The notion that disease begins and can be brought to an end within oneself is not new. In a new book, “Mind over Medicine: Scientific Proof that you can Heal Yourself”, Dr. Lizza Rankin makes the case that science itself agrees that the placebo effect can be self-healing. Scientists have just not figured out how, though it is also generally accepted that attitudes can have a major effect upon healing regimens. From there to the theory of Nocebos (no placebos get it?) is a small jump.
However, what if reading about theories is not your cup of tea? Too dry or too abstract. In that case, Ruby Ahluwalia’s Fragrance of a Wild Soul might be just up your street. Written as part memoir, part stream of consciousness, the slim volume draws upon a lifetime of experiences that have helped make her the woman she is.
And who is she? A civil servant who is with the Indian Railways as a principal economic advisor, she has combined a successful career with a fulfilling personal life. Vegetarian, non-smoker, fit and content, she developed breast cancer, was misdiagnosed twice, ended up having three surgeries and finally chemotherapy. It’s enough to make her take a good, long look at what you are doing wrong, or right!
That good, hard look is what led Ruby to set up Sanjeevani: Life Beyond Cancer, an NGO that promotes holistic healing for cancer patients, going being the physical to embrace mind and soul.
Through anecdotes, memories and observations, the author distils her own experiences to draw life lessons that are guaranteed to make one stop and think. “I wish we could all give ourselves a chance to feel the beauty of abundance by helping someone”. “We all have the potential to overcome our fears. E just have to create the right narrative”. And my favourite – “Anger, jealousy, anxiety, guilt and shame originate because of the fear within”.
There’s a lot more, including kind of blueprint for recovery and wellness comprising questions and answers, at the heart of which is a concern for the self. She brings evidence of an organized mind to her marshalling of memories into serried ranks, many of which have a lesson for us, if only we read.
Book: Fragrance of a Wild Soul
Title: Ruby Ahluwalia