case study

Alexandra, 33

Alexandra was thirty years old, active and successful, but worried. She had developed a number of lumps on her breast. Although several eminent physicians had diagnosed them as harmless, benign nodules, she was worried that they were precancerous, and wanted to know if she could do anything to make them go away.

Alexandra was intensely involved in every aspect of her life. She worked long hours, traveled frequently in her work, and kept a busy social schedule as well. She often felt tense and tired, and wanted less stress in her life, though she saw that as a problem separate from her breast lumps.

As part of her consultation, she was asked to relax and then to let an image of the lumps come to mind. She imagined them as rocks in a stream, and was upset to see they were partially obstructing its flow. As she looked more closely, however, her perception of the rocks changed dramatically. She noticed that they were very smooth, shiny, and lustrous, and looked more like pearls than rocks. Alexandra immediately understood that, like pearls in an oyster, these lumps had formed in response to irritation and represented an attempt to protect her from further harm.

When asked what would need to happen for the pearls to be able to dissolve, she sensed a need to “remove the source of irritation.” As a result, she made changes in her scheduling, her traveling, and her diet, and the lumps in her breast disappeared within a few months.

By paying attention to her problems in this way, Alexandra not only learned a valuable lesson in stress management, but also personally experienced the wisdom of her mind and body working together to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Her symptoms got her attention, and her imagery allowed her to understand both the meaning of her symptoms and what she needed to do to allow healing to proceed. In her case, the imagery may not have dissolved her lumps directly, but showed her what she could do to allow that to happen.

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