meant never being afraid of who we are. Therefore, being love and being our true self is one and the same thing!
As I experienced my biggest revelation, it felt like a bolt of lightning. I understood that merely by being the love I truly am, I would heal both myself and others. I’d never understood this before, yet it seemed so obvious. If we’re all One, all facets of the same Whole, which is unconditional love, then of course who we are is love! I knew that was really the only purpose of life: to be our self, live our truth, and be the love that we are.
Anita decides to return to her body and continue her life. She heals very rapidly and is out of critical care within a few days. The doctors are pleasantly amazed but they continue their standard protocols and she lets them.
The doctors were being cautious about my healing, particularly because of the state I was in when I entered the hospital. They wanted to adjust the mix and dosage of the chemotherapy they were giving me—which, at one time, I’d greatly feared.
I watched as the nurses came in to administer the chemo. They hung the bag of drugs on the IV stand. Each bag, which they were feeding directly into my veins, was labeled “POISON” in huge, red capital letters. The nurses wore masks and latex gloves so that they couldn’t accidentally have contact with any of the dangerous chemicals. Strangely, it seemed that it was acceptable for these drugs to be introduced directly into my bloodstream.
I knew I didn’t need the chemo. The doctors were administering it for their own reasons, not mine, for I knew that I was invincible. Nothing could destroy me, not even poison injected directly into my veins—the very thing I’d feared for so many years! Interestingly, I didn’t suffer from the normal side effects. My medical team was very surprised that I didn’t have the usual nausea associated with the treatment.
I felt a level of victory. I’d so completely overcome my fear of everything—from dying to cancer to chemotherapy—that this proved to me that it had been the fear destroying me. I knew full well that if this had been before my experience in the other realm, the very sight of the word poison in giant red letters labeling a drug that was coursing through my veins, coupled with the nurses all wrapped up in protective gear to avoid contamination, would have sent enough fear through me to kill me. The psychological effect alone would have finished me, for I knew how fear-filled I was before.
But instead, I felt invincible. I knew that the decision to come back that I’d made on the other side completely overrode anything going on in the physical world.
If Anita can have her body destroyed by cancer and chemo and make a full recovery, just by shifting her expectations and beliefs of what's possible, then there's real hope for the rest of us no matter how bad the situation seems in the moment.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
--William Ernest Henley