Cells of the innate immune system include mast...

Cells of the Immune System, Including Natural Killer Cells

War. Art. Cancer?

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles  is a book about how to get motivated to write.

Having met writer’s block a couple times in my life, I recognize the challenges of putting pen to paper.

They are the same whether it is your first novel or screenplay or the autobiography you want to write for your grandchildren.

Getting started is the hardest part because you need to know enough about what you want to say to have a starting point and a general outline.

Finishing is the next hardest part because it is hard to convince yourself it is ready for others to read.

Compared to the beginning and end, the middle is relatively easy because you are filling in the pieces of an outline.

Mental Roadblocks

Steven Pressfield, who wrote what became the movie, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” about a troubled golfer, gives you specific tips on how to get past all the hard parts of writing.

Pressfield contends that  what is really holding you back is your own mind putting up roadblocks.

It is in this context that he describes in one chapter the work done by a writer and producer, now a self-taught Jungian psychotherapist, who hosts workshops for cancer patients.

Tom Laughlin, known as an actor, writer and producer of the Billy Jack action movies in the 1970s, developed an interest in Jungian psychology.

He put this interest toward figuring out what psychological factors are significant in the fight against cancer. He eventually started lecturing at medical schools and universities on his theories.

A tongue cancer survivor himself, Laughlin is the author of The Cancer Personality.

He identifies six factors in the psychology of cancer that must be overcome to enhance the effects of medical treatment:

1. Fear of expressing emotions to avoid conflict.

2. Feeling trapped or helpless.

3. Being in a suffocating relationship personally or at work.

4. Allowing your own ego and needs to become subordinate.

5. Depending on the suffocating relationship as a lifeline.

6. Not being aware of this conflict between your own needs and others’.

Click here to watch Laughlin outline the six psychological factors he believes must be overcome to aid in healing.

Workshop to Find Your Passion

In Pressfield’s the War of Art, he summarizes Laughlin’s cancer workshop experiences:

“The moment a person learns he’s got terminal cancer, a profound shift takes place in his psyche. At one stroke in the doctor’s office, he becomes aware of what is really important to him.

This is how Tom Laughlin’s foundation battles cancer….He supports the housewife in resuming her career in social work, the businessman returning to the violin, the Vietnam vet to write his novel.

Cancers go into remission. People recover.”

Neither Pressman nor Laughlin are proposing that cancer patients stop their traditional medical treatment.

What they are suggesting is that people pay attention to the passion that drives them, or used to drive them, or could drive them, and reshape their lives around it.

Scientific Findings on the Immune System

Lydia Temoshok, PhD, who specializes in immune factors related to psychological health in cancer and HIV, is an Adjunct Professor of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Maryland Center of Medicine.

Co-author, with Henry Dreher, of “The Type C Connection: The Mind-Body Link to Cancer and Your Health,” that was based on a study of 150 melanoma patients, Temashok notes in a recent report on psychological factors in cancer:

“The melanoma patients coped by keeping their feelings under wraps. They never expressed anger and rarely did they acknowledge fear or sadness.”

Her contribution to the report can be read by clicking here:

Whether it is writing a novel, joining the circus, running a food kitchen for the poor, or redoubling your efforts in your current job, Pressman’s, Laughlin’s and Temashok’s works all point to the same message:

Find what gives you joy.

What makes you get excited in anticipation?

What makes you eager to start your day?

What makes you forget time?

If it is your grandchildren, and you want to share your wisdom and memories with them, click here to follow this blog in your reader for more tips.

To you, the wisdom you have to share and the stories you have to tell.

Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”