I started writing this article while accompanying my cousin for a breast biopsy— her second. As I waited, and wrote, I listened to the anxious, fearful men and women in the waiting room. My cousin was frightened, and, while all indicators looked good that it was “nothing serious,” the doctor said “we have to check just in case.” I wasn’t all that comfortable myself. After all, almost everyone in my mother’s family had died of cancer: my grandmother, her 8 brothers and sisters, my grandfather, my 42-year-old cousin, my mother’s sister— my much-loved aunt (at age 64 of pancreatic cancer) — my cousin’s mother. And so, as I sat there waiting for my cousin, I worked with some of my Integrative Action™ principles and tools.

As long as I can remember, my cousin and I had heard about our family legacy and how vigilant we must be. We filled out our histories in doctors’ offices, watched commercials, read books, and paid attention to ads of warning. As the two of us, my friends, and other family members discussed the cancer rate in Long Island, the merits of organic food, and the importance of trading in our flattering under wire bras for the cotton, no-wire variety, it had seemed more like WHEN than IF.

Yet, as I researched and experienced what makes us likely to have physical or emotional problems — or to succumb to them — I’ve found our future need not be predicted by fear and factors seemingly beyond our control.

In the 70s, people used to say you are what you eat. It was partly a joke and partly true. This concept is understandable to most of us, along with genetic predispositions, environmental influences, and lifestyle choices. However, what we often don’t understand are the many energetic factors that affect us too.

Mom and BabyWhile assuming it’s genetics, we resonate with and take on family illnesses and behavioral patterns … stories of who we are and who we will become. These legacies often become us, as if they are inevitable “facts.” We hear and believe, for example, everyone in our family has a bad temper or a tendency to gain weight, drinks too much, gets divorced, and eventually gets cancer.

We’ve heard about the study involving schoolchildren who performed in accordance with what their teachers were told about them regardless of their “real” IQ. Yet, we don’t realize just how widespread this phenomenon is, even with regard to our own beliefs about our family, our friends, and ourselves. We’re aware that we identify with our mothers, fathers, teachers and other heroes. But we’re usually unaware that we also energetically identify and resonate with victims of illness, misfortune, or limited thinking — men and women who have failed, been abandoned or persecuted for their wealth, talent, beauty, or difference. We also identify with people we don’t know because we are energetically connected to them in this quantum universe. And, even if we are aware, we certainly don’t know what to do with that information to create the life we want.

If we truly want to take control of our lives, we must learn to recognize and deal with everything that influences us. We must look at our beliefs and assumptions about what is possible and what is not, what it takes to change, how hard or easy life is, and about what creates success or failure, health or disease. We need to shift our energetic patterns and belief systems.

We can start by looking at our family myths and our “stories” of who we are. We must recognize that what we see as “facts” might only be our perceptions. Are we really at high risk for developing an illness or relationship problem? Or will we inadvertently bring it on by energetically attracting it even as we try to avoid it? For example, as we struggle with weight gain, our body gets better at holding on to nutrients and fat. As we desperately try not to be treated badly, we may actually create situations where others are more likely to treat us that way. And situations or people we believe we can’t tolerate seem to pop up beyond mere chance.

As we watch commercials and listen to “experts,” we need to ask ourselves whether we are educating ourselves about staying healthy and solving our life issues or actually bringing these problems into existence by energetically resonating with them and taking them on. In fact, our energy field creates experiences to support our beliefs — sometimes even making us “dead right.”

How can we instead bring into our lives what we want and eliminate what we don’t? Mary, an older women diagnosed with terminal cancer, had been nauseous and in excruciating pain for 18 months when I met her at a demonstration I was giving. Her nurse asked if I could help. Mary looked green — extremely fragile and deathly ill. Looking beyond the obvious facts that chemotherapy and liver cancer were the cause of her pain, I found that her energy patterns also reflected her fears and assumptions about her illness, her reactions to what the doctor said about her fate, and her resonating with other terminal patients.

Working together briefly at the demonstration, we used the Integrative Action™ principles and tools to shift Mary’s related energetic patterns, and her pain and nausea were completely relieved. A month later, she came to an evening seminar I gave and told me she was doing much better. What worked for Mary was very simple. When she felt bad physically or emotionally, she thought about a vertical line going down her midline or about circles, as I’d suggested. This shifted the energetic patterns that compounded her pain, discomfort, and sense of despair. She felt so much better that she was able to attend a full-day workshop, after which she felt much more in control and was able to make decisions about her medical treatment that felt right to her. Later, at another workshop, Mary told me excitedly that four of her liver tumors were completely and unexplainably gone!

This is a dramatic example of subtle things that happen all the time. We are influenced energetically by not only our genes but also our stories, our ancestor’s stories, our parents, our neighborhood, the collective consciousness, and our triggers…as well as by emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical influences.

We are often afraid to own our power because we fear changing, or we fear that if we can’t change we’ve failed or are somehow to blame for our illness or life difficulties. However, we can overcome fear and constraints by opening to our inner knowledge of these factors, holding them without judgment, and accepting ourselves. Then we can strengthen and realign our energy field to support us.

By the way, my cousin’s biopsy showed no cancer. It did, however, give us both another opportunity to see the fear that still lives within us and confront it. The more we use these occasions to address our energetic programming and change the patterns of fear, illness, or other limitations in us, the more we can change things not only for ourselves but for our children, our communities, and our world. As we confront the power of our beliefs and energetic patterns in every area of our lives, we can choose to move beyond fear and predetermination to freedom and connection with Source, love, and peace.